Jlafla
I lost Lucy, my Shih Tzu 2 days ago. I can’t believe she’s gone. She was 12 and this was so unexpected. She began having seizures late Saturday afternoon. I wasn’t there. I got a text that something was wrong and rushed home. At that point she was making chomping motions and drooling, I’d never seen a seizure, but I just knew. The emergency vet believed she had a brain tumor. She’d never had a seizure before, and they said her eyes weren’t recovering like they should after each one. They gave her multiple doses of meds to stop them but they kept coming and she was struggling to breathe, even in her oxygen kennel. They gave me only two options since they said she wouldn’t survive the night at home. I could pay $4,000 and they could hopefully stabilize her through the night and then we could talk about ordering an MRI, which would be another $3,000. Or we could just stop. I hate that this came down to money and I didn’t have it even if it was what I should have done. They said that at most they may only be able to buy her a few days or weeks. So I let her go. And I am completely devastated. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t get enough time. A friend was telling me a story later about someone who emptied their 401k for cancer treatments for their cat and my stomach just dropped. I didn’t even think of that. Why didn’t I use my 401k? Why didn’t I use everything I had? What if I didn’t give her her best chance? It all happened so fast, what if I made the wrong decision? I can’t believe I gave them permission to end her life. My best friend. My soul mate. In hindsight she had all the signs. Random aggression if I tried to move her while she was sleeping, pacing, getting stuck behind corners or behind doors. But I thought she was just getting old and her vet agreed it could be CCD. She had the head tilt but she also had an ear infection in July, we thought that was it. She had the cloudy eyes and her vision had severely declined, but she had just gone to the vet in July and August and they said she was developing cataracts. In January her vet said she may be pre-Cushing disease but I put her on milk thistle and her labs were back to normal levels just last month. How did I miss it? How did I let this happen to her? Her second to last night she had had diarrhea and she wouldn’t settle into bed, so I didn’t even let her sleep with me. On her last night on earth, I sent her to sleep in the kitchen. On her last day, I’d gone to babysit my nephews and left her with my parents and brother. The only thing I did with her that day was hold her down to put drops in her eyes. In fact she spent most of her last week with me torturing her with baths and skin treatments and eye drops. Things that she hated. I wish I cuddled her more. I wish I laid in bed with her for her entire last day and shared her favorite gold fish crackers and loved on her harder. I don’t know how to cope with the guilt and the regret. She was everything, the only thing I’ve ever had that I loved and loved me back unconditionally, pure and uncomplicated. She was with me from 20-32. She loved me through college, two boyfriends, three jobs, heartbreaks and countless fights with my family. I feel so alone. My home feels so empty. I feel like I can’t breathe without her. I don’t know how to live in a world where she isn’t.

Jillian
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CeeCeesMom
Dear Jillian, please accept my condolences for the loss of your beautiful Lucy.  Feelings of guilt and regret are a very common and horrible part of grieving.  "Guilted grief" or guilt on top of grief is the worst sort of grief.  I, and a lot of people on this forum, have been tormented with guilt and regrets.  I can tell you that in time, the worst feelings will diminish.  But there's no set timetable.  It sounds like you made the right choice to end Lucy's suffering and not have the MRI done.  They said they could 'hopefully' stabilize her through the night, which means there was a very real possibility she would have passed away during the night.  And if she survived the night and they did the MRI, they almost certainly would have found a fatal condition that probably would have claimed your Lucy's life within a matter of days.  And she may have been suffering during those days.  You made a loving decision to let your beloved Lucy be peacefully euthanized rather than have a suffering death.  Try to focus on all the love and happiness you gave her during the 12 long wonderful years of her life.  Don't let the last days of her life define her entire life with you. She knew that you loved her.

CeeCeesMom
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CK1991
My dear Jillian, I had 2 Shih tzu babies so I understand the bond with these wonderful little dogs with such a huge spirit. Guilt is such a part of grief. I’ve read time and again on this forum. You note that it came down to money but what if you had paid? The vets told you they could maybe buy her a few days or a few weeks and what would those days and weeks be like for her? Cancer is painful. Animals don’t always show their pain so you might not have noticed that part of her illness but it was there. You didn’t want her to be in pain. Everything you’ve described is consistent with a brain tumour and your baby had reached a point where she couldn’t stope seizuringl It was her time. It’s been a shock to you of course because the seizures seemed to come out of nowhere but looking back you are seeing that the symptoms were there.
This little girl was loved by you and she loved you back so it was a precious relationship and you have every right to grieve. The Rainbow Bridge forum is a wonderful place because we understand the pain and sense of loss. Please post again and if you would like to tell more about your little girl or talk about how you are feeling someone will be here to listen. My heartfelt sympathy and hugs to you!
CK
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LauriP92
Dear Jillian, We are all full of what if's which on top of the anguish we feel is unbearable. However, even if you did empty your 401K for her, she still would've been in pain and not had a good quality of life. I, too, have guilt over losing my baby Ollie (cat) because we went away the week prior to his death. I should've stayed home and given him love.  He had a wellness exam in June and the vet didn't want to even do blood work because he was "so old". Had she done bloodwork maybe his high white count would've shown up then and we would've discovered if he had cancer. See the what if's. But I can't turn back the hands of time. I would like to think I gave him lots of love in his 18 years on earth. Please know you did the best you could with the information and resources you had. Lucy knows you loved her. Please use this forum and talk to others who share your guilt and grief. It is comforting. All my best to you
Lauri 
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Indi_love19
Jillian,
I am sorry for your loss. I lost my Indi girl (beagle) who was nearly 16 on Friday. She was with me from 25-41, and I also went through major life events during that time, so I know what it's like to feel she's been the only constant, the only one there by my side through it all. I also relate tremendously to the guilt, as do most (if not everyone) here. I think there is a normal aspect to it when we grieve. But I also know it can spiral out of control. I struggle every day how to cope with the guilt, how to stop the relentless what if's and berating myself for choices I made or didn't make.
First, after talking with so, so many pet owners, everyone experiences it. Money spent, no money spent. Whether the pet was 2, 5, 10, 14, 18, 20, doesn't matter--all feel guilt about something. Whether we put our pets down or not. Whether it was sudden/unexpected or chronic and expected. Whether we were there when they passed or not there. All of their end of life choices. Even people who think they caught something early and were ontop of it have what-ifs and feel guilt. You can go back even farther if you'd like--was the food I bought her good enough? What about when she wanted to just sniff on our walks but I pulled her along so we could keep moving? What about when I took my kids to the pool for hours and she was home alone? It is never-ending. My girl died at home. She was old, but did suffer kidney failure and there were choices I made towards the end that still kill me today--if I let them.
So what has helped me cope? Talking to people, here and anywhere I can. You'll find everyone feels this guilt regardless of choices they made or circumstances. This means there is virtually nothing we could've done that would leave us feeling guilt-free. Even doing our best--we will feel guilty for something. Then, when I find myself spiraling out of control, I have to intentionally stop, although I kind of don't want to.
Long ago, I was feeling crushing guilt about a choice I made that affected my child. The guilt was debilitating. A friend said stop. There is a chart, if you google energetic vibrational chart or vibrational scale of consciousness--guilt is at the bottom, only above shame. She said do not stay there. You are useless for yourself and your kids. And it was true--they didn't need me in that state.
Now, Indi's gone, but I still don't need myself to be in that state. The end of her life I felt the guilt, and I was on auto pilot taking care of her, sobbing every day, etc. instead of just being with her and being happy with her. Now I feel guilty about feeling guilty!
It is so easy to fall back into that, multiple times a day. How would you talk with a friend who went through the same thing? Can you talk with yourself that way? Easier said than done, I know.
One more thing that helps--distinguishing between rational and irrational guilt. Guilt does serve a purpose, but only if rational. If we intentionally said or did something to harm another, we usually feel guilt about it. Most times an apology or whatever suffices and we move on. But for choices where we had zero bad intentions yet still feel guilt--that is irrational guilt. I put my girl on medications that hurt her kidneys. If I hadn't, chances are she'd still be here now. Were my intentions to hurt her? Absolutely not. I feel guilty, I feel awful, I want a re-do. But I have to label this for what it is, which is irrational guilt. Then force myself to stop.

meghan kenney
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Lillymylove
May I ask what a 401K is?
David 
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Indi_love19
David 401k is retirement savings. I drained mine to survive off of. You get penalized big time for removing it before actual retirement.
meghan kenney
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BorderCollieLover
Jillian:

  I want to extend my heartfelt condolences to you. All of us on this Forum are experiencing the exact same feeling of guilt, remorse, sadness, anger, etc. It's perfectly normal. You made all the right decisions regarding Lucy's care. One of the things that conventional Vets don't tell you is most of these late stage tests don't really help. They only prolong the suffering. My beloved dog was also having seizures near the end. The Veterinary community were never able to conclusively say what caused them. I am completely devastated by this turn of events and am in full grieving mode. I sincerely hope that you will keep posting here and take solace in the fact that you are fully supported by a lot of wonderful, pet-loving people. 

Jim
Jim Miller
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AZTiger98
Jillian,

I am so sorry to hear of your loss.  You are not alone in feeling guilt - I think all of us here have struggled or still struggle with that.  I lost my Stormy 16 months ago this coming Thursday, and I STILL am wracked with the guilt and the "what-ifs". 

I think your Lucy would say that she knows you did the best that you could for her. 

You are in a good place, being here on the forum.  We understand, because we're living it too, or have lived it in the past (some of us many times over).  Cry, scream, just talk - whatever you feel you need.

Hang in there.  We never "get over it", but we do eventually learn to live with it.
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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Jlafla
I just want to thank everyone for these kind messages. It’s taken me a day to get through them because, truly it’s just difficult. And I’m truly sorry for you all and that we’re all experiencing these deep losses. I apologize if my posts become too sad or too wallowing. I know you’ve all stated this is the right place for these feelings but I don’t want my pain to exacerbate yours. I just feel like I won’t ever feel whole again with out Lucy.
I’m afraid to be alone without her. And Lucy was an 11 pound shih tzu. She wasn’t offering me physical protection. I guess she was just protecting me from my own loneliness. And now I feel like I’m drowning in it. I miss my girl.
I share a house with my parents. They have 3 other dogs, 2 of them are Lucy’s babies from a “whoops” litter she had 6 years ago. Lucy was a Mama. And she spent all day every day with her pups, Max and Sophie, for the last 6 years, but they don’t even seem to notice she’s missing. I’m trying to find comfort in them but it’s just not the same. I feel terrible saying this, but they just aren’t my Lu. I usually help my parents out quite a bit with taking care of them. But It’s difficult to be around them without her in the pack. I just don’t want to do any of it without Lucy.
I’ve been staying close to my mom every night until she goes to bed because I just don’t want to be alone, especially in my bedroom. I still have her blankets on my bed, still have her treats hidden in them, still have her water bowl filled with the water she left behind.
The nights are so hard. I still go to collect her every night on my way to bed. I still take out 4 treats every time I go to get her from my parents. I woke up in the middle of the night the other night and was SURE I heard Lucy snoring. The mornings are hard too though. I feel like I’m living the movie 50 first dates- I go to cuddle her when I wake up and have to remind myself she’s not there. There are times during the day that I’m not even sure any of this actually happened. Did Lucy really have a seizure? Did I really let her be put to sleep? Is she really gone? It all just happened so fast. It just seems so unreal.
I know the guilt is normal. And the pain from the guilt that I feel about missing the signs and letting her go is starting to feel less sharp. But what I just can’t stop replaying in my mind is that I wouldn’t let her sleep with me that last night, that I held her down to put in her eye drops and then ran out of the house early the morning of her last day. That her Mama wasn’t there to notice something was wrong. That I didn’t spend time with her that day until she was climbing on my lap after her first seizure and I was holding her on the way to the emergency vet. The hardest part in all of this is knowing that I’ll never have another chance with her. That I’ll never get another chance to scratch behind her ears or above her tail and have her sniff my eyes and mouth (her version of kisses and licks). I just miss my girl.

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hotmdc
Get another puppy or kitty. They really help with the grief, they are great therapy and comfort, to fill that sad new void in our home and hearts. I thought I wanted to give myself time to grieve, but after 4 days I couldn’t do it, animals are awesome therapy for the hurting hearts. It’s not a matter of waiting for the right time for me, it was a need that really helped my whole family to get another puppy in less than a week after my bff (best furry friend) passed.
Drs
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carmensandiego
Stop! This is not about money-you did right by her. She was having seizures. Mine had cancer-was diagnosed a few days before her seizure. 

She was a total badass dog. Tough as nails because she had a HUGE mass but didn't give us any indication until I saw her weight dropping and other stuff. When she seized we took her in. The vet said he could get her levels normal BUT that she would seize again. Maybe a day maybe a week. 

My husband and I said no-we can't have her suffer any longer. She can no longer be in pain and trying to please us. She suffered enough.

YOU did the most SELFLESS thing any human can do--you let go. It wasn't about the money-although that's what was presented to you. There are no guarantees had you spent that money. 

YOU made a decision on love and you did it so there would be no more suffering, no more pain. Don't feel guilty. Please and don't let others make you feel like that. 

Our pets are worth the world to us but they need OUR voice to speak FOR them. Prolong their pain and suffering for us for a few more days? No--you did what was right. 

Trust in that. Your baby is running free of pain and free of suffering. Please accept that you gave her the greatest gift by freeing her of that pain. 
Sami's mom
Aussie 14 1/2 yr old female
Smarty pants and ruler of our home
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Jlafla
carmensandiego wrote:
Stop! This is not about money-you did right by her. She was having seizures. Mine had cancer-was diagnosed a few days before her seizure. 

She was a total badass dog. Tough as nails because she had a HUGE mass but didn't give us any indication until I saw her weight dropping and other stuff. When she seized we took her in. The vet said he could get her levels normal BUT that she would seize again. Maybe a day maybe a week. 

My husband and I said no-we can't have her suffer any longer. She can no longer be in pain and trying to please us. She suffered enough.

YOU did the most SELFLESS thing any human can do--you let go. It wasn't about the money-although that's what was presented to you. There are no guarantees had you spent that money. 

YOU made a decision on love and you did it so there would be no more suffering, no more pain. Don't feel guilty. Please and don't let others make you feel like that. 

Our pets are worth the world to us but they need OUR voice to speak FOR them. Prolong their pain and suffering for us for a few more days? No--you did what was right. 

Trust in that. Your baby is running free of pain and free of suffering. Please accept that you gave her the greatest gift by freeing her of that pain. 




Have you ever had someone say the exact right thing to you at the exact moment you needed to hear it? You just did that for me. Thank you.

I’m so sorry for your loss. And I’m sorry your girl suffered seizures at the end, like mine did.

Not every day since Lucy died has been difficult, but today was. I just miss her and some days (today) I replay every decision I made, how quickly I had to make them and every sign I missed. My girl was small but like yours, she was tough too. And I wonder how long she had been suffering. I wish I loved on her more in her last days. Some days, I just feel like I failed my girl. And so today, I needed to hear every word you wrote.

I know now that you’re right. But it’s still hard because, quite simply, I made a decision and now Lucy isn’t here. But the truth is, it wasn’t simple. It was an impossible situation and I tried to make the right decision instead of the one that I wanted. But I still struggle with the fact that I couldn’t have financially made the choice I’d wanted to make, even if it weren’t the right one. Grief is not simple. It’s so so complicated.

Some days aren’t like today was. I’ve been able to remember how full of life she was, how absolutely obsessed with her I was and live in that space. So even though I am just so incredibly sad and I miss her so much, I know that this is healing.


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