I have been visiting the forum now for a while and to read so many lovely messages from people in the same situation as myself has been very comforting. I have had good friends and family who have been very supportive, but I can't continually share my grief with them anymore.
I lost my Billy, a lovely little Westie two months ago and he was 17 and a half. He passed away at home with me, next to me whilst I was sleeping. I know to some I was lucky and many say it was just his time but his death hit me so hard, and most of it guilt. I never really noticed Billy getting older as even at 16 people were always saying he looks great and I was really proud of him. But during the last 6-8 months of his life he started to really slow down and he had pain from his mouth in addition to the usual arthritis. We took him to the vets and he advised to have his teeth cleaned so we agreed and then a month later he was still in pain so we took him back again and the vet said they didn't do X rays so they needed to do the back teeth again. We had no choice to agree and we took him in again and he had 4 extractions. He was better for a bit but the surgery was hard on him and he still had discomfort in his jaw.
The vet diagnosed him with TMJ and he was on steroids, painkillers, and antibiotics. we were told there was no hope and we stopped the medication as it wasn't really helping. I turned to acupuncture and Billy seemed to enjoy this and some herbal treatments. But he still had some pain and despite regular trips to the vet we were told he was just getting old and it was arthritis in his jaw. I kept saying I think is his teeth again. So finally I demanded some antibiotics to treat a tooth infection and he improved (much to the vets surprise) and he was able to eat properly. But only three weeks after treatment, though he had no pain, he stated to really decline and stopped eating himself. We were hand feeding him when he would eat bits of meat, yogurt and baby food and giving him water, and this chinese herb. I feel now I was keeping him alive for myself but even though he wasn't eating much it was only the last day before his death that he didn't eat at all and wasn't able to walk around himself.
I remember the night he passed away as I just knew that was it and promised to take him to the vets in the morning, my brother and my parents all came over to say goodbye, and the children were all told to give their last hugs. We spoke to him and cuddled him and he seemed to respond to us. I don't know why I didn't stay awake with him but I fell asleep and in the morning he was gone.
Billy meant the world to me and his death hit me so hard, I blamed myself for allowing him to have pain and not questioning the vets and their diagnosis, I blamed myself for not having enough time for him when the children came and working full time. After some time I started to feel better and thought like my husband did that he didn't die young and that he had a good life and that I should focus on his whole life and not just his last few months. I began to smile at memories and agree that yes there were times when I was busy and under pressure but I still cared for him (that dog had the best meals ever and for his whole life has had homecooked meals! he was truly spoilt with his diet).
I started to read about animals in the afterlife and read so many wonderful stories of animals communication and I too felt I had signs from him such as when a beautiful yellow butterfly flew out the waste bin in the kitchen one night and then stayed for a bit with me, and clouds in the shape of a westie in the sky. I decided to contact an animal communicator and I had done my research and felt I had found someone whom I felt some connection to and had good reviews. Unfortunately she was unable to do my reading due to her energy being focused on her pregnancy and she recommended someone.
I didn't really have a feel for this person but I was so excited, I so wanted Billy to know that I was sorry I couldn't help his pain sooner and that I loved him so much and I wanted to know he was safe. So I went ahead. It was not what I expected and it has left me feeling cold and unsure.She told me Billy was very grumpy and loved to moan, and this kind of rang true as I had joked he had become my grumpy old man. She then said he found life with us challenging and he felt he always had to be grateful and happy and he didn't always feel this. I asked him to share his happier memories and what was relayed had little correlation to our life together and nothing made much sense, and part of me is like I must be a fool for believing this but the other part wants to believe why would she lie and not say he was happy if she was making it up? I have contacted her since and she said that Billy was as happy as he allowed himself to be, and just had issues receiving love. She said because he didn't live with me and only with my parents for the first part of his life he wasn't use to affection (i did tell her that he didn't live with us at first, after she asked). My parents cared for him but, yes, they probably didn't hug and cuddle him like me. This made me feel bad that I didn't move him in sooner. He use to come every weekend and when my brother came to collect him he often refused to leave. Finally, we took the plunge and he moved in, as I was worried about him being at home alone in the day whilst I worked. He was happy (or so I thought) and he was my baby until the children came and then we became a family of 5. There were tough times juggling everything and he fell ill a few times as he suffered from arthritis and ear infections. We had to have his inner ear removed it was so bad, this was despite continual antibiotics, and we happily paid the £2,000 for this.
Billy was a part of the family and he just fitted in with our lifestyle. I thought he was content and happy, but now I doubt this and feel maybe I should have done more and cherished him more. The whole of the chat has just left me feeling uncertain and now I am lost and feel even worse than before.
I just miss him so much and just want to hold him again.
So sorry for the long post.
Love Billy's Mummy