BritishBlue
Hello everyone, I found the site by chance and thought I'd share my story with others to hopefully find support and advice. Here goes. 
I had to put my beautiful boy Milo to sleep a few days ago, that's him in the profile picture. He was 10 years old and had such an amazing personality, mannerisms along with such pleasant vocal meows and chirps when he came to greet me.

It would be around 2 years ago completely out of nowhere one morning I noticed he was breathing a bit heavier than normal, so I monitored him the rest of the day to see if it improved but it didn't, so took him to the vets the following day. After blood work and x rays it showed he had fluid on the lungs from possible heart trouble.

This is where my guilt starts. I was advised to get a heart scan which would cost £1000 upwards. At this time in my life I was struggling financially and couldn't afford it so the vet put him on benzapril tablets for his heart and frusol for the fluid.

He was fine for the most part with the meds, he sometimes had a coughing fit and I could hear the fluid swirling around so the frusol dose increased over time and he seemed ok. It would of been last year at one of his check ups the vet noticed he had some dental issues possible gingivitis, but because of his heart issues having a dental would be too risky apparently. So i tried plaque off products with his food for a few months but it didn't seem to work.

Then a few weeks ago is when I noticed him start to change. He was more lethargic, less vocal, not letting me pet him, as purring seemed to make him uncomfortable and just generally not himself. His breathing had got a lot more laboured and he started to open his mouth more too.

Tuesday just gone is where it happened so quickly, I took him to see the vet as he had some discharge from his eye and his breathing didn't seem as bad as it had been. That same night after returning from the vets he just seemed to go downhill again. He had a little food and started to breathe heavy again. 

Wednesday morning he was scratching at the window to go outside as he usually does so I let him go in the garden. Hours passed and it was getting late in the evening and he hadn't returned which wasn't like him as he would at least come back for some food, so I went to look for him. I couldn't find him in his usual spots under the Acer or fern bush, just by chance I looked in the hedge bottom and there he was so I brought him inside. 

He didn't eat any food at all and was struggling to breathe taking big gasps. I didn't think he was going to last the night but he did. Unfortunately though Thursday morning I looked at him and he just seemed so exhausted through lack of food and sleep I think his body was shutting down and he'd had enough. I called the vets and arranged for a home euthanasia as soon as possible, 12.30pm was the earliest so we had a couple of hours. He had a tiny drink of milk and linked some salmon paste off my finger and we went outside and sat in the morning sun together. 

I'm sobbing just thinking of those last few hours, he looked so exhausted. He couldn't even manage to jump up on top of the garden bin. I kept telling him not be scared and that he could breathe easy real soon with a nice long sleep. The vet finally arrived and gave him a sedative then he layed down near the fern tree with his head on the grass. I was stroking him and rubbing his head, i just regret not turning him around so he could see me, I really hope he knew i was there.She gave the final injection and that's where he took his last breath. 
I feel completely lost and broken he was my best friend and my little baby boy. I just wish I could of got the heart scan done when it all started or done something more to help with his teeth, as I'm sure it didn't help matters. I also feel let down by the vets as I was seeing a different vet almost every time I took him down. It happened so fast.

I tried to do everything possible to make his life as good as it could be but I feel like I failed him. I'm so sorry Milo.
Im so glad that I found him that Wednesday evening as I'm sure he may of passed away under that hedge. I miss him so much and had such a special bond that I can't explain. Until we meet again my little boy have fun up there.

Love you always x
Lloyd
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LauriP92
Im so very sorry for the loss of your baby Milo. Its rough-they take a huge place in our heart. They are our family. We all feel guilty because of something we think we should've done. But you cannot dwell on that-you have to think of all the good you gave Milo and all the joy he brought you. Animals just want to be loved and you gave Milo a lot of love. Time will ease the pain but we will always miss them. Sending you a hug
Lauri 
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Heavenisreal
I am so sorry.  You are not alone in your pain, suffering,  guilt.  I live in constant torment. regret, tears never stop flowing.  Just want to die.  I made some poor choices and because of my brain not thinking clearly I let my 15 month old Maine Coon kitten go.  
If I had been thinking clearly would have brought him to a better hospital,  did more intense testing and saved my baby.
If there is hell I am living right now.
Now that you're not alone.  Hope the gilt lifts or I won't be able to keep going.
Violetta 
Violetta Andruszkiewicz 
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Sunny88
I am really, really sorry for your pain and suffering. I have a Masters in Guilt so know just how bad you must be feeling.. Milo will have known you loved him so try hard to focus on all the love you gave him and not what you couldn't manage to do. You did your best and he will come back to see you and be there for you when you pass over, yourself.

Sunny1
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BritishBlue
Laurie 92,  Sunny 88, heavenisreal, 
Thank you for the kind words it helps a little and I know I need to focus on the good times. The house is so empty and quiet, no more little chirps as he runs upstairs, no scratching at the kitchen door to come inside or jumping at window as I fill the kettle. (I actually smiled thinking of that!!)
Walking through the garden is where I break down. I have his grave with a memorial plaque and some flowers and I talk to him a few times during the day. I still see him laying on the grass where he passed and remember his usual resting spots like he was a lion in the savanna.  I miss him.

God speed to all of you 
Lloyd
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ClaudiaNYC
BritishBlue,

Milo is an absolutely sweet beauty. My condolences on your loss. It is so difficult, but this forum is a godsend.
My Jessie was also an outdoor cat, and I connect so strongly with your descriptions of Milo in the garden. Jessie too had her favorite resting spots! All cleverly selected, with equal parts privacy and viewing position. They are brilliant at finding places where they can simultaneously hide and observe. And then other times, on sunny days, they are out in the open, basking in the light.
I did the same thing about going out to find her in the evening, because she was so unwell and I wanted to bring her inside. With a flashlight I found her, scared and suffering. I gently picked her up and brought her in the house.
You wrote that you have a memorial marker at Milo's grave. I am currently deciding on one for my Jessie's spot.
The man who owns the pet food store where I bought all of Jessie's food sent the most gorgeous floral arrangement when I told him of her passing. Such a thoughtful gesture. I put it at her grave and it's lovely.
It's very hard for me to be in the garden too, but I need to do it so I can be close to her. Jessie's spirit completely dominates out there. The old log where she sharpened her nails is there and I will never move it.

Milo and Jessie are in the eternal 'garden' now, in the fresh air and shade and green grass forever ...

Claudia
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BritishBlue
@ClaudiaNYC thanks for the kind words and my heart goes out to you for the loss of Jessie. I read your post and she sounded like such a sweet girl. It seems like guilt is a common theme amongst us all here. I'm sure if I can get past that it will make things somewhat easier over time. 
As I mentioned I was never able to get a proper diagnosis for Milo he was just given the appropriate meds for heart related issues and I trusted the vets with this decision. Should I have risked him with a dental operation? Did taking him down to the vets last Tuesday trigger extra stress which caused him to crash so quickly? Should I of gotten a final check up instead of just putting him to sleep?
I think deep down I know I did all I could and already knew life expectancy is between 6 - 18 months for heart issues. Milo got 2 years I still wasn't prepared for this. Instead of focusing on those final few days and hours I should remember those 10 years of happiness we gave each other.

Like you mentioned your garden was Jessie's Kingdom as it was with Milo. He too had a scratching post but instead of a log it was the wooden gate, where he'd stretch on his back legs whilst sharpening his claws. I knelt down there yesterday and rubbed my hand over the hundreds and hundreds of claw lines he'd made.
I'm sure he's around me in the garden somewhere, as I'm sure Jessie will be for you. 

Many thanks once again and take care.
Lloyd
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Heavenisreal
So sorry isn't adequate enough to express my sadness over Jessie's and my Ariel's passing.  You have done everything for him.
I guess it is in our human nature to focus on what ifs and doubt ourselves.  Into wish I made different decisions.  Maybecfinal check up instead of euthonasia? Begging the vets to save him instead of putting him to sleep?
Different hospital?Different doctor? I am at a loss for words.  I am with you in your sadness, heartache and pain.
Violetta Andruszkiewicz 
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Sunny88
Hi Claudia



Your guilt – like mine – is misplaced. It was pointed out to me that guilt only has validity if one, knowingly, fails to act or do something that could have made the situation better. Hindsight is a terrible companion at times – it only tells you what you could have done afterwards – when there is no chance of amending the situation. Even if you had realised at the time what you could do, it was – even then – too late. You could not have changed things drastically – there simply wasn’t time.



The same happened with me. I loved Jessie to distraction. When she died, she took a piece of me with her. But her collapse was sudden and she simply lost the will to fight the lymphoma any more. I chose the holistic route to spare her the terrible side-effects of chemotherapy and it gave her an extra 8 months of life which were quite happy for her until the last month. She began going downhill very fast through the combined effects of the hellishly strong steroid (I HATE STEROIDS) which, unfortunately, were necessary to kill off as many of the cancer cells as possible whilst the holistic supplements and remedies were busy building up her immune system until it was strong enough to battle the remaining cancer cells. What I didn’t know was that the steroid was having its own side effects along the way which were impossible to fight even though we managed to reduce her dosage. So she ended up with conditions that we just didn’t realise were even present and they weakened her until she simply had no energy left. I was broken-hearted when the final blood tests and x-ray results were given to me just the very weak she had to be put to sleep.



She lost the will to live. I could see it in her eyes. And, Claudia, think of it this way. Milo is with you. He is happy in spirit because he now has no illness, no weakness, he is fit and well and happy – at times around you. I know this because I have read widely about pets and their afterlife. Your grief is because you are missing him physically. But you wouldn’t wish him to be ill and unhappy. You wouldn’t have held on to him knowing that he couldn’t have much quality of life. His time on this planet, in this earthly life with you, had been completed. But you will be with him when you pass over. Meanwhile, he is still around you even though you cannot see him and feel him and his life has taught you things which you may not realise as yet. But all our pets teach us valuable lessons. I have learned a great deal from Jessie and she was our 5th Labrador, the only ‘rescue’ with a terrible start in life which I did my utmost to make up for and everyone who met her with us always said they would never have known she had such a bad start. But I still beat myself up over her last days because she suffered indignities that I felt I could have prevented. But, in fact, it was too late and everything happened so unexpectedly and suddenly that – like you – there was no time left.



Please try and get hold of a couple of books that I’m going to recommend – “Pet Grief, How to Cope Before and After” by Jackie Weaver, which contains some really useful information and practical tips on how to cope – and they work! And “Animals and the Afterlife” by Kim Sheridan. Again, very helpful and some superb stories of pets passing and the way they come back and see their guardians in this life.



Your guilt if it continues will get in the way of their visits to you, I have learned – and so will the sort of continual crying that I’ve been doing. Because they won’t understand why you are unhappy. Talk to him in your mind or even openly – he will hear you. You have nothing to feel guilty about.



I will say a small prayer for you.



Lori
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Sunny88
Thank you so much for this empathy. I guess we all feel the same and the grief must just take its course. I can recommend a really helpful book – “Pet Grief, How to Cope Before and After” by Jackie Weaver who is one of the UK’s leading animal communicators. Really useful, practical tips that help and work. And I don’t know your beliefs but all my reading has told me that animals have souls and an afterlife, so I have a few books on that as well which I would be happy to share titles of with you – if you are interested.



Take care and blessings.



Lori
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Gracie4ever
Sunny88 wrote:
Thank you so much for this empathy. I guess we all feel the same and the grief must just take its course. I can recommend a really helpful book – “Pet Grief, How to Cope Before and After” by Jackie Weaver who is one of the UK’s leading animal communicators. Really useful, practical tips that help and work. And I don’t know your beliefs but all my reading has told me that animals have souls and an afterlife, so I have a few books on that as well which I would be happy to share titles of with you – if you are interested.
Lori


Lori, thank you so much for the book recommendation.And you're right..I have to keep telling myself that the grief and my guilt, too, must take its course. I'm going to read that book. Thanks again.
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Gracie4ever
BritishBlue I am so terribly sorry for your loss, I lost my girl three weeks ago. Please know that the guilt we feel is normal, it's a part of grieving and is illogical guilt. I've done a lot of reading online about "pet loss and guilt". It's what I'm struggling with now, and trying to turn off the guilt is a very difficult thing. We did the very best we could for them, we gave them good lives. My heart goes out to you.
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P_Mom
I have cried for 209 days straight. I can't help it. I try to keep it together but my 10lb boy was such a huge presence in my life, in our household. My husband even says the head of the household is gone. I met him 7 yrs before my husband and got him as a puppy.

He was my first love I've ever experienced and is my longest, healthiest relationship. I just can't accept he's gone and our time is over on this earth.  I do feel his spirit very much, but also wracked with guilt for overlooking his kidneys and focusing too much on his heart condition.  Looking back, I think he could've been in pain for months.  And I feel it's not hindsight for me because he was getting older so at the time I thought he was 'just getting older'.  And we moved on top of it.  Why wasn't my Vet more proactive about his kidneys?  It's so complicated.  My husband says I have to stop with the guilt but I can't because I can't correct my mistakes.  It's too late.  And more than anything the thought of my boy being in pain is what destroys me.
Jennifer
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Gracie4ever
P_Mom wrote:
And I feel it's not hindsight for me because he was getting older so at the time I thought he was 'just getting older'.  And we moved on top of it.  Why wasn't my Vet more proactive about his kidneys?  It's so complicated.  My husband says I have to stop with the guilt but I can't because I can't correct my mistakes.  It's too late.  And more than anything the thought of my boy being in pain is what destroys me.


I'm so sorry for your loss, my girl also had kidney disease and diabetes and pancreatitis and when I asked the Vet a while back if she should be on kidney special food she said no. I gave her grain free to improve the diabetes but then I fear the extra protein worsened her kidneys. I feel she might've been suffering longer than I realized and when I saw her move slowly to lay down, I figured it was arthritis but had no idea if it might've been hurting her more than she showed.  I have a lot of guilt and regrets, too...but we did our best, and guilt is always a part of grieving...I'm told that time will ease these feelings and I certainly hope that's true for both of us. My heart goes out to you. We did our best, and filled their lives with love.
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P_Mom
Thank you so much Gracie4ever, I'm so sorry about your baby too. I had him on part kibble part gently cooked chicken. I'm devastated and angry because diet is such a simple change, my Vet did not advise this, only that we needed to get him off rimadyl as he was taking a low dose for mild arthritis but we tried 2 different medications, both didn't work and only made him vomit.  So then he essentially had no relief. I'm so angry I could crawl out of my skin. I worked hard all those years to give my boy the best, and in the end I feel like he didn't get the best.  

Lloyd I'm so sorry about your Milo.  I too feel like I failed my boy.  
Jennifer
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