Hey everyone.

Brand new to the forum. My boy Ollie, my entire world, is being helped across the rainbow bridge tomorrow - we've scheduled an in-home appointment for the afternoon.

Background - about a month ago, he got suddenly very, very ill. He's only 5 and a half - extremely active, fun loving, never a single health issue his whole life. Took him to emergency care and found out he has a congenital birth defect that had gone undetected up until now - he was born with a liver too small. The vet told me it happens in a very small number of dogs, and that there would have been nothing we could have done, since it wasn't liver damage, but just too small of a liver. Meds can repair damage, but they can't make the liver just. Be bigger.  She was amazed that he was asymptomatic - she said he's lived almost 3 times as long as she would have expected a dog of his size with a liver that size, and he was in perfect health otherwise. She told me he's likely lived this long because he's been so well taken care of.

I told her right away that there was nothing I wouldn't do for him, no medication that I wouldn't pay for if it would help him still have a good quality of life, and have some extra, good quality time with his family. I also told her I would never, ever put him through pain because I selfishly want to keep him around, even if he's my heart and my entire world. She reassured me that he wasn't in pain, and that if he was still active - wanting to go on walks, wanting to play - and eating and drinking, etc. they would do whatever they could, and I agreed. But they told me that despite his energy, I still had to keep in mind that this was just a bandaid.

I've been working from home on my graduate studies for the last month. Every day, I've woken up, looked into those big brown eyes, and said "is it time bud?" and up until a few days ago, the answer was always no - a tail wag, bounding out of bed, ready for breakfast and a walk to the park. But now his platelet count is so low that he can no longer go for walks or play energetically, because the vet is concerned that any bump or bruise could cause severe internal bleeding. I'm also now having to coax him to eat, by hand - he's a Labrador, the kind that would eat anything in sight if given the opportunity. My heart has absolutely shattered watching him turn up his nose at his favourite treats. My boy, my poor boy, he's too young.

I promised him when I brought him home, when he was just a puppy, that I would always take care of him and protect him. I know that this is the right thing to do. He's a good boy, he gave everyone every piece of love he possibly could, every single day of his whole life. And now he needs to rest. I know he would have always been born this way - and even If I knew when I chose him, I still would have. I know he needs me to make the hard choice that he can't make for himself. But I'm so, so scared. I've had to keep it together for my mom, my grandma, and my sister - I'm the emotional rock of the family, and they're all devastated, especially my grandma. But I'm having such a hard time pretending that my heart isnt absolutely shattered. I look at the clock and I know that the minutes are ticking by - and it seems impossible that tomorrow, at this time, he will be gone. Im terrified of him going, and the emptiness in my heart that he will leave behind. I'm terrified of him staying, and declining, and being in agony. I don't know what to do, or how to cope. He's my everything.

I would never dream of not being by his side at the end, no matter how scared I am. I would never want him to look around, and wonder where I am. I would always stay with him, through anything, until the very end. But I'm terrified of watching him die. I'm terrified of having to live without him. I don't know if I believe that there's anything afterwards... but I want to, because I can't handle living in a world where there's no piece of him left.

I'm dreading tomorrow. I'm dreading the coming weeks. My mom still wants to have christmas - she says that it's important for us to be together and have normal routine. But I'm the one that handles pretty much everything christmas related - decorations, shopping, wrapping, etc. Normally I'm a christmas maniac, but this year, I just don't want to do it. I want everything holiday related to go away. Christmas has such an association with my boy - he absolutely loves all the attention he gets, having family around, going for a car ride to go pick a tree - I just don't have it in me. There's nothing to celebrate. Not in a world without Ollie. She was horrified when I suggested that we cancel, so I said I'd go along with it, but honestly, after tomorrow I'm just going to want to curl up under the covers and not come out.

I don't even know why I'm posting this. I guess because I just needed to get this off my chest. Thank you, if you've stuck with me until this point and read this entire wall of text.
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Dear Symphonika,
Your story about Ollie just brought tears to my eyes. Poor boy, to have been born with this defect.

You are incredbily brave and strong. Being brave and strong doesn't mean we don't feel like our hearts are just means we go on to do the right thing anyway.
Being brave for the sake of love.

Your love for your dear boy is tangible. He will be okay. Stay with him and comfort him. These hours you have left are for the two of you to make Spirit promises silently. Keep still with him, and focused on his Soul.
It does sound like he is ready to cross over. He came to this world for a short time in our years, but he now has enough done, that he can go back "home" to Spirit.

I can tell you that I had connection with my own dog after her passing, and it truly is nothing to fear. Yes we miss them, but their love certainly doesn't die. Their Souls, their characters, their love -go on in a very real and living way....though of course, no longer in a physical body in this world.

They are free from all bodily pain when they pass through. I met my own dog 2 months after she had passed, in a conscious out-of-body experience (which is almost identical to a near-death experience, except one is not actually dying at the time) -so I can say that with honesty and certainty. They are very much themselves, and even have a form identical to the one they just left behind. And I mean  in every living detail. They even feel warm to touch.
They have an on-going remembrance of their love for us and ours for them.
It appears that they do "wait for us" every now and then, I sense her love come to me, as if she's checking on me, or just dashes back quickly for a visit and to touch base with my heart.
So that appears to be true also!

It is remarkable and almost unbelievable, but she showed me it's true.

I wish you both a gentle passing across for Ollie, and send you my heartfelt empathy, because no matter what -this is not going to be easy.

We are always here, so if you need somewhere to turn afterwards, there will be understanding and kindness.

God bless you, and God bless Ollie's sweet Soul.
Hold the love like a little light. It is all you have, or will ever have, to find your way home.

Misty's Blog..a Dogfight with Cancer

Misty's life after death:
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Oh gosh...there is so much I want to say to you right now... But I guess the most important thing is this: I am so sorry this is all happening, and please know that I will be thinking of you and your boy Ollie.

Maybe tonight is the night Ollie can have whatever he wants - ice cream, a steak, something fab. Maybe tonight is a night for remembering all the amazing journeys and adventures, all of the fun and serious times you’ve shared. But tonight, tomorrow, and however long it takes after that to grieve is yours and Ollie’s - please don’t feel like you have to keep it together for anyone - this is your journey, and sadness is part of it.

Something that has helped me at these times is the knowledge that energy is neither created nor destroyed, just transformed. Ollie’s energy will always be around, just different. That difference is what sucks so badly at first, I think. But ultimately, I think knowing that energy is still out there in some form is comforting, in time.

Peace to you, and safe journey to Ollie.

With empathy,
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"But tonight, tomorrow, and however long it takes after that to grieve is yours and Ollie’s - please don’t feel like you have to keep it together for anyone - this is your journey, and sadness is part of it."

That is so true Meegri. Grieving is one of the deepest things we do. And there is no set way. Only one's own way in one's own time.
I am sorry for your loss too Meegri. God bless.
Hold the love like a little light. It is all you have, or will ever have, to find your way home.

Misty's Blog..a Dogfight with Cancer

Misty's life after death:
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I'm so glad that Ollie has you. And tomorrow is going to be the worst day... I am so sorry that there is no one anywhere that can lift the weight of your grief. This is one of those moments that profoundly changes everything.

Spend all the minutes doing everything you can with him. Try and have some happy memories that make you laugh out loud next to him... He might be tired, but his spirit loves your happiness.

You're not alone.

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I’m so sorry. It is heartbreaking to say the least. I have no advice but know we are here to support you. Having lost our dog two months soon. It stinks especially near the holidays. Hugs to you
Linda *Mom to two boxer angels* Lily {White Girl} 6/22/09 - 10/14/19  ** Ginger {Flashy Fawn Girl} 6/4/97 - 5/28/09
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Thank you, all of you, for your kind words. I'm sitting here reading your responses while I stroke Ollie's belly as he sleeps. It's helping me get through the night. Thank you, so much.
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My Dear Symphonika,  

I am very sorry and saddened to read of what your beloved Ollie and you are facing. On December 16th, of this year, it will have been 7 months since I was faced with putting my beloved cat Marmalade to sleep. He was my best and only friend. My son, my brother, my comrade in arms, my road companion (we traveled homeless over for 3 3 1/2 months) from the high desert country of New Mexico 850 miles to where I had lived in Los Angeles, Ca. My path had crossed with Marmalade in early 2016, around 4 1/2 years ago. 

He was becoming a shadow of his former self. A once proud, regal, noble, handsome Tom-Cat. He had been the King of a colony of feral and stray cats when I met him. He was adored by the females in the colony as he was gentle and respectful and protective of them, so much so that he was trusted with the kittens of the colony even if he did not sire them. The kittens loved Marmalade. He would escort them to feedings at our back door. The larger males feared and respected Marmalade, even though he was chronically ill, scrawny and near completely deaf. He would raise a paw and not hit them or attack, and they would each cower. Even though they outweighed him by 10 to 15 pounds. His complete story is written about and shared here on the forum. This forum helped me through my grief. I wish I had been smart enough like you to have visited it PRIOR to having my boy put to sleep.

They say that "you will know when the time comes."

They say that "When you end your pets pain and suffering, you then agree to transfer their pain and suffering onto yourself. To absorb it. And then process it through your grief. That that is the bargain we make."

As you know with the potential of internal bleeding the clock is ticking. The sands in the hourglass are falling. There are many posts archived here on the forum written by those that did not have the ability to put their pets to sleep and waited. And they expired due to bleeding to death. Their posts are some of the most heartbreaking, harrowing and even horrific posts shared here on the forum. You will be showing your beloved mercy when you prevent even the possibility of that happening.

Before I put my Marmalade down, I prayed for the courage and strength to do so. I asked for mercy and help in staying calm and collected for him. I did not want him to worry about what was occurring. I wanted him to see me smiling and laughing and reminiscing about our memories together. I spoke to him, although he could barely hear me, before they put him to sleep for 50 minutes, and he sensed no worry on my face or in my manner. I prayed to stay strong for him and my prayers were answered. He did not suffer as much as he might have, had I waited. I owed him that much. A calm, peaceful, painless passing. We should all be so blessed to have one.

Godspeed and God bless Ollie, you and yours during these difficult times. We will be with you in spirit and comradeship tomorrow.

Kind regards,
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Symphonika..I am so sorry about Oreo. I know what your going through right now and will go through tommorow. It's been 3 wks since I put my baby Peanut down. I will be thinking of all of you tomorrow and will say a prayer for you. Tonight talk to Oreo..hug him..kiss him and pet him as much as you can. He knows how much you love him. I too don't want to celebrate the holidays this year but will have to put on a brave face for my grandkids. I wish you strength through this difficult time ahead.
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Symphonika...I am so sorry. I meant to write Ollie not Oreo. Just can't think straight these days.
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Symphonika - I am so sorry that you are facing this horrendously difficult task ahead, knowing how much you love Ollie, how much love he gave to you and your family, and that you will have to face a huge hole in your world when he's gone.

Years ago I took my beloved cat Argus to emergency 2 nights in a row. The 2nd time, they took an x-ray, and it revealed an inoperable mass in his belly. I made the decision not to bring him back home, and was with him during his final moments. I was able to say goodbye, tell him how much I loved him, how much happiness he'd brought to my life and to everyone who'd ever met him, and that I didn't want him to suffer.

Your bravery shines, as well as the all-encompassing love and concern you have for dear, dear Ollie. I'll be thinking of you today, and wish for you and Ollie a peaceful parting.

It's also completely understandable that Christmas preparation holds so little appeal for you this year; it's a terrible reminder of who's no longer with you. Is there any way you can scale back the traditional arrangements so that you don't feel so overwhelmed? After all, it's being together with the ones you love that really counts, rather than all the surface accoutrements and packaging...

Sending you deepest sympathies and a big hug. Please be gentle with yourself today.

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Symphonika..I have been thinking about you and your family and Ollie all day today. I said a prayer for all of you. I wanted to see how you are doing today. Hugs
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symphonika.....was just wondering how you're doing ❤
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Symphonika - I just wanted to send you a link to a post that you may find helpful. It pertains to the loss of a dear human, but the principles are exactly the same for your beloved Ollie, who WAS a family member.

Thinking of you today, and sending you my deepest sympathies.

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I just want to thank you all so, so much for your kind responses. I wasn't able to bring myself to visit the forum over the past couple of days, but I saw and read your replies as they popped up in my e-mail inbox, and I saved them for moments when I needed a boost, or the courage to keep going. You'll never know just how much comfort your words brought to me before Ollie's passing, and in the hours and days since, and I'll never be able to repay you all for that. Thank you for your warm, giving hearts and beautiful souls.

Over the past couple of days, I've been struggling to write a memorial letter for Ollie. I've stopped and started too many times to count. I wanted to post it here, to share it with you all, because I know you'll understand.



"I loved you before I even met you. When I was a kid, and I was sad or things were frightening or uncertain, I would always retreat inside of myself, to an idea – one idea in particular. I would imagine that I had a dog. I would picture all of the adventures we would go on together, the things we would do and see. He would be goofy, lovable, and sweet. A Labrador, because I liked their floppy ears and soft eyes. Yellow, because it seemed like a warm, comforting colour. I even thought of a name – Oliver. I liked it partly because it sounded distinguished, but mostly because then I could call him Ollie for short. Ollie. My Ollie. My safe haven, even all those years ago.

When the time came, I recognized you almost instantly. I had held other puppies, gorgeous puppies, that I’m sure went on to bring as much love to their companions as you did to me, but they weren’t Ollie. Something just clicked, with you and me. I don’t believe in magic, but the swell of absolute love and adoration that I felt when I held you for the first time and you fell asleep in my arms is the only thing that has ever come close.

When we left to take you home, you cried – it was a big, scary new world out there, you were 8 weeks old, and car rides in particular were NOT COOL (though they would be, in the future, where even a rumour of the word ‘car’ would send you into a frenzy). We pulled over, beside an empty farmer’s field. It was a beautiful, mid-August day. I remember how warm the sun felt when I carried you over to the grass and gently placed you down, coaxing you to play with a couple of your new toys. While you sniffed around, cautious and unsure, I promised you that everything was going to be okay, that you didn’t have to be scared. I promised you that I would protect you, and look out for you, and that you would never know anything but love for your whole entire life. Then I scooped you back up, and we returned to the car, where you slept soundly on my lap the whole way home.

What I didn’t realize that day was how you would reciprocate that promise tenfold. You loved, protected, and looked out for me every single day of your entire life. Through all our adventures. When things were dark, you were the warm golden light that encouraged me to keep going. When things were bright, you were even brighter still. I cherish every moment that I shared with you, from the exciting to the mundane. A swim in a mountain river, an afternoon nap on the couch. You were the secret ingredient. And you didn’t stop with me – you loved, protected, and looked out for countless people. Your love was boundless. Everyone who had the chance to meet you, even for just a second, could feel it too; that magic I felt that first time. Your magic.

Then came the most difficult time for me to keep my promise. I had protected you, looked out for you, and loved you your entire life, but never like this. Never with a choice that would separate you from me. I remembered the countless times that I would throw the ball for you, as far as I possibly could, and it would fall somewhere I couldn’t see – into a line of trees, into tall grass, around a corner – and you would bound off, excitedly, impossibly fast. And even in those seconds, those few seconds where you were out of sight, during the pause that you left behind where everything would go quiet and still, my heart would beat a little faster. My chest would get a little tighter. But it would be only seconds until you returned, ball in mouth, with the goofiest grin on your face that clearly could only mean “Again!”

When the time came for me to keep that promise, I held you again, much like that day in the farmer’s field. Except instead of a warm, sunny afternoon in mid-August, it was a cool, sunny afternoon in December. And instead of a farmer’s field, we sat at home – your home, the one I had promised you all those years ago – on your warm, cozy bed. You didn’t fit neatly into my arms anymore; those early days where I could pick you up were long gone. Instead, we cuddled together, and you gently laid your head into my lap. I pet your soft, floppy ears. I looked into your soft, brown eyes. I stroked your golden yellow fur, warm and comforting. You were everything I imagined you would be, and more. My Ollie. My safe haven.

Despite being shattered, my heart still looks for you, everywhere. Our routines and patterns are just like a reflex, even still. I maneuver around the kitchen for an 80-pound obstacle that no longer shadows my every move, on the lookout for errant pieces of food. I still close the bathroom door behind me so that you won’t get into the toilet paper. I pick up your bones and your toys from the floor and put them in your toy box, and then later realize you won’t be pulling them out minutes later. I jump at the sound of a doorbell unannounced by your dutiful barks, always keeping us safe.  I sleep, scrunched into the fetal position, on my side of a queen-sized bed, still leaving space for you to sprawl. I wake up in the middle of the night, and reach for you, looking for the familiar feel of your giant, obnoxious hairy butt pressed into my back, always close. I awaken groggily at 6 AM, like clockwork – the time of morning when you would place a paw on my shoulder or stick your cold nose in my face and whine to be let out. I go to the kitchen for a cup of coffee, unable to sleep, and accidentally turn to fill your water bowl, because that’s how it always went. Ollie first. And that’s how it had to be. Ollie comes first. Ollie before me.

Since you’ve been gone, I haven’t stopped crying. It’s a big, scary new world out there, a world without you. I feel that same feeling, like you’ve run around the corner – into the grass, behind some trees. My heart beats faster, my chest gets tighter, but it doesn’t go away. Everything is quiet and still. The pause you left behind grows. But sometimes, in the middle of that pause, you visit me. In a passing thought, where I remember something silly you used to do. In the dreamlike space between sleep and wakefulness, when I could swear that I feel you next to me, fast asleep. When I come across bones I would have thrown away months ago that I instead find hidden in increasingly ingenious places.

Right now, it hurts. Almost more than I can bear. I knew that day would come, but I never imagined it would have been so soon. I thought I would never be prepared for it. I thought that, surely, it would be the thing that broke me. But you spent your entire life preparing me for any challenge, including this. You were by my side when I needed you most, by my side through some of the hardest things I’ve ever dealt with. You taught me about love and gentleness. You taught me to be curious, to find joy in even the smallest things, like you did – a warm spot to lay on the carpet, a giant old tree to sniff, a car ride to the park, bubbles to chase, an old plastic pool filled with cool water on a hot day, the ongoing saga of the never-ending battle between you and the sprinkler, a forbidden dishtowel to run away with while no one is looking. A cozy, safe spot to cuddle up to your best friend, ready for the next Best Day Ever.

Some people will say you were just a dog. That you were here and then you left, as dogs do, and that it will be sad for a while, but you move on. And it’s okay that they don’t understand – I’m glad that they are insulated from this heartbreak, because it’s an agony that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. But at the same time, I’m sad that they’ll never know the magic of a dog like you. I wouldn’t change a thing – even if I knew what would happen, how I would feel right now. The pause is all-encompassing. Overwhelming. Looming. And while right now it hurts too much, while I’ve stopped and started writing this same letter, this same paragraph, this same sentence hundreds of times over the last few days, I know that at some point in the future, when I’m sad, or frightened, and things seem uncertain, I’ll be able to retreat inside myself to something more than an idea – memories, of a dog named Ollie. A Labrador, with floppy ears, curious brown eyes, and soft yellow fur. Goofy, cuddly, playful, loving, sweet, smart, mischievous, and so, so magical. My best friend. My boy. My heart."

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