grievingmama

To anyone who actually reads this and responds, thank you so much. I need to get this off my heart...

Over the past 3 years I've had to say goodbye to 3 fur-kids, 2 senior cats to kidney disease and now my absolute rock, my 13 yr old dog who has been with me since 8 weeks old. It has been just over 3 weeks and I'm wracked with guilt/second guessing myself not to mention the intense grief/loss of my best friend. Saying goodbye was not expected, not yet. I had hope...until literally overnight, I didn't.

My experience with euthanasia decisions has always been made at the "no doubt" end of life. Perhaps with both my cats I waited to long, doing sub q's/palliative care at home etc, but I never had to question my choice in the end. With my dog it was different, it was fast, scary, without any support and in the end I was left in an emergency situation, alone, trying to do right by my best friend. I fear I failed him. 

My dog was a brachycephalic mix (pugxboston) and we had battled minor health issues his whole life - allergies, eye ulcers, trach cough, hip dys by 6 yrs but we figured things out together and he was healthy, strong as a tank and full of love all his life. 2 years ago his coughing got worse. For a year I was in and out of the regular vet office almost weekly. We tried antibiotics, puffers, I bought hepa purifiers, removed every irritant possible, had my Hvac cleaned, ripped out all carpet, nothing helped. After 1yr he was referred to a specialist at a top hospital. He underwent a bronchoscopy, diagnosis = chronic bronchitis. He was put on more drugs, that's when things started downhill. By December the lcough was 24/7, the prednisone was increased and the cough just got insanely worse. He also started losing balance in his hind end, but it wasn't his arthritis, it was almost like he was dizzy, he would just fall backwards, then his front legs started getting tired from carrying his weight and he would fall forward. Then his GI went nuts. Jan = back to the vets, more meds but now for his GI. By Feb after multiple attempt with diff meds he wouldn't eat, passed bloody mucus, mobility was failing, he had loud grumbling and stomach pains. Back and forth from vets, no answers - my vet literally just shook his head and said "this isn't good". For 3 months I hand fed, stayed up cradling him through the nights, carried him outside for potty breaks at all hours, researched vet studies constantly and kept pushing for a diagnosis - I was not losing my dog to diarrhea. March they did an ultrasound at the hospital, found a liver mass (but couldn't get to it to confirm anything) and his small intestines were inflamed - still no answers or improvement. I had had enough and insisted we taper him off the drugs that never helped his breathing and seemed to just make him worse (turns out they were all known to cause GI issues too). April he was hungry (starving all the time), finally eating reg food again and stool back to normal (yeah, we did it!) - except, his hind end mobility was worse (I used a support sling most days) and he was now blind, losing his hearing and seemed to have some minor neuro symptoms (meh, he was an old boy, we got this).  A short lived happiness, May he was drinking and peeing A LOT. I insisted they run the blood tests again, he was down 20% of his body weight but eating tons! Tests came back - diabetes - 2 days in ER. He came home and I had hope, finally had a diagnosis and treatment! I did his first curve a week later, his blood sugar was so high all day the meter couldn't even read it. His specialist was not happy and increased his insulin, next curve due in a week. That was Wed AM, then...during the night he started coughing up some blood and clots, I tried not to panic, he was stable. Thursday was spent on the phone with vets - his specialist said "at this age and point I highly suspect cancer". All vets offices were booked until the following week because of covid backlog. The emerg was at capacity, they could take him but had minimal staff, I spoke at length with triage - if he was stable I could bring him in the morning when more staff would be in and could see him sooner. I had 2 choices - take him back to the ER and leave him alone (thanks covid) for them to start all the diagnostics AGAIN and cross my fingers he didn't have an emerg while there when I couldn't be with him...or, call the hospice vet to come to my home and help me say good bye. I have no idea why after years of doing heroic caregiving I called that hospice vet, it's like my gut instincts took over my emotional ones. I Friday with my boy, letting him eat as much as he wanted and ignoring the "only food every 12hrs" diabetes regime, we went for a good walk (of course he suddenly had the energy to go without a sling and even roll in the grass once). He was bright, alert and...still coughing up blood. He was tired and napping when the vet arrived he never even knew. I held him in my arms with his fav toy and said good bye. Then I lost it and have cried every day since. 

I just can't wrap my head around it now. The hospice vet said it was the right decision as did my regular vet (after the fact stating my boy had been "sick for a very long time"). But why after so many months of providing 24/7 care all by myself and fighting for answers/treatment, after him making it through 3 months of massive GI issues and 2 recent days in ER and coming home for less than 1.5 weeks, did this happen? Diabetes can be managed, chronic bronchitis can be managed, the unknown GI issue we were miraculously managing for a month now. None cause lung bleeding. He had SO MANY tests already and recently, how could he just suddenly be sick...cancer wth?! I was afraid to take him back to the hospital and put him through the type of testing he would need to confirm this newest illness (being put under for a lung sample, MRI or CT's, more xrays - when his breathing was already double compromised). And I felt like putting him through that just to confirm a cancer diagnosis at his age and in his condition, would have only been to validate a decision for myself to let him go..and we needed time to get his diabetes regulated, what would happen to his poor weak little body until that happened?...but what kills me the most, he was eating (albeit literally starving to death because of malabsorption) and he still enjoyed slow walks and he still loved on people, he still occasionally found and chewed his fav worn out toy and begged for a treat...he was still him, just a weaker thinner more bad days than good chronically ill version. I promised to give him the best life possible...I pray I did right by him...I just don't know... 

#heartbroken 

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GEMINIXX69
I feel like you did right by him. You gave him the best care and he had 13 wonderful years on this earth, thanks to you. I can understand second guessing yourself, but I'm sure everyone here would agree that you did the right thing, as hard as it was/is.  He had the honor of crossing over peacefully in the place he was most comfortable...at home in your arms.  Looking back, I wish I had let my 9 year old healthy (up to the end) baby pass at home but I took her to the vet and left her overnight, thinking I would be bringing her home the next day. She didn't make it. She died alone, wondering why I left her. And I can't forgive myself for that. So please take comfort in knowing that your little angel felt safe, secure, and loved, right until his last breath.  I would give anything to go back in time.  Prayers for you....
Linda L.
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SnoopsGirl
Oh how I understand your post.  We both share very similar stories and very similar feelings..  I am so sorry for your loss, and while I know it won't help - you did the right thing.  You loved him so fully, you chose to let him go in peace.  There was no cure for your friend, and while you may have extended his life a few weeks/months they would not have been his best.  I also let my beloved go on Easter and feel I made a snap decision after years of diagnostics.  My heart is angry, but my head (on some days) knows I did the right thing.

I wish you peace.
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grievingmama
" My heart is angry, but my head (on some days) knows I did the right thing". This statement is the daily battle I'm fighting and my broken heart wants to win. I keep closing my eyes every night and remembering his snores and dream whimpers, my home is so quiet now. I miss his big eyes, his little wobble trot as he searched (blindly) for me in each room and then excitedly found me, his obsession with kisses. My soul hurts :( 
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