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Posts: 7
It's been two days since we had to say goodbye to our beautiful German Shepherd Lexi.  She was ten years old and had always been in pretty good health until 1 month ago when she started limping.  I thought it was just a sprain or something.  We took her to the vet and he said it was a little bit of arthritis in her ankles and prescribed a pain med and anti inflammatory.  They also took xrays and said there was something pushing her colon down but because her bloodwork came back okay they thought it was just fat (she was overweight).  

So we took her home thinking she'd be okay in no time.  Only the meds didn't work, she got severe diarrhea so they had me stop the anti inflammatory and gave her a bunch of tummy meds.  Nothing worked.  She was pacing around panting, clearly in pain, just laying around when not pacing.  Then I noticed her tail was hanging straight down and she had stopped wagging.  I took her back to the vet for another xray and more blood work, everything still came back fine.  They wanted a urine sample but I couldn't get her to pee outside, she was peeing in the house all over the place and they suspected a UTI.

Then she stopped eating.  Would not eat one single thing, even stuff she normally loved.  Could only walk a few steps before laying down again, not greeting us like usual, just going off into a corner of the yard and laying down.  I was so worried and called the vet on Tuesday of this week and they had me bring her in that evening to do a urinalysis with a needle.  And that's when my nightmare truly began.

When they stuck the needle in all they got was blood.  She was full of blood in her insides.  They checked her bloodwork again and this time it was super bad, did a scan and finally saw it - a mass on her spleen.  They told me they could do surgery and it might not be cancer, but it might be, there was no way to tell without doing the surgery.  If it was cancer she might have 3 months, if it was not cancer, she might live to be 12 or 13, but no guarantees.

I wanted to do the surgery but my husband said she was suffering and that it was more than likely cancer and if it was we would be putting her through more suffering only to prolong her death.  It was horrible horrible horrible, we had only about 30 minutes to make a decision because they were afraid the spleen would rupture before they could do surgery.  So I finally said okay to putting her down. That entire experience was awful, she looked so scared and confused and we stayed with her on the floor the entire time.  I am so grateful she gave me a kiss, something she hadn't done since being sick.  I will treasure that.  I started crying then and I haven't stopped since.

I am plagued with guilt about not doing the surgery.  I keep wondering if we had done it would she still be alive, I feel like a horrible horrible horrible person.  Like I let her down.  This dog was not just a "dog" she was my baby, the same as my three children are.  

My mom passed away two years ago and I swear this feels WORSE than that!  All I want to do is go to bed and cry cry cry.  I feel so utterly hopeless.  Like what is there to look forward to now?  We do have another dog, a male shepherd who is two years younger than she was.  He is lost, so sad, keeps looking for his sister.  And now I can't help but think the same thing will happen to him.

Sorry this got so long, but I am hoping for some kind of support from those of you who know what I'm going through.  I have never felt so bad in my entire life.  I miss her so much!!!!


Posts: 417
My dearest Lexis' mom,
I know just how you feel. Nothing can prepare our hearts for the agony of losing a pet. I'm sorry you didn't have more time to say goodbye to Lexis. You loved her deeply and she loved you just as much. You did the right thing, she was suffering. We always tear ourselves apart with thoughts of "should have" and "what if" It's just humane nature. Your going to cry,  a lot and grieve the emptiness of your life without her but one day you will remember the journey too that you shared with her. Remember her kiss, it will see you through your grief. No matter how much time you have to prepare for letting go, it's never easy.
I let Termy go when he was just over 16 and I thought I would be okay because we had spent so many years together, but I wasn't. I choose when he would go to the Bridge but it still tore my heart out. I lost my sister also and losing Termy was worse. I think this might be because we were loved so unconditionally. I think if we could talk to them and they could talk back, it wouldn't hurt as much. If our pets could say, "mom, it's okay. I'm ready to go and I will always love you." I lost another over 19 years ago but I never got to say goodbye and hold him in my arms when he passed. I have always had regrets and a deep sadness over his loss. It's never easy.
Please, be kind to yourself. You would had never let her suffer. Out of love, you let her go. Lexis will always live in your heart and her spirit will surround you until you are reunited again at the Bridge. I know this is  little comfort now but one day you will remember the journey you shared with Lexis. You will never be the same but you will learn to live a new normal. Give her brother all the love you can, for he is suffering the loss also. I don't feel you let her down. You were her hero and her guardian and she trusted you to do the right thing. She will always be with you, because you will hold the love you shared with her in your heart. Her spirit will always be near you. Close your eyes and feel her love.
love and doggie hugs
Termy's mom

Posts: 7
Termy's mom, thank you so much for your reply to your post.  It has been so hard, especially when her brother looks at the door waiting for her to come in.  As the day went on I had many crying jags, but then I got this urge to look at Lexi's breeder's web site.  Not that I am ready right now for another pup, but I just felt compelled to go there and look at the puppies, who all reminded me so much of Lexi as a baby.  Then when my husband got home he started talking about eventually getting another dog, to keep our other dog company.  As the kids and him talked about it I found myself actually thinking about it.  Not yet.  But possibly this summer.  We'll see.  What did happen is that I started to feel hopeful again, my spirits lifted and my husband pointed that out to me.  I said if we do get another one it is NOT a replacement for Lexi, but rather a way of honoring her and her memory.  I don't even know if we'll be able to find one, it took us months to find Lexi back when we got her, but I know that whatever happens will be meant to be.  I think Lexi will help us choose.  Thanks again for the kind words!!!

Posts: 31
Lexismon, I am crying reading your post as we lost my beautiful Berry on New years eve to the silent killer ( hemangiosarcoma). We had no idea she had the tumour as at nearly 14 she was fine , slowing down but still enjoying short walks and playing with toys. We thought she'd had a stroke as when she collapsed she was still breathing but unconscious. We rushed her to the vets but on scanning her tummy  they gave us the devastating news. The vet was lovely explaining what had happened and when she aspirated some fluid from her tummy it was blood. They offered us the surgery but Berry had gone through lots of surgery in her lifetime and after the last one when we nearly lost her I promised her no more and at 14 the outcome wasn't good. We had to make the decision to let her go painlessly and with dignity. I have sobbed every day for nearly 4 month , Berry and I had a very special bond. One thing I do know is that we done the right thing for her by not having the surgery and since we lost her I have read and read all there is on this thief in the night killer. The out comes aren't good and especially in an older dog so PLEASE do not beat your self up about not having the operation. Someone once told me that yes we love our dogs but letting them go can be the kindest most loving thing we ever do for them.
The loss is a pain like no other and I feel so sorry that you too are going through it. I wish I could have a magic wand to make it all better and to know our pets are free from pain. I am thinking of you at this horrible time. Take care.

Posts: 31
I agree with everything Termy's mom said, such wise words. I know she has helped me with advice.


Posts: 7
Dear Loz, oh thank you thank you thank you!  You have no idea (or probably you do!) how much better that makes me feel to know I made the right decision.  It's been hell, wondering if I "killed" her, but now I realize as painful as it was for us it was the right thing to do.  Her brother is so sad, we are trying to keep his spirits up but he spent most of his time outside romping with her, she was the dominant dog and now he is just lost.  He hasn't eaten yet today, hopefully he will later.  I'm so glad I found this board, hearing from others who have gone through this helps so much!!!!  

Posts: 3

I’m so sorry for the loss of your sweet Lexi. I lost my Golden Retriever Murphy back in February and it has been absolutely devastating. One thing I have learned is no matter what you do, I think you still have guilt.

Murphy was 9 and completely fine one day and the next we gave him his food in the morning and he only ate a little and stopped and walked away. This was unheard of for him because he loved his food! My husband and I were instantly concerned but figured it was a stomach bug. Fast forward two days and we were at the emergency vet because he became completely lethargic and wouldn’t eat anything. They told us that Murphy’s blood work was very off, he had a high temperature and it appeared he had a mass in his chest. They said he needed a CT scan and we needed to get him to a university emergency animal hospital that was 45 min away. If we didn’t get him there that night he would die. We were so completely blindsided and devasted. We sat for awhile trying to figure out what to do and ultimately took him. After a couple days there, he rebounded and we were so hopeful! The results of his CT scan came back and it was confirmed that he had a mass in his chest and needed it removed immediately or again he wouldn’t make it. Their hope was that it would be a benign mass that they could remove and he would continue to live a normal life. There was also a chance it was lymphoma or a small chance it was carcinoma. I asked to please tell me if he was too old to go through this and they assured us that he appeared to be a healthy dog that had a great chance of survival so we did the surgery.

The surgery went great. They were able to remove the mass and again we were so hopeful! Sadly, the results came back and he ended up having an extremely rare aggressive cancer that they didn’t even have any case studies of. They were so sad when they told us so we knew it wasn’t good. We brought Murphy home and he had some good days where he seemed like himself but he quickly got worse. Wouldn’t eat anything and got to where he couldn’t walk. We ultimately took him to our vet where we knew it was going to be the end. The whole process from his first sign of something wrong till he died was one month. It was one of the worst months of my life. I had so much fear, anxiety and stress seeing him not doing well.

Sorry for the long reply. I just wanted to share our story because we have regret that we put him through too much. And after all the money spent, the outcome was exactly the same. Murphy was our first pet together and our baby! I think if we are ever faced with this again, we would definitely look at things differently. I can’t say anything bad about the university that we took him to as they are known as the best in our state but they are a teaching hospital and very aggressive. I wish we would have took him to our vet before agreeing to the surgery.

This has literally been one of the hardest things I’ve ever dealt with. Like you, I have lost a parent and feel terrible but this has been harder! It’s been two months since we lost him and not a day goes by that I don’t cry. I miss him so much!

Anyways, just know you’re not alone! I think we all deal with regret and guilt no matter what. It’s the absolute worst! Animals just do not live long enough. :(

Posts: 6

I feel much the same as you.
I lost my beautiful 9 year old boxer Bella on Wednesday.
About 12 months ago we started to notice things changing, the first vets we saw thought she may have vertigo, as her head was tilted to the side, she would lean on walls, do a drunk stumble.
She had very bad muscle deterioration on the right side of her head, it was down to bone.
The new vets I saw all agreed we were probably looking at a brain tumour.
Her eye was so dry due to the lack of muscle. She ended up with a server eye stye, (we thought she may lose an eye) it was hard to heal due to the pain meds she was on, they slowed the healing process.
We got through that, then in the last 2 months she was vomiting, day / night. After every meal, all water would spray back up.
I took her back to the vets where they told me she had an oesophagus disease, megaoesophagus.
She also had laboured breathing.
The vet suggested a new lots of medication as last ditch effort with 5-6 small mushy meals a day. It might give me a good month or two if they worked.
They didn’t work, she was miserable, she didn’t want to leave the house (she’d been like that for months)
She hung around for food, but that was her meds making her hungry. Before that I would have days I would have to force her to eat and drink.
Monday after a weekend of vomiting and finding her collapsed in the back yard I took her in.
The Monday I took her in she was actually pretty good, well good as she got for a sick dog. The vet told me there was nothing more medically they could do for her I need to make a decision.
My husband told me I should of let her go weeks before when I sent her in for more tests.
We made the decision to let her go Wednesday.
My heart is utterly broken, to say I’m sad is an understatement. I lost my dad 6 months ago. And this pain in my heart is so much harder.
She was with me when I lost my Nan, all the night shifts my husband was on, through 2 kids and all the late sleepless nights, And when I lost dad.
She was a constant in the ever changing world of mine. She was my rock, and now I’ve lost her.
I’m regretting my decision.
All those sleepless nights following her for hours around the back yard while she was sick, all the times I cleaned up sprew. I’d do in a heart beat if I could have her back.
I’m just so broken.
I’m not sure if time heals, or maybe it’s just not as raw.
But right now it’s hard to see light at the end of this tunnel.

Bella the boxers mum x

Posts: 7
Missmymurphy, I'm so sorry about the loss of your precious Murphy.  As i read your story I just felt all those emotions having just gone through it all.  Gosh it's awful, I wish our poor fur babies didn't have to go through this, those stupid masses and cancer, etc.  It's just so unfair, because the years are too short and go too fast.  Thank you so much though for sharing this with me, it does help.  Sending you big hugs as we grieve together!

Posts: 7
Lisa (bellatheboxersmum)  I am so sorry to hear about your Bella, it sucks so bad, I know.  It has helped me to cry cry cry  and just let it out rather than keeping it in, even though it hurt so bad to do that at the same time.  My eyes were actually nearly swollen shut from so much crying.  Yesterday I picked up the plaster cast of Lexi's paw from the vet and that nearly set me off again.  I suffer from anxiety and I get these horrible mini panic attacks throughout the day when I think of her.  My husband keeps telling me just remember the good times and I'm trying but man I miss that dog!!!  I don't know if men always understand how it is for us moms.  I had Lexi since she was 8 weeks old, I carried her home from the breeder on my lap in the car and got up with her at night, she slept right by my bedside just like my 3 human babies did.  And I totally understand the regret, I have that too.  But having read the other responses to my post has really helped, so I hope they help you too.  Hugs to you and I hope that yours and my grief will ease a tiny bit at least as each day goes by.  


Beth (Lexi's mom)


Posts: 7
Thank you so much for all the supportive caring replies, I'm glad I found this board, it is really helping to talk to people who understand.  I know some people I know are like, "just get over it, it's just a dog"  But OMG Lexi was NEVER just a dog, they never are!  Yesterday I picked up her clay paw print from the vet's, they put some of her fur in it too, in a nice little case.  Oooh boy, that was hard.  But I'm glad I have it and she will have her own little memorial here in our living room, and we plan to plant a tree for her too.  

Anyway, you are all awesome, thanks again!!!


Posts: 11
Oh Lisa, how I feel your pain and empathize with you. I chose to let my beautiful girl go 6 days ago, and the instant I saw her take her last breath and watched the beautiful sparkle leave her eyes, I regretted my decision. The grief has made me doubt myself, feel guilty and I chastise myself over and over wondering if I did the right thing.

That's the grief talking, my girl. Grief makes you doubt yourself because the pain is so intense. How can a "good" decision make you feel THIS bad? The reality, though, is that you did what was best for your fur baby. You chose to end her suffering because you loved her SO much, and instead agreed to take on the suffering yourself. I know that those words do nothing to ease the pain that you feel, but please keep repeating them to yourself over and over until you start to believe them. You made the best choice that you could for your baby at the time. You have nothing to feel guilty about. I know it's easier said than done, because I, too, am feeling the same way. You're not alone. xo

Posts: 6
Lexismom Beth,

Gosh it’s hard isn’t it.
I did find out at my Dads funeral and at the vets on Wednesday I suffer from panic attacks when things just get all that to hard.
Yes that’s exactly how my eyes are looking to.
I have my sons 4th birthday party on Sunday, it’s so hard to get excited because I know she would of been there, she was always there. Everywhere with us, even just for a boot ride to the shops.
I think this year I’ll give myself a little grace, I can be happy but I don’t have to be excited.
My husband bought Bella home at 6 weeks old. She would sleep down my jumper to keep warm, well not for to long the way she grew.
Then always on my feet on the bed.
Even when I had the kids, people would say she needs to be outside.
Nothing changed for her when the kids arrived. So nothing changed in her world.
She was amazing with them.
I’m so glad to have people to speak with as sadly a lot of the world do believe they’re “just a dog” but you said it right, they’re never ever just a dog x

Posts: 6
Hi miasmomma

Thank you so much for your reply, you said that perfectly. I’ve actually saved it to my phone so I can read it over and over.
The pain is so hard, I guess if I was to have her here with me still, it would only be for me.
Last night was the first night shift I was alone without her for 9 years. I cried myself to sleep.
The house is so empty, I can’t bring myself to move her things. I actually washed her blanket and put it back on her bed.
Hopefully her spirit will stop for a short visit.
Day by day let’s hope the rawness of it all starts to fade.
They say the greater the love, the greater the grief x

Posts: 11
I'm here, we're all here, for you anytime you need. The pain and grief that we all have in common shouldn't have to be carried alone. We should lean on each other, encourage one another, and share the kind words when they're needed. We will all need to be reminded, probably many times, that we did the right thing, didn't ever intend to hurt our babies, and that we will get through this.

Your pain is so raw right now, so fresh. Do whatever it takes to get through it. Keep her things. Don't keep her things. Look at pictures. Don't look at pictures. Do what's best for YOU. And let's all stick together to help one another feel less alone at one of the worst moments of our lives.

This weekend will be my first weekend without my girl. My husband will be working, and then he actually leaves on the 16th for 24 days for work. I am terrified.

Posts: 6
Oh miasmomma,
24 days is such a long time, My heart is with you. Just take it all one day at a time.
Maybe try to keep your days full?
Guided meditation?
We’re all so different and grieve differently, I rushed out to get her picture for my wall, so I could always see her from my bed.
I’ve never done that with beloved family members who have past.
I feel like I don’t know who I am without a dog, the person I am has shifted forever.
What kind of Dog was your beautiful Mia? X

Posts: 3

A friend of mine suggested that we get a shadow box and do a little memorial to hang on our wall like you mentioned. We put his bow tie that he wore at our wedding, a pic of him as a puppy, a pic of him as a grown dog, his paw print, the card that our vet sent us because the words were so perfect and the little baggy of his fur. It’s hanging in our laundry room where he used to be every time we got home to greet us. Sometimes I smile when I look at it and sometimes I cry. I’m hoping it will eventually make me smile more than cry. I also put all the pictures and videos I had on my phone in one album. I had over 400 lol! I like to look at them because it reminds me of the happy times and helps push the bad times out for a bit. People say those bad memories will fade and man do I sure hope so!

We received a lilac bush from my husbands family as a sympathy gift and we planted it last weekend. We mixed some of his ashes in with it so he would be a part of it! That was such a thoughtful gift.

I know we will all get through this! It has been almost 2 months for me and things have definitely gotten better but it is still so hard. That’s why I stumbled upon this group. I just decided to look up pet loss support groups and this is the first one I looked at. It’s nice to have a place to talk about it and not feel crazy for not being “over it” yet.

Posts: 3

I wish you peace and comfort this weekend! My husband works second shift and sometimes is kept overnight so I can relate. I was terrified of the first time I was going to be alone in the house for a long period of time! We don’t have any children so it was literally Murphy & I here together a ton of the time on our own. It is so strange how much space Murphy actually took up because without him the house feels SO quiet and empty. I’ve gotten through it though. It’s been almost two months and I’m not going to lie, the house still feels strangely quiet when I’m alone. I just try and keep myself busy with things I enjoy and then of course there is always house work to be done. Listening to music helps me a lot. We used to leave it on while we were gone for Murphy (not sure if he cared one way or the other though lol!) and we still have been doing the same. It’s just nice to not come home to a completely silent house I guess.

You will get through this and I hope you’re able to keep your mind occupied. We are all stronger than we even realize. Reach out to us on here if you’re having a hard time!

Posts: 9

I’m so so sorry what you had to go through. I know how it feels for one day everything to be normal and then the next few days be something you don’t expect. My dog , Tepito, had to be let go a week ago and it’s been a hard week. My emotions have been up and down and it hit my mom much harder then she expected. We were there with him till the end and that has been the hardest experience of my life. He had arthritis and pain in his Spine. Sometimes it would be so bad we couldn’t touch or pick him up. It broke our hearts to make that decision because we love him but we couldn’t bare to see him suffer. I miss my baby so so much and I think of him all the time. Please know you’re not alone. I , myself and others on here completely understand. You did the best you could and I know Lexi knows and feels that.

Posts: 7
Lexismom, there are some similarities to my story. (Posted on my own topic). I feel a lot of the same fears/guilt when it comes to the decisions I made. It’s easier to see in someone else’s story that you’re not to blame. Hindsight and all that. All the things I thought were old age, were probably symptoms of cancer. And now I feel like I have to watch my other dog like a hawk. So I don’t miss it again. But mostly I relate to feeling like a horrible dog mom. Like I really let her down. I’m trying to work through that. I did not do things perfectly, but I wanted her alive more than anything. So I know I did the best thing I could have done in all those moments I feel regret over. I am currently in the place wondering if I’m supposed to learn something from all this.
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