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Grief, guilt and anger


Anthony_Miami

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On Thanksgiving Day of this year (2021), I was alone. I am divorced and live alone in a house that I own. My Keeshond dog named Gisella who turned 14 on 11/24/21 which was the day before Thanksgiving, went from being totally fine to completely crashing for lack of a better word at about 4PM on Thanksgiving Day. I took a video using my mobile phone of Gisella just in no control of her body. That video proved to be very valuable. She was attempting to walk but instead stumbled, fell over, got up and repeated the same process again. She then started having labored breathing and seemed to be in distress. I quickly picked her up and rushed her to the emergency vet hospital that my regular vet of 11 years designates or partners with for off hours. Called on my way to advise I was in transit and described the symptoms as well. Gisella was examined and the vet offered three suggestions, but not a diagnosis. The three suggested possibilities were a stroke, brain tumor or vestibular disease. That was the first time I heard of vestibular disease. He suggested an MRI and provided the number of a facility for me to call that has a neurologist vet. My dog was in distress, and he gives me the number to call from my mobile phone in the waiting room and didn't call himself or have a staff member call. I called and got an answering service who advised me that the neurologist was on call only and the facility was closed.  The neurologist did call me back and said she is 2 hours away and would not be able to perform an MRI or any extensive testing due to staff being off for the holiday.  She advised to have my dog remain at the emergency vet hospital for further evaluation. I then made some other calls to specialty animal hospitals, one that I knew of and the others I found by performing a web search on my phone. Only one was open and no specialist vets were on duty. 

I then turned my attention back to the vet at the emergency hospital and kind of pleaded for a more finite diagnosis or opinion based on his experience. He offered nothing and shrugged his shoulders. Yes, he shrugged his shoulders. I can understand that without any testing, it would only be an educated or gut opinion merely based on his experience. But he offered nothing. I ruled out brain tumor myself since Gisella went from being a perfectly healthy dog even at 14 to in total distress within seconds. She also had a comprehensive senior wellness check only two weeks prior that indicated she was in perfect health. I was thinking a stroke but asked the vet to explain vestibular. He said it was a neurological disease that could be caused by a stroke or brain tumor. Yes, he went back to the brain tumor theory again. The vet would not give any meds unless he had an MRI. 

As my Gisella was trashing about in the cage in front of us and vocalizing her distress, I became aggravated and realized I had a heartless and incompetent vet next to me. I was tempted to pull her from the cage even in that condition, put her in my car and start looking for other emergency hospitals using my vehicle's navigation suggestions. I wish I did but the pain I was witnessing in front of me pushed me to ask if he would euthanize. He said yes and I signed the release. Gisella had to be restrained by a vet tech and I so that her leg can be shaven and intravenous cannula inserted. I during the euthanasia process, I held Gisella and had my left hand on her chest. Can't be sure, but I think she was already gone after the sedative and before the actual pink colored barbiturate syringe was inserted. Didn't feel her heartbeat. After the entire process, I was allowed to stay with Gisella and as I was kissing her, I noticed abrasions or superficial cuts on her body which occurred as she was trashing around in the cage in front of a monster of a vet and myself. 

Since that horrific Thanksgiving Day, I’ve since had a consult with a Neurologist vet (unconventional) and showed the video I took just as the condition revealed itself and was told Gisella was displaying classic signs of Vestibular Disease. The Neurologist made it clear that it was not a diagnosis but instead an opinion. Also, did not offer an elaborated opinion of whether it was central or peripheral vestibular, however those two types of vestibular was explained which is something the emergency vet didn't do. He didn't even say there were those two variations of vestibular.  From my own research and the consult with the Neurologist, I've learned that vestibular disease is not a certain death sentence. It presents itself like a stroke or something really horrible. I also realize that if it was vestibular, the recovery could be difficult and expensive. The expensive part I did not care about since I've worked very hard throughout my life to be in a position to spend whatever for my beloved Gisella. If the recovery would have been difficult, painful or otherwise would have a huge negative impact on Gisella's quality of life, then I would have been able to make a more informed and controlled decision. I also looked into that emergency vet's reputation, and it was horrific – a plethora of detailed accounts of unnecessary pet loss at his hands. There was even a signed petition that was formed in Miami in an attempt to have his license revoked.

I've lost pets before and know how the grief feels. I still grieve over Nikita, the last Keeshond that I lost from cancer before Gisella came into my life. That is expected.  As pet parents, "pain and grief" is the price we all ultimately pay for love. However, the circumstances of Gisella's passing is different. Much different. Yes, she was 14 but NEVER had any health issues other than alopecia which started two years ago and is just cosmetic and common with the Keeshond breed. In addition to grief, I am experiencing debilitating guilt and anger. I am certain the euthanasia decision I made was premature and wrong. Yes, that vet failed Gisella and me. He could have at least given her prednisone or anti-vertigo meds. But would not give meds without an MRI. However, the buck stops at me, and I need to live with it. I should have had an emergency plan already in place that included a list of emergency vet facilities that I pre-screened and not relied on the backup of my regular vet. Should have pulled her out of the cage and made an attempt to find another facility. 

I am a former professional heavyweight boxer and still actively train but of course don't compete. Stopped competing at 24 to pursue another career. The anguish I am experiencing is making me physically ill, weak and almost paralyzed. A fraction of the healthy, strong man I was before Thanksgiving. I will never get another pet because I've lost all trust in veterinary medicine. There are no repercussions. I've asked my attorney for advice, and she said pets are considered property and if we sue and win, what is a 14-year-old dog worth? If neglect or incompetence can be proven and a medical doctor is sued due to the death of a human, he or she better have malpractice insurance or be prepared to lose everything and live in a cardboard box for the remainder of their life. 

 

Thank you for taking your valuable time to read my lengthy posting. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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OMG, I am so so sorry.  Your beautiful girl.  There is no good time to lose our pets but to have her seem fine and then not, it must have been a huge shock.  I can imagine the gaping hole in your heart.  I lost my Arlie 8/16/19 and I don't think there is a "getting over" it, only trying to learn to live with it.  He was diagnosed with inoperable cancer, his liver shutting down...just two weeks prior he had a "clean bill of health" at his physical, also insufficient vet imo.  

We do the best we know with our furbabies and this just doesn't seem right...because it isn't.

I hope this brings you some thoughts of comfort and peace...
Comfort for Grieving Animal Lovers

 

 

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kayc -   thank you for the reply. Sorry for the loss of your Arlie as well. Yes, it was a huge shock. I was confused when I saw Gisella, didn't know what was wrong, assumed something catastrophic occurred and my guess before I even left the house was a stroke or aneurysm.  I thought for sure she would die within a few minutes based on what I was witnessing. Nonetheless, I didn't panic or let my adrenaline overcome me and knew I had to get her to the hospital. The rest is history as I described in my original post. 

All those circumstances aside, what makes the loss in general so difficult is that it was just Gisella and I since I got divorced in 2009. Never had children. I moved from NY to FL in 2003 because my ex-wife wanted to. I was okay with the move as well. However, all my remaining family is in NY. Sure, I have a bunch of friends in Florida.  I've had dogs before and the Keeshond breed was a favorite ever since I was introduced to them when I lived in Amsterdam for a few years while working for KLM, the Dutch airline. 

I've loved every pet in my life immensely, however, Gisella was that special bond because it was just her and I for so many years. My family and friends always joked that Gisella was treated better than most humans and that she was the "boss" and "princess" of my house. Gisella had an incredible personality. She slept in the bed every night with me and when she wanted to go to sleep, and I was working on my computer or doing something as "bedtime" approached, she would just sit next to me, stare and whimper in an incredibly adorable way of telling me it's time to go to sleep. She would not get in the bed unless I was there. 

So, in essence, I kind of set myself up inadvertently for a real hurting by pouring every part of my being into her. Sure, since my divorce, I've dated and had a goal to meet a woman to have a great relationship and get married again. However, as we get older that is a difficult goal. Easy to meet people but hard to find someone that shares the same core values. Sorry, I digress as I go off topic. I've always told those myself that if I don't meet anyone, that is fine since I am happy being alone. But was I really alone? Gisella filled a void of companionship and my natural desire to love and protect. In retrospect, that was unhealthy to have a living creature that I will outlive fill a void that I was oblivious to. 

I am just a broken man right now in every aspect. I have no doubt that I will pull through and find a new normal so to speak. There will always be a hole in my heart for her. I am also certain that I will never get another pet. Many people make that statement after a loss, however, that is promise I made to myself, and I never break promises. 

 

I attached a couple pics - sharing my scrambled eggs and Gisella staring at me as she did as I settled into bed for the night. 

 

 

 

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My friend, your Gisella is absolutely adorable, and I can only imagine the size of the hole that her leaving has left in your heart, in your home and in your life. The circumstances you describe so vividly are heartbreaking, and so totally unacceptable. I am so very sorry for your loss.

As you say, you are not a stranger to the grief that accompanies significant loss, and I hope you will allow yourself the time and energy it will take for you to mourn your beloved Gisella. You might consider some ways you might memorialize her, thereby honoring her life and remembering all the ways she enriched your own. 

I understand completely your not wanting to get another pet, because of course there will never, ever be another Gisella. And making such a promise to yourself looks like the best way to protect your heart from ever having to go through this kind of pain again. This is how you're feeling right now and that's okay. Just know that you may not always feel this way, because like grief itself, feelings can change over time, and the day may come when you feel differently about this decision. 

I want to point you to some reading that I'm hoping will offer the support and understanding that you need and deserve. Note that these articles include links to other resources too:  

"Replacing" a Pet Who Has Died: When Is It Time?

Pet Loss: How Long Before Adopting Another?

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MartyT - thank you for the kind words. Once I come out of the excruciating pain I am feeling, I will find a way to memorialize Gisella. I've supported a small few smaller animal shelters and rescues for many years and perhaps I may setup some type of fund in Gisella's name. Not sure - can't think that far right now.

As for my reasoning to never get another pet, that is because I've lost TOTAL trust in veterinary care. Yes, the emergency vet that I encountered is a monster and is certainly a horrible example of veterinary care or lack thereof. Last year and not far from where I reside, there was a well-publicized case of a vet who was the director of a large animal hospital that was found guilty of bestiality, killing pets due to some satanic ritual and child endangerment/possession of child pornography. This particular vet that did the unthinkable, is now incarcerated, and is worst example of a vet and a human being. However, and this is important, this vet that did the unthinkable was caught because of the child endangerment/pornography and NOT the atrocities towards pets.  The atrocities towards pets was going on for years as pet parents were filing formal complaints with the State, suing and trying so many methods to have his license revoked. Of course, after being arrested for child endangerment/pornography, every detail of that vet's life was investigated subsequently causing law enforcement to take the pet atrocity allegations seriously.  Again, this is an extreme example but also reveals that the system of accountability for veterinary medicine is severely broken. 

The emergency vet that I went to on Thanksgiving had 5 serious and substantiated complaints on State record associated with his license over the span of several years. The enormous quantity of public complaints on many social media forums were eerily similar and were certainly not fake complaints. Too many and too much detail. Also, the petition that was formed and signed by hundreds. The burning question I have is, how did this monster slip through the bureaucratic cracks? 

Again, the system is broken. We bring our pets that we love so dearly to these "doctors" of veterinary medicine and trust them because they are "doctors". The vet that I have trusted with Gisella's health for the last 11 years had that emergency vet I went to as his "backup". Of course, I gave him a piece of my mind, showed him proof of my findings and asked him why he had this monster as a backup for his patients and pet parents that he allegedly valued. This answer was, "It was a business decision".  What I said to him after that would make a seasoned military veteran close his or her ears.

Pets are considered property. No repercussions unless purposeful animal cruelty can be proven. And if so, that is a police matter. But that applies to anyone and not vets that we trust our pets with. We love our pets as much as humans but the medical care for our pets is governed almost in the same fashioned as an auto repair shop as an example.

As in any field, there are always good and bad including medical doctors that treat us. But medical doctors that treat us are under incredibly higher scrutiny and the malpractice repercussions are severe. The house that I am living in is a new construction and the locally owned builder delayed the closing for 4 months because of a county permitting error on their part. They were arrogant, offered nothing, so I sued them and won $33,000.00 for breach of contract. If I were to sue the emergency vet, I might be awarded $10.00 for a 14-year-old dog.  I was greatly inconvenienced and incurred living and storage expenses by the builder's delay because I was timing the sale of my previous house with the new home.  Certainly not a situation that emotionally paralyzed me.  Also, not saying $33,000.00 would have replaced Gisella in any way as she was priceless.  However, that $33,000.00 financial loss might encourage the builder to put measures in place to prevent future county permit errors. Would a $10.00 financial loss encourage that emergency vet or the hospital to make corrections? We know the answer. I make this odd analogy only to reveal that a local small home builder who does not have anyone on staff with a doctorate degree and is not entrusted with a living creature that we love, can be held accountable far greater than a Doctor of Veterinary medicine or a Veterinary hospital. I am not making all of this up - I invite anyone to do the research I've done during the last two painful weeks. 

 

In conclusion, unless there is reform that results greater accountability in the veterinary arena, I will not get another pet. Perhaps in the future, I may channel that energy and lobby for reform. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, Anthony_Miami said:

Easy to meet people but hard to find someone that shares the same core values

I get it, I haven't even dated in 11 years (lost my husband 16 1/2 years ago), beliefs, core values, lifestyle, must love nature and dogs!  Not much to choose from here, I live in the mountains, not a city person.  I've gotten used to living alone, but can't imagine it without a dog in my life.  My son brought me a tiny little cute puppy (Klee Kai) two years ago 12/10, he was born on my birthday, conceived when Arlie died.  He's my steady companion.  Could live 16 years, I hope so!  Arlie was my "soulmate in a dog"  the perfect dog for me, a gentle giant, Kodie is small, 20 lbs, Arlie got up to 140!  Quite a switch, but I've had hand injuries the last couple of years, I can't imagine a harder puller than Kodie, have a leash that goes around my core as it's stronger than my hands now.  Have walked dogs twice a day every day for over 30 years!

I love that you're into animal welfare/rights.  Do you box for a living or do something with technology?  My son is a tech, works for Garmin, has three engineering degrees, I think tech. bypassed my genes!  I'm a user not a techie. ;)

I am just so sorry you lost your girl, I understand what it's like when they are your whole life, your family, companion, best friend.  It helps to write about them, in a way to immortalize them, it was important to me they not be forgotten.

 

 

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That picture of you feeding her is adorable.  I totally agree with you, I wish the laws recognized the value of animals, they're NOT "property" they're BEINGS!  And they're more wonderful than most people!  We stand to learn from them.

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kayc  - thank you for the inspiring message. So sorry for the loss of your husband. Yes, dating is a challenge these days. I live in Miami (originally from NY) and yes there is plenty of opportunity, however, it is difficult to find someone that has the same core values. I hear the same from others as well. 

To answer your question about the boxing, yes, at my father's wish, I started training at 12 years old. Did very well as an amateur boxer and in 1976, I was on the USA Olympic team in Canada. Didn't do that well because I had a knee injury. I went pro at 19 years old and had bouts in NY, NJ and NV, all on undercards of main events or smaller sanctioned events. Although I did well as a pro in the heavyweight division with a record of 24 wins and 3 losses, I knew in my heart, I didn't want to make a career in boxing. Too much politics with promotors and the boxing organizations which as the IBF, WBC, WBO, etc. I simultaneously attended college in NY in an effort to obtain my degree in Mechanical Engineering. After obtaining that degree, I shifted gears a bit and also obtained my degree in Computer Science. I started at NY Institute of Technology and finished with two Master of Science degrees at Columbia University in NY. I paid for this education from boxing. Tragically, lost both of my parents when I was 20 years old. The discipline and strength I acquired from boxing pulled me through that tragedy and I was on a mission to get those degrees. 

I've been in the Information Technology field since I graduated at 24 years old. Many years ago, I worked for the Dutch airline, KLM as an engineer and lived in Amsterdam for a few years which is how I was introduced to the Keeshond breed. I also became very interested in Aviation while in Amsterdam and in my free time, I took flying lessons at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. Took that to an extreme as a hobby or interest and fast forward to today and I have a jet "Type" certification and fly relief for a private charter that has 3 Cessna Citation jets and 2 Dassault Falcon jets. I am certified on the Dassault Falcon which is a tri-jet. 

So that is a summary of my life. Yes, I am proud of what I did but am very humble.  Losing Gisella on Thanksgiving is certainly a humbling experience. Yes, the vet was a monster, but I failed Gisella because I was not prepared. Should have had a more comprehensive emergency plan together instead of merely relying on her regular vet's backup. Yes, I feel tremendous guilt. But, as a human, I am not perfect and I screwed up. For me, taking ownership of mistakes is healthy even with the associated guilt. Life is a perpetual learning process, and we cannot learn from mistakes if we don't admit to them. It was my job to protect Gisella and on that day and my unpreparedness led her to evil in the form of that vet. Would the outcome be any different otherwise? Can't be sure. It was most likely vestibular disease and if so, I can't predict if she would have recovered, how long the recovery would take and most importantly, what her quality of life would have been. Might have been the same outcome but there would have been no unknowns and the suffering I witnessed would have been avoided. 

 

BTW - you mentioned your son works for Garmin. That company as I am sure you know has a tremendous amount of aviation solutions and services. 

 

 

 

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This is my first post.  Although our cases are not identical, I can relate to much of what you are saying about the degree of your emotional investment in Gisella and deep grief for her loss.  

And also I want to stop to say what a beautiful dog she was; not only beautiful, but adorable in a way that would twist your heart just to look at her.  

I lost my beautiful and still too young (8, diagnosed at 7 with hemangiosarcoma) English Golden Retriever, Crispin, over the Fourth of July weekend.  I'm still very much in the deep throes of grief, which is why I found this site.

I stay busy--I'm retired from a great career (maybe not as great as yours! -- but still I'm proud of it), but have recently become the president of our HOA, and I can function--but nothing helps the pain.  Nothing.  If I push it away, it festers; periods of wild weeping ensue.  My husband is tired of it.  He grieves in his own way, but losing Crispin has not had the same impact on him (I think it's perhaps because he has a human child, a grown son, whereas my dogs have truly been my children).  

Thus, I am here.

If Gisella was a healthy dog during her lifetime, who infrequently needed much more than her annual exam, for good reason, you wouldn't have extensive knowledge about the veterinary community there; who was good, who was not.  So give yourself a break.  You dog was suffering badly and you were in panic and shock.  You had trusted your vet.  You desperately wanted to protect her and end her suffering in the only way you saw possible.  

Your vet's comment about its being a "business decision" is a truly horrible "kicker" to the event--try to imagine, if you can, an MD saying that he allowed an incompetent colleague to take his call as a "business decision" after the subsequent death of his patient.  No veterinarian should ever say, or even think, such a thing.  Maybe "there were no alternatives and I'd been working thirty days straight," but never "it was a business decision." 

The other way our situations are perhaps similar is that, as I said, I have no children.  My two dogs awakened me to "mom" feelings for the first time.  I was a dogmom to my dogs.  I loved--still love them immensely; they have added so much unconditional love and devotion to my life that I will always be grateful.  And their very dependency on me provoked such feelings of tenderness that I would otherwise not have experienced.

I was sixty when we got Crispin, and now I'm 69.  That's a big difference.  He was supposed to live well into my seventies...how I miss those years I will not have with him.  My husband is 70 and though very fit, does not want another dog, and I can't even think of any dog but Crispin, anyway.  Still, part of my grief is in the knowing that losing my darling Crispin, who died relatively young, ended my career as a dogmom.  To be without this source of joy--and yet, a dog can no more be replaced than a person can be, and the grief of loss is really overpowering.  

Today is ten years to the day that our first dog, Jasper, died.  

I wish you the very best in your recovery, Anthony_Miami, and I know it's a long, difficult road.  

 

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16 hours ago, Anthony_Miami said:

We love our pets as much as humans but the medical care for our pets is governed almost in the same fashioned as an auto repair shop as an example.

I've always said that most veterinarians are just like, if not worse than mechanics. I was very saddened to read what happened to you and Giselle at the vet. She was a gorgeous dog.

I find it hard to trust veterinarians too because of some negative past experiences. It has taught me to never let my guard down no matter what, which can be very hard to do especially in the midst of watching your loved one suffer. Even now, as I try and deal with Nile's sickness as best I can, I question everything. I don't pretend to be a doctor either, but it is my right to question what the so-called professionals are doing. I will not get taken advantage of again while being overwhelmed with anticipatory grief. 

I do hope that you won't deny yourself the gift of another lovely furry family member because of your horrible experience because it's not really fair to you or the animal that would have a wonderful life with you. But I totally get it, and you do sound like you have your mind made up. 

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Jane - thank you for the kind words and wishes.  Gisella was beautiful in every aspect. The comment, "adorable in a way that would twist your heart just to look at her" was so spot on. And she used that incredible face as a "tool" with me or anyone she met to make sure we all knew she was the princess. 😉  

I love all dogs; however, the Keeshond breed has a loving uniqueness that really stopped me in my tracks when I first was introduced to them while living in Holland. The Breed originated in Holland and had an incredible history behind them. They were almost extinct during WWII at the hands on a devilish dictator that is not worthy of mentioning by name here. 

Gisella was the third Keeshond I've had as a loving pet. All were obtained from a breeder in Amsterdam that I often keep in touch with. The first two were brought over on KLM flights from Amsterdam to NY. Not in cargo but with me on board. When bringing a dog from another country as I did, there is a short quarantine process that is mandated by the Dept of Agriculture. Gisella was not brought over on a KLM or commercial flight but instead was flown by me. The aircraft that was used happened to be in London. My lifelong friend, Ben Sliney (retired FAA with an interesting background and story) who is part owner of the jet charter allowed me to shuttle the aircraft from London to Amsterdam and then from Amsterdam to Miami. The trip from Amsterdam only included me as the pilot, a co-pilot, Marie and Gisella in the cockpit securely in a crate. The trip was not non-stop, and we made a re-fuel stop in Gander which is in Newfoundland, Canada. Could have done the transatlantic trip non-stop but didn't want to have the aircraft heavy with fuel because Gisella was a very timid and nervous dog and if she became extremely agitated after takeoff, I wanted to be prepared to turn around and land again. If the aircraft was heavy with fuel and I did have to loop back and return to Schiphol airport, fuel would have to be dumped over the ocean to meet the required weight for a landing. Schiphol is a huge airport with many runways that are long enough to accommodate large commercial aircraft such as the B747 and A380. I could have landed on those long runways with the jet full of fuel, however, those runways are not for smaller business jets unless an emergency is declared. Declaring an emergency due to a timid dog having a hissy fit would not have been allowed and a request would be very popular with the tower. 

During the flight, I was observing Gisella in the crate looking at Marie and I with that face and that is when I first realized that timid nature was part of her "princess" personality. The Keeshond breed has an incredible loving, gentle and needy persona, but Gisella was the epitome of that. She was also a smaller Keeshond which I've seen before but is not common. Gisella's personality just screamed - "love me, take care of me and protect me."

Gisella was a healthy dog all through her life. Had minor gastro issues sometimes and developed alopecia when she was 12. Alopecia is common with that breed and many breeds in the spitz family including the Pomeranian, American Eskimo, etc. Of course, when she started losing her coat, I had extensive testing done to be sure there was nothing amiss with her thyroid and also had her tested for Cushing's. 

Her regular vet of the last 11 years was good. Of course, I looked into his background when he was first recommended to me. However, his skills were never really tested because Gisella thankfully never had anything serious. I also kind of micromanaged her treatment and had complete blood work performed twice a year and not once as standard protocol. Also, knowing the breed very well and the typical conditions they were prone to, I asked the vet to perform TSH and T4 tests 2x year since Keeshonden are prone to hypothyroidism. The vet also performed an EKG once a year as a preventative. He once told me in a joking way I have OCD when it came to Gisella. Gisella was always on a very targeted diet what I changed as she got older. Lastly, I gave her supplementation which included a multi-vitamin, fish oil, vitamin E, probiotics and glucosamine. I firmly believe in a high-quality glucosamine for dogs as a preventative starting at a young age in an effort to keep the joints healthy. Many pet owners will give their pets glucosamine when dysplasia or other orthopedic issue start. Yes, it can help at that point, but it is kind of too late. 

As far as Gisella's regular vet making the "business decision" comment? I didn't merely speak to him and say the emergency vet that he designates for off hours and holidays was a monster or show him the hundreds of public reviews. Although overwhelming, those are all opinions. He could have disputed the reviews, even at that quantity. Instead, I sent him .PDF files via email of that vet's horrific history of investigations against his license with the State's agency that is responsible for veterinary licensing. Those investigations were substantiated, and fines were imposed.  Can't fathom why the state did not revoke his license. So, with that data I sent, Gisella's regular vet was cornered. He chose the "business decision" excuse since saying he didn't know about the ugly license history would have made him appear clueless or stupid for lack of a better word. He has a tremendous client base here in Miami and knew he lost me as a client because Gisella was gone. But if I somehow used social media to make it public that he was clueless about the emergency vet, what impact would that have on his business? The "business decision" comment would have a negative impact on business as well, but it doesn't imply clueless or stupid which would have spooked many pet parents. The "business decision", implies greed or profit driven which I guess was the lesser evil. He did change his designated emergency hospital last week and that is reflected on their website and a mass email. I didn't receive the email (odd); however, I know others that use him, and they forwarded the email to me. I might also add that I would not have used social media to post negative comments. Didn't do it with emergency vet as well. Not my style. I've never mentioned any of these vets by name or practice on this site as well.

I am so sorry about your Crispin. That type of cancer is kind of rare. Nonetheless, cancer is an ugly and debilitating disease and strikes humans and pets with evil randomness. Nikita, the Keeshond I had before Gisella died at 9 from pancreatic cancer. Before that was detected, she was a healthy and strong dog that was provided the same quality care I described with Gisella. Cancer haphazardly strikes and is certainly not a reflection of how you cared for Crispin. One of those cruelties of life that makes me question some things. Nick Cannon who is a television host just lost his 5-month-old son to brain cancer. Why in God would a 5-month-old boy get brain cancer? Seriously, why? 

Anyway, I was reading between the lines in your posting, and I think you want to get another dog. It's only been a bit less than 6 months since you lost Crispin so perhaps it is too soon? Don't think there really is a finite time to wait. I would follow your heart and do what is best for you. Not sure of the reason why your husband does not want another dog, however and no disrespect, my opinion is that marriage is about putting your partner first and compromise of course. If your desire is to be a dogmom again, his love for his wife and desire for her to be happy should encourage him to compromise. Again, no disrespect. I don't know you or your husband. Just injecting my opinion with good intentions. 

PS - I know my postings are so long. I am very expressive and perhaps a bit intense and cannot write quick responses. Perhaps my vet was correct, and I do have an element of OCD. LOL Thank you all for reading them!!

 

 

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Novi - thank you. I really hope your Nile completely pulls through. Yes, question everything. You say you are not a doctor but as pet owners, we have a connection and instinctual knowledge of our pets that no VM degree can equal. Best of luck - be strong. 💪👊

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Anthony, wow, impressive history!!  Few have that drive, I've no doubt your father began that instillation in you as a child when he encouraged you box!  My son has always been driven by himself, just how he is.  I knew at age 2 he'd be an engineer, he just has the mind for it.  He has eng. degrees in computer, mechanical, and electrical, and is the youngest project manager at Garmin, he deals with people from all over the world.  He always graduated top of his class, was valedictorian, commencement speakers, etc.  He went into the Air Force at 18 and but also opted not to reenlist due to politics.  He graduated from college without owing a cent and no help from anyone.  I am very proud of him and I'm positive your parents would be proud of you too!  He wanted to be a pilot but in the Air Force they require perfect vision, his was not, not without lenses.

Here's my Kodie, my current love of my life!  Such a sweet little guy, a very good companion and so adorable!  Pictures do not do him justice as they do not capture his personality!

Kodie begging for a treat, Kodie with my son's Husky, Kodie after his vaccination (sick, couldn't sit/lay down so I propped him up with a pillow, Kodie's face at nine weeks, Kodie's first birthday...his tail curls up and is fanned and he also has a lot of "tail feathers.")

Kodie begging for treat.jpg

Kodie and Bruno-4 013020.jpg

Kodie after vac 012720.JPG

Kodie's face 9 wks.jpg

Kodie's 1st Bdy.JPG

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11 hours ago, Jane1022 said:

I lost my beautiful and still too young (8, diagnosed at 7 with hemangiosarcoma) English Golden Retriever, Crispin, over the Fourth of July weekend.

I am so sorry!  That is way too young.  My Arlie was Golden Retriever/Husky, and my soulmate in a dog.  There are no words to express just how encompassing this loss is.  My heart goes out to you.  To me, Golden Retrievers are some of the best breeds there are, so gentle, loyal, sweet.  My children had one when they were little, he was 120 lbs and used to let them "ride on him" when they were real young, he was so good with them.  He was also a gentle giant.

Do you have a picture of Crispin?

This is for you also:

Comfort for Grieving Animal Lovers

 

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2 hours ago, Anthony_Miami said:

Gisella's personality just screamed - "love me, take care of me and protect me."

So does Kodie's, and I can relate...she is SO BEAUTIFUL!

2 hours ago, Anthony_Miami said:

Cancer haphazardly strikes and is certainly not a reflection of how you cared for Crispin.

Thank you for that reminder, I know Goldens are prone to cancer but still was caught by surprise when Arlie was diagnosed and upset they didn't catch it in time to do treat it.  Arlie had lifelong chronic acute Colitis and I cooked for him, I always wondered if the brown rice in it fed the cancer, although it also had lean meat and several vegetables in it..  It's all that kept the Colitis at bay and he couldn't tolerate antibiotics.  I tried the foods the vets pushed, he couldn't tolerate them.  I still wonder to this day, but I also know we do the best we know to do at the time and have no foreknowledge of what is to come.  The vets were no help at all with his Colitis or cancer.  I learned after he died that they were going to have a cancer treatment center in Eugene, OR (the nearest City, about 60-75 miles from me)...all too late for Arlie, but I'm glad for it all the same.  I have a close friend battling cancer, it's horrid.  I took care of my sweet MIL for the last three years of her life when she was bedridden with cancer, dad took the night shift.  Not a way to go.

2 hours ago, Anthony_Miami said:

I would not have used social media to post negative comments.

No but a few days ago I raved about a doctor that used to have his practice here, he was amazing!  I should know, I worked for him.  I saw him deliver babies, handle bad news to people, handle the most emergent of situations, all while remaining calm and collected.  (I always thought my son would have made a good doctor as he was that way as well).  On my post MANY townspeople shared their experiences with him, all favorable.  I wish I had a way of showing him this post.  Doctoring is not what it used to be.  We used to stay until we were done, we didn't close up during lunch, we didn't refer every little thing or schedule people months out!  That is what they do now.  :(  He also never smoked or gained weight, he lived his life as a disciplined example.  The only time I remember him eating sweets is when I'd make him a Banana Cream Pie (his favorite) for his birthday.

2 hours ago, Anthony_Miami said:

Don't think there really is a finite time to wait. I would follow your heart and do what is best for you.

I am a person who NEEDS a dog in my life...I tried walking a neighbor's chow, that ended with resulting damage to my hands.  I tried adopting from rescues, I could write a book on that.  My son brought me this Klee Kai after Arlie died...conceived when he passed, born on my birthday, and the first time I saw his picture the name Kodie popped into my head.  When my son brought him here, he threw down the collar and tag and papers on the table and said, "Sorry about the name..."  I looked at it and it read "Kodie" on the tag.  The paperwork read "Kobie."  I didn't know breeders named them!  Anyway, Kodie it was, he was meant to be mine.  Maybe Arlie had a paw in it!  No doubt in my mind God created him just for me.  Are we ever "ready?"  If we don't compare or expect them to be a "replacement" (I hate that term in this usage) but are ready to open our hearts for getting to know this new little one and accept them into our lives.  I STILL grieve Arlie and miss his special qualities, I always will.  He was very unique, to say the least.

2 hours ago, Anthony_Miami said:

Nick Cannon who is a television host just lost his 5-month-old son to brain cancer. Why in God would a 5-month-old boy get brain cancer? Seriously, why? 

I know, for sure.  It knows no respecter of persons/animals.

2 hours ago, Anthony_Miami said:

Perhaps my vet was correct, and I do have an element of OCD. LOL

Maybe that's a good thing in this situation, so long as not to the hilt!  I took my job as Arlie's mom very seriously too.  I'm the same with Kodie.

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Dear Anthony_Miami,

I was also OCD about Crispin's care.  Crispin was not as healthy as Gisella--Goldens are a truly wonderful breed with all-around good temperaments that are at once loving, kind of goofy (they do funny things and it does seem as though they are sharing in the joke), highly intelligent, utterly people-oriented (not guard dogs, that's for sure) and very much attuned to the moods and actions of their owners or pet parents, as I think of us--showing a natural empathy of sorts, and wanting to be with them and please them.  

But they have been overbred, at least here in the US and probably Canada, due to their popularity and about 60 percent die of cancer, though usually not at the young age that Crispin did.  The whole "show dog/stud dog" phenomenon has resulted in too few sires for thousands of puppies who wind up interrelated...

Crispin and I traveled to Cornell more than once as he had inflammatory bowel disease, finally diagnosed and successfully treated there.  In that process, I made a solid good acquaintance with a young veterinarian who at that time was doing his graduate studies, post-DVM, to become certified in internal medicine and in nutrition (both are highly related to IBD).  He's now a tenure track professor at Cornell and has been a great resource for help all during Crispin's life, giving me referrals to Cornell grads he knows and trusts who have moved out our way (these are all, alas, specialists; Crispin had more than one).  

I was touched when he had a tree planted in Crispin's honor after he died.

The emergency clinic here is attached to the specialty clinic, but the specialists tend to be much longer in tenure and much better than the ER vets, who seem a bit transient and not of the quality of the specialists.  I have read on veterinary sites that it's hard to hire ER vets right now, for reasons mysteriously related to the pandemic.  I think we got slightly better care there because the techs all knew Crispin and, of course, when they threatened to make us wait 6 hours in the car before looking at Crispin (this was for some problem during his cancer, not at the end), I was able to pitch a fit because he was an existing patient at the practice, and be seen earlier.  Still, what about all of those other dogs?

I do see your point about your vet.  He should, however, have humbly admitted his mistake and offered you a tearful apology.  That is what my vet would do under such gut-wrenching circumstances; after all, Gisella was his patient for 11 years.  But he did the next best thing and immediately fired the bad off-hours vet.

My point then about Gisella's health is to consider what I went through (you don't need to know every detail), and the contacts I had made, and frankly the respect I got from some of these very good veterinarian specialists because I was what John from Cornell called "a committed owner" of a dog with some issues.  I have been to every emergency clinic in the Capital District (ok, there are only two).  I know the specialty practice so well that they sent me a card signed by numerous staff who knew Crispin.  

This is because Crispin didn't share Gisella's robust health, frankly.  This is why I think you are being too hard on yourself.  How could you know what I was horridly forced to learn?

And by the way, I know a little about vestibular disease.  Our prior dog, Jasper--and I loved them both equally, with quite an intensity--anyway, Jasper thankfully lived to be almost 13, so I did in his case get to see the four seasons in a dog's life, from puppyhood to the very slightly graying muzzle...anyway, Crispin suddenly could not walk straight.  He already had a neurologist because he had, in his old age, developed a degenerative neuromuscular disease that I was fighting like crazy by taking him for swim therapy 3X a week in a lovely pool, 60 miles away, with a physical therapist (big help)--and acupuncture (not as clear whether that helped, but you do whatever might).  The neurologist was delighted that Jasper was actually gaining muscle; then he suddenly developed a side tilt--he could not walk straight.  It was initially diagnosed and treated as vestibular disease, and I read about it considerably.  However it did not get better in a week, so we had an MRI.  He had a brain tumor, inoperable; located in the part of the brain that controls balance.  His neurologist was so sad he came out of the MRI room and called me in, told me and offered a hug.  Jasper did not live much longer, although that neurologist tried everything, from steroids to a meat-flavored, compounded antioxidant topping for his food...but Jasper was a month shy of 13, and I've become grateful for that now.

I am not saying that your dog had a brain tumor--just that I understand that with those symptoms, one of three diseases are likely:  vestibular disease (the much preferred diagnosis), stroke, and...what my dog had.   How I wish you could have gone to the right doctor under your circumstances...I promise that they do exist, but I agree that in most instances, going to an ER clinic is not a good experience.  It used to be better, but something has changed.  

I prayed, literally, that when Crispin's time inevitably came, he could pass softly in my arms with the assistance of his regular vet, as Jasper did.  Unfortunately it did not happen that way, for the same reason as for you--Crispin's "bleed" happened over the Fourth of July weekend.  But Crispin was a very sick dog, whereas there should have been options and hope for Gisella.

I'd post a photo of my dog(s) but it might make me cry, which I don't need any more of...too much to do today.

I also brought Crispin home in the cabin of a plane--as with you I'm not sending my baby puppy on cargo--but the trip from Toronto to Albany is nothing like the transatlantic flight you describe!  However, customs between the USA and Canada were easy in 2013, and the entire Toronto airport seemed to dote on that puppy, insisting on photographing him, carrying him for me, taking our photo on the tarmac.  It was lovely.

Another dog?  My husband didn't want to get Crispin, but agreed to do it for me.  And although he left veterinary care to me (because I was the OCD one), he loved that pup, took him for five walks a day no matter the weather (and we live in Upstate NY), took him to his beloved dog park...went through the roller coaster of worry about various health problems that were unfortunately a part of Crispin's life, though I managed to swat away most problems by getting him the very best care no matter the cost, and following instructions assiduously.  

Even kept him alive through a year of one of the cancers with the worst trajectories out there--so much so that his oncologist told me he had already outlived most dogs in any existing clinical trials for new treatments; she was frankly amazed at the length of his survival (they initially told us something like 30-90 days).  We spent a small fortune on his care, and I regret nothing nor did my husband ever complain.  

Every dog is different, just like siblings.  But I think what helped me during my period of mourning Jasper, was knowing there would likely be a puppy.  Yet when there was...I was not over Jasper.  

We got Crispin 14 months after Jasper died.  It is to my everlasting misery that I remember how I compared those dogs, and even wanted little Crispin, who needed me so much (and I was responsive, I absolutely promise) to be more like Jasper (who was easy, healthier, more boisterous and playful).  It melted away into a complete love of the dog who was mine, but it took some time until I realized just how much I loved that dog, my Crispin, and how much he loved me in his Crispin way.  

And I still feel guilt and sorrow at the thought, and will take my time to think this through, and give my sorrow for the dear dog I lost, plenty of time to play out without planning for any new dog.

I have loved my two dogs intensely, and losing them has been, in each case, hard on my marriage in that it takes me many, many months before the tears do not easily flow.  

And we can't get another Golden at our age--the dog is quite big and strong.  As it was, I've had too many surgeries and could not walk Crispin, who was a gentle soul but a large and strong one; it fell entirely onto my husband.  As would any other dog larger than about 10-15 pounds.  We took care of a chihuahua for two weeks recently, and she was SO NOT Crispin...it's just too early.  I

If I decide I can't live without a dog, it will be a discussion for another day, a year or more from now, when I have gotten much better than I am now.

I also think someday you may soften your position; at least I hope so, because you are so very able to care kindly and lovingly for a dog, and they have been a long time a part of your life.  Anyway time to continue with my day; I wish you well in these very, very early nightmarish days.  Time will pass, and your capable self will find a way to move from where you are now, to somewhere better, perhaps with special meaning for Gisella.  

I'm off.  Thinking of you, Gisella, and wishing you well.

Best to you, Anthony_Miami--

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kayc - thank you for the comments on my history and drive. Your son certainly is driven and I'm sure you are so proud. Being driven is great and the resulting achievements are rewarding as well. However, and in my opinion, it is imperative that the drive to become boxers, engineers, pilots or whatever are done out of the love and interest of those professions and activities and not for any resulting societal image, status, financial or otherwise. The greatest achievements in life come from our core values that drive us to be the best human beings we can be. Not perfect as there is no such thing as a perfect human being. A person that respects, loves, is void of blind hate, is selfless, not entitled, gives wanting nothing in return, truthful, transparent, kind and humble. Just to name a few core values - I can go on and on. All of these are not something we learn by attending college, etc.  In life, I have sensed the above-mentioned values in every loving pet parent I've known, met or had correspondence with as we all are having here.  

Your Kodie is a beautiful dog. His expression and face are quite similar to Gisella's. Coloring is different but the same kindhearted expression. Wow.

Regarding the fact that I didn't post negative reviews, I chose not to with the emergency vet and my regular vet for having an idiot emergency vet for his clients. Was tempted to create postings with the emergency vet that would have included images of the sanctions against his license. Didn't post because he already had so many negative reviews on a multitude of platforms and didn't want to add another and drag Gisella's honor into it. I never post negative reviews based on opinion only.  If I had a bad experience, the rating would be neutral, and the posting would include relevant details of an experience or product and let whoever is reading it can come to their own conclusions.  Of course, I post positive reviews with details as well when I have great experiences. 

Worthy of mention here is that I don't hate the emergency vet. Yes, I feel he is an incompetent and disgusting human being. But hate is a destructive and unhealthy emotion. I am feeling anger along with guilt and grief as I stated in my original posting. The anger will dissipate in a short time. The guilt will follow shortly thereafter. The grief will always be there in some form. I am certainly a long way from my current debilitating grief subsiding. That is something I have to endure and is part of the "contract we sign" so to speak when choosing to be pet parents. 

I will never forgive the emergency vet but instead he will eventually be completely flushed from my mind and thoughts. And the pun was intended with the use of the word "flushed". 

 

 

 

 

 

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21 hours ago, Anthony_Miami said:

Novi - thank you. I really hope your Nile completely pulls through. Yes, question everything. You say you are not a doctor but as pet owners, we have a connection and instinctual knowledge of our pets that no VM degree can equal. Best of luck - be strong. 💪👊

Thank you. I got some good news from the vets yesterday, I am so relieved. And you are very right about us knowing our pets better than someone with a degree. I know every little thing about Nile's sweet personality. He is definitely back to his normal self now too, he has been for the last several days. 

My apologies, I spelled Gisella's name "Giselle." Sometimes I type faster than I think!

 

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15 hours ago, Anthony_Miami said:

it is imperative that the drive to become boxers, engineers, pilots or whatever are done out of the love and interest of those professions and activities and not for any resulting societal image, status, financial or otherwise.

I agree.  He IS an engineer, it is who he is at heart, that's why I knew at age two, very observant, analytical, etc.  And he does mechanics because he loves it, not for "work."  I had a Volvo once with a problem...here it is when he was figuring it out...and yes, he fixed it and got it put back together.  Anyway, II got rid of it later as I didn't want to presume upon him and it always had something going wrong in the year I had it, it was old, time for something reliable!

 660838047_Volvotornapart.thumb.jpg.47e3e8c96651f1ea58c7750f552ec968.jpgNot me, if I did that it would be done with!  :D

 

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15 hours ago, Anthony_Miami said:

The greatest achievements in life come from our core values that drive us to be the best human beings we can be.

So true!  I've always said the thing I love the most about my son isn't his great intelligence, but his character, who HE is.  I raised him to realize that God gave him much, so much is required, in other words, it's not our gifting but what we do with it, who/how we are in life matters.  Just an example: Years ago when he was young, he and his friend Chad were traveling back to Oakridge, on Hwy 58 when they saw a vehicle broke down.  They stopped and it was, if I remember right, some French men, didn't know what to do.  They got their vehicle going and on their way.  So many times things like this have happened.  So many pass on by, thinking, "Someone else's problem."  

 

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1 hour ago, Novi said:

My apologies, I spelled Gisella's name "Giselle." Sometimes I type faster than I think!

I've had 11 hand injuries in two years, five of them major, and now my fingers "stutter" whereas I used to be a great typist.  I am constantly having to correct what I've typed, sometimes I don't catch it, the worst offenders being i and t, no idea why.  I would think it'd come from my brain, not my hands, but what do I know!  All I know is, it didn't used to do that, now it does.  

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