I saw Radar through two blown spinal disks, pneumonia, going deaf, bleeding large intestines, and multiple bouts of chronic pancreatitis, but I failed him at the end, and I can’t forgive myself. Nobody in my life ever loved me with the passion and joy Radar did. I was his protector, and he thought I was the greatest human he’d ever met. Some day perhaps I’ll tell you the story of our life together, but not today
Radar’s last 24 hours started like every other morning had for 14 years. Wake up, give kisses, go outside, eat breakfast. Then suddenly he was overcome with pain. We got him to the vet within 2 hours. She treated him and sent us home. I won’t share all the details, but things began to rapidly deteriorate, each hour bringing a new horror, a new pain. I texted the vet 3 more times. She said to let him rest till morning. I slept on the floor with him all night, comforting him when he cried out. In the morning he was somewhat better. He was able to get up on his own; he drank a little water, but he was weak and couldn’t walk very far. I called the vet; she told me to bring him back in. This is where my failure began. She entered the room and just stopped and stared at him. I do not have a clear recollection of what was said but I asked, “Should we put him down?” and she said, “I didn’t say that, but I’m leaning that direction.” My husband said, “Then put him down” and I began to sob and just said ‘yes”. I didn’t say “But he’s better today than yesterday” or “What can you do to save him” or “don’t you want to at least check him out?” I just said yes. I didn’t give him a chance to get help. I didn’t give him a chance to recover. Even though he was feeling better, I just wanted it to all stop. Once she came in it was clear he didn’t want to die. He lifted his head up. He tried to get off the table. I kissed him and told him I loved him as she euthanized him, but even with the serum in him he didn’t want to stop breathing for a solid 2 minutes. He was gone and I hadn’t given him that last chance. I just didn’t have the strength to help him fight any more.
A week later I called the vet and asked her what she thought was wrong with him. She said she didn’t know. I asked her if I’d insisted on help, could she have saved him. She said she didn’t know, but he would have had to be in the hospital for at least a week and may have died anyway, away from home. She didn’t say that to me at the time. I wish she had, but that too was too late.
So I’ve sent the little guy who loved me so passionately forward because I couldn’t form the right words to get him help, to get a diagnosis, to even find out if there was help available. I just wanted it to stop. I will regret that forever.