adelia
We lost our boxer Achilles suddenly just over two months ago. He was only 7 years old. It was too soon, and we were not prepared. I feel like it has turned me paranoid with our other babies.

Indiana , also a boxer, just turned 9. He was recently diagnosed with arthritis. We also have concerns for his heart. I took him to a cardiologist who said his heart looked great for his age and breed...but that since he is a boxer it is better to be vigilant.

I have not been able to relax since this all started a couple of weeks ago. I cannot sleep unless my hand is on him so that I can feel him breathing. When he doesn’t eat a meal, I try to entice him with some boiled chicken or some similar food. It has been so hot, and he has been panting more, and this also has me freaked out.

It is not financially feasible for me to take him to the vet every time my anxiety spikes...and I feel like I am driving him nuts when I check his gums 10 plus times a day.

Is it possible that I have PTSD from Achilles’ passing? How do I distinguish between my anxiety ridden panic and an actual situation that warrants a visit to the vet?

I feel so helpless...and scared all of the time. I know that it will eventually be his time...but I cannot lose him any time soon...I don’t think my heart can handle it.
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Purzel
Dear Ashley,

First off, let me say how deeply sorry I am for the sudden and unexpected loss of Achilles. Such a loss is never easy, it is indeed traumatic and it will take some time to heal. It is also understandable that you do have fears concerning Indiana. However, I personally do not see any reason to panic. Indiana is not young anymore but he does have a good age and will be around for some more years to come. Look, the cardiologist already told you his heart looked great for his age and I guess arthritis is quite normal once age comes sneaking round the corner.

You are right in assuming that you might drive him nuts checking his gums and whatever - dogs are very good in sensing our anxiety. It would be very wise to concentrate on the good times you both have, give him extra hugs and enjoy life with him, whilst on the other hand grieve Achilles (which is hard and painful enough).

I know it is not easy and maybe you do need some more time to realize that Achilles died but Indiana is still here well and healthy. Nothing will happen to him.

My good thoughts are with you
Silvia (with Max forever in my heart)

[hundi]


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adelia
Thank you for your sympathies/condolences. It really is appreciated.

Everything you have said is very true, and I know that. Something inside of me is just so paranoid. I take my dogs to the vet religiously. I am all about the preventative medicine and what not. They have all of their vaccinations, flea/tick/heart worm preventative...the works.

If they are sick, or not acting like themselves, I take them to the vet.

With Achilles, I expressed my concerns. He started obsessively drinking water. Something every vet will tell you to look out for. They dismissed it...and I trusted them. A couple months later, he began to decline. They mentioned his blood work was abnormal from a few months back, and they did more. His liver enzymes were nine times what they should have been. They told me he would be ok with fluids and a restricted diet. I took him home. He seemed sick, but not too bad. He didn’t make it through the night.

Maybe it is my guilt. Maybe it is my anger at the vet...I don’t know. But I think it has absolutely affected my judgement with Indy. I am so worried that I am going to miss something. I hope in time that I can get back to normal. But Achilles’ passing is still so fresh.
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Purzel
Dear Ashley,

Even tho my vets oversaw quite alot with my Max as time went I have no anger at them - they are only humans and I am quite sure they do the best they can. Dogs are very good at hiding their pains. It is not easy to detect if a dog is in serious condition or not - I so often in all those years with Max thought:"My oh my ... that's it!" and it wasn't. So yes, I do understand you very well! We have to keep in mind that when inner organs start to fail (for what reason ever) there is not so much one can really do but maybe try to buy some more time.

What I am trying to say here is: You do the regular visits to the vet, you do take very good care, you give so much love and comfort to Indiana and I guess the love and comfort is all they wish from us. Maybe you wish to try the thought that you are worrying about something that has not happened yet? It might be far more healthy to celebrate the living and grieve the dead. I hope you can find peace and fullheartedly grieve Achilles.

My heart goes out to you - take good care
Silvia (with Max forever in my heart)

[hundi]


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adelia
You are right. I am worrying about things that have not yet come to fruition, and might not ever. I do think that I have PTSD from the sudden passing of Achilles.

He was only 7, and I really should have had more time with him. I worry that I made poor decisions for his care. I don’t necessarily blame myself. I know that I go above and beyond for my babies. They get good, nutritious food, lots of love and attention, my complete devotion, and more than regular wellness vet exams. I am always vigilant of their behavior and notice changes pretty fast.

But with Achilles’ passing, I found myself questioning everything, cautious and paranoid about the slightest behavioral changes in both of my other dogs.

I am still grieving his loss. I try to make sure that it does not interfere with my other two. I play with them, take them for walks, cuddle them, and spoil them whenever I can. I love them all so much, and losing one has made reality set in for me. You don’t think about their mortality when they are young and healthy. I was blind sided. This whole process was as if I was punched in the chest, and I am slowly learning how to breathe again.
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Tankie12
Do the checks, make it fun, slip that lip up while you’re scratching and loving on them. End it with a big kiss and a “good baby” make light of it. I checked my Tankie’s lymph nodes for yrs after she went through chemo. You’re rightfully freaked.but as I’ve read you’re doing everything right by their medical care. Sometimes things present to a Vet that are so common that other issues aren’t being seen. They usually start with the obvious. Our babies have an inate instinct to not show signs of illness. It’s from way back when an animal needed to appear strong to survive in the wild. PTSD, I think we all suffer from a bit of that, memories can be immobilizing. The grief, excruciating and paralyzing. You’re very raw and haven’t even had time to process all you’ve been through, like Silvia mentioned. Also as Silvia said arthritis sneaks in with age. A wonderful product my Vet recommended is ‘Joint Max’ we order ours through Chewy.com It made a big difference. It’s like the “Gold Label” Osteo bio Flex for dogs. And as was mentioned don’t do as I did and live the end of Indiana’s life before it happens. You’ll rob both of you of the really good times, you really will,,,,,take care, enjoy your baby, you were a wonderful Mommy and Achilles is always with you,,,,,
ps, I did grieve with Tankie’s birth sister, Browns. I bottle fed them from birth and was acutely aware of her sadness. I held her head and cried while I told her how much her sister loved her, how much I loved her and how badly we miss her. I can’t tell you if it helped her but she was devastated and I would not let her grieve alone. There are different thoughts on how I handled that but you have to do what feels right. In the end the the only “right thing” was to get her her own dog, a puppy who changed her life for the better. She is happier now than I can remember in a very long time, but like I mentioned, you have to do what You feel is right,,,,,be good to you and take care
Lynn, Tankie’s mom, forever
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