Juno
Hello everyone. I'm really glad I found this forum after my therapist and my partner both recommended I try looking for others who have been through similar experiences that I have been. I apologize that this will be long, and potentially graphic and upsetting to read and for that I am so sorry. But I don't know where else to turn.

In the start of May I lost my heart, my soul, and my entire world- Nellie. We adopted Nellie right after my birthday during my freshman year of highschool. She'd been with me for almost 12 wonderful years. I've struggled with horrible depression, anxiety, and dissociative episodes ever since I was a kid. College was very hard on me emotionally, but nevertheless I finished my degree 4 years ago and have felt more lost than ever before. Nellie gave me a sense of purpose. Even when I wanted everything to end, even when I wanted to give up, she was there, lending a paw. She was my walking buddy, my snuggle bug, my artistic muse when I was stumped and needed inspiration to draw. She was always so in tune with my emotions. If I was about to cry, it's like she just knew. She'd lay on my lap and lick my arms and face until I'd calm down or fall asleep.

Her last year was a very difficult one. I learned the absolute heartache and stress of a chronically ill dog. My heart goes out to every single person who has also done hospice or longterm care for a chronically ill friend- human or animal. She had chronic liver disease that manifested in trouble eating, keeping food down, and ultimately walking and other movement functions. I did everything for her. We were fan favorites at the vet- in there every 2-4 weeks to check her blood and liver levels, and the vet techs all knew us and loved to see us. She was sweet as sugar, and loved every person she met. She was endlessly patient, and was so good about taking her 6 medicines 1-3 times a day. She couldn't walk at times, but I'd carry her around the neighborhood or push her in a little cart my father and I rigged up so that she could get some fresh air. Honestly, she loved being in her cart. I cherish the memory of the absolute joy on her face the first time she was in the cart. Being high up, outside, AND getting some sun? Best combo EVER!

Her last two weeks were horribly tragic and honestly traumatizing. The first time she lost movement in her legs I heard her scream. Hearing a dog not bark, not yelp, but scream is one of the most chilling and gut wrenching things I've ever had to listen to. My memory has blocked out the noise for the most part now, but it haunted me for weeks and made it nearly impossible to sleep some nights. Her final day started normal, she slept next to me and we woke up, gave her the special food and medicine she was on and she went back to sleep. I ran some errands, came home, and not 30 minutes after the screaming began again. She was dragging herself as her legs had given out again. I put her in her crate to keep her safe so she wouldn't bump into anything. She began obsessively biting at the cage and lost the ability to blink. She was completely shutting down, the issues with her liver turning her blood toxic and affecting her mind.

I called the vet sobbing and trying to get an appointment, I had to hand the phone over to my parents because she had bitten the crate so hard and got stuck that she started bleeding. I couldn't stand to see her suffer and tried to remove her from the bars. It was then that she bit me, and she bit hard and held. I've worked with dogs professionally for over 6 years now as both a dogwalker, petsitter, and working with groups of dogs as big as 60+ in a dog daycare. Fortunately I knew what to do and went into autopilot and removed her as gently as I could from my arm. But she pierced my skin. The bruise stayed for weeks. This dog had never bitten me nor never even tried. To bite me, her favorite person in the world, the vet didn't believe me at first. And worst of all? That's the last interaction I had with her while she was still conscious.

She had gotten her jaw stuck to the crate again (and her eyes were still unable to blink and were drying) and the vet ended up having to use wire cutters to free her. That was a first for her, she said. The only thing that stopped her from screaming was to sedate her. I asked the vet, begged her if there was anything we could do. We'd tried so much and nothing was working. Her liver was too far gone to appropriately handle medicine for neurological issues, and she was too old and sick to have any procedures done on her. Euthanasia was the only option. I said goodbye to her then, and we stayed at the vets office for hours. I never wanted to leave. I regretted running errands that took so long, taking another precious hour I could have had with Nellie before her mind went.

I regret so much. I know now in my heart there really was nothing we could have done. I've come to accept this. We couldn't treat her issues concurrently due to her condition, and we'd tried absolutely everything in our power. It's almost harder that I can't blame myself for this. To accept how fragile, small, and helpless we are in face of such devastating illness is heart wrenching. She didn't deserve to die like she did, in severe pain and confusion. No one and no pet does. She was the best dog I ever could have asked her, and she saved me from myself more times than I can count.

I don't even know what to do with myself anymore most days. I still naively expect her to be asleep against my chest every morning. I expect to see her in the laundry room when I get home. I almost think I hear her little paws on the hardwood floor. I did everything and it wasn't enough. I don't know what to do.
My beloved Nellie. Never forgotten.
Adopted: 10/15/2006

Crossed the rainbow bridge: 05/02/2018
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RudyAndDubs
I am so sorry for what you experienced with your Nellie, and my heart goes out to you and I applaud your composure and compassion when she bit you. Please know from everything you've said, you did the right thing. Don't worry about the episode she had, I know it's impossible for you to forget it but that's not the Nellie she would want you to remember, and if she could have memories of you over the bridge that would certainly not be one of them. I'm also an animal professional and work with a lot of senile dogs, I know how hard it is and I know to well the sound of the scream.

She will always be with you, and she'll be with you like when she was healthy and young. I would just try to get through one day at a time, and at the end of each day just take a moment to say "I survived another day".

My own dog is currently slipping into senility, he doesn't recognize me when I come home sometimes. It's not the same, but at least know that someone knows what it's like to watch their dog lose themselves mentally. Lots of love to you, and lots of love to Nellie's spirit! Please know you're in the right place for people to understand.
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MAlcindor
I am so sorry for your loss and what you went through will your sweet Nellie. She was so lucky to have had you to take such good care of her. It is absolutely horrible to hear your baby scream in pain. My Bailey was attacked by another dog and the flashbacks I have of that attack are haunting, I will never forget it. Everyone here understands the pain of what you are going through and posting on this forum has helped me so much, I encourage you to return and keep posting about your beautiful Nellie.
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Sampson
Hello Juno,
Please accept my deepest condolences on the loss of your beloved Nellie. You certainly loved her and it was reciprocated for certain. I'm imagining you wheeling Nellie in the cart for the first time and as you described the absolute look of joy on her face! It's so good that you have that sweet memory to treasure. Let it carry you through the sad times when you miss Nellie so much.
I have to beg to differ with you on one thing my dear. You did everything and it "was" enough. Nellie felt your love and care and it meant the world to her but alas when our bodies (including our pets) break down and we can no longer function then it's time to let go. Nellie's spirit will stay close to you even though you won't see her. Just be open to the signs she will send to tell you she is okay now and will always be there for you. This is a good place to share your pain as we all know how devastating it is to lose such a loved pet.
Sam
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