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Last days with my lovely girl


Lucky’s mom

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Hello, I just wanted to join this forum to talk about the last days with my best friend, my four-legged companion, Lucky. I had known since last November something was off with my girl. She was standing in her bed, swaying, when her hind legs collapsed and she lost bladder control.

In an otherwise seemingly healthy dog, this frightened me. I rushed her to the ER. They could not tell me anything, other than that she wasn’t having heart failure. I realize now, months and two ER trips later, you only go there if your dog is having heart failure.

Eventually, her regular vet worked out that she had pretty serious heart damage and was suffering from syncopal events. He put her on heart meds and for a month, she was alright.

A month. I grieve her just as much as I grieve this time that I didn’t spend better, with her. Her activities had to be curtailed on account that excitability and stress could rupture the delicate and damaged tissues and valves holding her heart together. I wished I wasn’t so stuck in fear, in anxiety. Taking care of her needs while simultaneously ignoring her. Looking back, I wished I had hugged her more and held her even more closely, and longer, than I had.

We were starting to get back to normal, and I could forget that she had a serious heart condition that could kill her any minute. I was even planning a drive along the coast, which I knew she would’ve liked, not being stuck home all day. I pushed the trip out one more day, on account of needing to cook up some beef I had in the fridge when all of a sudden, she starts going into what I now know, was a seizure.

Nightmare day. Holding her, crying, willing it to end, but feeling powerless. On the trip to the ER, I turned back having forgotten her medical records, and she was out of the seizure. She didn’t quite return to normal. She staggered around the yard, tracing its edges, around and around. Her back right paw dragged clumsily. She looked like a zombie.

My mom was against the ER trip, but after my girl woke up from a nap, she had another seizure. So, to the ER we went. They kept her until late, I suspect in an effort to compel me to hospitalize her overnight. I insisted she come home.

She was much like how she was earlier. Tired and angry that I took her there. She wanted to go home. I didn’t realize it was going to be our second to the last night together. I managed to get her to eat some food. Fed her out of my hand, using sliced salami as a bribe.

That night, I carried her up and down the stairs every other hour, as she lurched around the yard relieving herself.

By the next morning, she couldn’t move. At first, she could heave herself out of her bed and around a couple of feet. Even managed to get herself up a few stairs somehow. But by evening, scrambling to find purchase with her legs, she couldn’t flip herself over, to stand or do much of anything. 

I laid her in her bed next to the kitchen counter. At the center, surrounded by me, my mom, her doggie siblings Mikey & Louie. She laid there wasted, but she looked content to me. Unable to move, but still I managed to feed her some broth made from ground turkey that my mom made for her.

I was so glad she could eat still. 

The next part of hard for me to write, because I will regret it to the day I die. Because she moves around so much, I wanted to take the opportunity to clip her nails in her semi-comatose state. I cut her to the quick. Horrified, bleeding, I can see the look of shock and pain in her face. I cleaned and taped up her wound, but the damage had been done. And she was shaking, trembling, into another one of her fits. She shied away from me in pain and fear, and I felt awful. I hurt her and I hate myself for it.

The next morning, she was worse for the wear. She had her appointment with the vet in the morning and I held her in my arms as we drove there. I barely slept the night before, exhausted. 

I didn’t realize it was our last drive together.  But going there, I told her I loved her. I told her she was strong, brave and a fighter. I told her all that, but I couldn’t tell myself what was so obvious to the nurses and the vet. 

It was time for her to go. She had a brain tumor and what I thought was a heart problem turned out not to be what killed her. 

Oh my poor girl. I was so wracked with grief, so wrought with nerves, all I could tell you and show you, was how much you meant to me by the depth of my sorrow. I held you, looked you in the eyes as the last sign of life left you. I could tell the moment you weren’t there anymore. I told you I loved you, that I would see you later. I wanted to comfort you and ease your passing and hold on to whatever I can. I desperately wanted to hold on. 

While I knew it was the right thing to let you go, I was not ready to let go. I saw the peace on your face and in your eyes, understanding that you were passing. You looked at me with so much love, I kissed you gently on the tip of your nose.

Everything happened so fast. I had so much time to prepare for you dying, and no time at all. I could feel the fear of losing you, but I never asked myself what it would be like to lose you.

It is a future without you by my side. Yes, in memory you are there and I will hold your love for me close. I will always love you. But, you’re not here with me anymore. Yesterday morning you were alive. Tonight, you are dead. How do I process that? You were such a big part of my life. 

I took it for granted you would always be there for me, all the while counting out how many years I could reasonably expect you to live. How does that make sense? I bought diapers and mattress pads for you, all the while questioning how much longer you could live. Yet, I never planned our days together as if they were your last. Why? 

I didn’t want to say goodbye. I suppose. Couldn’t face what was directly in front of me. Secretly hoping it would be years. It was just a month. Two days. The regret feels overwhelming now. 

My mom says, she was happy. She had a happy life. She was a happy dog. This is true. You were happy and well loved. I just wish I could feel happy at the prospect of living without you.

I can’t. 

I am unhappy. Deeply unhappy. Deeply saddened by your loss. Deeply humbled by your love for me.

I just want another day with you. In the park. At the beach. On a long walk. By the lake. Another day. Another day. I know, there are no more days.

The clock stopped. And your life ended.

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I am so sorry for the loss of your Lucky girl. (I had a Lucky girl too).  I went through similar experience recently with my Arlie...getting his cancer diagnosis, it was too far gone to do anything so I provided hospice care.  I ordered anything I thought would help his time left as his liver was failing.  He lived 2 months 10 days past diagnosis.  No amount of time is ever enough.  I watched as he went downhill, the first month wasn't too bad but after that he was suffering, losing appetite, I had to bribe/coax him into eating.  It is hard knowing when it is time.  You think, if I hadn't done it, he could still be alive.  Yes, but at what cost to him?  When they die, their suffering transfers to us and we take it on.  It's been 7 1/2 months and I love and miss him tremendously.  I realize I'll never get over this.  I can only hope to live with it.  I get up, do my day, but everything is a reminder of his absence.  Today I found the note I used to leave for his sitter when I went to my son's.  It explained about his complicated diet, and that he had cancer.  It told the words he knew.  I can't throw it away.  I still hold his coat that I have hanging on a chair.  His leash and collar are hanging on a hook by the door, ready for me to take him for a walk.  I freed him from his collar, for where he went, he has no need of it, he can roam free!  Until we are together again.  And I believe we will be together again, we were meant to be together.

My heart breaks from you, such recent and sudden loss!  It's the hardest thing in the world to get through.  They mean the world to us!  How do you live w/o your constant companion?!  I don't know, I only know I've had to.  I still talk to him, I still cry, my heart is still broken.  After months of looking at rescues, my son brought me a puppy...it helps.  He's not Arlie.  No one is.  But he's wormed his way into my heart through his own attributes/personality.  He's different than Arlie, I still miss my wild-eyed boy who was goofy and fun and oh so smart!  One never replaces another, but they do create their own spot in your heart and life.  Arlie will always be my special one, my soulmate in a dog.

http://www.griefhealing.com/comfort-grieving-animal-lovers.htm
https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2010/09/is-pet-loss-comparable-to-loss-of-loved.html
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/animal-attachment/201703/my-pet-died-and-i-cant-stop-crying

https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2015/06/pet-loss-do-pets-go-to-heaven.html
https://www.griefhealingblog.com/p/pet-loss-articles.html

https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2014/09/pet-loss-why-does-it-hurt-so-much.html
https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2017/10/pet-loss-when-nothing-eases-pain.html

 

 

 

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Hi,

Reading your response has helped me tremendously in this moment of grief. Thank you for being able to empathize and I am sorry for your loss as well. It’s been a few days now and the shock is receding a little. I think, because it’s been such a roller-coaster of feeling like something’s wrong, then feeling ok, then to be hit with a seizure like that, was really rough for me.

In a way, I don’t want to get “over” it. I know as the days pass, the pain will recede, but that also means more of me has moved on. Every moment now I have to mourn for my girl, is in a way, another moment I spend with her. 

I completely understand the way you feel about everyday objects and routines. And like you, I talk to my Lucky girl. When I wake, when it’s time for our walks. Like now, as evening sets, it’s time for her dinner and I miss not having to feed her. I look at her leash hanging on her hook in the garage every day, and my heart wrenches. I find it helps to just, hold the leash, until my moment of mourning passes. 

Lucky has a sibling, and having him does help. He looks around at dinner time wondering, where is she? So I know he misses Lucky. I’m glad you have a little puppy for yourself now. 

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2 hours ago, Lucky’s mom said:

I know as the days pass, the pain will recede, but that also means more of me has moved on.

It may help to think of yourself as moving through your pain rather than moving on from it. The acute pain of loss recedes gradually as we learn to carry our grief, but the love we have for the one who has died does not "go" anywhere, and we are not required to "move on" from the ones we've loved and lost. Love is forever. ❤️

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I just went through the same thing with my soulmate and best I, Purrelli.  There will never be a cat like him again, he was a once in a lifetime pet. I feel so much guilt because I messed my life up so bad I couldn't take care of him for 8 months.  Whe I finally got a chance to bring him too me, he had cancer.  I had only four to five days before I had to put him to sleep.  He loved me so much.  I loved him like I've never loved anything before.  I am so grateful I had those few days.  But I hate myself for letting myself get into such a mess that I missed almost a year of his life

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I am sorry for your loss.  It's one of the hardest things I've gone through...one day at a time.  Perhaps you can write him a letter and read it aloud...perhaps he can hear you.  Try to forgive yourself.

http://www.pet-loss.net/guilt.shtml
http://media.wix.com/ugd/0dd4a5_e934e7f92d104d31bcb334d6c6d63974.pdf

I hope you were able to watch the video I posted above of the Rainbow Bridge.

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14 hours ago, MartyT said:

It may help to think of yourself as moving through your pain rather than moving on from it. The acute pain of loss recedes gradually as we learn to carry our grief, but the love we have for the one who has died does not "go" anywhere, and we are not required to "move on" from the ones we've loved and lost. Love is forever. ❤️

It’s true that Lucky is always with me. I can feel her love strongly. 💛

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13 hours ago, HurtsTooMuch said:

I just went through the same thing with my soulmate and best I, Purrelli.  There will never be a cat like him again, he was a once in a lifetime pet. I feel so much guilt because I messed my life up so bad I couldn't take care of him for 8 months.  Whe I finally got a chance to bring him too me, he had cancer.  I had only four to five days before I had to put him to sleep.  He loved me so much.  I loved him like I've never loved anything before.  I am so grateful I had those few days.  But I hate myself for letting myself get into such a mess that I missed almost a year of his life

That must be so hard for you. I’m sorry for you loss. It is so difficult when you have a pet you love depend on you and you can’t be there for them. That you could be there in the end counts for something, I think.

I am almost at a point I can forgive myself for my short-comings as a pet parent. I don’t think Lucky would hold it against me the pain that I caused her and in time, I hope you can as well.  💜

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I'm deeply saddened by you loss... I'm so sorry. Honestly, it sounds like you did the best you could. It's so unfortunate that our loving pets die so soon! I've found a little comfort and hope by reading these blogs. @kayc has been an inspiration. I'm continuing my story about my dear Prince who passed in January. Please read and the resources here have helped immensely. All the best.

2012-10-27 10.27.51.jpg

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7 hours ago, kayc said:

I am sorry for your loss.  It's one of the hardest things I've gone through...one day at a time.  Perhaps you can write him a letter and read it aloud...perhaps he can hear you.  Try to forgive yourself.

http://www.pet-loss.net/guilt.shtml
http://media.wix.com/ugd/0dd4a5_e934e7f92d104d31bcb334d6c6d63974.pdf

I hope you were able to watch the video I posted above of the Rainbow Bridge.

Thanks I just saw this after posting my first letter to Prince! It can also be done in private. xoxo

2013-12-07 09.40.15.jpg

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