my_westie_is_my_bestie
My beautiful westie Lola will be 15 in Sept. We’ve been a packaged deal my entire adult life so far. She was the runt of her litter so she is tiny. Her ears never stayed up so she still looks like a puppy. In 2004 I didn’t know what a puppy mill was. I alternately feel ashamed for supporting it and grateful to it for putting her in my life. We are very bonded. We essentially grew up together at the same time. I’m sure our first few years together were pretty chaotic. But as time, maturity and knowledge kicked in, not to mention finances changed too so her life became very regimented and better. She didn’t give herself diabetes. She has zero control over what she eats. She became blind in year 2. I was too scared to put her under (she hasn’t had to receive vaccs for awhile because she had a siezure the last time) and the vet confirmed she is feeling no physical or emotional pain with her blindness. So I changed my entire life to make sure I’m home twice a day to feed her and inject her with insulin. 5am and 5pm. My work schedule is very early M-F. So yup there is no sleeping in at my house. Not on any day of the week. This dog is my life. She has missed maybe 10 doses in the last 4 years. She is my L I F E. 3ish weeks ago during her senior wellness check up, a heart murmur was discovered. At that point Lola started to “look her age” to me...prior to that she was still my puppy girl, just a little older. Talk about living in denial. I was so scared - scared that my poor girl could possibly have a heart attack or I would come home from work or wake up and she would be gone already. She’s just so sassy and fiesty still. Very active for her age and still very playful...A few days later, I missed a call from her Vet to go over the results from the senior panel. My phone didn’t alert me to having a voicemail, so I checked my email and what did I find? An email about kidney failure in dogs. That was a tuesday. I wasn’t able to actually connect with Vet until saturday. And then it was confirmed that Lola is at stage 2 kidney failure. Dog’s with failing kidneys usually go downhill pretty quickly. Devastated doesn’t even begin to describe it. I asked for a ballpark - I’m realistic, every dog is different, but like is she dying tommorw? Next week? I need something! ballpark is that she has MONTHS. I’m pretty sure I died right there at that very moment. Her trifecta of diseases are complicated so palliative care it is. Lola has diabetes - all we can do for her kidneys is change diabetes kibble for kidney kibble, but this will throw her off completely. Greaaat. Please Lola, don’t have a siezure or go into a coma while we figure out the insulin that works. Dog’s with kidney disease can be injected with fluids for when they eventually become dehydrated - oh but Lola has a heart murmur, so any extra fluids could kill her. I mean, I took that as a sign that she was ready to go. Her vet said I’ll know when its time when there are more bad days than good...I refuse to make my dog suffer A day just so I can see her longer. Needless to say, I was sobbing every few hours (at home, at work, in the car...) for that entire week, completely out of my control and just totally checked out. I am so not prepared for this. I bought a picture frame with a paw mold. When I fall apart, I’m more active and lets just say depression shopping is real...I can’t sit still...so I did research, gave it serious thought and have decided: (1) after her first bad day, thats when its time. She is going for her final nap in her pillow, surrounded by her loved ones, in her house. I want her final moment to be as peaceful as possible. She hates going to the vet. (2) group cremation. I can’t bear the thought of her going into the oven alone. (3) I’m not keeping her ashes. I thought about getting one of those little urn necklaces, but it just didn’t feel right. So after her cremation, she will be sprinkled outside into a garden used only for this purpose. Lola loves to be outside, not inside collecting dust on some shelf. She used to love tanning, digging huge wholes and proving everyone wrong about the “secure” yard, when houdini over here escaped multiple times. My girl is feisty. This felt right. Not keeping the physical remains of her. So I bought this beautiful necklace and had it engraved. Its a heart with a smaller heart made out of a dog paw. On the front it says Lola with an infinity symbol under it. Back says Forever in my heart. This felt right. So Lola and I are doing this on our terms. We are partners in this life until that last moment.

Oh goodness, this is a freakin novel. I apologize! If you’re still here with me, THANK YOU for your time. I’m hurting the same way you are and I appreciate the support. There’s still more. Sorry.

So on the friday of week 1, I was talking to the front desk lady at the vet clinic about this and she said stage 2 isn’t so bad, we have quite some time still. She has had a lot of senior dogs and has seen it all. I took this and RAN with it. I spent week 2 and part of week 3 feeling lighter. I could breathe again. That crazy panic and anxiety over how awful and hopeless this is, gone. I wasn’t drowning in myself. I’ve started taking a bunch of random videos of her doing my favorite things, cuddling her, taking a crazy amount of pictures...probably suffocating her with my love. Maybe this was denial? Don’t know, Don’t care. I can handle this muuuuch better in denial. Well like all good things, everything must come to an end. I talked to her new vet because our longtime vet is out on maternity leave. The saturday she broke the news was actually her last day. I know I’m going straight to Hell - but I am so frazzled without her. So this wednesday the new vet called because she was giving me the results of Lola’s recent glucose curve since we changed her food. Lola had zero glucose in her urine. Uhm what? She doesn’t have diabetes anymore?! Well we are going to try another sample but drop a unit just in case. So after that call, I’m basically shattered. Can one die again? Today is saturday and omg, I’m a MESS. You know how it goes. Your body - inside and outside - hurts. Your brain hurts, your heart hurts. I reclused myself on a holiday wednesday, bowed out of a family dinner last night for my brother-in-law’s bday, and last minute decided not to go to the family lunch for my father-in-law today. I’m having a hard time peopling these days. I feel like I’m dying inside and life is still going on around me. Its too much. Whoever thought saying “oh you said she was a senior, that means she’s had a long life” was in any way shape or form comforting is a moron. Lady - I just told you my best friend is dying, I don’t need this! I miss my old normal. I hate this new normal. Will I ever be ok again? I’m not ready to lose my “person”, my little love, my other half. But I realize I’ll never be ready to lose her. And having her suffer for my sake is just not happening. I have told family, friends and my husband to tell me if I’ve gone blind and she is suffering - I will immediately do whats right. So here I am, smothering my best friend with my frantic, desperate love. Spoiling her even more than she already is. And feeling that knot in my throat. Waking up in a panic almost every 2 hours every night. Feeling that pit of dread in my stomach. And feeling that timer on our backs. Almost 15 years is really not as long as it sounds. It was the blink of an eye.

Thank you for “listening”. And sorry!
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Jan_H
I am so sorry for all you and Lola are going through. Years ago I had a diabetic cat. So I know how much of a commitment it is to give her insulin every 12 hours. The cat I recently said good bye to had a serious heart murmur for many years. But it was cancer that took him at 17. My remaining cat has stage 3 kidney failure. I'm doing what I can for him and spending as much time as possible with him. I understand declining invites and not doing things just to be home.

Try to enjoy time with Lola. You will do what is best when it is time. Until then, cherish the days you have with her and try to keep her happy as well as yourself.

Jan
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Jcunnane
Hi Nicole,

I’m so sorry for the news of Lola’s health. Kidney failure is not pleasant and it sounds like Lola has been doing a good job of hanging in there with her diabetes. Kudos to you for doing so much for her. BTW, my girl kitty’s name is Lola. No need to every apologize for long posts. I write novels and it helps. Sometimes we need to express every thought/feeling on our minds and that’s what this place is for.

I sit here in tears as I write this because I can absolutely relate and my heart aches for you. I know that pain. That lump in your throat. And it’s scary. Terrifying. And so many others can relate too.

I give you much credit for doing everything to comfort Lola and making sure she isn’t suffering. It’s really hard to watch an animal with kidney failure. I had to say goodbye to my Bubby (Milo was his given name but I feel like I’m yelling at him if I called him that...just like a parent) a ginger tabby kitty on June 13th due to Chronic Kidney Disease/renal failure. His health declined quickly and at first we all thought it was something unrelated. He would have been in 10 at the end of July. We found out about his poor kidneys in 2014. One was barely functioning if at all and the other was compensating for the bad one. Then in 2017 he had a lodged kidney stone that he dislodged himself but had many bladder stones that required surgery. He was on prescription food for the bladder/kidney stones but never for the kidney disease. I guess they were more concerned about the stones. Then a few days before his health really starting declining so did his appetite. He did this last year after he threw up a giant pile of food so we thought he was picky again. Sadly, after going to our vet multiple times possibly for a teeth issue or infection it was confirmed his kidneys were starting to fail. We rushed him to the emergency hospital to see what we can do and they kept him overnight. But it didn’t help. The next day we got the call from the doctor that the prognosis was grim and his quality of life if he did pull through would be really tough. So we made the 45 minute drive to say goodbye. It was our last gift we could have given him why he was physically here with us on earth. To end his suffering and pain and put that pain in us. We loved him as a child. We didn’t want to let go but we knew we needed to for him. I would have given him my kidney.

Like your Lola, Bubby was with me for a 1/3 of my life. He and his sister Lola were the first furbabies of my own as an adult. And like you said they’re there for you. He was there for buying my first house, getting married, having our first baby...figuring out who I was. He was a huge chapter of my life. He was my rock through it all.

And now a new chapter, reluctantly begins. One without my hero, my warrior, my love, my son, my rock, my comfort.

I hope you find comfort here. There are truly so many wonderful people here who have helped me through this dark, depressing, painful journey and the amount of thank you does not warrant how much I appreciate each and everyone of them. Please do not hesitate for a second reaching out to us. This is what we’re here for. To help you. Support you. We’re here for you.

Sending you tons of hugs,
Jackie


Bubby's (Milo) Mommy - Always & Forever My Little Man 💜

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AstrosDad
It's a rollercoaster.  Especially if your dog is suffering.  I ended my dog's life 3 weeks ago and it was a horrible choice to have to make following a few months of his ups and downs and see-saw of hope (maybe he will pull through, maybe the medicine will work, maybe he'll get better..) and then back and forth to his pain and restlessness and inability to walk more than a block.  

It just isn't ever easy.  Years ago, I had a Boxer that had a heart attack and just died instantly and that was as close to 'easy' as it ever got.  When you actually have to make the decision to end things, there's no way of getting around the guilt and horror of the choice.  The awful feelings mean you are human and that you loved your pet in a way that you should be very proud of.  Best of luck to you on this difficult journey.

p.s. I regret 'making the call' possibly too early.  Euthanasia is final.  People seem to be very prone to push for mercy and push for an end to what they see as suffering.  It's much easier for people who have no skin in the game.  Of course, objectivity can be very helpful when you are awash in emotions.  But, they are not making the choice.  They will not have to live with your actions.  I am haunted by doubt.  Even though chances are that my dog's terminal lymphoma diagnosis was hopeless, that really is no comfort once your dog is gone.  I have heard too many times that 'you will know when it's time" or "your dog will let you know when it's time."  3 dogs in the last 8 years - only the Boxer let me know.  My last two were months of emotional rollercoasters and neither of them 'let me know'.  In the end, you must live with your choice and quite frankly, from this last experience, I don't blame people for waiting until it's completely obvious.  
Charlie Bee
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