On Saturday January 13th my Chocolate Lab Dakota passed away suddenly from a gastrointestinal mass that bursted. He was 11 years old and for all but six weeks of his life was spent with my wife and I. He was our first family. At 5 years old when my son was born he gladly stepped aside and became a protector of my son. He would lay beside the crib and let us know my son woke up. He did the same when my daughter was born 14 months later. Dakota never lost a beat and we always made it a priority to let Dakota know that he was important to us.

Dakota had his senior blood work and annual visit on December 9th and there wasn’t any hint that he had cancer. He was his fun loving mischievous self even up to Friday night. Then on Saturday he was very lethargic and quiet. I immediately took him to the vets were an x ray showed a blockage between his lungs just before the stomach, the size of a golf ball. I had to take him to the surgery center, which was just a block away. We were there at 9:30, by 11:30 he was gone. Just before he took his journey I was able to hold his paw and hug him. I told him that we all loved him very much and that it was ok for him to go. I did not want him to suffer anymore. Within 5 seconds he was gone.

There is not a moment that I don’t cry thinking of have one more with him. One more walk, one more play toss, one more hour to have him lay on my lap, one more day with him. I miss him so much. The worst part is coming home to an empty house.

Please tell me this pain goes away???
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I'm so sorry, i don't know when the pain will ease or ever go away. I recently lost my baby Mija, after 14 years on 1.6.18, her passing was sudden, a shock, no sign of sickness. I am struggling, I understand how the loss of their presence is hard to bare. Prayers and God bless
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I am so sorry for your loss of Dakota. An empty house is painful after you lose a furry family member.

I don't know if the pain ever goes away, but I think it takes different forms as you progress through the stages of grief.

And, I can relate. I took my kitty in for a dental procedure in early November when they did a pre-op blood test. There wasn’t any hint that that she had cancer. Fast forward to January 2 of this year, and she succumbed to liver cancer. It was so quick and without warning, so I know every level of pain and regret (for one more time play toss, lap lay, etc.).

RIP Dakota. :(

Take care.
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My Dear Dakota's Parent,

Please know it does get better.  I lost my boy 3 years ago and I still have an occasional cry now and then when I think of him, but it's usually with a smile because something will remind me of a treasured memory with him.  I owe a lot of my healing to this site.  I was able to cry, rage, vent, and eventually, heal after reading the stories and receiving the encouraging words from the members of this site.  It won't happen quickly, but every day will get a little bit easier.  And, also know that your merely being here and sharing your story is validation that you and your family have a huge capacity for love and that will always eventually outweigh any feelings of emptiness and loss.  Dakota has taken up permanent residency in all of your hearts and that's a place he'll never leave.

Sending you so much hope and healing,

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What a heartbreaking time for you and your family. Dakota sounds like such a wonderful friend and protector - he will be so missed. The early days can be absolutely gutting. You've come to the right place, where people truly understand and have walked the same sad path that you are walking down. I lost my Norm 2.5 months ago. I still feel empty, but less like my heart is being ripped out on an hourly basis. Talking with the kind people here has been an enormous help. When you are ready, we would love to hear more about your beautiful boy Dakota. Wishing you peace and healing during this very sad time. 

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Dakota's parent, this resonates so well with me as on the same day I took my beloved Leonberger Ava to the vets as like Dakota, she had suddenly become unwell, lethargic etc, I niavely thought it was due to a cyst that had burst on her back which had been checked out and was not a concern but I though that maybe it had become infected and she needed antibiotics.  However, she was rushed into emergency surgery with a tumour on her spleen that had ruptured and she was bleeding out internally.  They warned me she may die on the table so they allowed me to say my goodbyes before they wheeled her in.  She made it out of surgery and was touch and go for the next 24 hours and came home on sunday because she was not settling and would only eat when I was with her. She started to improve and I was elated, so relived but that was short lived, the vet phoned me yesterday to day the biopsy is back and the tumour was cancerous, it was an aggressive form of cancer than when it ruptured it did something they call 'seeding' basically flooding her body with cancer cells.  The vet says she may have a couple of weeks but dogs don't usually survive for more than 2 months.  I'm devastated that she had been through the truma and pain of major surgery only to face more pain in the next couple of weeks until I have to make the awlful decision to let her go. 

Although she is still here and your poor Dakota is gone I very much feel I am in the greiving process already.  I cry non stop even though I'm trying not to because I don't want my last precious time with Ava to be me crying over her but I just can't stop she's all I have.  I have no family and very few friends.

Avabears mummy

'It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them, and every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are.' Anon


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