Yesterday I put my dog Rocky to sleep and I am more devastated even than I thought I would be even though I've lost several dogs before and I know how painful it has been.  I was trying so hard to make sure that Rocky died at home that now I'm questioning whether it was too early.  He hates going to the vet so I wanted to make sure that I didn't have to rush him to an emergency room when he was in more distress.  He was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension and lung disease last October.  I think he might have had disease for a long time before it was diagnosed but his episodes of coughing were few and far between.  He's been doing fairly well this year but he was hospitalized in March and May just overnight for shortness of breath but he recovered by the next day and he was great and doing well the entire month of July, back to his usual active self, walking a mile in the morning without trouble.  He had been having more mild shortness of breath about 3 weeks ago but it was fairly mild.  We saw the specialist vet 2 weeks ago who didn't know Rocky and took over for the vet I really liked who left the state.  He was somewhat harsh in that he said he wouldn't recommend anything different because there was nothing further that could be done.  Rocky was already on prednisone and a bronchodilator pill.  I tried to make Rocky as happy as possible after that and it took all my strength to contact a home euthanasia doctor with whom I discussed his lengthy history and sent videos of his breathing.  She thought nebulizer treatments might make him more comfortable as a palliative measure.  I went to the emergency room and was prescribed everything that could possibly help including antibiotics, a pill to dilate the pulmonary arteries and a inhaler bronchodilator.  Rocky didn't seem to improve the next day after just 2 doses of medication and several inhaler treatments but he still wasn't in distress.  I got so upset when we went to the vet the day before that Rocky got 10 x worse from anxiety that I arranged for the home euthanasia that afternoon.  He was such a sweet angel I think it was premature.  I miss him so terribly it's like someone ripped my heart out.  I want him here with me snuggling next to me.  He had such a big personality for a little dog there is a huge hole where he used to be.  
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I am very sorry for the loss of your precious Rocky.  You were dealing with a difficult situation.   If you took him to the vet he got treatments which made him worse but if you did nothing he was suffering from long term illness.  You made his passing as easy as possible for him by having someone come to the house.  Now you miss him terribly, which is normal.  It is common to think that you made the decision too soon.

But is that based on what was best for him or for you?  Letting our precious babies go when they have been ill for a long time is an unselfish gift of love that we give them.   But we are then left  with the pain of their loss and we are the ones who are suffering.  Rocky is at peace and no longer needs all of the medical interventions.  He didn't have to make another trip to the vet and was able to pass away in the comfort of his home.  You gave him excellent care and did everything you could for him.  Of course you miss him, things seem empty and you  want him back.  As you probably know this is a part of the grieving process.  There is no way to get through  this process quickly but you are with people who understand what you are going through.
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My heart goes out to you and the loss of your fur baby. You wrote " I miss him so terribly it's like someone ripped my heart out.  I want him here with me snuggling next to me." Those are gut-wrenching words and your raw emotion is evident. Please know that you did nothing wrong. You gave your angel a warm and loving home where he was free from danger or abuse. He was loved, nurtured and cared for. Guilt is useless, although easier said than felt. And there is no reason that you should feel guilt, as you did nothing but provide your furry baby with love and care. 

Please continue to post here, as this is a very caring forum that is filled with people who have gone through the loss of a beloved pet.

K. Unger
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