DogMom_33
Hi Everyone,

It's been a very difficult few weeks. My wonderful canine soulmate, Cody, seemed to be doing well and healthy until he developed a cough during the last week of May. I adopted him when he was 5 months old while I was in grad school in NC, and he went everywhere with me over the past 6 years. At first I wasn't too alarmed because he had had kennel cough a few years prior, so I called his regular vet and made an appointment for the Tuesday after Memorial Day weekend. I brought him in, they checked him out, agreed that it was kennel cough and prescribed antibiotics. I brought him home and everything seemed fine until Wednesday night.

On Wednesday night, he stopped eating and seemed to be breathing heavily. I became concerned, and was planning to bring him back to his regular vet first thing the next morning. I woke up at nearly 2 AM to him coughing up droplets of blood on my bed. I brought him to the emergency vet immediately, and they took him back for a chest x-ray. It took a really long time and the whole time I was so anxious I was shaking. I tried to call my parents and boyfriend, but everyone was asleep as it was so late.

Finally, the vet called me in and showed me his chest x-ray. She said that he had nodules in his lungs that were likely metastatic cancer. I was completely dumbfounded, and tried to hold on to hope that it could be anything else. She said that was the most likely cause, but there was a small chance it could be related to a fungal infection. She sent the x-rays to a radiologist for a second opinion, and they said the same thing. They kept Cody overnight in an oxygen cage to help his breathing. It was hard to leave him and I could barely sleep when I went home. I came by first thing in the morning and brought him to an advanced veterinary hospital in the area.

I sat with him all day at the advanced veterinary hospital. The vet techs gave me a back pillow so I could sit on the floor next to his open kennel and pet him while we waited. Another internal medicine vet looked at his x-ray. She had the same opinion but ordered blood tests, an ultrasound and a fine needle aspiration of the lung nodules. Another vet tech found a private room for us with a couch, so we could both be more comfortable. My sweet Cody sat on my lap. The ultrasound didn't find anything, and we had to wait until the next day for the aspiration results. After the aspiration, Cody started to be a bit wobbly on his feet and out of it. The vet said that he may have had a mini-stroke. I brought him home and was very worried.

The next day they called me back to say they didn't find anything microbial in his lung sample, and the histology showed it was likely a carcinoma. Meanwhile, Cody was only eating what I fed him through a syringe and was getting less comfortable. I started him on steroids and meds to prevent bleeding. The vet said that he might bounce back for a bit due to the effect of the steroids, which was what I was hoping for. I made the soonest appointment with their oncology team. My boyfriend has been living in a different state for the past year, so he drove down and Friday to be with us.

When he first arrived, Cody came to the door despite his pain and wagged his tail loyally. It brought me to tears. My boyfriend and his dog were only here for an hour before Cody passed on his own. He just couldn't breath anymore. It was heartbreaking and traumatizing to watch, but I'm glad we were there by his side. I'll always question whether I should have put him down. I was holding on to hope, either that we could pursue treatment or that the steroids would kick in and improve his condition temporarily. It all happened so quickly. He was diagnosed on Wednesday night and he was gone less than 48 hours later. He was so young - he would have been 7 in August.

I miss my baby so much. I'm in my early 30s and I was hoping he would be part of my wedding and be around when we buy a house with a proper yard. I'm also dealing with a lot of guilt. I don't know how he could have been so sick and I didn't know - I spent every day with him. We did an 8 mile hike less than two weeks before he got sick. The vet said that dogs will hide their pain due to instinct, so I have to wonder how long he was hurting and I didn't know. I also feel intensely guilty about all of the times I worked late or didn't spend the time with him that he deserved. I thought we'd have 12-15 years together, and so there were days that I took it for granted that he'd be there. He was the best companion ever.

We do have a lot of wonderful memories. Over winter break, we brought both dogs to Florida and my baby had the best time at the dog beach. We would often take road trips so the dogs could go on vacation with us.

Everything still feels surreal to me - I can't believe he's really gone. I live in a very dog friendly neighborhood, so everyone keeps asking about him and that's really hard. On the other hand, a lot of people have been really nice and supportive.

Has anyone else lost a young dog unexpectedly? How did you get through the pain?

Thanks!



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Amisi
Dog Mom, 
My dog wasn't young, but several days ago I lost him to cancer as well. We did  chemo, they thought he was getting better and one day he took a turn for the worst and was gone the next. I don't have any advise for getting through the pain yet, but I wanted to tell you how sorry I am for your loss. I am glad you got to take him to the dog beach and have that memory. I am also having the same guilt you are, but, try to remind myself that my baby, as I am sure did your baby, had a wonderful home filled with love. 
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DogMom_33
Amisi wrote:
Dog Mom, 
My dog wasn't young, but several days ago I lost him to cancer as well. We did  chemo, they thought he was getting better and one day he took a turn for the worst and was gone the next. I don't have any advise for getting through the pain yet, but I wanted to tell you how sorry I am for your loss. I am glad you got to take him to the dog beach and have that memory. I am also having the same guilt you are, but, try to remind myself that my baby, as I am sure did your baby, had a wonderful home filled with love. 


I'm so sorry about your pup too. It's amazing how they can be so strong until the very end. I hope both of us will get to the point where the guilt and pain subside and we can focus on all the happy memories.

Sometimes I think about how it was just chance that I found my dog at an adoption event, and if I hadn't been there that day, my life over the past 6 years would have been drastically different. I never would have experienced all of the love and joy that he brought to my life. He might never have had opportunities to hike, camp, go to the beach, and cuddle up in a warm bed every night. As horrible and empty as I have felt over these past few weeks, I have to also be grateful that he came into my life in the first place. Even knowing that our time was limited, I would do it all again if I was given the choice.
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DogMom_33
Here's a photo of my sweet Cody at the dog beach. He's the copper colored pup with the floppy ears. One of his all time favorite activities was fetching a tennis ball from the water. He could fetch it 100 times in a row and never get bored. I was so blessed to have a dog that loved the beach as much as I do. 
beachdogs.jpg
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miztina249
I'm so sorry for your loss. I know how hard it is to get your head around this. It is a shock to have them seemingly perfectly healthy one minute and critically ill and gone from our arms the next. You gave him a wonderful loving home and life take comfort in those memories.
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