Branny
Lost my girl on Wednesday. Had to have her pts at 14 years of age. This time a fortnight ago she was fine and now i have lost her and it's just the latest in a chain of sad events that have blighted our family for the last 12 years. Our yellow Labrador Sasha was originally handed in to a rescue centre as a pup and adopted by my Parents when she was a year old. I formed a strong bond with her on my weekly visits to their home and used to exercise her. As my parents health began to fail, my visits were the only exercise she was having and she began to gain weight. In December 2015, my Wife and I took our 8 year old daughter to Lapland for 4 days. While we were there, both my parents passed away which left me with a dilemma regarding Sasha. Ideally I wanted to keep her but as my Wife and I both worked full time, we would have to leave Sasha for long periods which wasn't an option. My Mother in law saved the day and offered to look after Sasha on the days we both worked. We had her checked by the vet and she was in good health apart from being overweight but was showing early signs of arthritis in her hind legs. We managed to get 5kg off her and increased her exercise and she enjoyed life and never saw a vet while in our care apart from regular checks and vaccinations. The Saturday before last my daughters friend was visiting her Grandparents who live a couple of doors away so they were playing in their front garden. My Wife was stood at the front door and Sasha appeared by her side. She spotted next doors cat and leapt up and over the two doorsteps and hurt her front right paw. We took her to the emergency vet on the Sunday and they said she hadn't broken anything. They gave her a morphine injection, three days dosage of tramadol and a weeks worth of metacam. On the Monday morning she was walking far better. Pretty much as soon as she had completed her treatment she began struggling with her hind legs to the extent that i had to lift her. The longer she was down, the more unstable she became when she was on her feet. On the Tuesday she managed to get to her feet unaided whilst i was out at work but fell and injured her front leg again so I left work early on the Wednesday morning and took her to the emergency vet again. The injury to her front leg he suspected was a fracture and in all likely hood was micro fractures. No guarantees with regards to surgery plus her weight (45kg) and age were against her so the heartbreaking decision was made. It was so difficult because she was still eating and drinking but she was in pain because her Lab personality diminished. Her interest in her toys and shoes had gone and her metronome like tail was wagging far less. The house is so quiet without her and i really miss her. I can't help thinking that this was so avoidable and she'd still be with us.
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Jan_H
I am so very sorry for your loss of sweet Sasha. Clearly she was very much loved by her extended family.

There are many compassionate and understanding people here. I hope we can help you through this difficult time.

Jan
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Branny
Thank you Jan. She was such a lovely natured girl and we helped each other through the dark times when we lost our Mum and Dad. I'm heartbroken.

Steve
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Ceceliadempsey3
So so sorry for your loss. What a good pet parent you are!!
Hope you find some peace at this very difficult time! The feeling of loss is still very fresh with me. May29 my dog went to Rainbow Bridge 😩💔
Thinking’ of you
Cecelia
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Ceceliadempsey3
What a beautiful dog!! My dog helped me get through the loss of both my parents. My mom just passed 3 months before I had to put my beloved Thatcher down. Taking one day at a time and will have beautiful memories to cherish always!!
Cecelia
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Branny
So sorry Cecelia. You haven't had it easy with so much heartbreak in a short space of time. Sasha gave us so much in the three and a half years we had her. She was given a new lease of life when she came to us. She was rarely alone and came on holidays with us. The above picture was taken on what turned out to be her last with us at Centerparcs last October. Between May 2017 and January 2018 my Father in law was terminally ill with lung cancer and Sasha effectively became a therapy dog as he always perked up when she was around and she wouldn't leave his side until we were leaving to go home. My 11 year old daughter has suffered the loss of three Grandparents and her first pet in the space of three and a half years. She has taken Sasha's loss better than I have. She's going to be one strong lady. We had just booked our first family holiday abroad since Lapland and my Mother in law was looking forward to having Sasha for the ten days. Both her and my Wife haven't taken it well.

Steve
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Branny
I did some research on Metacam last night after something i read on here triggered my curiosity. I found a case elsewhere of a St Bernard that suffered the same hind leg weakness after taking it. Another website has common side effects listed as muscle weakness and loss of co-ordination. The paperwork provided with the drug doesn't though. I am starting to feel that her reaction to this drug was the catalyst.
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Ceceliadempsey3
I’m so so sorry about Sasha. It seems you did everything you could to help. It’s so horrible when right before our eyes they change for the worse. My heart breaks for you and your family and all the losses you have endured. I wish I could take your pain away. Sending good vibes to you and your family that soon you will soon find some peace.
Cecelia
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Branny
I was at my lowest point on Sunday and Monday. Had so much going on from leaving her for the last time on Wednesday through to Saturday that I don't think it really hit home until Sunday. Monday morning i should have been working. I got to the bus stop and when I saw the bus coming i just broke down and couldn't face it. I just shut down and grieved for the two days. No interest in anything.

I'm finding it hard to deal with how quiet the house is. She was far from noisy but i miss her sounds. Gulping down her food in the morning, hearing her drinking, her claws when she walks, her snoring, her dreaming... One sound i do still have is the jangling of her name tag on her collar. I've been walking some of the routes we used to go on walks and take her collar with me for comfort.

We picked her ashes up yesterday and it's the first time all three of us have returned home as a family and out of habit i threw the front door open while we emptied the car. I always did this and Sasha would come to greet us, tail wagging and carrying the nearest footwear available.

She's back home now and in her favourite place where her bed was. My Wife has placed two of her toys there too and left her favourite sqeaky cup cake where her bowls used to be.

Today is the first day I've been home alone and again went for a walk to one of her favourite places to get out of the house. Her hairs are still cropping up everywhere and long may it continue. There are some on the base of a speaker next to where her bed was and i doubt i will ever clean them off. The weight I've been carrying around on my chest and the lump in my throat are lessening but I refuse to let her spirit die.She is with me forever.

Steve
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AZTiger98
I'm so sorry for your loss.

It's never easy, is it?  I lost my baby girl, Stormy, a year ago this past May, and things still seem so different.  Like Sasha with you, Stormy got me through a lot of rough things going on with me over the years I had her, and now I feel like I'm fumbling in the dark - although I have other pets, and they're cuddly and friendly and warm, it's still obvious to my mind that there's still a hole left by Stormy's passing. 

I can tell you that it definitely takes time to get over.  In many ways, I'm way past where I was this time last year.  But I still notice myself panicking when mementos go missing, and it's almost like I'm paralyzed until they show back up. 

Take your time - this is a good place to be.  I honestly don't know what I would've done without the people here.

David
David

Daddy to beloved fur baby Stormy
08/2003 - 05/19/18
Stormy’s Residency https://www.rainbowsbridge.com/residents/STORM059/Resident.htm
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Branny
Hi David.

Cherish your other pets. Honour Stormy by giving them the love that you had for her. I am almost 52 and tomorrow will be 11 days without a dog in our family which is the longest during my lifetime. Unfortunately, present circumstances mean that we are unable to get another dog to give my love to at this time.

I'm still struggling to get my head around how we went from having a senior Labrador that was still active and enjoying life on the 22nd of June to having to be put to sleep on 3rd of July. She came to us in December 2015 and we had her checked over. The vet has said the same thing for the last three annual visits about muscle loss at the rear and early signs of arthritis. In the early months of 2016 she did show some stiffness in the mornings but we put that down to an increase in exercise and gave her joint supplements to help. As her fitness increased and weight came down we stopped giving her the tablets and she showed no adverse effects. She had slowed down a bit but even at 14 the appetite for her daily 20 minute walk was still there.

After her initial injury, the morphine injection and tramadol did the trick. I now doubt that her problems with her back legs were anything to do with the metacam. My Wife never gave her any and i only administered it twice.

I have this nagging "what if" thought that won't go away. As I said she was struggling to get to her feet on the Saturday, a full week after the initial injury to her front leg having not had a problem for the previous six days. I was helping her using towels to support her but the longer she was down, the more unsteady she was when she stood. On the Monday and Tuesday I was at work and my Wife couldn't lift Sasha as she was recovering from surgery. On Tuesday afternoon she managed to get Sasha into the garden and Sasha lay down on the lawn. When my Wife erected our rotary washing line , Sasha got to her feet unaided and walked around the side of the house. This was where she had the fall which resulted in the fatal injury.

When we got to the emergency vet Sasha was wheeled in on a gurney and straight through for the vet to examine. A Nurse came to the waiting area and asked what Sasha's situation was so I told her the full story. A few minutes later the vet called us in and asked "How far do you want to take it?" he mentioned that they have problems with elbow dysplasia, that she probably had micro fractures and if a surgeon opened her up he may find four or five and if he did a full scan he would probably find more things wrong with her. At this point I told him that up until the accident and for six days after she had been fine and was still eating, drinking and doing her business. . He said there's no right or wrong answer. Her age and weight (45kg) meant that she may not survive the surgery (I've since read that the percentage of deaths relating to anaesthesia are ridiculously low and her conditions would just need to be managed properly). The vet then said that their would be no guarantee that surgery would fix it and if it was his dog he wouldn't put her through it. At this point my Wife burst into tears and said "Let her go". I was in shock and reluctantly agreed but looking back it just felt that this vet had decided that she was 14 and wasn't worth saving.He basically didn't look beyond her injured front leg. I'll never have a definitive answer of if there were any other issues. Maybe she had tried to compensate for the injury and her back legs just couldn't cope but I'll never know. You trust a vet to help you make the right decision and I'm not sure that i have on this occasion. I think at the very least I should have got a second opinion. .

Steve
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Memories_of_Marmalade

Hi Steve, 

I am very sorry for what you and your family have had to deal with and your recent loss of your beloved dog "Sasha."

I too had to put down my dear friend recently, a cat named "Marmalade." He was believed to be around 13 or 14 years old. A stray that I had adopted. I have been researching, researching and researching Veterinary Science, before, during his seemingly endless treatments and after him passing on, to try and come to terms with my final, fatal decision to have him put to sleep. My best friend. My son. My brother. My only remaining family. The light of my life.  

One piece of information I obtained (which you probably already know, but it is worth discussing) that I felt was somewhat comforting, was how we humans positively impact the natural lifespan of our pets. Simply by providing them with shelter (against natural predators and the weather / elements), regular feedings, access to water, trips to the Vet's (and possible medication and treatment) and love & affection (which contributes to their overall well-being.) We can double, triple and often even quadruple a pets natural lifespan. BUT, our pet's are not biology engineered to live, as long as we expect them to. We scratch our heads and ask ourselves how can this be happening, when our pet's were never designed to live as long as they do.

In the wild, cat's only live 2 to 5 years on average. Where as a dog (which is higher up the food chain than a cat due to their size etc.) can live 10 years on average in the wild. So although it may not seem like a dog that is 7 to 10 years is "old", they are in fact already technically old. And any year after 10 for a dog, is a bonus, lifespan wise. I say this not to try to comfort you with your beloved "Sasha" only living 14 years, what I mean to say is her lifespan was already significantly extended by your family's love of her and taking good care of her so well. So in the end, her advance age DID in fact, contribute to her starting to psychically breakdown and how rapidly it occured.

It is frustrating to read of pets living to 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 and even 20 years of age when we think of the pet's we have lost who were younger. But the truth is, statistically, it is not as common as one would think. And Vet's and Animal Hospitals know this full-well. They tend to cash-out in the final days, weeks and months of a pet's demise as the pet parents are ridden with anxiety, fear and guilt. I'm not saying ALL Vet's and Animal Hospitals. I'm saying a very high % of them. There are consistent examples of this posted and shared on this Grief Forum of of this being the case. It is the sad truth of things. 

I took my "Marmalade" to 4 Vet's (and 2 Animal Hospitals) locally, in a span of just 1 year. He had 2 invasive surgical procedures. I spent in excess of $3500 (not that the money mattered.) So I not only got a 2nd opinion, I obtained a 3rd and 4th opinion. And none of that mattered in the end. He was examined, tested, poked, prodded, cut, stitched-up, administered all kinds of medications and was either misdiagnosed or not diagnosed, by all 4 Vet's. And for the record, anesthesia is never a sure thing. There are numerous examples of pet's dying while under anesthesia and my cat had an apparent stroke while under anesthesia. He was maimed afterwards.

So when you 2nd guess yourself? please try and take all of the above into consideration. Your Grand Dame "Sasha" DID lead a very, very full and loving life. And she was cherished by many of your family members. Her "Pack" adored her and she knew it. You showed her mercy in the end. By ending her suffering & pain, you made a bargain to take that pain & suffering onto yourself. And that is what you are feeling my friend. Like so many of us here.

Kind regards & my sincerest condolences,
James
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Branny
Hi James

Thanks for your reply. So sorry you lost Marmalade.

I was welling up reading your post. So much of it makes sense, maybe a big moment of clarity for me.

I've known for the last three and a half years that her back end was only going to deteriorate further but I expected her to show symptoms and have medication to help. Our regular vet had discussed this with us and said that the side effects from the drugs that would ease her symptoms take their toll on the liver so that was what i expected for her future. Her arthritis would worsen and either that or the medication would reach the point where she could go no further so on the plus side this scenario has never happened. So now I ask myself would i have rather that scenario have played out for an extra one or two years with her? The answer is "no". I take solace in the fact that there wasn't a long drawn out demise and that her suffering was short because she knew something wasn't right and looked so sad during her last couple of days.

Whether the decision made was right or wrong, it was only delaying the inevitable further down the line and that is how i have to think about it.

At some point in the future, another will be welcomed into our pack but until then I still have my memories, videos and photographs to look back on to remember my beautiful girl and they will remain with me forever. She will never die and will always be with me.

This forum has been a big help over the last couple of weeks so thank you to all the beautiful people who have taken the time to read and reply to my posts. I'm not going anywhere though and hopefully i can help others on here as they have helped me.

Thanks
Steve
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