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So, about a year and abit ago now, my families dog - Jess, started developing a abnormal pink growth on the roof of her gum. Took her to the vets and the initial woman looked and said it was probably an infection, since it was around her tooth to begin with, and gave us pills to potentially sort it. 

Some days pass and the growth has got noticeably bigger and my family gets more worried about it. Took her down to the vets again, and a man this time looked at her and said it was most likely some nasty form of cancer, to prepare for the fact that she could die, and to come in for another visit to discus options. I didn't beleive the idea she had cancer at all at this point.

Next day or so, went in for a visit with the first woman again, who said that there aggressive oral cancers like this are hard to treat, and that the next stage was to get the lump properly diagnosed, which involves the combination of a CT scan and a biopsy. I was heavily thinking about the money this was going to cost at this point and the woman said that a biopsy might be worth having first, then doing a CT scan afterwards if the biopsy proves to be cancer. So I chose that route, still blindly believing that she didn't have cancer, and hoping it would ease the idea of spending alot of money if it was spread out I guess, I don't really know.

So we leave Jess at the vets to have the biopsy, then we pick her up the next day while also being prescribed pills that apparantly would potentially slow the growth down. over the next week, Jess was slowly getting worse - eating less, being very inactive, and vomiting weird red and yellow bile. There was even a point where she could only breathe out of one nostril.

While this is all happening, we find a specialist vet centre that deals with cancer treatment. We try and get her a visit in with one of these specialists, but they won't accept visits without a referral, which we needed from the vets. At this point, the biopsy still hasn't come back and she was getting to the point where we couldn't leave her in the house alone. I called the vets asking if we could just save time and get a referral now as we were getting desperate and didn't wanna wait for a biopsy result.

One day, I was at work and my nan who visited said that she was extremely worried about the dog, I booked in an emergency appointment to the vets and a new woman saw us and eventually got round to saying that there isn't alot more that could be done and that putting her to sleep would be the best option. I asked about the biopsy and the fact that surely we could wait for that. However, the woman said that no information on the biopsy would have lead to a path where Jess was going to get better, nothing could. So, the conversation eventually led to me, my mum, and the vet  agreeing to put Jess to sleep. I asked if there was anything else that it could be making her like this, but the vets all said that it wasn't going to get better.

They injected 2 syringes of this stuff into her that I sat through and held her head and talked to her while she died. It was probably the worst thing that has and will ever happen to me.

Months after all this, I thought it over. I thought about how it could have been the medication giving her alot of the symptoms that she was developing later on, how I should have had the CT scan initially as it could have changed everything, how I wish that I devoted more time to her, the fact that I made the decision to end her life when she could have been saved or at least have more time. I just can't believe that I'd even consider the cost aspect of it when I could have afforded to give her better treatment, or even kept her going through Kemo treatment for as long as I could afford. I had like 3 thousand pounds at the time and I was trying to save it when I could have used more of it to potentially save her life. How could I let my financial worries take away from the things I'm supposed to love and take care of? I never even had Jess insured.

Over the last year now I've tried to turn into a positive, about how I'll be a better person because of it, but I don't feel like that's worked. I still think it over all the time, and it just keeps getting to the point where I realise I've failed. I've failed to take care of someone that I love, Jess is now dead, and I'm the only person to blame for it, the fact is I could have done more and I didn't, and there's nothing I can do about it.

Recently it's got to the point now where I just struggle to see the point in my work, my university course, just progressing at all. Everything I do for myself just seems abit pointless where it is all just to earn money to support my financial insecurities. I just feel more and more distant from everything as time goes on. Just driving through my local highstreet, I see people enjoying the sun, excersising, just going about their day, and It just feels alien to me, like I can't do any of that stuff anymore.

It feels like Jess has died because I just couldn't splash out the cash to properly treat her, and now I just keep existing, keep working a job to earn money, do a university course to earn more money, and it all just seems so meaningless. So one night I googled people in the same situation as me and found this website and wrote this.

I don't like putting my problems on other people, but I just really don't see a way back or out of how I feel and just feel stuck. I don't even really know what I look to gain out of writing this on here. I guess if anyone has gone through something similar and has any advice for getting better, I guess that could help.

If nothing helps me then at least take my advice from this and just do everything you can for your loved ones.  When they go, only then do you fully realise what they mean. Ultimately, nothing else really matters other than the people we love. I have to live with this mistake the rest of my life, but it's not too late for others to do better. 

 

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My friend, I am so sorry that you've lost your dear companion ~ and I do believe that yours is a classic example of the "woulda, shoulda, coulda" stories we tell ourselves in situations like this. It's only human nature to go back, to go over every sordid detail, searching for a way this story might have ended differently, as you beat yourself up for what you might have done differently. But notice that of all the possibilities you've described, not one allows for the likelihood that your Jess did in fact have a cancerous tumor that would cause pain and suffering and eventually would take her life. Nowhere do you give yourself credit for having the courage to end the suffering that she would have to endure, either from the cancer itself or from the side effects of any prescribed chemotherapy. As for the cost, this is one of those harsh realities of life that you were forced to face: In the end, would any amount of money have been enough to save her, in the face of such an illness? At best you might have prolonged her life for a brief period of time ~ but rather than prolonging her life (in order to meet your need to keep her with you) in reality you would have been prolonging her dying. Making the decision to have her euthanized was, I'm sure, one of the most difficult decisions you'll ever have to make ~ but under the circumstances you describe, it was in fact a selfless act of love ~ because you put her needs ahead of your own. Her suffering has ended, and now you are the one who is left to suffer. 

I've yet to meet a true animal lover who does not harbor a boatload of guilt in a situation such as yours. That simply tells me what a good person you are. Only good people feel guilty about taking the life of an animal companion. What sort of person would you be if this had come easily for you? Give yourself credit for having the courage to make such a difficult decision, and for loving your Jess enough to be missing her so much.

I invite you to read this: Guilt In The Wake of The Euthanasia Decision ~ and I wish for peace and healing to your troubled heart. ❤️ 

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17 hours ago, Oodles said:

Months after all this, I thought it over. I thought about how it could have been the medication giving her alot of the symptoms that she was developing later on, how I should have had the CT scan initially as it could have changed everything, how I wish that I devoted more time to her, the fact that I made the decision to end her life when she could have been saved or at least have more time.

I am so sorry for your loss.  Losing my husband and my Arlie (dog) are the two hardest things I've ever been through.  It is common to go through all of the "what ifs" after loss...it is like our minds are trying to find a different possible outcome, only there isn't any but the one that happened.  We are hard on ourselves, beating ourselves up, but it's important to work through it and forgive ourselves.  What would you tell a friend going through this?  Tell that to yourself, because now that they're gone, we need to learn to be our own best friend.  

In addition to the good article Marty listed, here are com others:
http://www.griefhealing.com/comfort-grieving-animal-lovers.htm
http://media.wix.com/ugd/0dd4a5_e934e7f92d104d31bcb334d6c6d63974.pdf
http://www.pet-loss.net/guilt.shtml
http://www.griefhealing.com/article-loss-and-the-burden-of-guilt.htm
https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2019/08/pet-loss-when-guilt-overshadows-grief.html
https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2017/07/pet-loss-when-guilt-goes-unresolved.html

I hope this short video brings you some comfort and peace.

 

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