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Ellie


Guilt and Awful Grief.

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I do not even know where to start. I feel so much pain and hurt and guilt right now after the best girl died very suddenly last Thursday. Ellie was absolutely the BEST dog in the world we were connected on a completely different level compared to the other dogs in our home.  She was SO emotional and she wore her emotions on her sleeve (she would turn pink when she was upset even and she would wiggle and smile when she was happy). 

She was there fore me through so MUCH as well. Ellie has eaten non-food items since we got her at 6 months. She was 10 when she finally passed away on Thursday. So needless to say she has been extremely lucky for 91/2 years and has some how always vomited back up the items and they did not cause her long term issues. 

However last Monday, she threw up her dinner, this was not unusual for her so monitored her and as she continued to vomit that night I made her an appointment first thing Tuesday morning. We of course told the vet about her history of eating non-food items and that we were worried about an obstruction. The vet did xrays and did not see anything concerning. She did note Ellie was dehydrated and gave her a shot of fluids and sent her home. She said not to give her dinner Tuesday and to bring her back in Wednesday moring to see if the hydration helped get her digestive system moving. So early Wednesday morning I brought her back to the vet for more xrays. Vet stated the tract was moving a little from the previous day but she was still dehydrated so she kept her at the clinic all day on IV fluids and did Barium to make sure things were moving all the way through her system. I picked Ellie up Wednesday night and brought her home. Vet said she had no pain in her stomach and the barium went all the way through and did not highlight any obstructions. We were told to just take her home and feed her small amounts of food that night and have her take it easy for a few days. 

When we got home she ate a bit and did not throw up so that was a good sign. She then snuggled with me all night. 

Thursday morning rolls around and she jumped out of bed, seemed to be doing ok I took her potty and she pooped and then came inside to eat a bit more. As soon as she ate she got very lethargic, started to tremble and refused to drink water. I took her out to the yard again and she threw up her breakfast. I noted she was having a hard time laying down and moving and took a video for the vet. I went to work but talked to my husband who was at home and he took her back in to the vet again Thursday morning. I was at work when the vet called and said she does have a fever and she feels she might have a partial obstruction that the barium somehow missed. She was showing signs of stomach pain on Thursday (but had no signs of pain on Wednesday night). Vet said she could do an ultra sound to get a clearer picture or we could do exploratory surgery to see what was in her. We opted for the surgery immediately. I continued to work because the vet even thought it was a routine obstruction surgery since her pre-surgical blood work came back normal she did not feel there were be many surprises and I just planned to pick her up that evening and love her while she healed. 

About 1 hour went by and I got another call from the vet, she said she had bad news! She found sepsis through her entire body and said even with intensive treatment for weeks she had a low chance of survival. Apparently for the dog who ate things for 91/2 years 3 individual small pieces of rubber from a pair of our shoes (which she had eaten many times) created a blockage we had no idea she had and she showed no signs until Thursday morning when her sepsis was so advanced she had no chance of making it.) her intestines ruptured and there was fluid and inflammation on all of her organs. Vet said she would have had to be septic for several days for it to be this advanced. 

We were in SHOCK! I drove as quickly as I could to the hospital to meet my husband and see her while she was still under anesthesia. Vet said waking her up would be incredibly painful for her so she advised against waking Ellie up to say goodbye. We said goodbye to her hoping somehow she knew we were there for her and then made the horrible decision to put her to sleep. 

I feel so much guilt for going to work that day when I saw she was not feeling well (but I thought it was a routine obstruction surgery if anything). I also feel so guilty for picking up the pieces of the chewed up shoes and not noticing there were 3 small pieces missing or even leaving the gate open long enough for her to get the shoe. I feel awful we were just going about life while she was dying in front of us and we had no idea!

I am also angry with the vet for missing this. If we had done surgery on Tuesday would we have caught is soon enough? If I had noticed the missing pieces of shoe would I have taken her in right away probably not because they were small pieces and she has eaten socks and large pieces of blankets her entire life and been able to pass them so I would think she could have passed small pieces of rubber with no issues. 

I just can't stop thinking I should have noticed or pushed the vet to do surgery sooner or taken her to a real animal hospital the same night she threw up vs our regular vet the next day. I just never thought even for a moment this would be her end. She threw up an entire stuffed animal three weeks ago and that did not cause her any issues but 3 finger nail size pieces of shoes rubber were it. I cannot wrap my head around this abrupt loss of the BEST baby in the world. 

My stomach has been in a knot, my heart feels like someone is crushing it, and I can't breathe since this happened. I try to go to work and focus on other things but being home is SO hard I almost feel if I am sad enough she will come back. (which I know is illogical) but I do not know how I am even functioning moment to moment right now. She was my SoulPUPPY! she was MY BEST GIRL. My husband is of course sad still but he does not seem to have the same guilt or moments of pure panic and gasping for air I have had since Thursday afternoon. 

How do I move on?

 

Ellie Snuggle .jpg

Ellie Smiling .png

Baby ellie .jpg

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I'm sorry for your loss. 

My cat has a pretty severe case of pica, he's destroyed so many of my shirts, blankets, washcloths.. the list goes on. He used to chew on electrical wires but he suddenly stopped that years ago, I think he might have given himself a bit of a jolt. It took me a while to make my place "Nile proof" and even when I thought I had it completely safe for him, in Oct 2016 he rummaged through my gym bag and found a hair elastic. He ate it and it became tangled in his small intestine and he needed emergency surgery. It just goes to show that we can be as careful as possible, but things can still happen. I'm lucky he pulled through. I'm sorry your Ellie didn't get that lucky. 

I can understand your frustration towards your vet for missing the signs of blockage. We put all our trust into them and they do sometimes fail us. But we all make mistakes, even when it comes to our careers. Just remember that you did your best, and you gave Ellie 10 wonderful years even with all the challenges. You did very well in my opinion. I also understand the soulPUPPY thing, Beck was my soulmate in a cat. No other animal will ever be on that same level. I think that is why your husband isn't grieving the same as you, because you had that special bond with Ellie. 

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I am so sorry for your loss of you sweet beautiful girl.  This brought me to tears, I can imagine how you're feeling, how hard this loss is.  A shock.

The way this transpired, I don't see negligence on anyone's part, esp. with the barium passing through.  My Arlie chewed up so many things, he once got into mouse poison and I took him 1 1/4 hours away to the emergency vet, who wouldn't let me in with him, so I went to my office a block away and waited.  
When I was allowed to pick him up they told me they tried to shove charcoal down his throat and he wouldn't let them so now it was a "wait and see" for up to a year to see if he'd make it!  I know I could have gotten it down had they let me stay there, they could have called me sooner, I was furious!  Instead they wrote a letter to the vets in that town saying he tried to bite them.  The hell!  I told them if he had TRIED to bite them, they'd have been bit!  He was a gentle giant that never bit anyone in his life, nor did he ever bite any dog, even though he was attacked ten times!  He was just letting them know he didn't like it.  So now I had the worry...he did make it but was deathly sick for a while.  He would not have recovered had he been smaller.

You did nothing to feel guilty about, but I also realize I can't talk you out of it, it's a feeling, and they need make no rational sense, but I want you to know it is COMMON to go through all of the "what ifs" in early grief as a way of finding a different possible outcome as the one that happened is too abhorrent.  
I hope these links are of help to you...

http://www.griefhealing.com/comfort-grieving-animal-lovers.htm
A Dangerous Villain: Guilt
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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This is such a sad story...I am absolutely certain from reading this that you have been the most careful, caring and vigilant dog mom there could be.  There is conscientiousness in every sentence of your story, and to have this happen, when you worked so diligently and successfully to prevent it all of these years...this was in no way your fault, and your darling Ellie obviously felt a glowing and special love from you every single day of her life with you (from a puppy, it looks like from the photos).  Going to work, when your husband was there to take her...I mean, we all do have to go to work; you had no reason to think this was more than exploratory surgery to be on the safe side...I wish I could say more to help.  Again--in the photos you show, in every word you write, I can tell how much you loved Ellie and the extraordinary lengths you did go to to keep her from eating the wrong thing.  And.they.all.do.it.--believe me, most of us know.  But most of the time we are lucky, or most of the time they aren't quite as persistent as your Ellie was.   I am so very sorry this happened, and I am thinking of you.

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