Lisa1975
Diablo came into my life as a wee little pup in July of 2002.  He was born on May 20, 2014.  When we went to pick a pup, there were only two puppies in the litter.  Diablo was dark puppie, black and tan, mostly black.  His brother was very light colored.  His brother was rambunctious and nippy.  Diablo was sweet and calm.  My mom and I picked Diablo as he was calmer and more the color we liked.  As we backed out of the breeders driveway he turned into the devil lol.  It was an act to get us to pick him!  Hence his name which an aunt of mine came up with. 
Diablo was my everything.  He was my heart and my soul.  He was a crazy puppy but as he got older he was the calmest dog I have ever seen, so laid back.  When he was 5 years old we welcomed a new addition, my toy poodle named Shadow.  He was so patient with her.  She would hang from his beard, nip at him, etc and he not once reacted.  He just took it and looked at me like "what did you do to me".  But they were best friends.  Diablo could lay for hours in front of the door just watching the world go by.  He loved his walks even as he got older and moved a lot slower.  He would stop under every tree by what I call "his creek" and lay on his backs for belly rubs and to prolong the walk.  He wasn't a big cuddler but he loved to sit and just stare at me.  He did curl up every night with us in bed.  He loved to eat and go for car rides.  He loved to go to my uncles house where he had a little girlfriend he played with.  Sometimes he would stay overnight there when he was younger and he would come home and sleep for days from exhaustion. 
He has had a collapsing trachea since he was young.  For the most part it didn't give him problems.  There were times he would be put on cough suppressents but he didn't have any major illness until this year.  In February he wasn't putting any pressure on one of his paws so I took him to the vet.  They wanted to do xrays so they did a blood test first and his liver panels were very high.  They didn't do the xray, they put him on some pain stuff assuming it was arthritis.  They kept him and put him on IVs for his liver issues for two days.  He came home with special food and pills. 
During this time his coughing started happening more and more.  When I would come home from work he would cough from excitement.  When he would go outside and was doing his #2 he would cough.  Because of his now high enyme counts they couldn't put him on the steroids that would help.  Surgery was very risky for the same reason and his age.
On May 18th we went to bed and he was coughing.  He couldn't stop.  I took him outside, he calmed down but then it started again.  I ended up taking him out of bed, thinking he could move around more and get water, etc.  I regret this to this day as he never slept with me again.  The next morning he was a little bit better.  I took the dogs to get groomed.  The groomer called and said he was coughing a lot againa nd she didn't think she should groom him.  I called the vet which is in the same office and got an appointment  When I got there the groomer said he calmed down and she did groom him but he started again.
I took him to the vet.  When the vet looked at his gums he said they needed to put him on oxygen.  A few minutes later the Dr said it was helping.  He said despite the liver issues we would put him on steroids to get this under control.  I thought ok...he is coming home.  The n not more then a few minutes later he came back in and said the oxygen wasn't helping anymore.   He said they would need to put him out and put him on a breathing tube.  I lost it and asked if I could go see him.  They let me stay with him the rest of the time.  I told him how much I loved him and how he was my world and my fighter.  I told him I was fighting for him.  They put him out and every time they would try to bring him out he would start struggling.  The Vet said we have 2 options....you can let him go or you can take him to another very for emergency trachea surgery.  He said they didn't know If he would even make it to the other hospital or if so through surgery.  I told them lets do it.  Before we could go though the vet wanted to do an xray to make sure that is what it was.  When it came back it showed he had a partially collapsed lung probably due to the coughing and the stress.  The vet tech told me she thought it was time to let him go.  I didn't know what to do, had nobody to discuss it with, and I was being told by the Vet it was important to make the decision right away if he was going to have surgery.  I decided to let him go....the day before his 14th birthday.  It was the hardest thing I have ever done.  But I was afraid I would be putting him through so much pain and discomfort and chances were not in his favor. 
Now I regret it and feel like I failed him.  Its been over two months and that is all I think about.  I should have taken the chance.  Maybe he would be sitting here with me now.  Maybe he wouldn't but I will never know.  If he had a chance what right did I have to take it away.  I miss him so much and don't think I will get over this.  Its hard enough to deal with the loss but to deal with the guilt is even worst.
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jimmy17
I am so sorry - Diablo sounds such a little character, and such a loving dog.   However we lose them, we all seem to have those "what if " moments - did we miss something, should I have done something different?    
 You let Diablo go because you ARE a good caring owner - however hard it was, it would have been awful for Diablo to go through stress and pain, especially at his age. You in NO way failed him  - you did the very opposite and made the hardest decision out of love for him, and although you feel guilty right now ( we all seem to feel that guilt here ), you will be able to look back and know you did the only thing possible.  I had to have my 17 year old dog put to sleep 7 months ago, and it probably took me 3-4 months before I stopped feeling guilty, and that I really had no choice  as his quality of life was never going to improve. 
 In time, you`ll find the happier memories start to come back - you have 14 years of love and friendship to look back on, but for now, take care

                                                          Hugs, Jackie
J Taylor
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chicagocats
Hi Lisa,
I am so sorry for your pain and loss of Diablo. I too am struggling with guilt. I was considering surgery for my kitty and I had just gotten the estimate from the surgeon when she took a downward spiral so fast that I couldn't get my brain wrapped around what was happening. The hospice vet came and after a very long discussion and him observing her, we decided to let her go. He said I could put her in the hospital on an IV for a few days to see if she could recover enough for surgery, but his thoughts were that she had so many things going wrong that we already knew about, plus she had things going wrong that we didn't yet know about. He didn't feel an IV was going to fix her and said he was concerned she would die in the hospital.

Diablo seems to have had a number of things going on besides the collapsing trachea - some of which you knew about and, like my kitty, there were things going on that you hadn't yet discovered. 

I did a little research before writing you this response and I read that dogs over six years of age do not do well with surgery to fix a collapsing trachea. For years the medications did their job and that was the best choice for Diablo and its what is recommended. They only recommend surgery in younger dogs if medications don't work. So you did everything right when making choices for his health care.

I really do not see that there was anything else you could have done. His lung had collapsed, he had elevated liver enzymes and he was an advanced age. I honestly don't think surgery would have fixed him.

I too am struggling with feeling like a failure, but when I read your story - I don't see someone that failed. You and your vet did everything possible. 

My hospice vet said there are things beyond our control and that it is so hard to come to terms with that. We want the best for our loved ones and not being able to make that happen leaves us feeling like we failed.

I hope you are able to come to peace with your choices. Again - reading your post - I see someone who loved Diablo so much and would have done anything to save him. Had the vet said - lets get him to the surgeons and they will fix him all up, you would have done it. There was no neglect or failure here on the part of anyone. This was so far beyond your control. Even the vet and the tech said they didn't see the surgery being the answer and they were concerned about him making it there to even get the surgery. You did everything right and you did everything out of love.

Keep coming here if it helps you. It is helping me to work through my guilt and grief. 

Wishing you peace.
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Sampson
Hello Lisa1975,
I read through your beautiful story and I know you loved your Diablo so much! I will share with you that my Sampson also had a collapsed trachea and in the end it caused him a lot of suffering. I still feel that I should have let him go sooner and it haunts me thinking of him in pain. I think you did the absolute right thing to allow Diablo to go with grace and before he suffered. It seems to be a common theme,to second guess our decision and then to decide we made the wrong one. I think it is all part of the grief you are experiencing and of course you would want to see him beside you but I know you wouldn't have wanted him to suffer.
Please accept my sincere condolences on your loss and take good care!
S.
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frostymommy
My sincerest condolences to you and the others who shared. Yes we doubt ourselves a lot, but every one of our beloved pets know that we lover them with all of our heart and know we did the best we could in n these circumstances. I feel like I did a bad job raising him....he is by far the youngest one in this forum to pass at the young age of 2.... But let us take care of ourselves and be gracious to ourselves. Our pets would like us to take care of their mommy n daddy, right? Hugs!
Soph
Frosty Joy 5/14 - 7/16
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camunki

hi Lisa, i can relate all too well, my Chinese Shar Pei Munki also had a collapsing trachea (diagnosed back in May 2015), which is irreversible...and she too was just one month shy of her 14th birthday, i had to let her go 12/3/15..........she also had lung cancer.

Please know you did all you could for your Diablo, taking him to the vet regularly etc...you were a good mom!! I think we all go back to failure, and the would haves and could haves and should haves...they take up so much of our mind, but in hindsite, do we even know what would have happened if we changed anything??? 

I am now trying to just live for the memories of my precious Shar pei, the fond memories, the happy life we had........in the end, which seems like such a short life time for our pets.........we want them to live longer...........I have grieved and still am, going on 7 months.........I miss my baby so much and stil shed soft tears each day, cuz i miss her physically..........please know you did all that you could for your precious Diablo and he knows that!!!

My vet too, on Munkis last day, said i could do 'hospice" for her, what put her on a breathing tube, fill her with meds and for what??? so I could keep Munki around longer...??? I knew it was the end.........I am thankful for almost 14 long wonderful years with my baby......and I have had the days filled wlth darkness, the guilt, the out of nowhere outburts, the times i fall to the floor and just cry, the times i break down at work and have to walk into the ladies room to get a grip of myself...the times i cry at nite on the way home from work...........yes, i am still grieving..........and I want you to know you did all that you could for your baby!!!!and your Diablo is waiting for you, for that day you can be reunited and spend eterity together!!


Cam


 
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maryellen1952
I have had to have 3 Pekingese put to sleep over the years due to collapsing trachea.  If you do any research you will find that collapsing trachea is a PROGRESSIVE disease as with kidney and heart disease meaning it only gets worse.  Surgery is expensive and only a few vets are experienced with this surgery and it is only 50% successful.  So it is sad to have to watch a dog suffer as this disease progresses.  So you did everything you could to delay the inevitable.
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Lisa1975
Thank you everyone for your kind words.  It seems many of us have seen our babies suffer with the collapsing trachea.  I cry everyday and wonder how I will get through this.  I do remember so many good times.  The day before he passed we had such a great day.  We spent some alone time away from the cats and my other pup.  We even stopped at Sonic where he got a cheeseburger (no bread) all to himself.  And I know he shouldn't have been  eating human food but he was almost 14 and it was our special day of mommy and son time.  I took the best picture that day I ever took of him, the last one I have of him alive.  I wish I knew how to post it here.  Thank you again everyone.  To my baby boy I love you more then life.
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camunki
hi lisa, when you "reply" there is a button that says More Reply Options, if you click that the page opens and at the bottom their is an Attach Files    Insert Photos button you can click to add a photo, be careful cuz sometimes the photos may be too large and you have to reduce them to post here.

I am glad you have a wonderful pic of your Diablo on his last days, maybe use that pic and frame it...and yes collapsed tracheas are awful, my vet said they are chronic and irreversible....again, my Munki was "diagnosed" in May and lived til Dec 3rd, she was a fighter! yet, she has had alot of broncial issues thru her life, esp in 2011 to 2012 the vets could not find the right meds for her as she always had a cough/trachea problems back then, so yes pets can live quite some time with collapsed trachea, depending on how narrow the broncial airways get, Munki had severe chronic bronchial disease........yet in the end, I know it was the Cancer that took her life, and yes, I am sure the collapsed trachea added to her getting the cancer/nodules that she had.

I am glad Diablo enjoyed his last Sonic burger and I am sure loved it. And most people give their pets human food at one time or another, i know I did!

Hope you can post a pic of your sweet boy....

Cam


 
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frostymommy
Hugs!!! Praying for you all as we walk on the journey together. 2 yr old sweet Frosty either died from heart attack or respiratory failure...I am now wondering it can be respiratory but didn't do necropsy. He gasped for air and tongue turned purple then collapsed n passed to heaven in the car, all in 10 min. Wonder if collapsed trachea could happen so fast? Hugs!!
Soph
Frosty Joy 5/14 - 7/16
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