Thank you to all who responded to my post when I lost Buster almost two weeks ago. Your words and support have been lovely.
I know that time is supposed to be a good healer and that it's not even two weeks yet since we had to let him go, but I am in absolute agony and am riddled with guilt.
My problem is that Buster was growing frail in front of me, and I didn't "see" it (probably denial). His arthritis was becoming more obvious, but he was a wee soldier and still liked to go for walks and run about in the garden. Unfortunately, living in Glasgow, Scotland, our weather has been dire and I didn't want to take him out - not because I couldn't be bothered or was too busy - but because I didn't want him to get badly soaked and become ill with infections. I think my "kindness" sometimes made him miserable, but I thought there would "always be tomorrow". I was sure, even at 17, that he'd go on a lot longer, that his arthritis was controllable, and that we'd have that perfect time together, full of love, hugs, treats and walks before he decided he was too old for this earth.
Unfortunately, he deteriorated rapidly, and the discomfort of the arthritis became debilitating within a matter of days. The pain was causing him mental anguish and the onset of dementia was a possibility. We made an appointment for the vet on seeing this, but they couldn't see us until almost a week away from when we phoned. We were told to keep him as comfortable as possible and that they'd do their best for him when he came in. I knew that the next vet appointment (which would have been last Tuesday) was a big deal and could possibly have been the day we'd have to make the dreaded descision, but had held out hope that they'd be able to give a strong medication and allow him to keep going. I had planned that, should we be given bad news, I'd give him a day where the happy stuff would distract him from his pain before we allowed him to go for his final sleep. I wanted him to have some good moments before he had to go.
It didn't happen like that. We didn't even get to the vets appointment and had to take a frail and failing Buster to an emergency practice to help him on his way, in the middle of the night. No happy time. No last walk. No last treats. He was so ill, he couldn't stand and wasn't really responsive to anything. He was too sore for cuddles.
It hurts that it happened that way, and now I wish I hadn't thought about "tomorrow", but just defied the weather (and the fact he was a little slower) so he had some happier moments before it happened. I know that dogs live in the present, and all that I can think of was that his last moments were spent in pain and that he might have felt I wasn't bothered about him anymore. I tried to keep him going because I believed that the arthritis and possible dementia were controllable. There's always "tomorrow". What a stupid person I am.
I am just so gutted by the way it panned out. I'll never forget the look of pain and confusion on his wee face, and I feel like I failed him. I love him so much, I hope he knew that. But all I can think of was his last moments were in pain and that he felt neglected. What if he died feeling that I let him down? I can't get that out of my head.
I love you Buster! I hope we'll be together again soon xx