yesterday was single handedly the worst day of my life. My beautiful black lab, my first son, who was a week and a half shy of his 11th Birthday was put to sleep.
we found out last summer that he had thyroid cancer. we opted not to do surgery since it's apparently very risky due to all of the blood vessels etc in that area. We also opted not to do chemotherapy and put his already sick, aging body through anymore sickness. not to mention, that would have only supposedly extended his life possibly another 6 months.
So for the past year he had been doing remarkably well. like any lab, he was still driven by food and although he was a "senior" dog, you would never really know it if it weren't for the grey beard he had so handsomely grew a few years prior. About 2 months ago my ex husband (who Cojack lived with and with whom i'm still very good friends with) noticed a marble sized lump on his back paw. He continued to monitor it and when it seemed to have gone from a marble size to golf ball size overnight he decided to take him to the vet. Long story short, after tests were done it was determined it was another cancerous tumor and the only solution would be to amputate his leg. again, given his age we decided not to put him through that and with the help of steroids and pain pills, we decided to let nature run its course. The steroids seemed to have an opposite effect of helping him. They began to make him extremely lethargic and almost in a comatose like state. he went from being a 10 (almost 11) year old "puppy" to a dog I no longer even recognized. He wasnt playful and had no interest in me when I came to visit him. Cojacks dad decided to take him off of the steroids and although his personality and appetite returned, the lump again overnight went from golf ball size to now making his entire back foot swollen to about 3 times the normal size.
my ex husband texted me at 6:40am yesterday morning and said that his breathing had become heavy and he was scared to even take him outside and make him walk on his foot. We knew it was time. The drive over there is 1 hour, that was the longest hour of my life. I couldn't get there fast enough to him yet at the same time I didn't know why I was in such a rush to get to him knowing that his 10:00am appt for euthanasia was short to follow. I got there and hugged him, told him he was such a good boy. The best boy. His dad loaded him up in the car and we took him to his vet. As I sat on the hairy floor next to him in the waiting room watching all of the other dogs go in and out, some puppies and some seniors like Cojack, I wondered where these past 11 years went. Wasn't it just yesterday that I was sitting on the floor at the house where we picked him out and was holding my new puppy? Wasn't it yesterday that we were taking our new son to petsmart and spent $200+ on a new collar, 2 dog bowls and 57 new toys ? Wasn't it just yesterday that we came home from the hospital with our new born son (who is now almost 9) and had a doggy gate up at the bedroom door so Cojack and his sister couldn't get near me since I had a C-section but when we ordered pizza and I saw Cojack's eyes peering over the gate (that he towered) I let him in anyway to have one of our pizza parties. Wasn't that just yesterday ?
After about 20 minutes of being in the waiting room we were called back and from there, everything becomes a blur. They put him up on the exam table and told us they were going to put in an IV. They shaved his front arm, put in the IV and said the Vet would come in shortly.His dad and I gave him hugs and we repeatedly told him we loved him, which is an understatement. Then the vet came in. He explained how the euthanasia would work and that it would kick in pretty quickly. Again, that is an understatement. I had my hands around his neck slid under his collar holding his head and was looking down at that ground. I couldn't bear to actually watch the medicine be administered, after all, I would talk to him afterwards and tell him that we were here with him and for the 800th time that day, remind him that I loved him. But there was no afterwards. As soon as it was administered within seconds he let out a small groan, his last breath, and then he was gone. His head still in my hands, he was gone. I will never forget that groan. I will never forget his once enormously large horse-like magnificent body, now sunken in, weak and riddled with cancer, going limp in my arms. For his sake, I'm thankful I was able to be there for his last breath, but for my sake, I think it has all but ruined me. I walked into the vet with my (nearly) 11 year old son and I and left without him. Gut wrenching, devastating, depressing, broken, empty. None of those even come close to how I am feeling.
Cojack will be cremated and we should have him back in about a week. His dad and I will split up his ashes and possibly spread some around a local lake where we would take him as a puppy to play. I'm going to make him a little memorial garden where I can go and sit and talk to him and miss him, cry for him and yearn for him and continue to love him until I see him again at the rainbow bridge where we will be together forever.
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Hi Cojacksmom,
I am so sorry for your loss! I totally agree with your decision not to put Cojack through surgery or chemotherapy and instead let him enjoy his remaining time with you. We had to say good bye to our dog because of cancer and he passed with his head in my hand (after the injection) as well. Even though we know it is the best thing for them it is still so heartbreaking and so very hard to say goodbye!
Thinking of you and wishing you peace,
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I am so sorry for your loss. All dogs go to heaven. My baby of 16 years died today. He died at home....horrible. the emptiness has surrounded me.
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I'm sorry for your loss. I had my Jessie put to sleep a little over 5 weeks ago.
She was a 16 year old lab/heeler.
Jessie had some external tumors and other medical issues.
On that last day, she fell and couldn't get up. I knew it was time.
Take care and visit this forum often. It does help.
Richard S.
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hi cojacksmom, you are a great mom to your baby Cojack and alot of your words I can relate. I lost 2 pets last year Daizy and Munki (Munki one month shy of her 14th birdthday and Daizy only 9 years 3 weeks old) and yes, they both had cancer and cancer sucks.

I can relate as to where time went, seems like yesterday we had our beloved pets as pups and time does go by so fast. Like you, in the Vets office I could only hold my
Munki and Daizy, but not look at the needles or watch there last breath, i was also looking down, looking away, yet I felt the heart stop beating. I am glad you and your ex gave Cojack so much love thru his 10 plus years and he knew that. And good idea with the ashes, to keep his memory alive, i still talk to my babies everyday. 

These first few weeks/months are by far the worst, especially in the morning and at night.....keep posting though, it truly helps and takes away the pain of knowing that you are not alone and so many others here truly understand and care.


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Yes first thing in a morning and crying myself to sleep are the worst times and people look strangely at you so I don't tell anyone only my husband we cry together
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I know how you feel. My Winnie was part lab, and she was 12 and a half. Within a week she of symptoms showing she was gone. She had cancer too. A big tumor above her back leg popped up almost overnight. She had started coughing up blood, trouble breathing, loss of appetite, and not herself. I took her on a couple days after her first sign of trouble, and found out there was a heart murmur and tumors all in her heart. She wasn't even fetching anymore or eating. She wasn't herself. We couldn't keep her alive and in pain. Almost overnight she was clearly not herself. All of this happened in just under a week! It was such a shock! She was my first dog. It's been just over four months since we let her go. I miss her everyday. It's so difficult. I have her ashes. I still talk to her. I'll never be the same.

Hugs to you for your baby. I know your pain.
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While your story is truly heart wrenching , it is such a beautiful tribute to your sweet boy. As I read your words it took me back to July 2 when we put our sweet Sadie out of her cancerous misery. Through your story you have genuinely related the depth of love you have for this lucky little guy. We got to see a little peek of Cojacks life through your words. What a great way to honor him.
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I know how you feel, cancer is a battle you can't win.  No matter what you do cancer winds out in the end.  Several years ago I took in a rescue shepherd, she had been badly abused before I got her.  I had her for less than five years, took her to the vet just for a regular checkup, she had lymphoma.  I to did not do chemo, took her home to care for her and said when she got sick I'd bring her back.  5 weeks to the day she was diagnosed I had to put her down.  Got up that morning and she was all bloated and having a hard time to breathe.  I brought her in and they told me she may live another day or two.  I didn't want her to suffer not being able to breathe and strangling by the lumps in her throat.  I had promised her my face was the last thing she'd see and I kept my promise to her, she died peacefully in my arms.  

I was the only human that ever showed this dog any love or attention and she bonded very closely and very quickly and I felt this dog never caught a break but at least she had five years with me where she got to live a decent life.  She had been kept in a crate for 18 months because the husband kept her only so the x wife couldn't take her.  What kind of a jerk abuses an animal just to get back at his x wife?  
He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion"
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Cancer does suck! I lost my Hitomi girl 15 days ago because of cancer. I unfortunately opted for the surgery because I was led to believe that she could still have a good quality of life. She lived for about three and a half hours later and passed on her own surrounded with her family and lots of love and tears. I will never forget her she was my baby. I dont know a whole lot about cancer, but I am hearing that more and more people and pets are dying from it. 
hitomi's mom
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