Diane_M
On May 10, 2020 my wonderful cockapoo, Bracken, was sick all night. Early in the morning we took him to the emergency veterinary hospital. They said he had congestive heart failure. I couldn't even go into the hospital with him, because of the pandemic restrictions. They gave Bracken diuretics and put him in an oxygen tent. He improved greatly and we brought him back home on that Monday afternoon.
The next two days were so joyful! Bracken was better than I'd seen him in a long time. Eager to go on a long walk and prancing the whole way. But by Wednesday I could see he was not feeling well again.
This past Saturday, May 16, he had another terrible, long night. Diarrhea all night long. He had to keep letting me know he needed to go outside. He managed to walk down the hill to the 'short cut' spot he used at night if it were too cold, or raining, or in this case, when he didn't feel well. But on the way up the hill he coughed and gagged and was short of breath, so I carried him each time.
And he had not been eating much all week. By Saturday he wouldn't even take a treat.
Sunday morning we were able to get some medicine from the ER for his stomach, and he seemed much better after taking it. The diarrhea wasn't as bad and he was more relaxed, and finally could sleep.
The weather was warm and sunny. Bracken was tired but slept peacefully much of day, or followed me around the house. Several times we sat out in the yard in the sunshine, one of his favorite things to do. But I could see he wasn't himself. He could walk, but had no interest in it.
And he started coughing again, and we knew we had to help him. It was time.
The vet said he could come that night, Sunday.
I had been talking with other vets, who specialized in home visits and euthanasia, and I felt very comfortable with them. I felt drawn to their compassion through our email discussions and was thinking about using them instead of our regular one, but their schedules were limited due to the pandemic, and they were far away and couldn't promise they could be here when I called, or get here in time...so when Bracken's regular vet offered that night I decided that rather than take any chances of waiting and making other arrangements that could take days, the best thing for Bracken was to say goodbye Sunday night.
Now, I am filled with guilt because when he put the needle in Bracken, Bracken cried, not once but twice, loudly. I covered my ears and cried and begged it to stop. I tried so hard to plan a peaceful goodbye for Bracken, but my last memory of him now is his crying.
He spent 13 years and 8 months with me, he was the center of my world. These last two days have been unbearable, waking up without him here seems unreal. I've read all about grieving and I've gone through it before, most recently with losing both my parents. I know I'm supposed to be feeling like this, but knowing that doesn't help much...not when all I can think about is causing Bracken pain at the end.
A different vet, one of the ones I had spoken with about what to do, has been so kind in follow up emails to me. She reassured me that what happened to Bracken at the end is not unusual...she told me things don't always go as planned and we have no control over that. She told me to try not to focus on an instant of pain, rather on the years of love and caring I gave to Bracken.
I am trying. I miss him desperately.
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Bestlittledog
Dear Diane,

It broke my heart to hear of the  pain you are going through after your loss of Bracken, and especially the guilt you are carrying about him crying when he was injected.  I recently had to put my dog down also because of congestive heart failure and am carrying guilt about possibly putting him down to soon.  The one thing my rational mind knows is that grief is almost invariably accompanied by guilt; I don't know why.  If Bracken had not cried out I still think you would have found something else to feel guilty about over his death.  You did the best you could for him and there is nothing you could have done to prevent it.  Treat yourself gently during this hard, hard time and remember all the times you were such a good dog mom.
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Runningman66
I feel all of your pain as my boy had heart failure as well as other problems and while I’m still devastated a month on not to mention my life being full of emptiness I have accepted I did the right thing as he just had enough of life not being able go out for his walks and struggling to breathe but can I suggest Kate McGhan’s books on pet grief through the words of her own dog Jack.They will have you in tears but they are certainly helping me come to terms with my loss.Love to all.
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Diane_M
Dear Bestlittledog,

I am so sorry you also had to put your dog down due to congestive heart failure, and sorry you also feel guilt.
I have the same guilt . . . that maybe Bracken was put to sleep too soon. But I also know, from speaking to a vet who knows a lot about congestive heart failure, that the alternative would have been worse, and I didn't want to see Bracken suffer again the way he did before his hospitalization.

I'm sure you also did what was best for your beloved dog. You are so right that guilt is part of grief, so I echo that back to you . . . that the guilt you feel is just part of this painful journey we are on, but it is unfounded because I know from the kindness of your words to me that you were a wonderful pet parent.

Thank you so much for writing to me and for offering me support. I am sending the same back to you and hope you also remember to take care of yourself as you grieve the loss of someone so loved.

Sincerely,
Diane, Bracken's Mom
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Diane_M
Dear Runningman66,

Today is two weeks to the day that my Bracken died. I certainly relate to the emptiness you speak of.  This house is not the same without Bracken. I see him everywhere, and sometimes think I hear him crying or making breathing sounds. And, though it hurts so very, very much, somewhere deep down I know letting him go was better for him. Just two days out of the hospital and he was coughing and struggling for breath again.
I couldn't bear to see him suffer and I knew I didn't not want to put him through repeated hospitalizations.

Talking to caring people like yourself, who are living through the same type of loss, does help me during this awful time, and I thank you for your support, and I hope you know you have mine.

Thanks, too, for recommending the book by Kate McGhan. I am not familiar with it but as soon as I finish this message to you I will go online and look for it. I've been reading a lot of books these last two weeks, and I find some solace in the pages. 

Take good care Runningman66,

Diane, Bracken's Mom
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Bestlittledog
Dear Diane,

I can’t thank you enough for your kind words; the timing is perfect. I needed to hear them right now. This is a hard time of day for me.

I wish you peace.

Linda
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Diane_M
Dear Linda,

Peace to you, too, Linda.

I know the days are so difficult, especially at certain times. We may all process our grief differently, and feel it more acutely at different times from one another, but the intensity of our loss is exactly the same for all of us and I look forward to the time when better moments start to creep into the days, not just for myself, but for you.

Take care tonight,
Diane, Bracken's Mom
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Bestlittledog
Thank you Diane. Today I made a deliberate effort not to grieve but just start thinking about the joy and good times my Joey brought me and all the things I did to make him happy I’m order to ease my guilt. Although I can feel the grief inside me still wanting to come out. But one day without those horrible bursts of grief, remorse, and guilt is such a relief. I hope you are feeling a little respite from your grieving also. Day by day...

Sleep well,
Linda
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