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stevenkep
Hi Joe,

I agree with Zhanna, who put it very well.  I've always believed that when you extend yourself to help someone in need without expecting anything in return, the gesture comes back to you in a positive way.  I've seen it happen.  I'm sure that your neighbor was very grateful that you went out of your way to help her.  I believe that this is also evidence that the spirit of Pal is very much alive.

Steve
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stevenkep
Thank you, Tracy,

Your words of encouragement and support mean more than you know.  I read in your prior posts the tragic circumstances of your loss of first your Molly then your Lilly, and I have you and your babies in my prayers, as I do with all the other pets and their parents whom I've met here.

I write not only about Ruffles but about everything that I am inspired to write about from reading all of your heartfelt stories.  My inspiration first and foremost came from friend Joe.  In so doing, we keep the legacies of our fur babies alive, and one of the easiest ways for me to do that is to express myself in writing, something I've enjoyed doing all my life.

It's funny, but when Ruffles was with me, I felt like my daily schedule revolved around her.  I still look down the stairs after waking up in the morning and before starting my day, expecting that I would see her puzzled little face poking up toward me, reminding me that I had better let her outside before I do anything else!  Now my routine includes checking in with the good people on the forum, my nightly vigils, the Monday Candle Ceremony, holding her blanket when I need it, and, for me...it's still all about Ruffles.

So thank you, my friend.  Without all of you, I don't think I could get through another day.

Sincerely,

Steve
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stevenkep
Thank you, Patti,

I think that is an excellent idea, our pets all playing together in Paradise Meadow over the Rainbow Bridge, and our meeting each other in the company of our pets once again.  That truly is an awesome concept of the idea of Heaven.

Your post gave me a glimpse into what an alternate future might have looked like if I had overruled my wife and daughter in the hospital that night and ordered the 48-hour ICU care for Ruffles.  Your description of the last six weeks of your Monty's precious life, indeed, Joe's description of the last six-and-one-half months of his Pal's life, give me a new insight into that alternate future.  Would I have felt differently if Ruffles continued to live, not in the way she was but as a different, declining Ruffles, to whom we may or may not been able to say goodbye?  Probably not, although I am sure you cherished every minute of those six weeks in that you were able to continue to love and care for Monty in the way that only you could do.

Well, as everyone here knows very well by now, I didn't overrule my family that night in the emergency room, although I thought about it for the longest time as the minutes ticked away and the hours dragged on.  They were just as grief-stricken as I was in contemplating what was about to happen.  The main difference between them and me is that they seem to have come to terms with the events of that night and the aftermath.  I have not come to terms with it, indeed I feel incomplete because the life of our precious one was cut short, as I still feel in my heart that I should have taken the extraordinary measures to save our dog.  And so I am here, with like-minded pet parents, with whom I can express my feelings freely and without fear of opprobrium (fancy word, that!).

Take care of yourselves, Patti and everyone, until we get on the other side of this pandemic,

Steve
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pkindree
Hi Steve, I like your fancy word. No opprobrium here. You are among some of the best humans out there.

Please do not second guess yourself. I think it's too easy to do that. What you did was out of selflessness and care for your sweet Ruffles. We do not know what could have been. Ruffles could have suffered and then you would feel terrible for her suffering. It's the hardest yet it is the most humane thing we can do for them.

The back story: I noticed that Monty was losing weight and seemed tired. He was almost 16 so I figured it was age, and I took him in. Basic blood work came back with alarmingly high liver enzymes and his regular vet said go to a specialist. They did an x-ray of his chest and an ultra sound when they saw a mass on his lungs. At first they thought it was liver cancer. Less than one week after the blood work I went to for a consultation with the specialist and was pretty much told I could euthanize my Monty now, or I might get two more weeks! What?! I felt numb. How did it go from a checkup to saying goodbye?! I was told that he had liver failure, bronchitis, pancreatitis, and a brain tumor. Nothing could be done. The specialist had no bedside manner I quite frankly I think he preferred to stand there in his white coat and hear himself talk. It was terrible. He said maybe we can try steroids to get Monty feeling a little better, I said okay, and he said, well that's not a good idea because he will pee in the house. I didn't care - I said I will wake up with him and take him outside. That guy said he cannot make the decision for me, but when I said let's try the steroids and again he said it was not a good idea. I walked out of there with something to help his appetite, and no pain meds (they did not tell me he may have been in pain). The next few days I did nothing but cry. I scheduled to have him euthanized at home. That vet asked if he was on pain meds because pancreatitis is very painful. I ended up getting some gabapentin from Monty's vet and bought baby food since I figured it would be easy on his tummy. I gave everything I had to that little guy, as we all do. I went without rest, hobbies, pretty much everything because he wanted to be next to me. I am sure he knew I was taking care of him and he was grateful. Until the last day when he could no longer follow me around - he still did so with his eyes - always looking for me.It killed my heart that he relied on me like that.

So, I  think I did what everyone else here did - I tried what I could to keep my little fur baby as long as I could. He also had congestive heart failure because of age, so when he started breathing hard, I could not be selfish any longer. I said goodbye on 3/26 and it feels like an eternity without him.

Please take care and thank you for your posts. Thanks to everyone here. Be safe and well.
Patti
Patti
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stevenkep
Hi Patti,

Well, it's almost 1:00 am here on the East coast where I completed my midnight vigil's at my Ruffy's bedside about 45 minutes ago.  My vigils have altered my sleeping patterns but they are important because they are my Ruffles time and I won't give them up.  Your post is very thought provoking, and I think you are to be commended for summoning up the strength to write about your Monty's last few weeks.  I know because it was so hard for me when I started putting my thoughts about those earth-shattering last three weeks of my Ruffy's life into words.  I thank you for that.

I spent a long time contemplating the things you write about your Monty.  I read your post over and over and it caused me to think that while our doggies' respective conditions were not identical, they were substantially similar.  Why can't they talk to us in human language and tell us what is bothering them?, I asked myself.  Oh, mommy, I have pains inside of me.  Or, daddy, I don't feel like eating anymore, I feel sick to my stomach.  Or, I'm sorry about having so many accidents, daddy, I can't hold it like I used to.  Like you, Patti, I experienced the numbing shock and pain of bringing my dog for her rabies shot and wellness visit, only to see her precipitous decline in such short order, it made my head spin.

Tonight, at my Ruffy's bedside, I didn't do a lot of talking, I let her talk to me.  I asked her, Ruffy, would you give me a sign that you are all right?  And then I cried because I know that while she can hear me, she can't communicate to me in the way that she used to.  At the hospital that night, my daughter said to me she knew she came to the right decision because she asked Ruffles, telepathically, for a sign that she was ready to let go.  And at that moment, she said, Ruffles turned and looked at my daughter, her mommy.  And my daughter said she knew it was time.  I didn't see or hear any such signs.  When I looked into Ruffy's eyes as she lay on that cold examining table, protected only by her little blanket that is now resting on my lap, I saw the poor thing's eyes as I always used to see them, when I'd say to her, "Why you look so sad?"  And she did look so sad to me that last night of the poor thing's life, and maybe the sadness was in knowing that she was leaving us.  And now I've got to bring my message to an abrupt close, because I am starting to sob as I'm typing these words.

Ruffles, why you look so sad?  Can't you please save me?, was the answer that I remember seeing in her poor, tired eyes.

Steve
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joeslepski
To My Beloved Pal:
This morning I went out to the store at 6:00 a.m. which is the hour set aside for us senior citizens to shop. It was so crazy. People were lined up to get into the store and then they started buying everything that they could get their hands on. People are so scared. They really need to get a four-legged companion to help get their minds off of this crisis. Even though my kidney failure really puts me at risk. I am not scared. I do practice social isolation but I am not living in fear. I am so thankful that I have this condition because I know that life is much more important than getting the last roll of toilet paper.

                                                                I Love You,
                                                                Joe
joe slepski
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pkindree
Dear Steve, hello,and hello everyone. We have another month of lock down with the worst yet to be seen according to the President.

Steve, I am very sad that you are hurting so much and feeling tremendous guilt about your precious Ruffles. She could have been looking at you for relief because she was in pain. Only you could give her that gift of no more suffering. She may have been looking at you to say, please, make this pain go away ..I've been such a good girl for you, and now I need to go. She was lucky to have you care and love her so much!

Since they cannot tell us, we do not know what they are thinking/feeling. We have to rely on the vets for whom it is a business to tell us what is physically wrong - and hope they get it right. (yes, I am a little cynical because of my recent experience).  We have to decide for ourselves,  knowing our fur-babies as only we do, whether it's time to make the decision to let them go so they no longer suffer. Please be gentle with yourself. Little Ruffy would not want you to be so sad. She would be asking you "why you look so sad, dad"? It's a gut-wrenching decision to choose when to let them go, and it is not done lightly by any of us here. We did what was best for our companions...

I did not want to get out of bed today. Not sure why, but my heart is particularly heavy today and I miss my  little Monty really badly. We are all going to miss our little furry friends. It's a new emptiness that we live with. We will eventually adjust - just not sure when. It's a significant loss of a family member.

Take care of yourself.  Sincerely, Patti
Patti
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stevenkep
Dear Patti,

Thank you, my friend, your message brought me back from the brink of despair once again.  Your post made me laugh and cry at the same time, and as I did with your previous post, I meditated on your well considered words for quite a while.  I think that I will continue to be sad - how could I not? - but it is worth repeating, as it has been said so many times here, it helps to know that we are not alone in our almost inconsolable grief.

I'd like to pass along a little story here, about a dog named Monty.  No, not your sweet little Monty, whom I am sure was one of a kind, and whom I did not have the privilege of knowing in this world.  Hopefully I'll meet Monty in the next one - I can see him chasing Ruffles playfully, and Ruffles barking at Monty like she did when she saw squirrels or birds on our deck, or deer in the woods in the back of our property, till I thought she was going to lose her barking voice....The first dog that I ever knew by name was named Monty.  Monty's human was one of my mother's Greek lady friends, Jeannie, now deceased.  Monty was a poodle with a real French poodle haircut.  Anyway, Monty lived with Jeannie in an apartment, and I remember how he barked and growled at me whenever we visited her.  Maybe Monty was so frustrated with being cooped up in a stuffy little apartment all day. I was afraid of Monty, not because of his size (I think he was a standard poodle) but because of his bark.  But Monty never bit me or anyone.  I don't know why I remembered Monty's name after all these years.  This was back in the early 1960s, circa 1962 or '63 when I was either 10 or 11.  Years later, my wife would laugh when I told her about Monty, and she couldn't believe that I remembered the dog's name after all those years.  I don't think that Jeannie's surviving son even remembers Monty's name!

I think there is something special about dogs, else why would they have such an impact on us after decades of time have passed by?  Not unlike my Uncle Al who still cries over his Sultan who, as I mentioned before, departed this earthly plane over 34 years ago.  I'm glad I remember Monty the poodle, as I believe he still lives on in me.  I sincerely hope and pray that the memories of the beloved dogs and cats of all who are following these posts will do the same for their humans.

Kindest regards,

Steve
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pkindree

Good evening Steve,  if anything I say or the other caring people here say help in any way relieve your suffering, I am so glad... we are human and we do the best we can for our little guys.

today was very hard. I think I spent more time crying than not. it physically hurts.

Thank you for that nice story.  l think that is so cool that you remember a “Monty”. My little guy was officially General Montgomery... how silly, right? He was a broken coat Parsons Russel with an underbite. Such a fancy name for a little dog. He was a “reject” from a Breeder. He was a love! Like so many people here say, a once in a life time dog. He was so awesome and he loved everyone. 

Steve, please be gentle with yourself. Hug your little Ruffles blanket tonight and know she is in a better place that is without pain. One reality that we have to accept is that we live longer. We will likely outlive our fur babies. It’s a hard truth that seems unfair.

We will go on and I know we will always be missing a piece of our hearts, for our little babies took it with them... we will have that empty feeling that only they filled. I think we get better because we knew true love. Unconditional and pure. 

Sincerely
 Patti

 

Patti
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codysmum102
My friends,
All I can say right now is I hate this new normal. It's bad enough that our way if life has been disrupted by the virus but to have to go through this without my Cody is so depressing. It makes me miss him more and more each day instead of less. He was my rock in times of despair and now he's gone. I sit petting his blanket and talk to him but it's not the same. Nothing is the same. He was everything that was good in the world and now he's gone.
Julie 💔
"Grief only exists where love lived first."
--Franchesca Cox
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MichelleKinkaid
I feel exactly the same Julie! I so miss my Rocky ... it is so quiet and lonely here. He was my Rocky and my "rock". Like you talk to your Cody ... I still talk to my Rocky ... and hold his wooden box ... looking at the place he used to lay on my bed. They are such a complete part of our lives ... the part with unconditional love. They remain forever in our hearts. Hugs.
xoxo
Michelle Kinkaid
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pkindree
Good Morning Cody's Mum and Michelle, Julie, I always refer to you as Cody's Mum, I hope that is okay? It sounds so cute to me that it's your email add.

You are right, this "new normal" terrible. This current situation is making it feel even worse.. I used to give Monty three little kisses on the top of his little wet nose - I do that to his picture now and tell him I love him and miss him. These are sad days for sure.
I am so sorry for your pain and understand how much your miss your little guys. Take care of yourselves.  

Patti
Patti
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joeslepski
To My Dearest Pal:
I do not usually go out that often anyways, but now with this "shelter in place" order. I have not really done anything for the last three weeks. I do get run/walk six to eight miles a day so that gets me out but except for the occasional trip to the store, I am home all of the time like everybody else is. Taz is a little confused seeing me in the house pretty much all day long. He likes to be left alone at times just like you did. In these times I really miss even more than usual. You could always cheer me up no matter what the situation was.

                                                              I Love You,
                                                              Joe
joe slepski
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codysmum102
Patti
Julie or codysmum is just fine. These are definitely some dark times made worse by the absence of our furbabies. My daughter just told me that her work from home order is extended from April 30th to the end of the semester which is June 19th (she works at a community college). That does make sense though since I heard it's supposed to peak around the end of April. Can't go back when it's at it's worst.
Julie 💔
"Grief only exists where love lived first."
--Franchesca Cox
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codysmum102
Michelle,
Hugs back to you too. 🤗 My daughter came down to visit me today and we sat 6 feet apart with our masks on. So very sad.
Julie 💔
"Grief only exists where love lived first."
--Franchesca Cox
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