Amuck
She was 9 days shy of her 12th birthday. Quite the life for a Great Dane. The day started normal and I emptied some leftovers into her bowl, I often did especially at her age she deserved treats and it was never copious amounts. This was a decision I would later truly regret, did I cause this? Doodle suffered from GDV....or bloat. Meaning her stomach flipped. Truly the one of the greatest fears of mine was for this to happen to her. I was careful- never let her outside after eating or drinking, monitored her activity hours after she'd intake anything. I thought I knew what i'd be looking for. As she laid in the cool grass her symptoms went unnoticed by me. She seemed fine, maybe a bit of an upset stomach...until I noticed her abdomen looked full. I called my husband, I called the emergency vet. I drove her there and truly expected a $500 for her to be gassy(please let this be all it is! PLEASE!) - again the signs didn't fit the bill of GDV. Due to covid I waited outside...the vet called me and confirmed my greatest fear. It was either emergency surgery or we make the decision to say goodbye. I couldn't make that decision... the chances of a dog that age surviving surgery are a total toss up...not to mention the recovery wasn't her coming home with pain pills and hanging out, it was days long under their care and intrusive. I kept thinking we could save her, that God would just untwist her stomach. We made the completely unimaginable decision to not put her through the anesthesia, surgery and recovery and we said our final goodbye to our girl.

I am filled with guilt and complete despair.  What if I didn't feed her the leftovers...would she be alive? Yes.. I believe she would be. The vet tried to console me and said " it happens when they drink water! its truly hard to know what caused it" I know what caused it. I fed her just like I always do. Was 12 years really coming to an end like this? All the memories, love and days are coming to an end in whirlwind hour at a vet who wasn't hers? I pictured her at home with us...surrounded by her toys and loved ones...calm. The same way we said goodbye to her brother 4 short years ago.

I suppose that its better we didn't have to watch her slowly decline, like we did her brother, because that would've been so hard but we would've done it happily if it meant even one more day. She was showing signs of her age, cataracts were bad and she was slowing down, a few accidents here and there but otherwise very healthy. We thought we had another year with her. 

We were planning a camping trip with her this weekend. Likely her last but wanted to celebrate such a milestone of a birthday doing one of her favorite things. As this week slowly creeps up onto her birthday I have just one wish. That she knew how much we loved her and are empty without her.

doodle.jpg 
Picture of her on her 11th Birthday 7/11/2019

Allison
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P_Mom
Oh Allison, Doodle is a beauty - my heart goes out to you.  You did not cause the bloat - it just happens especially in large dogs and this breed as you know.  

As you said, getting older and getting some treats is a good thing - they deserve it. I literally just posted the other day how I regret being so restrictive with my boys diet - he didn't get much of anything fun for my fear of causing any upset, and that's no life.  He should've had more. It's like we're damned if we do or don't.  

Odds are 50/50 of either an emergency situation, or the slow decline as you mentioned.  We never win either way.  Our pups are not here long enough though we (at least me) think, hope, and pray they will be.  And then we lose them and our lives have a gigantic hole.  Doodle knew you loved her - even planning a special trip for a milestone birthday.....no question she knew. 💖

Sending hugs & comfort your way.
Jennifer 
Patch's Mom
Jennifer
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Elizablue96
Allison, a little over 5 years ago my Akita “Suki” got the bloat all of a sudden. My daughter and I ran her to an emergency vet hospital, one of the longest rides of my life as she was in pain. The surgery was too expensive the odds of success not great and the aftercare extensive. The guilt i had was overwhelming and i did lots of research about bloat, and the fact is some breeds are prone to it and its just not definitive as to what cause’s it. I’m here now because 5 years later on July 4th i lost my baby girl Eliza suddenly while on vacation. Its been 2 days and my wife and I are a wreck with grief and guilt. Its normal, our pets give so much and ask for very little, and we just never feel we did enough for them. My heart breaks for you and everyone here. Until you’ve loved an animal and lost them you cant understand the level of grief. Luv to you and yours
Jay
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Memories_of_Marmalade
Dear Alison,

I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved "Doodle." She was a pretty and sweet looking girl.

It is so obvious how much you loved, cherished and adored your "Doodle." You can easily see that in all of your words you wrote about her.

Please remember what you pointed out, she was 12 year old and a Great Dane Which that in itself is impressive if not remarkable. It is a testamanet to the care and attention you provided to her.

When I think back about my own loss ( my cat "Mamalade" who was around 11 or 12 years old) one thing I am glad I did do was give him a treat every now and then of lactose free milk. He loved, loved, loved it. Cats are not supposed to have milk but it was one of his favorite things on Earth.

At the end I bought him something special - meatballs from the Japanese gourmet restaurant and a fish sandwhich from McDonalds.I am so glad that I did as I think he enjoyed them. Even though he could not eat much towards the end of his life and eventually stopped eating all together.

If you asked our beloved's if they would have rather have done without? I am willing to bet they would have said "NO, give me that treat!" As those snacks and treats and leftovers enriched their lives the way they do us human's. Given the choice to do without, to obstain completely from all snacks and treats. if it meant a few more years of life? Most humans would take the snacks and treats over the additional few years of life, if it meant doing without. I'm sure you will agree too.

So please be gentle with yourself sweetie.

Hugs,
James
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Amuck
Thanks everyone for your kindness and words, it's truly appreciated. It's comforting to know we are not alone in our grief but my heart breaks for all of you too. Sending my love to all <3 Its the hardest heartbreak imaginable. 

Allison
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CPapa
God bless you, Allison, for loving and caring so much for your pet.  Your pain and anguish is shared by all of us grieving for our lost buddies.  It's so awfully hard.  
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gregj777
I am so sorry. I lost my Drake last week just 11 days before his 11th birthday. I know your pain is real. Just know that we are all thinking about you and that others understand.
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Amuck
We picked her up yesterday. Hard to believe such a big girl with a big life can fit into such a small box. The flood gates opened again. We are dealing, the house is empty and quiet. I wanted to thank you all for your continued support and wanted to send healing love to you all as well.

Allison
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