This is the hardest thing I've ever gone though so bear with me as I pour my heart out for a minute.  We have 2 papillons boys who are 12 & 13.  My 13 year old (Toby) was showing his age in the last few months.  Just slowing down in walking but still his usual great appetite.  We though it's just him showing his age.  He had a tooth abscess a little over a month ago and he went to the vet and had a complete teeth cleaning (under anesthesia) but woke up without problems & even came home with a great appetite.  The vet said (from the brief exam) that he seems to be doing fine.  We only take our boys to the vet when necessary (teeth cleanings, problems that arise which was not often).  I hate to say it but I'm not sure without gazillion tests what they can say about them anyway.  

Last Thursday I noticed he's panting more heavily but it was on and off.  He seemed to have a more restless night as I heard him coughing now and then.  On Friday morning, he was up looking at me get ready but had this empty look in his eye and no tail wagging as much as I tried to get a wag talking to him.  My husband was home with Toby and even took him for a short walk, he ate his food like normal but left a little in the bowl (which was unusual) but did his business outside.  His panting was not getting worse...but was on and off so we were trying to figure out when is the time to take him to the vet since we didn't see any other declining signs (unless we were just blind).  At 2pm, my husband left the house and Toby was in his bed calmly looking at him.  He arrives home at 4:30 to find him laying dead on the ground with his little brother barking at his side.  I arrive home 5 minutes later from work and find this horrific scene with my husband holding Toby and yelling his name.  I cannot get that image out of my head.  It's haunting me.  My boy was gone but the body was still warm.  His blue tongue was out and his eyes open. We're so distraught and filled with ridiculous amount of guilt that we weren't with him on his last few hours.  How could we have let him down like this after loving him for 13 years?!

We took Toby to his vet to be cremated late Friday evening and have been going crazy over the whole scenario.  Did we miss something?  How can he be gone within a couple days so quickly?  The vet mentioned that dogs do have heart attacks too and I'm hoping that's what it was and hope he went quickly without suffering.  I'm not sure had we had rushed him to the vet to be put down few hours before would have been better but at least we could have held him and whispered in his ear as he crossed over to the other side.  Seeing our boy sprawled on the ground is just a shock to our core.

Thank you to anyone who read this and has any words of wisdom.  I should mention that this was our first dog but he wasn't just a dog to us.  Our world revolved around him and his brother.  Good thing we have his brother to take care of now but the void is huge and the pain is even greater.  We've never gone through anything like this and didn't know what to expect.  Hopefully we're a little better prepared with our other boy when his time comes.  It's just so hard when they don't show the typical signs of end of life that I've read/researched online.
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Hi Papillonmom,
First let me say, I am so sorry for your loss! I can only imagine how awful that would have been to come home and find your precious boy gone! I lost my dog Bailey in November/15 and he was more like our child so I understand how terribly painful this is for you, your husband, and Toby's little brother. I guess the first thought that popped into my head was that Toby's little brother will be grieving for him as well and will need extra comfort right now. From what you have written it is obvious how much you loved both of your boys so I know you will be looking out for him. This was a terrible shock for all of you but sometimes despite our best efforts we just don't know... Animals hide their pain so well (a natural instinct from back in the day when they couldn't show weakness to predators) so unfortunately it makes it difficult for us to tell when there is something seriously wrong.
Bailey became really ill in Jan. 2014 - I woke up and noticed he was panting. (He always slept with us.) I (incorrectly) assumed he might have a chest infection and when I called my vet, she couldn't see him until 7:30PM that evening so I took that appointment. Bailey loved his walks but when I took him outside that morning, he just stood there so I realized he needed to be seen right away. My friend told me about her vet and I was able to get him in there at noon. I had to leave him there and he had an IV with a medicine that drains fluid. My husband met us there and the vet told us that Bailey was "in bad shape". We were shocked that he could get so sick so equickly - and we were so afraid we would lose him. Luckily, he came through it but if he had gone for his walk that day (as Toby did) I might have waited for the later appointment and it likely would have been too late. I feel so badly for you because you loved Toby (and his brother) so much. I think I was very lucky Bailey wouldn't go for his walk that morning - otherwise I might have lost him. I wish you would have had more signs - as I did.
You said you loved Toby for 13 years - so many animals never know that kind of love. Toby had a wonderful life - thanks to you and your husband! I know it's difficult to think that way right now because we tend to focus on everything we should have done or might have missed when we are in such deep grief - but at the end of the day, you gave this little dog a life filled with so much love and care and in time you will take comfort from that.
Again, I am so sorry for your terrible loss and the pain you are feeling.
Wishing you peace,
I just wanted to add that my friend has 2 papillons and they are beautiful, smart little dogs! Thinking of you...
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I am sorry you lost your beloved Toby! I agree with Bailey (MJ) Try to look at what you gave your boy - unconditional love for many years! It is so difficult when we lose our babies (and more so in your case because you wish you had been there) but Toby had a happy, long life with you and you and your husband , and his little brother, and you can be so proud of that!
Sending you hugs!
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I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved Toby. It is so hard to know what is wrong with them. They hide when they are not feeling well so good. You did everything you could. I know how heartbreaking it must of been to see him like that. I had to put my soft coated wheaten terrier Sadie down on feb 18th due to renal failure at 7 and a half years old. The last few days are all blurred together. I supposedly knew what to look for in end stage renal disease, as Sadie was on a lot of pills and sub q fluids daily. She seemed to be doing pretty good with this. Then she started getting unsteady on her feet. I thought maybe all the meds she was taking. Then she was slowing down. Again I thought maybe the meds. The night before we had to put her down she was breathing alittle heavier but did go to sleep. I woke up and heard some scratching on the hard wood floors. When I went to her she was having a hard time getting her hind end up. I screamed. My husband and son came running. I was inconsolable. She did get up and came to me and sat in front of me as if to say I am up. Oh well maybe I thought she just slipped. I took her to the vet in the morning. They ran blood tests etc. Her toxin levels were so high. She was dehydrated, anemic. Was possibly accumulating fluid in her lungs, yet she was still walking, wagging her tail and kissing us. There was nothing more that could be done. Her kidneys had totally failed.We took her home for a couple of hours. She rode home with her head out the window for a bit. She was able to say by to my neighbors and her best friend a st Bernard before we had to take her back and say goodbye.I still could not believe I could not tell how sick she was. Please don't beat yourself up. There was nothing you could of done. When it is their time to go, it is their time. Toby knew how much you loved him. He had his little brother their for comfort. He is at rainbow bridge waiting for you. I hope you can find some peace knowing Toby is living on his own terms. No disease . No pain. Running free with all our babies that we have lost. Talk often on the forum. It is a lifesaver. So much wisdom here. Sending you hugs.
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 So sorry for you. My Molly went suddently too with a stroke.  I was home with her and could do nothing to help or even comfort her.  Oddly enough she was up and walking which did not alert me to a stroke, even though I took her as fast as possible to the Vet.  Nothing to be done.  I too can't get that last scene out of my head andit was last Thansgiving so you are still very new at all of this. 

I won't retell my Molly's story here, this is your place to be comforted.  I just know exactly how you feel.  Not being able to say your goodbyes in a peaceful way.  That is what we all want.  Even if you had been there you might not have been able to say anything or comfort your baby like you wanted to be able to do.  I was with Molly but she was so terribly FRANTIC that I doubt she even heard me.

Please be good to yourself.  You loved that little one and that is all they ask of us.  There is no right or wrong way to go through this grief process and there sure isn't an easy way to do it.  I lost my heart and soul last Thanksgiving and I am still crying every single day for her.  Someone wiser than I am here said that sometimes we have "once in a lifetime pets" and it is just so very much harder.  No explanation for what makes one more special than another when they all give us unconditional love, but it happens and it HURTS so much worse. 

I have lost other pets, but nothing could have prepared me for this.  I wish you so much peace and sending you love and comfort.  Stay on this site of wonderful hurting people till you are ready to move on.  Everyone here understands your loss and wants to be able to say something to help you through this.  Again, I am so sorry you have that last vision stuck in your head.  I know I have one too and I don't think there is any way to make it go away, though we all try to replace it with happier ones and there are many of course. Take care
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So sorry to hear this. Please take no guilt in the passing of Toby. It is so natural to think, "What could I have done?"

Bottom line, you gave Toby a loving home. That is truly all one could ever hope to do. 
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I am so terribly sorry for your loss.  Everybody is right. Animals do hide their pain and sicknesses so well. I also thought Winston was slowing down because of old age. He was much slower, and panting harder and having trouble walking.  Those last few days were also a blur for me.  I took him to the vet  3 times in 2 weeks for various problems. I didn't have the money for all those tests. But he had a terrible cough and looked just miserable.  Drinking water by the gallons. Finally I made my decision. When we were in the room, the vet said to me "I can see he is suffering".  I layed next to him telling him I loved him and it would be alright.  When the assistant lowered his paws to the ground, and the vet said "he is at peace now. I sat up and I was hysterical screamin "Oh my God" over and over.  I couldnt catch my breath. I realize now I did the right thing by him.  I am happy I was with him at the end.  My heart aches for you that your baby passed while you and hubby were out.  But he had his lil brother with him.

I still feel guilty, and hate myself for not having enough money and not seeing the signs earlier.  May God Bless you and your husband.  Your baby is at peace now and with all our babies.
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Everything you are experiencing is NORMAL & It will pass as you go through the process.  Just allow yourself to express your emotions and you will feel better with time & you will realize you did everything you could & now he is no longer suffering.

My 5-yr-old Pekingese was NEVER sick & even had a complete workup 5 months previously and he suddenly became sick.  He was hospitalized several times over 2 weeks including surgery & after his death discovered he had a deadly form of cancer, hemangiosarcoma, that can result in immediate death.

I was devastated as he was always healthy.  So despite what we do to keep our pet in good health sometimes we cannot always control everything and as part of the grieving process we have to accept this.

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Thank you all for sharing your stories and comforting me.  It does help reading this.  I barely made it through work today through the tears.  The irony is...I'm a registered nurse so I'm beating myself up for not ensuring my sweet boy was comfortable and with me on his last day.  I always used to say we should treat humans the same as our pets on their dead beds focusing on quality instead of quantity.  I know Toby had a quality of life up until the last few days but I wish I could have helped him on his last few days.  Or at least never left the house and hugged him all day.  Oh the life lessons these little guys teach us...
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Thank you for sharing your story and the picture of Toby. Such a beautiful boy!!

I replied to your private message but wanted to reply here, as well.

I can't say anything that hasn't already been said. I don't have wisdom or words of comfort, but I know this... you are here because you love and miss Toby. That alone shows what a wonderful mommy you are!

All Toby wanted was to love - and be loved. He certainly had BOTH w/ you!!

Wishing you peace and comfort tonight, tomorrow... always.

Love and hugs... Casey's mommy
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It was exactly 1 week ago last Friday when I lost the love of my life, Toby.  The whole thing seems like such a quick decline.  It seems like just the other day he was his usual adorable/lovable self.  We're still distraught but trying to figure out a way to live in this different empty house.  Toby's daddy and I seem to have some sort of PTSD and haven't been able to leave his brother, Cooper, home alone for long.  He's probably getting annoyed at us for waking him up from his naps to make sure he's ok.  Cooper seems to be coping better than we'd thought and aside from picking up our depressed mood, he wags his tail and gets excited when we play with him.  Maybe being there when his brother died gave him closure?  Ironically, not being there when Toby died is still killing us inside.  The guilt is huge.  Wish I had picked up on those big brown eyes telling me something was wrong and not thinking he's just getting older.  Hope he forgives us.

LOVE you forever and always Tobster!

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My 11 y/o chihuahua-papillion Prince died on 12/2/15 of lymphoma. He was diagnosed in July. I tried chemo, because his type of lymphoma should have responded, but it didn't. I had just decided a few days before he passed, it was probably time to put him to sleep, he had lost so much weight. That day though, he seemed ok, I had to leave for a while to take my husband to the doctor. He had a seizure and died 5min before I got home. I was so upset, I was so mad, that I wasn't there. I know how you feel, I had no idea he was sick enough, that he was going to die that day, or else I would have stayed home. I was absolutely heartbroken I wasn't there. I don't have another dog, so I'm glad you do, maybe taking care of him will help some. Also I am a registered nurse too, and my husband had just had a kidney transplant and wasn't allowed to drive, so I had to take him, to have labs. If we had gone later, maybe I would have been there to hold him when he passed. He slept with me every night, since I got him, at 8 weeks and 1.6 lbs
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Oh fitchick1961, so sorry about your Prince.  Sounds like similar heartbreak and guilt.  Hope time heals our guilt.  I've had people tell me Toby went on his own terms, letting nature decide instead of me putting him down but I still would have liked to be with him.  But in hindsight I might have panicked and disturbed his peaceful passing (hopefully it was quick and peaceful).  I guess we'll never know and just have to accept and forgive ourselves.  Hope your husband's doing ok.  I used to work on a floor with transplant pts so I know there's a lot involved.  You had to drive him.  Maybe pets (like some people) know when to leave us so they don't hurt us as much.  I've had pts pass away as soon as the family members leave the room for a few minutes so it could be that similar thing.  At least that's what I keep telling myself...not that it helps the grieving but still...

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I am so glad that I have found this forum. I lost my 16 yr. old Maltese Casey on Friday. I had to make the choice to put her to sleep and I have been struggling with the guilt ever since. My vet assured me it was the right thing to do, but her changes happened so quickly that I wonder if I had not done it so quickly how much longer I would have had with her. She had slowed down, didn't want to go for walks, etc. I am devastated and am really trying to get through this. My vet has made me feel better but I can't get past the guilt. If any of you have comforting words for me and what you have been through, it will be greatly appreciated.
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I'm so sorry Cathy.  Even when they're older, the guilt is still awful.  Did we do the right thing?  I don't have much to say except I know how you feel.  My boy passed away kind of suddenly but in hindsight I feel like I may have been blind and not acted soon enough.  But keep in mind Casey would have wanted quality of life over quantity so maybe an extra week or month was possible but would she have been happy?   Keep posting in these forums and reading others' really is therapeutic to know you are not alone in your feelings.  Hugs!
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