GrievingHannah
Last Monday (February 3), my wife and I euthanized our beloved mini-dachshund, Hannah, after a month-long illness that our vet believed was cancer.

Hannah was 14 1/2 and had a difficult but pampered life.  She was paralyzed four times from herinated discs in her neck and lower back. After two life-threatening surgeries at the Veterinary Emergency Hospital in Pittsburgh (they were terrific), she was left with three disabled legs.

03.jpg Our Hannah in better times. My wife had just returned home from a beach vacation with her girlfriends...Hannah obviously missed her.

My wife and I were always thankful that she could walk, albeit weakly and sometimes very unsteadily. Before her first surgery in 2006, the vet at Pittsburgh gave her a less-than-10% chance of ever walking again and asked me if I wanted to go ahead with surgery because of the great expense. Both my wife and I were teachers (we're retired now) and we made a good living, but we are not rich.  I asked if there was more than a 0% chance, and the vet said yes, so I asked him to operate (surgeries like this cost a lot of money, but my wife and I don't regret one penny).

After we got her home, we had to take her to our local vet to have her bladder expressed (for nearly two weeks until she finally peed in her bed on her own).  We worked with her for what seemed like an eternity on physical therapy. There was no movement and no obvious reaction to deep pain. We had barricaded her in the kitchen, but, one night, she broke threw the baby gates and dragged herself to the foot of the stairs and barked to be with us.  We knew then that she had a very strong spirit and was determined to be mobile. I always admired her determination.

Then, one day, when we walked into the kitchen, she wagged her tail and we knew that she would walk again. Not well, but she got around. In 2008, she was paralyzed again....this time on her right side. Another surgery, more physical therapy, the same sort of agonizingly slow return to walking, but her right-front leg was now disabled.

We resorted to a matrix of throw rugs in the kitchen and living room because she would slip on tile and hardwood and not be able to get up. But Hannah was courageous and never let her disabilities get in her way. 

So yes, Hannah was a very special dog. She had attributes that I can only aspire to. But now she is gone, and I can't stop crying.  I see her everywhere, and I can only remember how sick she was in the end.

Our vet euthanized Hannah in her bed in our kitchen. While I knew in my heart that we were ending her suffering, I also knew that I was losing one of the best friends I ever had. My sense of loss overwhelms my sense that we did the right thing for her, so, as you can probably sense, I'm in a very bad place right now.

I will never get over losing her. Hannah was the best, and life seems so empty without her.  I am inconsolable right now, but a friend suggested I come here for support. I just don't know if I can ever overcome my grief.

Thanks for understanding.

Lee
Lee (Mack's and Hannah's and Heidi's and Janie's dad)

Fragile Circle

"We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached.
Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way.
We cherish memory as the only certain immortality,
never fully understanding the necessary plan."

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FrecklesMom
I am so sorry for your loss of Hannah. What a wonderful gift you were given to have 14 1/2 years with such a sweet girl. I lost my dog, Freckles, 12/27/13 after a short but horrible illness called IMHA. He was only 5 1/2. I understand your grief. I wish there were words of wisdom I could say to make you feel better. It does get better with time. It will take a long time for me. I know you totally understand you did the right thing but it just doesn't make it any easier. I like to think Freckles is having so much fun in Heaven running around, healthy, in the sun with his tongue hanging out. Maybe he and Hannah are enjoying the sunshine together. I still cry almost everyday. At least it isn't all day anymore. I miss him so much.  I did the same thing with the rugs on my tile kitchen floor for Freckles during his illness. He could walk but just barely.

Hannah knew how much you loved her. She fought to be with you as long as she could. That is wonderful. What a beautiful mini-dachshund she was. Try to remember all the wonderful times you and your wife had with Hannah.

The grieving process is different for everyone. Take all the time you need. Sometimes it is good to just scream and cry and get it all out. Which I have done on more than a few occasions.

At the end of the day please remember Hannah loved you and knew you loved her. What a gift.

((((HUGS))))
 
FrecklesMom

I will Love you forever sweet boy.
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GrievingHannah
Thank you so much for your thoughtful response.  You are very, very kind.

Lee
Lee (Mack's and Hannah's and Heidi's and Janie's dad)

Fragile Circle

"We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached.
Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way.
We cherish memory as the only certain immortality,
never fully understanding the necessary plan."

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GrievingHannah
I shared the following with my vet (I found it on the Internet).  I'm sure it's appeared already on this Web site, but it's worthy of repeating it:

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.

Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, “I know why.”

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. He said, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life – like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?”

The six-year-old continued, “Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”
Lee (Mack's and Hannah's and Heidi's and Janie's dad)

Fragile Circle

"We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached.
Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way.
We cherish memory as the only certain immortality,
never fully understanding the necessary plan."

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FrecklesMom
Isn't that the truth. I have seen this before and I think it is so true. Thank you for sharing it with all of us.
FrecklesMom

I will Love you forever sweet boy.
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phoebegirl
Thank you for sharing, that was beautiful!
Phoebegirl's Mom

always in my heart... never to be forgotten. xoxoxoxoxo
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noel2010
That was really beautiful. <3 I recently lost my best friend as well and the grieving process has been really hard. Your post was really touching. I could see the love through out the whole post and could see just how amazing she was. She put up a great fight surrounded by people that loved her. Isn't that what we all want? To have a life full of love and support? You get to carry in your heart the experiences of having such an amazing best friend. It's okay to cry, it's okay to miss her. But never forget she loved you and her determination came from those around her that uplifted her every step of the way.
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MaryH75
06692baa10cab541ae425ca888c31520Dogs teach us.jpg 
Sending so much sympathy and ? to you with the passing on of your Hannah!
I'm so sorry! It is really heart breaking.
You went through so much together with the paralysis and disability & everything; I know its so hard to  watch your pet being in that way; I think it makes us love then even more when they had these health issues too; it makes us more protective & careful of them. 
 It happened to my cat Luigi also; he had severe back problems that
led to him being paralyzed over-night. It happened once in May but with anti-inflammatories and pain killers he fought back over the course of a few days but then last September it was a different story & the pain was off the scale for him so we had to part ways for the time being. He's in Gods hands now!
Thank you for posting that short story; I hadn't heard of it but I did see this picture I've posted that reminded me of this story! (I think it applies to good cats also ;) )
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GrievingHannah
Thanks so much to everyone who posted...Mary, Noel, Phoebegirl's Mom, and FrecklesMom.  I now understand why my friend directed me to this Web site.  So much kindness and understanding. 

Thank all of you for supporting and helping me.

Lee
Lee (Mack's and Hannah's and Heidi's and Janie's dad)

Fragile Circle

"We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached.
Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way.
We cherish memory as the only certain immortality,
never fully understanding the necessary plan."

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Pippismom
Your story was so touching and your son's insight is truly remarkable. I agree with him one hundred percent. All animals really ask for is unconditional love. I know what your going through. Two and a half weeks ago I had to euthanize my 14 year old Yorkie due to a series of illnesses. She was my best friend from the time I got her when she was seven weeks old. She saw me through the last couple of years when my life kind of fell apart but I knew in the end it was her time. I held her as the doctor injected her and her passing was very peaceful. I cry everyday usually at night because I live by myself and the house is way too quiet. Eventually I will probably get another dog but no one will ever take Pippi's place. I know she is at Rainbow Bridge and that she is finally not in pain anymore. I kept her alive for my own selfish reasons. I just couldn't let her go. I finally allowed her to fly away but coming to peace with that breaks my heart. You have come to the right site. Everyone here is do supportive of one another. If you get a chance go into a chat room. I did that a couple of nights ago and it was so refreshing to talk to people who did not just view their pet as a pet, but as a member of your family. Let the grief process take you where it may and remember you have a support network here.
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GrievingHannah
Thanks so much, Pipismom.

I know I need support because I am having difficulty with everyday life.  I'm sure I'm dealing with depression in addition to my grief. I usually have a good sense of humor, but laughing has not been something I've done since I lost my Hannah.

For the last six months of her life, I had to crawl on my hands and knees to help her to walk and posture to go to the bathroom.  Such a commitment took its toll on my physical (I'm 66), emotional, mental, and spiritual well being.  But now there is a huge hole in my life because I am no longer a caretaker.

So I'm certain you can understand why I feel so lost.

Thanks again for caring and for your very kind words.

Lee
Lee (Mack's and Hannah's and Heidi's and Janie's dad)

Fragile Circle

"We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached.
Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way.
We cherish memory as the only certain immortality,
never fully understanding the necessary plan."

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heartsick
Dear Lee -
I am so sorry you lost your beautiful Hannah.
You can see the love flowing straight from her eyes
in that precious picture you posted. Grief - especially
the searing pain of raw new grief - is the worst thing.
Please know we are all in this together and that
you are never alone.

I am so very sorry for the loss of your sweet precious little Hannah.

Grief is awful and there is nothing else like this pain.

I am divorced - when I was married I buried my son- at that time I became a Certified Grief Counselor- I used the same graveside service for my Bear as I did for my son.

Please know that when we lose someone we love we don't stop loving them -

 LOVE NEVER DIES.

The soul bound connection that is between our babies and ourselves is forever.

Nothing - not death- tears -grief - or sadness will ever break the ties between us for those ties are made of LOVE so strong that NOTHING will ever sever those connections.

LOVE NEVER DIES.

When we grieve for those we love it is because we do not quite know how to live without them. We breathe because we have no choice but the living part takes a huge amount of learning and time.

Grief is not something we get over but something that we learn -slowly- over time- to incorporate into our lives until it becomes a part of us like our bones and our breath.

Please know that we all understand here and we are all here for you.

We are all in this together and all walking the same roller coaster path of grief together -

some a bit ahead of you, some by your side, and some will come behind for you to help along.

Grief takes time. It usually takes the whole first year of “firsts” without them to take a true deep breath again. Be kind to yourself. None of this is easy.

I am here for you.

We are all here for you and we care about you and we understand.

You Are In My Thoughts.                                      

Susan(heartsick)

 

 

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layla13
I am so sorry for the loss of your precious Hannah.  You showed her so much kindness and gave so much of yourself to her.  Please know she loves you. 
I was crying so much for my elderly cat named Kitty who I had to have put to sleep on Sat.
I had gotten some beautiful flowers and put them in a vase in the snow in one of her favorite spots in the yard.
This helped me.  You could make a little memorial to Hannah in your yard.  Put flowers there or whatever you think she would like.
What I realized after I put the flowers there, I felt some peace--I realized I have love now on the other side.  It is the same with you. Hannah loves you and she has passed away but she still loves you--death does not destroy this.  You gave her so much because you were meant to have this love, the kind of love that never dies.  My prayers are with you.  I understand the pain. 
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GrievingHannah
Dear Layla,

Such a beautiful reply. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, even though it's broken.

My wife and I planted a peony for Heidi, our 16 1/2 year-old mini-dachshund who died in 2007 (see Heidi and Hannah below).  This spring, we will plant another flowering perennial for Hannah.

And you're right, it does give us a sense of peace about Heidi.  I hope and pray we can get the same sense of peace with Hannah. She was a very special dog.02.jpg That's Heidi on the left, and our dear Hannah on the right.

Heidi's ears never developed because she was  not nourished as a pup.  When we drove up to look at Heidi, we knew we were in a puppy mill.  Four of Hannah's siblings (there were five in the litter) died because their mother kept moving them and seldom fed them.  I know that we shouldn't buy a puppy from a mill, but I was convinced she would die if I didn't intervene.  Heidi had a good, long life, and we loved her dearly. We grieved for Heidi, but we had to keep going for Hannah. 

Hannah's struggles and disabilities made her very, very special, which is why her death is so difficult for us. That, and now the house is deafeningly quiet. I hope all of this makes sense.

At any rate, thank you for being so kind.

Still heartbroken and inconsolable,

Lee              




Lee (Mack's and Hannah's and Heidi's and Janie's dad)

Fragile Circle

"We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached.
Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way.
We cherish memory as the only certain immortality,
never fully understanding the necessary plan."

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GrievingHannah
Dear Susan,

Thank you so much for caring and for helping me through this. Your words are very comforting.

Lee
Lee (Mack's and Hannah's and Heidi's and Janie's dad)

Fragile Circle

"We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached.
Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way.
We cherish memory as the only certain immortality,
never fully understanding the necessary plan."

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