Hi, my name is Sarah and yesterday in the early hours of the morning, my brother called me to say that our family dog, Dallas, was having a kind of fit.

I drove over quickly, only 5 minutes away, and she was 'rolling' to the point she had to be restrained. She is only a little Yorkshire terrier so not too big.

This had all started on Saturday past, when I went to drop off some stuff and noticed she had a little head tilt. She was very prone to jumping off the sofa and at 14 years of age, sometimes staved her little leg. We thought this is maybe what had happened.

I wasn't content though and in the back of my mind I said that if she hadn't looked better by Sunday I was taking her to the vet. He took one look at her and said she'd had 'some kind' of stroke. But he was content as she was able to walk, no falling over etc and started her on medication. I queried was it a 'full stroke' and he said no but it was the easiest way to describe it to a non-vet.

I was a wreck but tried to be positive. Then on Monday/Tuesday morning when my brother called, I knew it meant the worst as the vet had warned although he felt it unlikely, the 'rolling' could happen.

When we arrived at the vets, he was so kind and sympathetic but explained this was now a full stroke and that she wouldn't recover. He was so wonderful to us and explained it was now time to put her to sleep. I was completely devastated and howled like a baby.

My Mum died just in December, and Dallas was her dog but she was also a family pet as my brother lived with my Mum and I live on my own. But Dallas and I had a very strong bond and I took her everywhere with me. She was like a little person to me.

Did I miss something? I'm struggling to understand how this can just 'happen'. She had had no health issues other than slowing down a bit in her old age. I had her out for a walk about a month ago and the one thing I did notice was she almost 'stumbled' on one of her legs, like we would if we tumbled, or tripped and our arm for example was to fold in. But her leg immediately rectified itself and all seemed well.

I'm absolutely terrified that that stumble caused a blood clot. But could a clot stay in her body for over a month?? And then suddenly travel to her brain?

I absolutely loved her to the moon and back and I feel so responsible. My brother and I both adored her and spoiled her rotten. My brother would always be sure to tell me of any issues when I wasn't with them.

After the death of my Mum, this is almost too much for me to handle. I give myself a hard time at the best of times, but will never forgive myself if I missed something that meant Dallas is no longer with me.

I'd really appreciate any help.

Thank you,

A voice for those who can't speak
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Hi Sarah,

I'm so sorry and saddened to learn of you and yours recent loss of your beloved "Dallas" and what you are coping with.

My boy (a cat named "Marmalade) either had a stroke or nerve damage on the operating table and was maimed. His left eye squinted, his left set of whiskers were lifeless and lay almost against his face, and his balance was negatively impacted. He fell off of our couch arm once straight onto his back and looked at me as if to say: "What is happening to me?"

I did an incredible amount of detailed research. Over many months I read forums like this one, message boards, websites, blogs, news articles, Vet and Animal Hospital websites etc. and I learned a great deal. Yes, blood clots can stay dormant in the body and they can travel. They can stay in one part of the body and then be "thrown" into the brain at any time. They can become common as a pet ages. They are one of the most feared health conditions a dog or cat can experience as they can result in them being catatonic, not recognizing us, go blind, become completely paralyzed and be in beyond horrific pain.

It's important to remember, as you may know, that an average lifespan for a dog in the wild is only around 10 years. 2 to 5 years for a cat. That is how long they are biologically designed and engineered to live for. We humans alter and extend their natural lifespans by providing them with:

1.) Regular food and fresh water
2.) Shelter (from natural / larger predators and the weather elements.)
3.) Trips to the Vets (for examinations / treatment / medication and possible surgical procedures.)
4.) Love and affection (which is important to overall wellness.)
5.) We make them a part of our pack or colony. They feel valued and appreciated. They matter. Which helps give them a reason to live.

BUT the above all being said, dogs (and cats) evolved to live a shorter time. So your dog "Dallas" lived 4 years longer than she may have, had you not adopted her and taken her in when you did.

There are no guarantees of how long our beloved dogs and cats can live, as we all know. We are each of us "shadow's and dust". We need to celebrate every moment that we are alive and enjoy every moment that we can spend with our beloved's. My "Marmalade" taught me this valuable lesson: To always "Live in the moment." To be grateful for the time that we are allotted. No matter how short. Even 1 hour or 1 day should be enough. Although "forever" would not be long enough a time with our loved ones.

I send you healing good wishes and prayers and hope that someday soon, all that comes to mind when you think of your beloved Sarah are your happiest and most cherished memories of her.

"This too shall pass."

My sincerest condolences & kindest regards,
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James, thank you, and thank you for sharing your story about Marmalade and all the information you've given.

Her name was Dallas (I'm Sarah) and she was my friend as well as my beloved buddy. 

I've been told it is highly unlikely that the stumble she had on her leg (no head injury) could have resulted in the stroke a month later?? I'm torturing myself because at the time she didn't seem to have any difficulty walking and wasn't showing any sign of injury.  

Can I find some peace in knowing that this wasn't the cause and that I couldn't have done more?? 

I love her so so much and can't believe she's gone 🙁 
A voice for those who can't speak
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Hi Sarah,

So sorry about the typo. I edited my comment. At times members use their beloved's names in their user name, and that slipped by me by accident.

Yes. You can absolutely have peace as there was really nothing you could have done.

Sadly blood clots can occur at any time, as I mentioned and as you probably know. I've read and researched so much on that condition, as I did not know if my boy had a stroke or nerve damage. And I read that blood clots can come out of nowhere (not due to an injury) and be "thrown" distributed to another part of the body at any time. They can lay dormat in one part of the body and then move to another. There was no way for you to know. 

"Dallas" may have already developed the clot PRIOR to the jump that hurt her leg. Or her balance may have been impacted by another smaller blood clot which lead to that poorly executed jump. You did the best you could for your girl. So much can go wrong so quickly in our beloved's as so many of us here have learned.

All best,
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Anything that interferes with the brain, a clot or in my dog Cody's case, a brain tumor, is hard to diagnose in time and extremely hard to treat. It can cause all sorts of symptoms that are sometimes confused with something else. My Cody was diagnosed with Cushing's disease and when he began treatment he stopped eating and was lathergic. We thought it was the medicine so we stopped for awhile and he went back to normal. Then we decided to try again on a lesser dose but he had a seizure. He was given medicine for that and I decided not to treat the Cushings.  He seemed to be doing fine than 3 months later he had cluster seizures and we had to take him to the ER. By then we knew it wasn't the medication causing it so we had an MRI done and that's when they saw a huge tumor in the front lobe of his brain. The neurologist said that part of the issue with Cushings is that it forces the adrenal gland to produce too much cortisol which can negatively affect your heart, muscles, immune system and other organs. But the excess cortisol was actually helping with the information the brain tumor was causing so it was masking the symptoms and when we suppressed it with the medication that was actually what was causing the lethargy and seizures. The reason he had this last bout was because the amount of cortisol his body was producing wasn't enough to offset the size that the tumor had become.  She said we could euthanize him then and there, try radiation, chemo or do surgery but the outcome was unpredictable and it wouldn't cure him just buy an undetermined amount of time. She said she could give him additional medication to stop the seizures and help ease the inflammation and take him home and enjoy what time he had left. We chose that option and had two good months  being with him 24/7 and spoiling him. It wasn't enough time but I'm grateful I had it. I too wish we could have known sooner but that wasn't the way it turned out. We helped him cross the rainbow bridge on January 11th of this year and I will miss him forever. He was the best pet I ever owned and irreplaceable.  I hope this helps you find peace knowing that you did the best you could with the information available and unfortunately many times things just happen that we have no control over.  We have to be kind to ourselves and know that we gave our babies a good life and our love and that's what they needed and wanted from us most.
Take care,
Julie 💔
"Grief only exists where love lived first."
--Franchesca Cox
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Sarah, I’m so sorry for the loss of your Dallas - and the loss of your mum. I’m glad you’ve come here to share your experience and what you’re feeling; it has really helped me. I lost my Buddy in early March to some similar issues, and also lost my dad a year and a half ago.

Buddy was 2 months away from his 10th birthday, so was considered a “senior,” but until just a few weeks before he passed, he seemed healthy as ever and doing fine. Then he suddenly developed breathing issues, which the vet figured was mild asthma that got a bit more serious - and I started him on medication for that. A couple of days later, his breathing was worse, so we brought him to the emergency vet hospital, figuring it was an asthma attack - and they would administer a feline inhaler, and he’d be OK.

But something happened in his carrier on the way to the hospital, and he was basically gone when we arrived. They said it appeared he threw a clot. It floored me. What? How? I felt terribly guilty that I had missed something, or had stressed him so much that it caused this.

I had a necropsy performed, and it turned out Buddy had undiagnosed heart disease, fluid buildup in his lungs, and tracheal cancer - even though I had just taken him to the vet for a checkup and x-rays 4 days before he passed. None of these conditions were detected; the only thing they saw was that his trachea was narrower than normal.

I’m relating my story (like James & Julie have) to help reassure you that you did everything you could. You didn’t miss anything, cause anything, or do anything wrong. It can be hard for even the best vets to diagnose and treat an animal’s illness, since pets can’t tell us what hurts or how - and since they often hide pain or injury as a survival mechanism, as part of their DNA.

Sending you hugs...
Cindy (Buddy’s mama)
My baby Buddy 5/4/10-3/7/20, rescued March 2011
My sweet Mandy 11/27/91-11/2/10, rescued November 1992
My beautiful Barney 4/28/73-9/7/92, adopted May 1973
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Hello, I just wanted to say thank you to all of you for the kind words about my Dallas. I think I have been in a state of shock/denial as part of me doesn't want to admit that my beloved friend is really gone. I still keep thinking of her cuddly little body and big eyes that she looked at me with so much love and trust. We were best friends and I'm so gonna miss all the walks on the beach and in the forest - throwing her ball into the water for her and the fact that she just trusted me SO much. I feel like I'm becoming very depressed over losing my Mum and her in such quick succession and I wonder what it is I've done wrong in life, when so many other people I know have yet to lose anyone :( Am I a bad person?

I've sent away for a book about how animals can apparently communicate from heaven....I'm hoping it might help. Since Dallas and my Mum died, a red Robin has visited me in my garden almost every day. I wonder is that a sign? And a few days after Dallas passed, a white feather fell right in front of my face and I caught it...
A voice for those who can't speak
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Hi Sarah,

I too have experienced (as many have here) the feather signs. Which are documented in books and blogs etc. Just today as I said to myself while walking away from the warehouse where Marmalade and I lived "I miss my best friend." And lo and behold at that second a feather was on the ground directly in front of me.

You are not a bad person. The truth is life is very fragile and very precious. It is a miracle that any of us, including our beloved pets survive even childbirth. So, so much can go wrong. We need to remember what Dr. Suess said:

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."

Kind regards,
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