rcphill
I had my best friend put to sleep yesterday. Before hand, I felt sure that it was right. Now I am reeling with regret.

My 12 year old min pin got sick in May with what we thought was pancreatitis via ultrasound. She recovered for a few weeks, and then began vomiting daily on June 10. Her appetite was pickier but overall she was normal. I had another ultrasound performed which revealed an abnormal area in the stomach. The radiologist wasn’t sure what to make of it at the time, so I treated her symptomatically for 2 more weeks. Her symptoms weren’t improving and appetite was even worse, so she had yet another ultrasound where we found that her entire stomach was abnormal. They suspected gastric cancer. My options were endoscopy with biopsies (50% chance of getting a diagnosis) or exploratory surgery. The specialist did not highly recommend exploratory due to how abnormal her stomach looked - she felt that it wouldn’t heal well and she could have major complications. So we did endoscopy on Wednesday, but Rhyley just keep getting worse every day.

She hadn’t eaten much on her own over the past three weeks. At first she would eat kibble about once a day, then not at all. This is a dog that never missed a meal! I was syringe feeding her most of the time and medicating her with everything we could for her stomach. Over the last weekend, she became very lethargic. She would still have bursts of adrenaline when there was something she wanted to bark at, but the remainder of the time she was asleep. She woke up a few nights in a row unable to get comfortable. Most mornings this week she woke up nauseous (lip licking, swallowing). She was on anti nausea medications so no actual vomiting but could still tell she was nauseous. She instantly turned and tried to get away from food yesterday morning.

We were able to get her to eat a little rotisserie chicken yesterday and she drank water once. When I would pick her up, she seemed “limp” if that makes sense...like weak I guess? The past few days when I would let her out in the yard, she would just stand there for a while before going to the bathroom. And as soon as she was done out there, she would just go right back into the bedroom wanting to go to sleep.

I’m a veterinarian, so I feel terrible that I couldn’t fix her. I tried medications for 3-4 weeks and saw her progressively declining. Like I said, all the specialists I talked to highly suspected a cancerous process, and stomach cancers do not tend to respond to chemo. I wanted to wait until we got the endoscopic biopsy results back, but that wouldn’t be until Tuesday and I was so scared of how bad she would’ve been at that point. She was already dehydrated so I was trying to do IV fluids at home for her in addition to her medications and syringe feeding.

I didn’t want to wait too long, but I also worry that I did it too soon. And now I cannot take it back. If the endoscopic biopsy does not confirm cancer, I just don’t know what I’m going to do...I’m going to hate myself.
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MyBella
Dear Hillary,
 
I am so, so sorry for the loss of your precious girl, what is your sweet girl's name? It sounds like you did all you could for your precious loved one to help her and give her comfort. You gave your precious baby the last loving gift you could ever give her, you didn't let her suffer, you put her needs ahead of your own, such an admirable and yet gut wrenching decision to be made, I can only imagine the difficulty of such a decision. 
I don't usually give advice on here, but I wonder if you shouldn't read the results of the endoscopic biopsy, at least just not yet, put the report aside until a later time when you aren't in such pain, give your shattered heart some time to mend, and your mind time to process all that has happened. That report will always be there for if and when you decide to read it, adding the possibility of extra pain isn't going to do you any good right now, of course I completely understand the "wanting to know", but maybe wait until your heart isn't so broken.
 
I am so truly sorry for your loss, if you feel up to it, I would love to hear more about your sweet girl, of course I understand if you aren't feeling up to it at this time, whenever you are ready, there is no rush.
Sending peace, strength and healing your way. May your heart always know and feel the love and light that is your precious girl.
 
Sincerely, Don & Vera
 
Image result for forever in my heart pooh quotes
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rcphill
Thank you so much for your reply. And thank you for your kind words.

Her name was Rhyley, she was my best friend. I got her when I was 18, so we went through it all together (college, vet school, over a dozen moves, breakups, etc). She was the best dog I could’ve asked for, and was so smart. She knew every trick in the book. It was so hard to get into bed without her last night and get out of bed this morning. She was my cuddle buddy at night and would be there cuddling me in the morning too. I woke up crying last night, wishing I hadn’t let her go...

You may be right about the biopsy report. I just keep praying and praying and praying that it shows cancer..I wouldn’t feel so bad if it did.

I guess I just worry if I should’ve given her more time. But when her appetite wasn’t improving and everyone kept saying highly likely cancer..and she just had this sad, tired look in her eyes..I felt that it was what needed to happen. But terrible, regretful thoughts keep entering my mind. This was the first pet I’ve had to put to sleep..I’ve put probably hundreds of other people’s pets to sleep and never truly understood how much it hurts :(
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pannklaus
I am so sorry about the loss of your best friend, Rhyley.  I have made the decision that you made three times so I know how difficult it is.  I think the first time is the hardest in a way, but it is hard each time.  Each time I  have made the decision, I made it earlier than the previous time--less testing, treatment, specialists, etc.  I have learned that when a fur baby stops eating, no longer is active but just wants to lie in bed, doesn't respond to medication, etc. that precious pet is unlikely to recover and get back to a functioning life.  Rhyley had all the symptoms which would have led me to make the decision as soon, if not sooner than you did.  You relieved her suffering and freed her from anymore illness, regardless of what the biopsy shows.  Because of your profession,  you probably focus on being able to cure illness.  But, as you know, not all illness can be cured  and sometimes the kindest thing you can do is show your love by letting your precious baby go. Even if she doesn't have cancer she was very sick and getting progressively more sick.

The period immediately after  the decision is carried out is very painful and this group is full of people who feel guilty that they made the decision when they did.  Some of that pain is the grief and emptiness we feel because our beloved pet is no longer with us.  The finality of death is hard to accept regardless of when it comes.  You are with people here who understand your grief, suffering, questioning and doubts. We are all grieving together.  

If you read through some of the posts here you will find a lot of anger expressed about vets by some people.  Your post shows that you suffer just as much as the rest of us when you lose a pet who you loved.  You have switched from your usual role as the vet to the one of the suffering pet parent who has lost a beloved fur baby.  I am very sorry that you have had to join us and that your precious Rhyley is no longer with you.  But there are many kind people in the group who will be with you as you go through the many stages of the grieving process and will understand whatever you are feeling at the moment.
Patsy
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Memories_of_Marmalade


Patsy wrote:

"I think the first time is the hardest in a way, but it is hard each time.  Each time I  have made the decision, I made it earlier than the previous time--less testing, treatment, specialists, etc.  I have learned that when a fur baby stops eating, no longer is active but just wants to lie in bed, doesn't respond to medication, etc. that precious pet is unlikely to recover and get back to a functioning life.  Rhyley had all the symptoms which would have led me to make the decision as soon, if not sooner than you did.  You relieved her suffering and freed her from anymore illness, regardless of what the biopsy shows.  Because of your profession,  you probably focus on being able to cure illness.  But, as you know, not all illness can be cured  and sometimes the kindest thing you can do is show your love by letting your precious baby go. Even if she doesn't have cancer she was very sick and getting progressively more sick."

Wisdom from one of our most wisest members here. Thank you & God bless you Patsy!

James
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Samsonisthebestdog
You did all you could for Rhyley. You're also a vet so you have so much more to give to others. You know how people will feel when their pet needs to be put to sleep and help them along. It seems as though Rhyley lived a good life. Don't feel bad. She stayed with you as long as she could and you helped her in her time of need. That's all you can do for a loved one. I hope you feel better soon friend. 
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pannklaus
Thank you for your kind words James.  Perhaps with age we gain a little bit of wisdom.  There has to be some positive things, given the negatives which develop in our "sunset years" when  health problems develop and multiply.
Patsy
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MyBella
rcphill wrote:
Thank you so much for your reply. And thank you for your kind words.

Her name was Rhyley, she was my best friend. I got her when I was 18, so we went through it all together (college, vet school, over a dozen moves, breakups, etc). She was the best dog I could’ve asked for, and was so smart. She knew every trick in the book. It was so hard to get into bed without her last night and get out of bed this morning. She was my cuddle buddy at night and would be there cuddling me in the morning too. I woke up crying last night, wishing I hadn’t let her go...

You may be right about the biopsy report. I just keep praying and praying and praying that it shows cancer..I wouldn’t feel so bad if it did.

I guess I just worry if I should’ve given her more time. But when her appetite wasn’t improving and everyone kept saying highly likely cancer..and she just had this sad, tired look in her eyes..I felt that it was what needed to happen. But terrible, regretful thoughts keep entering my mind. This was the first pet I’ve had to put to sleep..I’ve put probably hundreds of other people’s pets to sleep and never truly understood how much it hurts :(


Hi Hillary,

What a beautiful name, Rhyley. Rhyley sounds like such a wonderful girl, I bet she kept you on your toes with her intelligence, our little girl made me laugh so much and kept us on our toes with just how smart she is, I'm sure Rhyley brought many days and moments of laughter for you as well. How wonderful the connection you and Rhyley enjoyed over the years, so amazing how she was there for you through your schooling, I bet she beamed with such pride on the day of your graduation and of course remained your best friend while helping you through the difficult moments of your life, they truly are Angels in fur that help us more than we ever realize.

Hillary, those moments of laughter, those times that Rhyley made you smile with her intelligence....those are the moments that Rhyley wants you to hold close to your heart, those moments and the cherished memories of Rhyley are what will help your heart mend a little each day, and never worry if you should stumble, we all do, reach out to us here, this beautiful forum is filled with such wonderful people who truly understand your pain, your doubt and of course the heartache you are suffering.

Thank you for sharing about your Rhyley, I really enjoyed reading about your sweet girl, I hope you will share more about her or maybe a photo of Rhyley, when you feel up to it of course, there is no rush, whenever you are ready.

Sending our most positive healing thoughts your way, may each day bring the peace and healing your heart so deserves.

Sincerely, Don & Vera

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jerigraehl
I am so sorry about Rhyley. Your story really resonated with me because I let me Tonkinese cat go last Sun 07-21-19 under very similar circumstances. My story is on here asking for feedback - I think it said "I appreciate any feedback on this story" or something like that. Your story makes me feel like maybe I could not have done much more ultimately.  Since you are a vet I would certainly be interested in your perspective. But I know you are in full scale grief. As am I. So nothing can make us feel good about any way things went.  I completely understand your regret. I have  medical back ground so I should have checked Khaomanee's glucose instead of assuming remission. Then I spin full circle and wonder if he got acutely sick but maybe would have had prolonged suffering had I dragged it out. He just turned 15. I just feel so lost and empthy without him. I have no other family except my other rescue cat Sugar Bear. She is 14 and I am so afraid of losing her.  I lost my last two cats in the same month prior to adopting Khaomanee 15 years ago. He saved me. I put all my love into him. I did not think I could love so much again until I got him. But I lost the previous two kitties in the same month under horrible circumstances. Fibrosarcoma from a vet giving him a rabies shot because he said he could have been bitten by a bat when he got out of the house for 3 days. And the other from being taken out of my house be a construction worker who was mad about something off the chart crazy - so dumped somewhere.  That haunts me in an undescrible way. I confronted him but he denied it. I looked , offered 500.00 reward - nothing. So... I am glad your wrote in because of how similar your story is. I am terribly sorry for your loss. I share and empathize. Jeri
jerigraehl
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thegailes
I'm sorry about the loss of your Best Friend. It sounded like you did everything within your power to help her even and including ending her suffering . My Lucky passed last Thursday and I'm questioning everything especially after we made the decision knowing he had some dementia and wasn't fully with us, our Vet. Said we could feed him pain medicine and have a little more time. But we would be doing that for us not him. In my heart, and tears I still question. It would be so much easier if they could say I hurt here, but unfortunately they hide pain. Try not to be hard on yourself for not being able to fix it. You are grieving.
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