Saying Goodbye

Friday morning at about 10:00am our vet called us.  It turned out that weird empty space was just an oddly large fat deposit. She evidently had a small liver and spleen which weren’t causing any significant problems, but they were oddly small for her size.  Hence the fatty area. But that is where the good news stopped.  Instead, we were informed that she had:

  • A small heart that was struggling to supply her 90lbs body with enough blood.  Her heart was weak.  Very weak.
  • Thickening of her small intestine and colon indicated advance stage lymphoma.  But, regardless of the suspicion of lymphoma, the fact was that the walls were so thick that her intestines had stopped working.  As in, she could no longer process food.  Anything she ate would have to come out via vomiting.  Hence, the recent increase in vomit episodes and the lack of eating.
  • Internal bleeding.

We were and still are in a state of complete shock.  She appeared completely fine just a few days earlier.  We had no idea just how sick she was and clearly had been for a while.

I still cannot help but think that she was only 7 years and 4 months old (to be precise) – she’s way too young to be this sick.  She was a rescue dog, and we had always assumed she’d live a long life due to her mixed breed status.  I feel like she was cheated out of the life she deserved.  I feel like our while family was cheated out of thr life she deserved.  

We had a very honest discussion without vet on our options.

  • Option 1: If our dog definitely had lymphoma we could try 18 weeks of chemo.  We would have to do more extensive testing and more invasive procedures to determine the exact nature of the suspected lymphoma.  However, her and the second opinion vet both agreed that it would not be curable.  Treatment would simply give her more time, assuming her heart could handle treatment and assuming they could get her digestive tract to start working again.  Honestly, we knew this wasn’t an option – we knew we wouldn’t put her through chemo, especially if it’s not a curable cancer.
  • Option 2:  IV Fluids, prednisone and appetite stimulant.  Hopefully this would kick-start her digestive tract again and she may live a few more weeks.
  • Option 3:  IV Fluids and prednisone for a few days.  The intent of this would be to give us time to say goodbye, hopefully through the long weekend.  Given all her ailments and the state of her intestines, she really only had a matter of days left.

Our vet did not pressure us, and respected our very first comment that we would not let our dog suffer just for our sake.  We simply couldn’t do that to her, even if it meant we were saying goodbye 5+ years earlier then we ever thought we would.   Much to our surprise, I was the one that was adamant that we couldn’t prolong her suffering even just to buy us a few more days with her.

And so, we chose to let her go Friday to end her suffering immediately.  When we told our vet our decision, she put it perfectly:

Our dogs give us all their love, unconditionally.  And when they are this sick, we have to give all our love back to them.

She was right, this decision was made solely in our love for our dog and for her wellbeing.

The clinic booked the appointment for the end of the day, so our vet would be available and so that we could have the rest of the day together.  Mr. MPB and I took the entire day off (not that either one of us could possibly have worked even if we wanted to).  We spent the day together, just the three of us, just like old times before Little MPB.  We went to the park, where she barely walked.  We offered her all of her favourite foods, to which she declined everything.  We sat with her, we cuddled with her, we cried for her.  We apologized for not being able to help her.  We tried to tell her just how much we love her.

We left early for the appointment so that we could pick up Little MPB from daycare to give him one last play at the park with his Puu-py.  Of course, he didn’t understand and he chose to play on the playground instead.  We then dropped him off with friends for a visit while Mr. MPB and I took our sweet girl to the vet one last time.

We sat with her, our vet sat with all of us, and we stayed with her until she took her last breath.  And then we stayed a little longer, sobbing over what had just transpired.

Our son’s precious Puu-py, his best friend, and mine too, is now in puppy heaven.

For the last few days, our little boy has walked around the house shouting Puu-py as he searches for his best friend.  And he decided the night she died was the perfect time to say her real name for the first time.

We are completely and utterly devastated.  Saying goodbye to her might just be one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

 

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62 Comments on “Saying Goodbye

  1. I am so very sorry. I’m sorry it all happened so fast. I’m sorry that you all didn’t get your 5 extra years. I’m sorry that you have to endure another painful loss.

    Sending you love and hugs, and crying many tears for you.

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  2. I’m so sorry. Having been through this myself three times, I know the heartbreak and the second-guessing. I’ve made all the mistakes – prolonging the dog’s misery because of my own hesitancy. Putting a dog through unnecessary procedures because I couldn’t let go. It is never easy to be the one to say “Now is the time” – but sometimes you do this hard thing because it is best for your dog.

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  3. I’ve been wondering what happened to your girl, but couldn’t find the post about her when I looked before. (I’m sorry … I’ve not been a very consistent resident of the blogiverse this past year!) You linked to it today, and I read with much empathy. I’ve shared my life with MANY dogs, so I’ve gone through this process more times than I can count … and each time hurts like the first. I want to share something that has helped me, however. I hope you won’t need to think about this for for many years, but when you need it I hope you’ll remember and find it helpful.

    I learned a valuable lesson from my dobie, Mojaji, a few years ago. Actually, thinking about it, it was two lessons. She became ill when I’d had her less than two years, and we spent months, and thousands of dollars, trying to figure out what was wrong. To be honest if we’d known upfront how hard and, frankly, how expensive it was going to be, we’d have spared all of us … but it was just a weird situation. She had a bunch of symptoms; the vet ran blood work; he put her onto meds. She improved … and then she developed a bunch of completely unrelated symptoms. More tests, and he identified a completely different issue, so more meds – but all the meds had to be carefully balanced because there was a risk that the meds for one condition would make the other condition worse. Well, a few weeks later the same thing happened – she had a THIRD condition. All these conditions were different, but somewhat interrelated, mainly by the fact that all the treatments kind of worked against each other. But she wasn’t *that* sick … She was still eating, still enjoying life … She’d slowed down and was a little more needy, but … euthanizing her seemed premature. And so it went for the next eight or nine months, juggling meds, running different tests – because in each case, the test results weren’t every 100% definitive. I know her vet well – he’s a wonderful man and extremely gifted, and he and his partners were all just tearing their hair out over what was going on. Well, eventually she started going down, and I made the decision to let her go. I wanted one more weekend, and she seemed okay for that.

    It was a bad call. I should have done as you did, and let her go on Friday. Instead, on Sunday on the 4th of July I found myself on the phone, frantically calling the vets (fortunately I had their personal numbers). She was bleeding out internally and was suddenly in horrible pain. I ran a dog rescue so I had a good supply of meds, and the vet was able to tell me what to give her to give her relief, but I was in a state at the thought of driving her to the vet. She was a big girl, and a dead weight once the meds kicked in, so getting her into the car would have been hard … and we live some way out of town. I was really scared the drive would wake her and she’d start crying again.

    That wonderful, wonderful man left his family Independence Day celebration and drove about 40 minutes to our home to help her go. Then he stayed and helped us bury her. I will never, ever forget his kindness. I have since learned that his family had a similar experience with their vet when he was a teenager, and that was actually what convinced him to become a vet.

    Anyway, the big thing I learned – apart from that it’s much, much better to lose a weekend than to live even half a day too long – was how much easier and more peaceful it is to say goodbye in our own home. Not having to load her up, and drive, and walk inside (where on a normal day there would be people waiting), and then leave with nothing but a leash and collar … Instead to be able to hold her and love on her, with all her people AND her dog friends there … It was such a blessing. Early this year we had to say goodbye to her dobie (that’s another story, how my dobie got a dobie) and we didn’t think twice about it – we asked our vet to come to our home to do it. She was lying on a blanket on the grass, comfortable and relaxed, when she left us. Nothing can make those goodbyes less sad, but it’s much more peaceful and easy on the heart when you can just be sad and say goodbye and not have to worry about driving afterward.

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