Back in February my 14yr old Bichon was diagnosed with chronic renal failure. Creatinine was 1.7. Then a month later was 2.1 and stayed that way on a subsequent check-up about one month later. We began blood pressure meds to help perfuse her kidneys, which seemed to make her sleep more. I bought the Hills Diet Renal food which she ate for about one week, afterwards refusing to eat for two whole days. The Vet had said dogs typically don’t like it, which surprised me as she heartily ate it in the beginning. So rather than see her whittle away I gave her the Abound Natural dry food she would eat, and thought at least she’s getting some food down and let nature take it’s course.
Fast forward to July, this past Monday night she began throwing up in bed and went limp doing so. She came around and seemed better. I’d seen her eating leaves from a weed and thought she just had an upset tummy and I rested her bowels the next day with no food but just the little water she would drink. Later that day she went limp dry heaving and I ran her to the Vet. Her bun(blood urea nitrogen, waste not being expelled by the kidneys) was about 88 and her creatinine was 3.1. Her hemoglobin was super low at 5(about 1/4th of what it should be). The Vet suggested hospitalizing her for 24 hours to watch her and give IV fluids, and watch her urine output, no blood, at a cost of $2,600 with no guarantee it would help. Given her age and that kidney failure would eventually take her and I’d likely be back in a few weeks to address the same issue, I decided to take her home with anti-nausea meds and stay with her until she passed. She neither ate nor drank again. She would have a couple or restless moments each day but otherwise slept or laid quite with her eyes looking around. Friday she began to bark/yelp a bit which lasted a few seconds and back to quiet when laid in her crate. Friday night while in bed with me she yelped more loudly and began dry heaving. I knew I couldn’t watch her suffer like this anymore and took her to the Vet to be put to sleep. I’d hoped she’d just pass in her sleep and euthanasia wouldn’t be something I’d have to choose. She passed Saturday morning at 12:10am.
My guilt and remorse stems from being a nurse, I should have thought to look for home cooked renal recipes and try some to see if she’d eat them. I’ve since found online videos of renal recipes. One woman had an 18yr old dog who’d ALWAYS been feed home cooked food. It was too easy to say “Let nature take it’s course” and “Give her what she wants,” if she won’t eat the prescribed diet. Secondly, I had the $2,600, which I’d now GLADLY pay to relieve my guilt for not doing EVERYTHING possible or within my power. At the time I felt it was simply futile because she’d be right back with the same issue. The definition of euthanasia is to permit the death of “the hopelessly sick.” She wasn’t without hope, and this is now my cross to bear.

God Bless You Sophie
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I am very sorry for your loss of your beautiful Sophie. It is normal to feel guilty and have regrets. It is clear that you loved Sophie and did what you thought was best. Sadly very few dogs die peacefully in their sleep.

There are many understanding and compassionate people here who understand what you are going through. It can help to share your thoughts, pictures and stories about Sophie.

My condolences,
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I’m sorry to read this, it is the most heart wrenching decision to make. Please don’t second guess yourself, you made that decision thinking of was best for your Sophie. I kept praying that Hutchy would pass in his sleep, so I wouldn’t have to make that decision. It was the hardest thing I have ever done.
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I'm so sorry for your loss. My heart aches with yours as I also struggle with "what ifs". We do the best we can at the time in the best interest of our babies. Even if the decision seems to be the wrong one, we do the best we know how at the time.
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I am so sorry for your loss. I think most of us have some guilt and regret for things we could have done better. I know I did and do...but...we loved our fur baby and the is the greatest gift we can give them . Along with that we did the best we could. There are things I know now that I didn't know when Maddie was ill and I beat myself up for a long time. Having said that I have never regretted taking Maddie to the vet that final day as I did it because I loved her so much and didn't want her to suffer..Just like you did for your pup.. She is pain free now.  sending you love...Judylinn
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She's a beautiful puppy dog, and I'm very sorry that you're going through this - "What if..." is horrible in these situations.  We keep wracking our brains wondering what we could've done differently, but we do the best we know how with the information that we have because we love our babies.  Your story definitely shows your love for Sophie.  Something to ask yourself is what her quality of life would have been had you hospitalized her and home-cooked her food.  It really reads to me like you put your beautiful girl firstly and foremostly, doing your best based on what you knew and the information you had at the time.  I know that doesn't make your decision less agonizing, but hopefully it'll help to at least take the edge off.  I'm just as guilty of what-if as the next person here; one of our damn cats (we have four now, and they're all "You damn cat!" at various times), Felix, had a chronic and incurable gum disease from 3 years old until we helped him cross the bridge in June.  We had some teeth extracted, we kept him on antibiotics and steroids, we puréed his already-wet food during the final couple of months...and it wasn't enough.  He was miserable and we didn't have the money for more effective treatments.  What if we'd had the money?  What if we'd done a better job of administering antibiotics?  Would a different antibiotic have helped?  Could we have done anything differently that would've kept him with us and improved his quality of life?

You're an amazing person - you loved an animal more than yourself, and you did everything for her.  There's no shortage of amazing people on these forums, and I hope that you can find some comfort in their comments.  You're a wonderful doggie Dad.
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