It's been 24 hours since I had to say goodbye to my Joey. He was my best friend, my first fur baby. He was a 11-year old (he would turn 12 in August) golden retriever who'd been a part of our family since he was a puppy. I took care of him all through high school - when I left for college, my mom spoiled him so much that when I tried to take him with me once I got an apartment, he was so homesick, we decided he'd be happier staying with Grandma & Grandpa (my parents) :) 

Late Wednesday night, I got a text from my mom saying that he was sick and they were taking him to the vet in the morning. He'd been fine all day until that evening when he started throwing up constantly. It got to the point where if he even drank any water, he would throw up. Soon, his legs became too weak and he could only lay on the floor in the kitchen.

Thursday morning, I was at work when my mom called. His bloodwork showed that he was anemic and his white blood count was high, so they were going to take x-rays and look for cancer growth. The vet found cancer in his spleen, the size of a grapefruit. She said there was a high risk of his spleen rupturing and recommended putting him to sleep as soon as possible, as he was in a lot of pain.

I was shell-shocked. I asked if it was cruel to make him wait, but my parents wanted to take him home to have time to say goodbye, so I immediately booked a flight home for that night. Looking back, I know it was God's favor that there was 1 seat left on the only flight home that night.

Thursday night, I arrived home around midnight. Joey lifted his head up when I came in, but that took all the strength he had. He couldn't even wag his tail or smile, and his breathing was labored. He spent most of the time with his eyes half closed. I slept next to him that night (even at 30 weeks pregnant! I would've done anything for him). I remember around 3AM, suddenly I heard his breathing change and I sat up. He'd lifted his head up and was looking right into my eyes, with a fierce strength and recognition. That was the first and last time he would look into my eyes. I knew that he was saying goodbye to me right then.. and I thanked him for the gift of being able to look into those chocolate brown eyes one last time. I told him about every memory I had with him and thanked him for being such a fiercely loyal, tender-loving, and faithful companion, for healing relationships and for being such a good boy always.

Friday morning, we spent Joey's last few hours at home, singing to him, thanking him, petting him and kissing/hugging him. Though we could tell it was a struggle, he would lay his head on our laps like he used to - it was like he wanted to hold on for another moment with us. My dad and mom carried him out to the van for one last car ride (oh, he loved travelling in the van!). He put his snout on the backseat of the van (HIS spot) but, of course, he could only lay on the floor. He was so calm and still, as the vet techs placed him on a comfy quilt, quietly accepting our tears and kisses. I think he knew it was time and he was ready. He spent his last breaths with his Grandma, Grandpa & Mama at his head (and Uncle on Facetime) and then he was gone at 10:17AM.

I never got to have one last good day with him where I could spoil him with a burger and a new tennis ball, where I could see him smile and wag his tail one last time, where we could just sunbathe (what he loves best) and I could rub his belly in that one spot. The last time I saw him was for one day in January for the birth of my niece. Had I known that would be the last good day I'd spend with him - oh, how I would have spoiled him!

I've never had to say goodbye to a loved one before. I didn't know my heart could break or hurt this much. I wasn't ready to say goodbye, though I know nobody ever is.. I don't understand how he could've hid his cancer so well, or how he could decline so rapidly in just 36 hours.

My dad said that even if they had caught the cancer sooner, the vet would've still recommended putting him to sleep then. Even though it breaks my heart that he had to live with this cancer, we were unknowingly blessed with a few more months with him. Now I'll only have my memories with him to hold onto..

I stumbled upon this forum and felt like I needed to write about my last day with him, so I won't forget those few precious hours. My heart will never be the same again. I miss my Joey.

I'll love you forever.. My baby you'll be
8/18/2004 - 4/29/2016

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So sorry for your loss and Joey is beautiful.   I too lost my golden retriever Bailey on April 19th at 14 and its been very sad. He died at home with me in the room telling him I loved him. 

I'm glad you two got to say good bye to each other before his passing. 

So sorry again for your loss.
October 31, 2002 - April 19, 2016 10:25 P.M.
My best friend, my companion, my love


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Oh what a beautiful boy. I am so sorry to read about Joey. Having one seat left on the plane...how he looked deep into your eyes @ 3:00 AMish...while so very sad, I hope that in time, you will appreciate that you were able to be there with him. From what I've learned, our dogs (& pets) can sometimes mask their pain. Because they always want to please us-- to love us-- to stay with us. He knew you were all right there for him. I lost my first dog Samantha aka Sam Dog, a wonderful Golden Retriever unexpectedly @ 7 years old. The vet wasn't sure what was wrong but sent her home with me. She died in the night. Didn't get to say goodbye.

Thank you for sharing Joey's story. The next days & weeks & months may be unbearably hard. But take it day to day. Be kind to yourself. Talk to Joey. Watch for signs. Write in a journal. Whatever helps. At times the pain may be so deep-- it's hard to even fathom. We love them so much. And your parents will feel 'the hollow house' because he spent these last years with them. Come here often. Everyone here understands. We are all grieving the loss of our heart & soul connections. Extra hugs, Kasey
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I am so very sorry to read about your Joey. You were so lucky to get the last seat on that flight.  I believe it was God's doing.  Joey was lucky too in having a mommy and grandparents like yours.   Joey passed with his family all close.  For that he was grateful.  Accept my condolences.  Hugs   Sue
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gosh what a cutie!
so sorry for your loss, and it seems like he had an amazing last day, filled with love and comfort
and i'm sure he misses you just as much as you miss him
wishing you the best in this time of grief <3
"Sometimes when someone or something you love dies, you just have to be happy they ever even existed" -Mara Wilson 

love you forever and always
R.I.P. Taz
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What a beautiful boy Joey was, and how amazing you got the last seat on that flight - someone was truly determined that you were going home to spend those last precious hours with your best friend.    "Shell - shocked ", that describes exactly how we feel when we know we are going to lose them . Just know that Joey was so comforted by your being there - the way he looked into your eyes the last time, and you were able to thank him - just as he`d thank you for giving him such a wonderful life.
 Your memories will live with you forever, even though it is so hard for you at the moment. 
                                                        Take care, Jackie
J Taylor
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I'm so sorry for your loss of Joey, he's beautiful. I have read about so many dogs being lost to spleen cancer, it's awful :-( I'm glad you got to spend that last day/night with him and to say goodbye. 
My beloved sweet Tess August 1999 - February 21 2001
My beloved loyal Byron March 1998 - April 28 2008
My sweet beloved girlie Angelina April 2001- September 2012
Me & my sweet beloved Wizberry forever 1998- April 21, 2016
My sweet beloved Snow Goddess Sybil girlie April 2001- May 11,2018
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I actually burst into tears while reading this because I thought of my dog and how I wasn't ready to say goodbye to him either. Your Joey is adorable and I'm so sorry you had to go through this. It truly is heart breaking and sad. I'm glad you got to say goodbye to him though that probably meant a lot to him.
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I am so so sorry for your loss.  
Your heart is broken but know Joey had so much love and so much comfort from the touches and voices of those who cared for him and about him.
No doubt about it, you will feel lost, feel 'broken' and feel alone - let it wash over you and let the tears flow freely and without shame.  Take comfort in those around you who understand and grieve with you.  No love so pure, so clear and so deep is ever lost.
I too still grieve for the loss of my companion.
Take care of yourself throughout the days.
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Hi . the same thing happen to my jordan , it was sudden and fast . she was 100 pounds . shiny beautiful hair , she was a Rott , my life will never be the same , may are babies rip
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I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my baby Max on April 24.  He was a very handsome blue eyed dapple dachshund.  He too went very quickly.  We determined that he was not in pain so we kept him home and he passed quickly within 24 hrs. We loved him till the end.  I cried non stop for over a week.  Just let yourself grieve.  This forum has been helpful to me.  It does help to talk to people who understand what you are going through.  And lastly, it will get better.  Although I still miss him terribly I have not been crying as much, and I admit it feels better to start to feel like myself again.  
Lots of love to you 
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