IntenslySad Show full post »
IntenslySad
Hi All.

I'm doing Ok.  Another weekend passed; always a relief to be back at work.  In the middle of moving house at the moment.  Probably a healthy move... new start, away from the memories, it'll keep me busy over Christmas.

Trouble is, while this move has been planned for some time, before Josh even became sick, on the whole now I think I'd rather not move.  Probably exactly because it'll be a new start, away from the memories, and because it'll keep me busy over Christmas!!

Not that I need mere bricks and mortar to keep the memories of Josh alive of course, just that this was his home.  Everywhere I look conjures a memory of something or other that he did; something good, something bad, something funny, something stupid.  House is even still full of his hairs.  He had odd hair (he was quite odd in many ways...!!). Most terrier types with a wire coat tend not to shed.  Josh left a trail of white hairs wherever he went.  When he shook himself a cloud of them filled the room like fog (like fog until you inhaled one.  Then it wasn't like fog at all!).  My car is absolutely full of them and I can't bring myself to clean it out.

Meghanm, Josh WAS a wonderful dog.  He was unique and special.  He can never be replaced, he will NEVER be forgotten.  If I live to be 120 I will still shed a tear when I think of Josh (which I will do often), then I'll laugh, remembering the time he fell out of bed because he was dreaming he was chasing something, I'll remember the horrible night after he decided to drink and entire pan of used cooking oil he found in the neighbours garden (no, seriously, that was genuinely horrible!), I'll remember the misery of sleeping balanced on the edge of the bed with no quilt in the middle of winter because he was hogging the entire bed and snoring blissfully (move him...? Don't be ridiculous!!) and I'll remember laughing at the idiot as he charged back and forth across a field for hours imagining he was actually going to catch one of those crows the keep flying away from him (until one DIDN'T fly away which upset his plan somewhat... so he pretended he couldn't see it)

A million memories, probably just as many again yet to be remembered.

But it's not just Josh.  It's Sammy and Ted and Mary and all the countless other "pets" (I don't see them as "pets"; I see them as personalities, every bit as valid and as valuable as any human.  I use the word "pets" only for clarity) that have come into our lives, changed and enriched them, and then sadly, all too soon, passed on.  It's an unforgivable flaw in the universe that their lifespans are so much shorter than ours.  The world is full of people who cannot (or won't) build the kind of connection with any animal that comes so naturally to us.  They have no idea what they are missing out on, and in spite of our losses, we are still so much luckier than they are for having had our time with Josh, Sammy, Ted, Mary and all the others.

X
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IntenslySad

It's MY quad and if you want to get on it you have to ask nicely...

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IntenslySad

I KNOW I left it around here somewhere...

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IntenslySad

Hundreds of photos that need to be sorted, scanned, enlarged, downloaded from phones and cameras.  Maybe during the Christmas holidays.  If I ever get the painting finished...

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tikibarb
Glad you are ok. Moving must be very emotional, I can only imagine. My worst fear after I lost Ted was forgetting. But, I can say now that I have not forgotten. Anything. I actually think he has tattooed his paw print on my heart so he will always be there no matter how old I get.
Barbara Lyngarkos
My Beloved Ted 8/7/2005 - 7/7/10
http://rainbowsbridge.com/residents/TED001/Resident.htm
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finchgangsmom

Our beloved pets hold a very special place in our hearts. Thats a very deep and a very permanent place I think.

Finch Gangs Mom (Loren)
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Meghanm
I loved your photos of Josh, thank you for posting them. I am glad you could share your funny and sweet memories of Josh with us...I feel like I can picture what kind of dog he was. You make a great point, we should all feel so lucky we had such wonderful and special connections with our pets. Some people never get to experience all the joy we had with them and although it is so beyond devastating when we lose them, that is something we can take comfort in.
Meghan

"If the people we love are stolen from us, the way to have them live on is to never stop loving them. Buildings burn, people die, but real love is forever." ~ The Crow

"We don't "get over" our losses and just move on, we learn to live differently."
~ http://www.angelbluemist.com/frames/guilt.html
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dde9227782
Intens i have tears rolling down my face as i read your posting. i think my baby had the same cancer as ur dog.  it started memorial day weekend with labored breathing (dignosed as mild bronchitis) it progressed even tho she was on antibiotics.  she was then placed on pain killers and stopped eating. instantly, I knew something was wrong.  The pain killers had her laying around the house-it was the scariest thing.  we found out a few days after her 12th bday (June 4) that she had a mass inside the roof of her mouth.  we brought her in for a biopsy and said goodbye to her because we had a feeling it was bad.  The vet said most likely it was Squamous Cell Carcinoma and her survivial rate would've been slim.  We decided to have her put down while she was under anesthesia. SCC  is one of the deadliest forms of oral cancer.  The vet said she wouldve suffer if we put her through surgery-reconstructing her mouth and chemo treatment only to buy her some more time.  her chances were limited regardless and we didnt want her to suffer or lose weight (as she refused to eat). 
 
i feel your pain and it does get easier.  it's been 7 months, i still think of her now and then and feel like emptiness in the apartment.  however, i am grateful to have known her for 12 yrs and had her in my life. i am also happy that she is in peace; the night before we put her down she walked around the apt hacking-like she was choking-but nothing came out of her mouth. i ran over to her to help her but she moved away from me.  she didn't want to be touched.  i think that was her way of saying please help me, i don't want to suffer.   it is hard to say goodbye but i am thankful that we have the choice of preventing our animals from suffering by putting them out of their misery.   
 
I hope this helps you feel confident that you did the right thing.  As hard as it is,  our babies are in a better place where they are no longer suffering.
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IntenslySad

I still find it incredibly hard to come to terms with concepts like "he's in a better place".  Josh adored his life, which is quite clear in the hundreds of photos that I've spent the last week or so sorting out.  I have no problem anymore with accepting that I had no choice but to let him go though.  What's also clear from the photos I've been going through were the huge changes in Josh towards the end that I didn't/couldn't/didn't want to see at the time but are as clear as day in the photos.  The photos taken during the last month or so of his life show him as being very old, tired and, although certainly not unhappy, definitely not himself.  I don't know about him being in a "better" place, but I know now that there was no longer any choice and had I made him endure any more pain and decline then by now I would be in a place from which I could never forgive myself.  If I could ask Josh where he most wanted to be right now I know he would say "curled up right there beside you", but that isn't an option unfortunately so regardless of whether or not wherever he is now is "better", it is what has to be.

 

Squamous Cell Carcinoma in the mouth is a massively increasing complaint in dogs.  While Josh was sick I did a lot of research (trying to find some hope of course).  Partly this seems to be caused by the greater longevity of well cared for pets now, but there also seem to be causes that are not well understood for the increase (I suppose this is true of most cancers in most species, including ourselves).

 

When Josh was diagnosed his vet told me that had he been a younger dog there were treatments available.  A section of his jaw would have to be excised and radio and chemo therapies have been shown to have a positive impact on the disease.

 

My research showed me the following... The excision of jaw bone material is hugely invasive and traumatic.  Large sections are literally chiselled away, their mouths usually have to have a wire support inserted into the bone afterwards (at least for some time), and whatever reconstruction is possible is usually very limited in nature.  Dogs that have had this kind of surgery are generally unable to eat normally (not to mention chew bones, play with balls, squeaky toys etc.) ever again.  The radio and chemo therapy have exactly the same side effects as they do in humans; constant sickness and debilitation.

 

I decided at the time that even if Josh HAD been younger, all the above would have been extremely difficult to put him through.  What really clinched it for me though is that the life expectancy of a dog that has received all the treatment described above is, at best, if everything goes according to plan, generally a mere 12 to 14 months.

 

That's an unbelievable amount of trauma and suffering to put a dog through for such little return.  I don't think I could have put Josh through it had he been, say, 6 years old instead of 18.

 

My conclusion has to be then that where a dog has been diagnosed with a carcinoma such as the one Josh had; where its rooted right down into the bone, the best and only realistic treatment to be offered is the best possible palliative care for as long as pain, bleeding etc. allow... and most importantly, not to allow the condition to progress too far before a very hard and final decision is made.

 

I'm not a vet and these are only my opinions but I most definitely sympathise with anyone whose pet has been diagnosed with this disease because whatever way you look at it the prognosis is poor to bad.

 

It's still hits me like a solid blow to the gut each day when the realisation comes to me that Josh isn't here anymore and he's not coming back.  I don't think I'll ever fully get over it.

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Woodypatty
We never do "get over it" just learn to live without their physical body in our life.Many people think that they remain with us in some non physical way that their spirit is around us. I don't know what I believe but the thought is nice and I want to believe it. It has been two months for me and I don't see the longing for my girl fading much. I am slowly going towards acceptance but the journey is slow. I miss her every day and still cry not having her in my life. I love the pictures of your boy. You are right he does look young. What a gift you had in your life to have had time with such a spirit. Although so very hard to do you did your Josh a kindness. The feelings of guilt remain as part of the grieving and torment us. I am so sorry for the pain you are going through. Writing on this site has helped me along with the kind people here. I hope you can find some peace on these pages.                                                                       Patty
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Meghanm
Hi IntenselySad. I was thinking about you and wondering how you were doing. I agree very strongly with you that it is hard for me to accept when people say things like "he is in a better place" or "it was his time". Who is to say when someone's time is? I understand things like this are meant to be kind or to make one feel better, but for me I just don't know.

It sounds like that kind of surgery would have been extremely painful for Josh or any dog. His quality of life would certainly not have been the same and he would not have been able to do many of the things he (and I am sure all dogs) enjoyed. For such a short time period of one year, it doesn't sound like that incredibly invasive surgery would have been "worth it" (for lack of better words).

I don't think you or anyone else ever truly "gets over" loss. We learn to live with the pain. It becomes a new sort of normal. What was once our previous definition of "OK" changes into a completely new definition. I hope for the best for you and am thinking of you
Meghan

"If the people we love are stolen from us, the way to have them live on is to never stop loving them. Buildings burn, people die, but real love is forever." ~ The Crow

"We don't "get over" our losses and just move on, we learn to live differently."
~ http://www.angelbluemist.com/frames/guilt.html
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dde9227782
Intensely-i didn't realize how common SCC was.  I thought it was prevalent in older dogs and specific breeds had a higher risk of contracting it.  I also didn't realize how invasive and complex the surgery wouldve been.  the vet did explain that treatment would vary, depending on the results of the biopsy (mainly the size and location of the tumor and age of the dog).  The treatment would most likely consist of removing the mass and reconstructing the jaw.  She would have to be spoon fed for sometime and go for chemo and radiation. This could but her a few months but the dr couldn't be 100% sure. My family and I knew that the time was near.  We didn't want her to suffer with chemo and radiation to just continue living in pain and being uncomfortable  for a few months. She spent the last few days running around with a ball in her mouth, being her lovable self then laying motionless on the rug (we had her on heavy sedatives). 

After performing the biopsy, the doctor didn't sound so hopeful. The mass was large and because of the location the treatment would've have done much to help the situation. Precious just turned 12, there was a risk with surgery at her age.  I was very upset because 2 weeks before another vet said oh its the beginning of bronchitis (they didn't even look in her mouth).  I felt guilty, what if we knew about it 2 wks earlier?  Precious' had one eye that looked like it was buldging, when we brought her back for the 2nd time (she wasn't eating and the initial antibiotics wasn't helping) her regular dr noticed her eye-shut off the light and shined a light into her mouth.  instantly she made a face and said 'i don't like what i see' and she showed us.  Precious didn't eat for a day, just imagine going through with the surgery and having to force feed her.  It seems like a complex procedure and very little 'buy back' time.  It's true, if the dogs were younger that would've been another story.  I can't see in putting a dog through so much trauma just to help them for a few months.  its true, the quality of life would diminsh drastically. when this is the case we need to ask ourselves do we want to put our friend through all this trauma and have them continue to live in pain?

I had a very hard time for a few weeks afterwards.  I went to work the next day and had a bad panic attack and my pressure went sky-high.  I also couldn't believe how much sorrow i felt upon losing her. I haven't lost anyone close to me since i was a little girl so I'm not sure if this is why it hurt so much.  She loved us unconditionally, and always knew when we weren't feeling well and would kiss us or curl up next to us. My dad was removed from the apartment on a streatcher last Jan with a pneumonia- would you believe that Precious ran down the hallway after the stretcher and tried to bite my mother when my mom tried carrying her back into the apt.  she spent the next few nights laying in bed with mom right on dad's side of the bed.  Dogs have a great six-sense and they are also able to mask their pain.  I've heard of so many stories where animals suffer debilitating illnesses but run and play like puppies.  Precious had arthritis in her back paw and mom used to give her a 'joint enhancer' pill.  some days were better than others, sometimes you could see her limping. 

The night before we took her for the biopsy-put her down she came into my parents room and made an unusual hacking sound (like she was choking-trying to get something out of her throat but nothing came up).  Now that I look back, I think that was her way of saying 'please help me'. I don't know for sure, maybe I'm just trying to rationalize things. I went over to her and she tried biting me.  She didn't want anyone near her.  I just remember that night and know that dogs sometimes hide the pain.  more and more i think that's what she was trying to do but eventually it became unbearable.

Please now that you can find comfort in talking to people who are in the same situation on this site.  You will not hear 'it's just a dog', 'you need to move on' or 'get another dog and you will be fine' (my exboyfriend said all these things to me).  you will be surrounded by people that care.

it might be helpful to talk to someone or join a grief group (there are a few for loss of pets).  i was even considering going to a psychic to see if Precious was happy and understood that we wanted her to be pain-free.

i can't help but tear-up rereading your posting.  it is ok for a middle aged man to cry and grieve.  everyone grieves differently, some quicker than others.  i have alot of respect for you for sharing your story and staying with Josh until the end.  I would've liked to do the same but honestly, I don't know how i would've taken it and I was afraid of my dad g-d forbid having a heart attack if he stayed with her (he was very attached to her).  Dad wanted to bring her back to die at home but we were afraid of how he would take it.

be well and please continue to share your thoughts with us.
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dde9227782
btw intense- beautiful pictures and your postings are beautiful and inspirational as well.  They are filled with vivid memories and some humor to lighten up the mood.  I appreciate that you put alot of thought into your postings.
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