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Louise782

Reassurance that it gets better please

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Louise782

Hi, firstly if you are here then you will probably have been bereaved too so I’d like to say that I am so very sorry for your loss.

My dog was almost 13.5 yrs old and I had to have him put to sleep recently. He was abandoned at birth so we had him since he was tiny. He was a lab mixed with a wolf hound so like a small horse :D He was such a character, he used to chatter his teeth with excitement every time he saw us :) I don’t have words for how much we all loved him. 

He got a lump under the skin on his back foot. It seemed to appear very quickly. He was mobilising albeit limping slightly but was still managing to chase any cats that came into his garden. I gave him aspirin to see if rest and analgesia would help for a couple of days. He did perk up and managed to jump on the sofa again and play ball. 

Then he fell getting back into the house and couldn’t seem to get up. We scooped him in a duvet to the vets. They did tests and said they didn’t know why he couldn’t stand but that the lump was a fast growing bone cancer. They gave him strong pain relief but advised he be euthanised seems as he couldn’t stand and the cancer would spread fast. 

I wanted to give him a couple of days to recover from the fall and see if he could then stand and maybe come home for a couple of weeks but he couldn’t walk even with a towel under him to help. I still feel angry at myself that it could have been the pain meds that did that as he could walk in there with support 24 hrs before. 

We went to spend some time with him at 8pm, gave him lots of steak and water and so many hugs and kisses. He fell asleep in my 24 yr old daughters arms around 10pm and already had a cannula in for the analgesia so we asked the vet to do it then. The vein had collapsed :( 

They had to muzzle him and sedate him (he yelped like crazy) then try another 5 times to get a cannula in.  It was horrible, he couldn’t move but his eyes showed it hurt him. 

I was with him with 2 of my daughters 24 and 18. We held him and told him how much we love him and will miss him so much. We were all heartbroken but managed to save the tears until he had passed so as not to stress him. He was on his favourite duvet and his pink elephant cushion :) 

Even the vet had to go outside for a cigarette afterwards, it was stressful for her too. She and the vet nurse were amazing, they made the worst of situations as good as it could be. 

I still have his bed and collar in his spot and smell his blanket. I miss him so much. I feel guilty although I know even if he had a few weeks longer he would have been in pain. I’d rather I be in emotional pain than him be in pain but I am struggling to come to terms with it.

I work in the medical field so know the stages of grief and that they are fluid but I can’t stop crying  which is unusual for me because I don’t usually cry. I feel like one of my children has passed away though and I gave the go ahead. I keep dreaming that he’s not dead and is sat outside work waiting for me like where did you go ? Or that he wasn’t actually dead (his mouth was still twitching a little from leftover electrical activity) and they cremated him alive because he was still from sedation still. Or that they asked me to cannulate him after 2 failed tries and then made me push the anaesthetic overload into him. I know it’s not true but I wake up sweating and screaming. 

I am glad I was with him at the end but feel like I have ptsd or something from how horrible it turned out to be due to the blocked cannula. I had to cannulate someone the other day but I had what I can only say was a panic attack and had to leave it to someone else.

Please tell me this gets easier and/or how to make it easier. 

 

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KayC

I am so sorry for your loss, I know loss of pet can be one of the harder griefs to go through as we attach so closely to them.

I had to smile at your saying he was like a small horse...my dog is too.  My dog has so many cysts and I fear anesthesia killing him or opening him and cancer spreading so the vets just "keep an eye on them".  Mine is Golden Retriever and Siberian Husky and very big.

You ask if this gets better...Yes, in the sense that the pain lessens eventually but I can't tell you when because that's very individual.  It helps to channel your energy into memorializing, even just writing in a journal your memories.  I know, the tears will flow, but it's also part of processing the grief.  And there is no set stages of grief in some particular order, we're all different, we could hit them all or none, or some other combination.  You are right in that it's fluid, that's a good way of describing it.

If you are up to it, would you mind sharing a picture of him?

I had one dog "fight" euthanasia, she had high anxiety and was never trusting (she'd been abused when she was a pup and was rescued, she never got over it), it was hard to witness.  You are so right though, I feel the same way, better us take on the pain than let them suffer.

They do have pet grief counselors and also grief support groups, might be worth looking into if you feel it's prolonged.  Some even counsel by phone.

Sending you thoughts of comfort and peace.

 

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Louise782

Thank you for your kind words Kim. Your dog sounds like he is like a good size horse not a small one :) I hope his cysts don’t give him any trouble for a long time yet. 

I will give the journal a go and see if it helps and contact a support group if it’s ongoing. 

I will try to re size a photo to upload. I tried but it’s saying that the size is too big. 

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KayC

Ohh, sweet boy!  What a sweet face, his eyes!

I'm glad you'll look for a support group, with living in a big city there should be one.  It may take a few calls to find one especially about pet loss.  I hope you'll keep us posted.

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Louise782

Thank you. I am so angry at the vets today. We chased up where Max’s ashes are as we haven’t had them returned yet. They said that they “forgot” they had him and that he’s been in storage for almost 3 weeks but they will send him to be cremated today. How you forget you have a 75kg dog I don’t know. I am just hoping that they didn’t forget in the first place that he was having a private cremation and just disposed of him and have said that to try and cover their mistake. Either way I am going to speak to the head of the practice tomorrow when I’ve calmed down because for a practice that claims to be ethical and respectful at all times to animals, I certainly don’t feel that they have been. 

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KayC

OMG, Louise!  I feel outrage with you!  Did you tell them you will NEVER forget him!  Not in any way!  I'd want the name of the Crematory and check with them to make sure they get him intact and really do cremate him.  I'm so sorry.

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Louise782

Hi Kay, I know, I was so angry when I found out. I am going to wait for their morning rush to calm down then ring and speak to them and as you said, get the number of the crematorium to speak to them too. 

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KayC

Let me know what you find out, okay?  Wishing you strength and peace as you get to the bottom of it.

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Louise782

Thank you Kay. 

The vet practice manager has not called me back as yet, but I spoke to the crematorium. The lady there was so nice. She said they hadn’t got him yet but she would call me today when he arrived. 5 minutes later she called me to say that she has spoken to the driver and he had collected Max this morning and he was on his way to them. She said she didn’t want to keep me waiting until later to know is why she spoke to the driver to find out as soon as possible. I gave her his description and she said she will let me know if the Max they receive isn’t as per the description. I haven’t heard from her so I presume they do have him now. 

If the vet hasn’t called by Monday lunchtime I am going to go unannounced to see him face to face for his explanation. 

 

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Louise782

To update. The practice manager rang me back to explain what had happened. He apologised profoundly and said that because the cremation wasn’t paid for that night it wasn’t organised as routine, that when my dad went in the morning after and paid they left a note on the computer to action the cremation. But somehow this was missed and wasn’t actioned. He did not know how it was missed and could only apologise. I’d lost my bank card at the time hence my dad going in the morning after as it was 23.14 he passed away. 

He said that they have had a meeting about it now what happened has come to light and will be implementing a failsafe so it doesn’t happen again to anyone else. 

I do feel a bit better about it now I have spoken to him. 

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KayC

I'm so glad it wasn't something nefarious, and that they did finally give you explanation and apology...they shouldn't have taken so long getting back to you though.

The main thing is he will be cremated and you will have his ashes back with you, to me, there's something comforting in that.  

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AJWCat

Hi @Louise782 I just wanted to say how sorry I am the loss of your sweet dog. I know you've had a few days for it to sink in. I myself was a wreck for many many weeks. Mostly because when we lost our cat is was very sudden and traumatic, kind of like your loss too. Anyway, I hope you are finding some comfort here. It does take some time to mourn and grieve. Be patient and eventually the last hour with him will be replaced with all of the wonderful memories. That finally happened for me and I reached some level of peace.  

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Louise782

Thank you Kay, they said we should have him back by this Friday. 

Thank you for your kind words AJWCat and I am so sorry to hear about your beloved cat. Strangely 2 cats seem to have decided that they want to come and visit us the last few days. I don’t know who they belong to but they are sat outside waiting for me when I wake up and one has even been inside for a look around. 

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KayC

That's how I got my Miss Mocha!  I shooed her off for two months, thinking she belonged to someone, she didn't.  I took her in and gave her a forever home.  She's been gone  years June 3rd. 

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Louise782

That’s lovely that she came to you Kay :) we finally got Max’s ashes back today. I don’t know what I was expecting but the casket is lovely and they engraved his name on the brass plate. They also sent a sympathy card with him and a certificate to confirm he was cremated individually. 

I have put him on his dog bed that I’ve not been able to bear getting rid of yet. He always used to love lying there watching his garden. Even the night he fell he wouldn’t settle until we got him back onto his bed. Ive given him his chain back too. 

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Louise782

It posted before I’d finished :( he used to go crazy if his chain came off, I think he thought a piece of him had fell off or something.

I’m not quite sure what to do with him now though. I can’t keep him there on his bed forever and it seems strange to me to keep him on the fireplace or similar like an ornament :( . My partner says that we have to bury his ashes so his soul can settle. But I want to keep him here for at least a while. But then that poses the problem of how long is a while. I’d feel horrid a couple of months from now just saying ok, like he’s been here for long enough so let’s just bury his ashes. If he needs to be buried I’d rather do it straight away but I can’t bear to at the moment. It’s a predicament :( do you have any advice ? 

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AJWCat

There are no right or wrong answers. Keep him there for now, go with your gut instinct. You will know when the time is right to make another move. 

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JellyBean04

I am so sorry for your loss and the trouble afterwards. It compounds it. You don't need to do anything with the ashes right now, you'll feel when it's right. I lost my girl 8 months ago and I still have her ashes. There is no rush to make decisions at a time like this. You will know when the time is right.

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KayC
20 hours ago, AJWCat said:

There are no right or wrong answers. Keep him there for now, go with your gut instinct. You will know when the time is right to make another move. 

That is exactly my advice too.  There is no hurry.  Keep him with you, you will know if/when it's the right time.  Their ashes are what remains of their body but their spirit is free from the limitations of this world.  

When my husband was alive, we'd talked about it, agreed on cremation rather than burial, and that we wanted our ashes on our favorite walk.  He died suddenly and we'd never gotten to talk about where our favorite walk was.  I didn't know what to do.  I kept his ashes for two years in my bedroom where I'd made a shrine of him, so to speak.  One day it came to me, the place he loved most in the world was our home (we live in the country) and that is where I'd lay his ashes to rest, in the back yard in front of the forest.  I bought a tombstone to commemorate him and place at the spot where his ashes lay.  I'm at peace with it because I know it's what he wanted.

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foreverhis
On 6/7/2019 at 11:15 AM, Louise782 said:

it seems strange to me to keep him on the fireplace or similar like an ornament

Hello.  I'm so sorry you lost your beloved Max.  My family and I had two very special pets, one cat and one dog, who we lost a few years apart.  All furry babies are wonderful, but you know how sometimes one or two are just "more" than that?  That was those two.  We had them cremated and then had their ashes scattered in one of the local vineyards.  We kept their tags and certificates, which are in the back of the photo albums with favorite pictures underneath.  I don't think there's a wrong answer for this.  You should do what gives you comfort.

I actually came to this forum because Kay is on the Loss of a Partner forum with me and I wanted to know more about what's happening with her precious Arlie.  I lost my husband, the love of my life, last summer.  We had decided on cremation decades ago.  Some day I may scatter his ashes in one of the places we thought about over the years.  But I wanted to respond to your thought above.

I chose a handsome leather cylinder for my love's ashes.  Right now he is on top of our entertainment center.  In front of him, I placed a framed snapshot, lousy quality but a favorite, of him with our granddaughter I took a few months before he was diagnosed with cancer.  I tell people, only half jokingly, that he's there so he can keep an eye on me.  I urge you not to think of keeping Max's ashes on the mantel or somewhere like that as treating him like an ornament.  Wherever you put him, he will just be your Max.  It is not disrespectful or anything, IMO.  If you do place his ashes over the fireplace or somewhere similar like a bookcase or shelf, you might consider putting a small framed photo of him in front or nearby as I have done with my husband.  There can be a comfort in knowing you have that reminder that even though their spirits/souls have left this earth, they are still with us in so many ways.

If you and your partner decide to bury his ashes, you'll still have all your memories.  You must do what feels right.  It's my personal feeling that with both humans and animals, death itself releases them to go to the next life, if you will.  In fact, when I could see the time was near, I told my husband that I understood he didn't want to leave me, that it was okay, and that it was time for him to "go find" our furry babies.  I meant it.

I'm sorry you went through all that added stress because of the screw up at the vet's office.  And I'm glad you have Max home with you now.

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