My wife and I lost our beloved Dachshund, Autumn Leaves on Saturday 9/28/2019 1:45 PM.  Autumn was diagnosed with TCC bladder cancer on 9/16/2019 after 4 UTI infections within a years’ time. Each time we visited the vet the vet gave her antibiotics and each time the UTI cleared up, except for the final UTI. The normal course of antibiotics did not clear the UTI.

Autumn was also straining to relieve herself on potty breaks. I noticed blood in her urine and took her to the vet. The vet ran an ultrasound on her and found that she had a tumor in her bladder TCC bladder cancer.

 Four months earlier the vet recommended an ultrasound, but I thought that the vet was ordering unnecessary test and the test was $350, so I declined and now I regret that decision and feel so guilty and shellfish that I didn’t let the vet do her job. I don’t know if it would have made a difference or not but a 4-month head start on treating her could have meant the difference of life and death. I feel that I failed Autumn for not letting the vet run the test. I haven’t asked the vet if that would have made a difference or not because like the coward that I am I am afraid to know.

The vet prescribed pain meds and piroxicam to shrink the tumor, although the piroxicam reviews were not encouraging. I followed up with the Vet in a week an there was no improvement in the tumor. In fact, Autumn’s pain medicine was only effective for 5 or 6 hours before she showed signs of pain again. The vet said I could shorten the interval between doses from every 8 hours to every 6 hours this worked for one day and then Autumn started showing pain after only 3 or 4 hours. Autumn was bleeding on the bed sheets every night; a few nights were worse than others.

 Towards the end she only bleed a little each night. But Autumn started limping and lost the use of her left leg. I took her to the vet and the vet said she felt a deterioration of the bone in her spine near the tail bone. Another ultrasound showed that the cancer had spread to her bones and lymph nodes.

Autumn was not able to carry herself outside to relieve herself, so I carried her each time she needed to go, usually every hour or two night and day. Every time, she strained to relieve herself and many times, I saw no urine or stool. Toward the end when I would take Autumn outside which she always enjoyed, she would just lay down in the grass as if she had no energy and was just worn out. Autumn’s quality of life was not there and she would look in my eyes and it was just sadness, pain and exhaustion that I saw.

 I wanted the medicine to work but it was clear that it wasn’t working just keeping Autumn is a sedated state seemed wrong to me. So, on Saturday September 28 at 1:45PM I took her to the vet for one last time to give her the shots that would end her suffering and pain. I hope it was the right thing to do, but I feel very guilty about letting the vet end her life after all of the loyalty and devotion she showed me in the 13 years. I hope that my pain goes away and I hope there is a heaven for dogs and I hope my sweet Autumn is there, whether or not I will ever see her in Heaven I don’t know because I am a sinner and don’t deserve to go to Heaven unlike Autumn.

The grief, pain and guilt are overwhelming to me, like I have never felt before in my 63 years on this earth. I try to think positive thoughts of Autumn but they are quickly overcome by thoughts of grief and so much guilt. I have cried off and on for almost 4 days now, missing my sweet Autumn Leaves. My stomach aches for all of the crying that I have done, my back and arms ache from digging her grave down to 3 feet in clay soil. I am unable to concentrate for any period of time. I have to take sleep aides to get to sleep, because the nights are the worse for me because Autumn slept beside me in the bed. Autumn had 80% of the bed and I was lucky to have 20% but that was OK for me.

Autumn was so loyal to me, before she got sick, she was my constant shadow wherever I went in the house or in her backyard. When I was sitting on the couch she had to lay next to me and physically be touching me, usually she would stick her right rear leg out and touch me with it, It looked like an uncomfortable position for her but when I would move her leg back to where I thought it was comfortable for her she would just move it back again. I sometimes feel that I took her love and loyalty for granite and wish so much that I could go back and tell her how much I love her and how sorry I am for not being a better parent. Now I know why the LORD never blessed me with children. I have never ever felt an unconditional love as I felt from my sweet Autumn Leaves.

On Autumn’s next to last day as she was sitting next to me on the couch, she crawled up to me and laid across my chest, we were both exhausted, so I covered her with her favorite green blanket and we both went to sleep with my arms crossed underneath her to keep her from sliding down. It must have been an hour or so and when I woke up Autumn was still laying across my chest. This is one memory that I will forever cherish.

 I have ordered a memorial stone with her picture engraved on it and some solar LED Lilly flower lights and a figurine replica of a Dachshund holding a solar lantern to place on her grave in her backyard. I can’t wait for it to arrive. I readjusted my surveillance camera in the backyard so that I can keep an eye on Autumn’s grave.

I don’t know how long that I will grieve, but I suspect it will be a long long time. I have lost all interest in things that I used to love, everything even the simple things seem so overwhelming to me. I know this is depression cause I went through it when my grandparents passed, I went through it when my grandson moved away, I went through it when my sister passed, I went through it when my niece passed with cancer and I went through it when my dad passed with cancer, and I feel very confused because while I loved very much the members of my family that passed away I never grieved for them like I have for my dog Autumn Leaves.

I have prayed to GOD to show me a sign that Autumn is in heaven with him and that Autumn is OK, but I am still waiting, patience hasn’t been a virtue of mine

Greg Grimsley
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@ GregG56

I'm so sorry you lost your Autumn baby. I lost my Ginger a few days ago. I completely understand your grief. I have lost my appetite and last night took Benadryl to be able to sleep properly. You're not alone in your pain/loss.
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  I was really moved reading your post. You did the very best that you could for your beloved Autumn. You are not a coward for declining the test for her when she was starting to fail. I am firm believer that many of the tests that Vets run are unnecessary and only prolong the pain. I have a lot of respect that you carried her outside when she couldn't walk on her own. Many people would not have done that. You were an incredible pet parent and your post is proof positive of that. The sadness, grief, depression, anxiety and guilt are all things that everyone in this Forum  is experiencing right now to varying degrees. No one escapes this. You had a tight emotional bond with Autumn and this is your body's way of dealing with it. I'm glad that you joined this Forum. It can be helpful.

Jim Miller
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First of all, I want to say that I am sorry to hear about your dog Autumn. She sounds like a very special dog, and certainly special to you. We all understand what you are going through.

I had a similar experience with my cat on 9/20/2019. He had been struggling to go produce stool, so we took him to the vet and they did an enema on him that was ineffective.  They then did a deobstipation procedure on him without anesthesia due to his age. I felt so bad for him because I know it must have been painful. On Sunday, 9/22, he began bleeding and we took him to an emergency vet who determined that, in addition to the issues he was having with defecating, he had large tumors in his chest. He was 16 pounds last year, and 8.5 pounds at the time of that appointment. The cancer was quite literally eating away at him. I felt horrible because I never would have put him through the procedure he had at his regular vet with the deobstipation if I had known. We made the decision to end his suffering at 12:30pm on Sunday, 9/22. 

I want you to know that you did the right thing. I know you feel badly about taking Autumn to end her life, I know I did even though I knew it had to happen. We did it out of love for our pet. I would always wish I would have taken him home for one more day. But we did the selfless, caring thing, and we ended their suffering in exchange for ours to begin. And you did what you could with the information you had at the time.  If the ultrasound seemed unnecessary at the time, don't beat yourself up for not getting one. I know that is easy to say, hard to actually do.  

Everything will be very difficult for awhile. Every memory that pops into your head, every reminder at home, and every time you get into bed knowing your baby won't be there. Trust me, I totally understand. I've cried to the point where I couldn't breathe before. I didn't eat for a week, and sleep was near impossible. And like you, it was comparable, if not worse, than when my grandfather (who adopted me when I was 13, so he was more like my father) passed away last year.  Our pets have intertwined into the fabric of our life so completely because they not only are with us all of the time, but they've shown us unconditional love and we've created a routine and life around them. They become part of our identity, family, and home. In a way, it almost feels like a part of us dies. And when it happens, the fabric of our life feels like the threads have been ripped out and we are left with a snarled mess. At least that is how it felt to me, and I imagine it feels the same to you. 

I like to think there's a place in Heaven for our furry family members. We may never get a sign, but I can't imagine such innocent creatures would get anything less after they pass. 

I hope the best for you, and I hope you keep using the forum when you need it for support. Everyone here understands your feelings. 

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Dear Greg,

I am so sorry for the loss of your precious Autumn Leaves.  That is such a beautiful name for a beautiful little dog.   I saw the picture you posted.  It sounds to me like you gave her the best of care and that she was precious to you.  I don't know that treatment 4 months prior would have helped, not with bladder cancer.  My cat had it last year and I had to do the same thing.  There is not much for treatment out there.  I know what you mean about not grieving the same over people as for our pets.  I too had a dachshund.  His name was Dickens and I lost him last year.  I am still grieving for him I miss him so much.  He was 13 1/2 years old.  He died suddenly and I was in shock.   Maybe I still am.  I am still depressed.  I know how much it hurts and how hard it is to move on.   I sympathize with you and hope that you find some comfort in knowing you are not alone in your grief.
Take care,
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