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KayC

Living with Loss

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KayC

He's not too keen on having capsules shoved down his throat but it's always followed by a treat so he endure it...if he ever loses his appetite for treats, I'm in trouble!

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foreverhis
3 hours ago, KayC said:

He's not too keen on having capsules shoved down his throat but it's always followed by a treat so he endure it...

Ah yes.  I remember those times.  I used to make my hubby my own healthy recipe oatmeal cookies for his afternoon snack.  Bear loved when the crumbs would drop and he'd lick them up.  So I took to making teeny cookies as treats.  He knew if he took the loathed pill or capsule that he'd get a cookie--it was one of the words he knew well.

I'm thinking about you and Arlie and sending you strength and love to get through this time together, to enjoy each other as long as possible.  Each good day we have with those we love is such a gift.  We should never forget that.

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Filly
On 6/17/2019 at 10:39 AM, KayC said:

Filly,

I read that article and yes I'd consider it.  His tumor has grown this month.  It's odd to me that the vets never mentioned his tumor, it's at that place where so many crucial organs intersect.  If it continues to grow I'll have to have him put to sleep sooner rather than later as it will definitely have side effects I do not want to put him through.  I also have a lot of people praying for him as I do every day when I massage his tummy.

foreverhis,

Thank you.  Funny you called your dog Bear, I've called mine Little Boy or Moose.

That is very odd that the vet never mentioned the tumor, doesn't sound very thorough unless they thought it was just a fatty tumor.  Even in that case, they should have discussed it with you.

I hope the growth is slow and will respond well to all that is being done for him, including the prayers.  I will keep him in my prayers too.  

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KayC

It seems to me it's grown this month.

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Filly

So sorry to hear that.  I went through that with one of my cats and it was a horrible feeling to watch it progress.  Hers eventually opened.  That's when I knew it was time.  Enjoy the present time!

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yenwd

It's so sad a story, please spend more time with your dog:  everyday, even every hour matters. My baby guinea pig passed away right at the time I didn't have time to take good care of her, look after her. Even money cannot bring her back now. Pets often give us unconditional love, they deserve every good thing from us, even time.

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KayC

Thank you, I do already, I have been retired 5 1/2 years, so glad I don't have to go off to work and leave him anymore.  We walk twice a day, every day, even if the weather is horrid, even if I'm sick.  He gets belly rubs every day.  I cook for him and give him treats.  He's one very loved dog, he's my life!

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jashar1

KayC,

I'm so sorry to hear about your soulmate, Arlie.  (And I'm so sorry to hear about your "friend".)  I had to make a similar decision about my little girl 10 days ago, and I've never hurt so badly in my life.  I was her caretaker as well, and we had our little routines.  Certain medications were compounded and mixed into her food, while others were buried in treats.  She got medicine three times a day, and then eye drops every other day (followed by treats for being such a good girl and putting up with it).  Right after she passed, I felt like a chunk of my chest had been carved out.  But I also felt so dang useless!  I was used to cooking her food when I cooked mine and putting her little medicines together every six hours, and I cried through every meal I cooked last week.

We rescued Hopi 8 years ago and she held me together with the strings of her love during some very difficult times.  My arms feel empty without her.  She made an easy tote, given that she was only four pounds, and she loved to be carried EVERYWHERE.  She sat with me on the couch and slept in my bed, and the cold pillows I've tried holding instead of her make for pitiful substitutes.

The day she graduated from her body, she was fully mentally clear, had eaten breakfast with fervor, and had not entered any sort of slow decline into depression.  She had a fighting spirit and had survived so many near-death experiences and was thriving despite her chronic illnesses, that I just thought she'd keep on beating the odds until she died in her sleep one day.  She started loosing weight pretty quickly a few months ago - she lost 20% of her body weight in April alone, and you could feel her spine and bones a little more with each week.  Eventually, she didn't have enough muscle to keep her abdomen together, and developed a large hernia on her belly and one on her back near her tail.  The one on her back would only stick out sometimes, and we'd gently massage it back in because she couldn't pee when it was sticking out.  We thought it was her guts or something, but we found out the day she passed that it was her bladder, and not even the specialist could massage it back into place that morning.

We faced two options - paying between $4K-$5K to patch her back together, or letting her go.  If we chose the operation, they would have to put her under anesthesia twice - once for the CT scans and to work up a plan for the operation, then again for the operation itself (if it looked viable).  There was a very high probability she wouldn't come out of anesthesia the first time, let alone the second time.  This little girl was a little seasoned at 18 years of age.  But she was such a fighter that I thought, well maybe she would.  But she had been loosing muscle at a quick rate, and even if they found enough left to sew together she probably would have developed more hernias during recovery.  And that was the other thing - there wasn't much chance for a full recovery, and the life she would have lived after surgery would have been miserable and painful.  She's such a good girl and has done so much for me, and like you, I just couldn't put my sweet baby through that kind of torment.  

There are a couple of things that have eased the sharpness of my pain when it gets really bad, and I wish I could have prepared them a little better before Hopi's passing.  You may have done these things in the past, or they may seem a little too kooky, but I'll share them just in case.  One thing is that I've got a "proxy dog" - a singing chihuahua toy my mom gave me one Christmas.  If I knew Hopi was going to pass when she did, I would have let her snuggle with it beforehand and get her slobber all over it.  Currently, this little stuffed animal sits in Hopi's doggie bed wrapped in her blanket, which still has Hopi's scent on it, and when things get really bad I keep it on the couch with me or snuggle with it in bed.  It sounds so crazy, but talking to Hopi via this stuffed animal or sitting with it for a bit dissolves the sharpest pangs of grief.

The other thing I've done is to pray, asking for my grandma to take care of her until I see them again.  I wish I could have told Hopi who to meet up with ahead of time, it would have comforted me that day came, but it all happened pretty quick in the end and I hadn't thought of it fast enough.  I'm not sure if your husband was an animal lover or if Little Boy knows someone on the other side already (or if you believe that animals live on afterwards, for that matter!), but if so, it may be good to talk to him about it.

All of this is so new to me.  I'm a civil/structural engineer and am a bit out of my element here, discussing the afterlife and talking to stuffed animals!  It's very weird, but I'm trying just about everything I can until Time can do a little work on my heart.  And since you are also a caretaker for your soulmate, I thought I'd pass along a couple things that I wish someone had told me before Hopi passed.

Take care,

Aaron

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KayC

Anesthesia is not an option for Arlie now.  Hiding treats in things doesn't work for him either.  Trying to jam a capsule down his throat is akin to doing it to a crocodile!  But so far the promise of a treat is working, I just have to make sure he swallows and doesn't spit out the pill.

Arlie has more stuffed animals and toys than he knows what to do with!  He has a huge basket full of them plus more by his bed, so I have plenty of them as reminders after he is gone, which I still don't want to think about yet.  Right now my focus is on taking care of him and giving him the best quality of life while I can.

And oh I pray!  I give him a full body massage every day, praying for him as I do it.  I have everyone I know praying for him, my church, family, friends.

In the last week Arlie hasn't balked at eating his morning food so I can only conclude that the supplements are helping his liver.  I'm so happy about that, maybe it'll bide us a little more time and help him feel better.
Last night he asked to go outside, so I let him out.  When I went to check on him, the gate was open and he was gone!  He learned how to open the gate!  He was at the top of our property, grinning!  (I was secretly so proud of him, he's so smart!)  But it's a mom's duty to be one step ahead of her kids, so I found something to put in the latch to keep him from opening it...if that doesn't work I have a back up plan.  ;)  All night he smiled!  I think he was rather proud of himself!  I had to get him back with pizza, I hadn't even warmed it up yet, when he heard the word pizza he was at the door!

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Cjclary83

KayC, I am so sorry to read about Arlie and the pain you're enduring, so so sorry. I can't say and won't say anything cliche about knowing how you feel because your relationship with your baby is your own. All I will say is that I'm here if you want to talk about Arlie. You've been his momma for a decade full of mutual love, you and you alone know what's in his best interest and are strong and capable of doing whatever it is that needs to be done. Please take care of yourself and continue to show Arlie how much he's loved every chance you get.

With Love

Sent from my SM-J737T1 using Grieving.com mobile app

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KayC

He's drinking more so waking me in the night to go outside.  12:30 am...no going back to sleep, now it's 4:30, I know I'm going to be tired today.  But how do you go back to sleep with reminders that your baby is dying before your eyes, bit by bit?  I love that little boy with all of my heart.

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catawampus

I'm so sorry you're going through this, KayC. It's so difficult to face each day, knowing how it will ultimately end. The feeling is just utter helplessness. I do know you're giving him all the love at your disposal which he knows. He knows how much you love him.

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KayC

Day before yesterday was a bad day, he was listless, his eyes looked sad, wasn't interested in walking although I coaxed him into a short one.  His best dog friend, Sammy, hasn't been able to play with him for over 1 1/2 years, so I contacted her owner and asked permission for the dogs to play together as I wanted him to have that ability before he gets too bad.  He enjoyed it, not a lot of energy, but I knew it made him happy to see Sammy again, even though he was exhausted afterwards.  Yesterday was a better day.  I guess it'll have it's ups and downs, one day at a time.

Last night I got a card from the church...it says When there are no words...there are always hugs.

I love how they even found one with a huge dog!  :)

 

Me & Arlie.jpg

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Beatriz

Kay❤️ I am so sorry to hear about your Arlie - his photos are precious and I can only say I know this pain only too well, you are not alone going through it. These  are precious days, Kay, and I know you are brave and loving enough to be there for him. Bless you both. 

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AJWCat

Hope Arlie is doing okay? Been a week since you posted. 

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KayC

He had a pretty good week this week, have had to coax him into eating a couple of times.  I know the day is coming but I keep hoping it will be a while away yet.  He's lost weight but doesn't look it, I think his liver is swollen, my MIL's did that when she had cancer.  :(

My DIL has always been a pill to me, not sure why.  Yesterday I was visiting my son's family at a campsite and she suddenly announced that my little sister told her Arlie bit her.  I was shocked!  My sister has only been with him once at my house when he was a puppy and I was there the whole time and he definitely did not bite her.  This is a sister that has always had a problem with truth either outright lying or exaggerating.  My DIL doesn't like Arlie, told me he wasn't cute.  Again, don't know what her problem is.  I was shocked!  I felt betrayed, backstabbed...I expect it from her, but my little sister?!  If I try to call my DIL she never answers or returns calls but she's gotten chummy with my little sister.  For them to act like this when he is dying is unfathomable to me!  I don't even know how to respond.  Needless to say, it affected my sleep last night.

This is why I prefer animals to people.  Animals aren't underhanded, what you see is what you get, they aren't complicated either, they don't come with drama.  They are loving and enjoyable and we get way more than we could give to them.

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+Jeffrey+

KayC, first of all, good to hear you've had another good week with your baby. And I know you're so very thankful for each day with him.

I certainly agree with your last statement. I thought more of my Lady G. than I do of most everyone I know. Only a handful of people mean just as much as that cat meant to me, and I am not ashamed to admit it.

Wishing you both the very best, KayC. Please give Arlie another big hug and kiss on the head for me.

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AJWCat

Drama is exactly the word that popped into my head - some people like it. I am so sorry you had to deal with that. :( 

Every day you get with him is a gift and I'm glad that he is stable and you can give him lots of love and he loves you back. (Unlike some people who are thoughtless!) Hang in there. 

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KayC

Thank you.  It's not something I can talk about with others, obviously, but it's been hard.

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KayC

I talked with my son last night and he said it's preposterous that anyone could think Arlie would bite.  That made me feel better that he believes in him because he lived with us during college breaks in the earlier years and him and Jim and I know Arlie best.

Arlie has slowed way down, I'm not seeing him run anymore, it's only been five weeks, time seems to hold no meaning anymore, it feels like a long time yet just yesterday at the same time.  How news like this changes our lives completely in an instant.  

A friend's Chow has had cancer for a year, she's lost weight, you can count the bones in her ribs, shouldn't be, esp. on a Chow!  She can't crouch to poop anymore, poops while walking.  I hate to think of the suffering this dog has done.  Last night she passed away at 17.  I know her parents are heartbroken and my heart goes out to them in their loss but I can't help but feel relieved for her that she's out of her suffering.  I don't want Arlie to suffer like that, I pray I'll know when it's time...he still has joy, still eating well and holding it down.

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foreverhis
On 7/10/2019 at 6:28 AM, KayC said:

  I don't want Arlie to suffer like that, I pray I'll know when it's time...he still has joy,

Oh Kay.  You'll know when it's time.  As long as Arlie has joy in being with you, as long as that joy outweighs his illness, and as long as you see that, you will be together.  When the day comes that you realize you must place his comfort above your grief and pain, only then will it be time.  It's clear that you love him enough and are perceptive enough to let him go then and only then, even knowing how much it will hurt you.  We know what it is to love another more than we love ourselves.

You know how I feel about our pet loves and the afterlife.  Some day when you are once again with George, I know that Arlie will be there waiting too.  They will find each other because they both love you so much.  My love and I may have walked away from formal religion decades ago, but we always kept our faith.  I have faith that you will be granted the grace of being reunited with them for always.

Until then, keep the here and now in the forefront of your heart.  I am sending you hugs and love to help you both.

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KayC

I feel like he's going downhill so fast, I haven't even had time to process this, how can it have been five weeks yesterday?  I only want one more day with him...every day.  My sweet baby!

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catawampus

I'm so sorry you're having to go through this, KayC. It's just awful and devastating and so unfair. There's just never enough time. Please know that my thoughts are with you and Arlie. 

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AJWCat

Oh no, I am so sorry to read this. Keep giving him the best day each day that you can, I know you are. 

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KayC

Marty, grief counselor, gave me this article:

Crossing The Rainbow Bridge: Signs That The End of Life Is Near 

My dog Teddy had cancer but we had him put to sleep when he bit someone as we knew it had affected his brain...he didn't get far advanced in the dying process though.

Arlie had a good day yesterday, I even chased him around the house, he smiled a lot and ate 1 1/2 hours earlier than usual in the morning.  I think that was my sign that it is NOT time yet.  I just hope I'll know when it is time, I really don't want him to suffer.  Obviously he's not as comfortable as he'd be if he was well, organs aren't working optimally, especially his liver but so far he's eating & drinking and his stools look healthy...I take that as nothing less than miraculous, especially 5 1/2 weeks after learning his liver is barely functioning.  I think the SAM-e and Milk Thistle are helping.  I plan to take him to his favorite park today if he's up to it.  He went outside at midnight and won't come in until breakfast time at 6 so will wait and see how he's doing.

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