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jetsonsmum

Registered:
Posts: 332
 #1 

This is a very long story, but one which I hope will bring some comfort to you dear souls who are grieving the loss of your beloved pets.

 

This story is about my precious baby, a German Shorthaired Pointer named Jetson.

 

Jetson and I are true soul-mates. I adored that dog with every fibre of my being and I still do now. He passed away on June 2nd this year, following complications from lung cancer.

 

It all began 2 years ago, when Jetson was admitted to hospital to have a large tumour removed form his spleen. As it turned out, he had to have his spleen removed as well, to save his life. I asked the surgeon to remove a golf-ball sized 'lump' from Jetson's chest wall. I'd had cells taken with a fine needle prior to the spleen surgery, and they had indicated as 'only' fatty cells. The surgeon told me, as she was closing Jetson up, that he'd begun to get pale under anesthesia, and she didn't want to risk him, (he was 10 1/2 at the time). Therefore, she again took a fine-needle aspirate, which again showed 'only' fatty cells. I was told verbally, and in writing on Jetson's discharge sheet, that there was 'nothing to be concerned about'. Me being an ordinary girl, and the vet being, well, a VET, I took her at her word, and believed that a fine-needle sample was able to be taken as gospel. With Jetson being over 10 years old, and having had a life with many health complications and surgeries, including removal of several lipomas (fatty lumps), I chose not to put my baby under any further stresses of surgery.

 

Forward 12 months. Jetson had recovered extremely well from his splenectomy. The tumour was benign. However, the golf-ball sized lump on his chest wall had increased in size to now be similar in size to a grapefruit.

I took him in to his vet, and had a biopsy done at my request and suggestion, and the results came back as positive for a 'soft tissue sarcoma'.

 

My baby had cancer. :-(

 

So, I went into fix-it mode. 'What do we have to do to fix this?' I will do whatever it takes. Jetson's 'every-day' vet did not want to perform the surgery, as the tumour removal, along with the necessary healthy tissue margin removal, required the hands of an expert, as the deficit would be so large that a skin 'flap' was needed to be created from the hip area to enable the surgeon to close.

 

I know this sounds complicated enough, but what was to follow is overwhelming, and this is most difficult for me to put into words. The specialist did a CAT scan on Jetson, to ascertain how deeply the tumour had penetrated his chest wall. As it turned out, the surgery was majorly extensive, and ultimately, Jetson went into a coma. He just did not regain consciousness.

 

When I was phoned with the news, I was absolutely devastated. That dog was my world, my reason for being, I adored him. I would be damned if he was going to die in that hospital. So in I went. What confronted me was truly indescribable.

 

Jetson was seizuring, throwing himself all around the place, but at the same time not awake or coherent. It looked as though half his side had been removed. He had tubes coming out of his chest and nose and throat. Now I am a pretty strong girl, I can handle a lot, but this was my baby, and he was in a wretched state. He was screaming and screaming. I was beside myself, all I wanted to do was help him.

 

I was helpless.

 

I stayed with him, and laid with him, stroking him and talking to him. It was so utterly terrible to see him like that, unresponsive and seemingly dead.

 

Each day for two weeks, I travelled over an hour to be by his side and try as hard as I could to wake him up out of his coma. Sometimes it seemed as though it was going to be alright, and other times he seemed to deteriorate. I was NOT giving up. The surgeon was happy for me to continue my vigils, and hold on to hope as long as I wanted to. However, he could give me no real prognosis, as no other owner had pushed for so long; they mostly made the decision to let their babies go to sleep.

 

I knew, somehow, that my Jetson wanted to be here with me still. Indeed, one day, whilst I was laying by him, and talking to him as I did, I said; "Jet, if you have to go, I understand. It's ok if you can't fight anymore. But Mummy needs to know. Please please tell me." I swear, as God as my witness, at that VERY moment, Jetson opened his eyes and stretched his legs. Only for a few seconds, and then went back into his deep sleep.

 

I KNEW IT. He WAS going to make it.

 

I asked Charles, the surgeon, to contact an animal neurologist in the States, as there are none here in Australia where I live. Charles did that and was told that Jetson would have suffered brain damage caused by hypoxia ( lack of oxygen to the brain) during surgery or recovery. Brains have an incredible ability after injury to regenerate the pathways for messages to travel wherever they need to.

 

Jetson finally woke up out of his coma, and even began eating and drinking. The moment I received that news was honestly the happiest moment of my life. He was AWAKE!!

 

What a challenge it was to get him well again. After I brought him home, I placed a mattress in the living room, so as I could carry him out to toilet with relative ease, as the door was right next to where his temporary bed was.

 

Now I'm not sure if you know much about Pointers, but they are not what you'd call 'small' doggies. And Jetson, well, lets just say he liked his tucker, and was just a tad overweight, coming in at a whopping 40 kilos, which I think would be around 70 pounds. Because he had suffered brain injury, he couldn't walk when he first got home. I had to carry that big baby out to the toilet. Many many times per day....and night.  Boy was I happy to do that. To be entirely truthful, anything I had to do for him was just a pleasure...I was overwhelmed to have him home!

 

Physio was another challenge. The hip area, where the skin had been pulled together so very tightly, was impeding his movement greatly. He was quite cranky with me when I poked and prodded and stretched and massaged, but he put up with it all like the gentleman he was.

 

One night, he just decided it was time to start walking!! I cannot tell you how happy I was. All of this from a dog who had been knocking quite vigorously on death's door.

 

The only residual issue was that he was only walking on 3 legs, simply refusing to use the left hind, which was tight from the surgery. So it was off to the pool twice weekly for swimming sessions. After 3 months of vigilance, Jetson finally began using his bad leg. I was overwhelmed. Everything was perfect. He was absolutely normal neurologically, and barring a slightly stilted walk, and a few scars, he was great physically as well.

 

This June, almost one year after his cancer surgery, I arrived home to find Jetson labouring with his breathing.

 

At that moment I knew it. I just knew it. The cancer had spread into his lungs. The week before I'd had a dream that someone I loved had cancer in their chest and was not able to be saved. There was no hope anymore. My husband and I had decided that our baby deserved to go with dignity. No more surgeries, no more painful procedures, no more pain.

 

We brought Jetson into the emergency centre where he'd had his surgery last year, and they x-rayed his chest, the results proving what I already knew. The cancer from his chest wall had metastasized into his lungs, causing fluid retention and distressed breathing. We were given the option of draining his chest, but that would've given him days or hours. We would not put him through any more. Not for our sake.

 

We stayed with him in the clinic, on his special bed which we'd brought in. He deteriorated drastically within an hour, and we really were left with no other option. I laid down beside him, spooning him, rubbing his ears and holding him and telling him "I love you, I love you, I love you." My husband was sitting in front of him and they were gazing into each others' eyes.

 

Then he went to sleep.

 

It was very very peaceful. But I was devastated. We had fought so very hard, my baby and I, and we lost the battle anyway. He just could not fight for us anymore.

 

There is one thing, though, that I keep with me. Jetson's case is extremely unusual. Charles, his surgeon, has used the case to educate and inform other vets and furparents all over the world. Especially the 'coma' part. Jetson came out of that coma against all odds. He fought a most courageous battle. 

 

Charles has used this to tell others to NEVER GIVE UP. Believe in your convictions, leave no stone unturned. Jetson has saved not a few other furbabies' lives with his legacy. Because of him their parents have not given up, and they have been given a chance to live even when the odds are against them. I know it's not possible or even probable in every case, but even if it helps one furbaby, then it was all worth it.

 

The other thing is, and this is from me personally, always always follow your gut. Cancer is a hideous disease which can sometimes be cured if found early. If I'd have done my job properly, I'd have pressed the issue with Jet's original vet and not just taken her word that a fine needle sample is concrete. IT IS NOT. I personally don't believe it's worth anything at all.

 

As for me, well, I am still grieving terribly. I miss Jetson more than I can even say. I am extremely grateful I have found you all here, and that I have found the Rainbow Bridge. It , you, have saved my life.

 

Thank you for listening.

 

Love

 

Barbara, Jetsonsmum. 

 

 

 

 

This is Jetson 'cuddling' my cat Keith. The picture was taken 2 days before he passed away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PureGolden

Registered:
Posts: 62
 #2 

I am so sorry for your loss of Jetson. What a beautiful story of your life with him, your love and dedication.  Cancer is indeed a terrible thing. My golden ret, Maggie has lymphoma.  Her time is short although she has out lived the odds as to what her vets had stated.  We tried chemo and any route to keep her with us. I believe just all the love from her family and food (she still loves to eat!!) 

 

Again, I am so sorry for your loss and hope you find peace in your heart.

 

Sincerely,

Melissa

BonnieS

Registered:
Posts: 15
 #3 

Barbara,

I read your post with tears streaming down my face, what a battle you both fought and what a wonderful mum you are. while not the exact circumstances for my beautiful girl, some of your story was very similar, I to put to much faith in a simple test, only to find out it was wrong. I also took the word of the vet " I was overreacting" in the end I should have listened to my gut!,

Your story was very touching, very courageous and very inspiring. I am so sorry for your loss of Jetson, but I know he is with my Kayla, romping running and doing everything the pains of the earthly life did not allow.
i thank you for sharing your fight with us, our babies are with us for such a short time really, Kayla was by my side for 17 years, which could never have been long enough and it was really wonderful to read and see the love you had for your baby, it came through in every line you wrote.

May each day grow easier for you and may Jetson send many many signs of the true love I know he feels for you

Kaylas mum

jetsonsmum

Registered:
Posts: 332
 #4 

Dear Melissa and Kaylas mum,

Thank you both for your kind words.

 

Melissa, I am thinking of you as you and Maggie face your cancer challenge together. You are both brave and it sounds as though Maggie is a very strong girl. I love golden retrievers, they are stunning dogs. I am very sorry that you are going through this, and if you ever need a chat, I would only be too happy to be there. All I can say is make the most of each and every day you have with your girl, which I'm sure you do anyhow. Love her to bits. Spoil her rotten. These moments are what will help you when someday she has to go to the Bridge. And when she does, I'm positive Jetson will be there to welcome her, as a special thank you to you, Maggie's mummy, for being so kind to me.

 

 

Kaylas mum, I too am sure Jetson and Kayla are playing together and watching us as we help one another through dealing with our losses. You were indeed lucky to have had your girl for 17 years, although I know only too well that that is not nearly long enough. It seems over within the blink of an eye. Jetson was with me for only 12.5 years, and that is such a short time. 

 

I am sorry you both have gone through the tragedy of cancer.

 

If I can comfort you in any way, please tell me, it would help me if I could somehow help you.

 

B.

 

louiesmom

Registered:
Posts: 122
 #5 
Barbara, your story is so inspirational and heartbreaking. I am so sorry that you lost your precious Jetson. You're right, we never have enough time with them--I had my Louie for 13 years and I so agree with you that it seems like it was over in a blink of the eye....what I wouldn't give to be at the beginning of that time rather than at the end... I'm greedy--I want more! I could have had him another 13 years and it still wouldn't be enough...

Your picture of Jetson with your kitty is just precious--what a sweetheart!

Love,
Christy




Louie's momma

Lolabean

Registered:
Posts: 17
 #6 

I just finished reading your story.  What a wonderful dog and what a wonderful story.  It sent me back to many years ago when one of my dogs, Whitney, had bladder cancer and all that we went through.  Cancer can be so heartbreaking.  I know, probably for the rest of your life, you will probably kick yourself over that needle biopsy--we all do that.  But we do the BEST we can with the information we have as lay people.  We trust our vets (or even our own doctors) to tell us what the risks and odds are.  I know you can do nothing about it now, but it is a lesson learned for the future and you may find that this particular lesson about Jetson's life may save someone else.

 

You are lucky that you had so much time with him and he seemed to be such a gentle soul.  Right now, I am grieving the loss of my baby Lola who got in a fight with my other dog.  Lola, being all of 10-lbs Jack Russell Terrier, did not survive against my 45-lb hound.  It was awful and I just wanted to spend so much more time with her.  I will never get that chance and, despite all th struggles you went through with Jetson and his illness, he lived a good long, normal life.

 

Take care,

Christine

jetsonsmum

Registered:
Posts: 332
 #7 

Dear Christy and Christine, thank you both for such kindness.

 

Christy, I know of your story with Louie. I am dreadfully sorry he had to go to the Bridge. Your love for him is tangible, it comes through in your tributes to him. He is such a beauty. He comes across to me to be a very wise and soulful baby. Is this right? I hope your pain is easing a little, I know it has been 4 months since I lost Jetson and I do still cry and grieve, but it does become easier to live with. I too wish I could begin my time again with Jet, those years were not enough, indeed no matter how much time I had, it would never be enough. I think I'd like to have had him my entire life!!

 

Christine, I also know of your story. I cannot tell you how terribly sorry I am that you have gone through the utter shock of what happened to your Lola. It is bad enough to lose them when they have had a 'normal' life-span, but to go through what you have, with a young baby, in such circumstances, is heart-wrenching. I admire your courage in dealing with it the way you have. And to reach out to someone like me when you are in such pain and shock and anger yourself humbles me.

You are right . I have learned a lesson. I want to tell as many as I can to never just take someone's word; listen, i mean really listen to your gut. And DO NOT trust a fine needle biopsy. Every story I hear pertaining to fine needles, are stories of failure. I don't know, maybe Jetson was always going to die from the cancer, maybe there was nothing that could have ultimately saved him....but maybe he would still be alive now....if only.   :-(

 

OOOOHHHHH. How we love those babies of ours.

 

Thank you both, your kindness means more to me than I can say.

 

Love B.

louiesmom

Registered:
Posts: 122
 #8 
Barbara, You sre so kind that even in your own pain you reach out and help others. Yes, Louie was very wise and soulful, I love those words to describe him. He was a very serious little man. He was never what you would call "playful"---he had no use for toys, did not chew or fetch or horseplay...the only time he was ever what you could call "lighthearted" was out hiking on a trail with us or out in our big yard with me where I spent many hours tending to my gardens--there he was free to follow his little dachshund nose and his eyes would go soft and happy and he would pant and smile--what I wouldn't give to see him like that again!

But inside he was very serious--his job was to keep track of everybody and what they were doing while also finding the most comfortable most softest most cozy place to sleep. Not to belabor the point, but when he and the many other dogs were taken from the farm where he was kept, it was December here in Wisconsin, 10 degrees outside, and the dogs were in unheated pens, with no bedding--Louie was in a cardboard box with holes punched in for air, in several inches of his own waste, with most of his fur eroded away...now smooth dachshunds don't have much fur anyway and get cold easily so I con not even begin to imagine the misery he was in....breaks my heart. In my reading of dogs that come from backgrounds like that they tend to not be "playful", and you can't really blame them. He always seemed to be a little worried that he was going to lose us, and we did everything to let him know he was always going to have us and have warmth and softness and food and comfort and love. I chose that picture to use in my posts specifically because it showed that side of him...thank you for being able to see his personality.

Anyway, not to hijack your thread...the love you have for Jetson is so palpable and so shimmering, it lifts my heart that there are other people in the world who love their animal friends so very much, it makes me feel not so alone in my sadness.

Love,
Christy



CRB

Registered:
Posts: 32
 #9 

Barbara,

 

I'm so sorry to read about Jetson. Your instincts about his treatment and what you felt he wanted was just amazing. It's shows what an icredible connection you had. I went through something similair with my Baxter, not quite as long. The hard part for me was to see how incredible and gracious he was during his illness and treatment. It just made me realize even more what a precious soul he was and how much I loved him. I posted a poem for him - The Amazing Heart - For Baxter, a few days ago.

 

Thanks for sharing your story. It helps to talk about it doesn't it? Especially in a place where you know people will understand the extent of yor grief. As I've said before on this site, the pain of losing our pets is so crushing, and yet we wouldn't have missed having them in our life for one moment. The sorrow is for us and our loss, not for them  now. They are happy and healthy. We are the ones left to try and heal our broken hearts.

 

I hope you find comfort here and in your many memories of Jetson. He sounds like an incredible friend.

 

CRB

Baxter's Mom

jetsonsmum

Registered:
Posts: 332
 #10 

Dearest Christy,

You are not hijacking my thread at all lol! I loved hearing about Louie. I'd love to hear more. You can see in that adorable little face that he is a thoughtful, serious little man. He had it tough before he met you, that is for sure. He's so lucky (or is it you who is lucky?) to have found you and your loving heart. He knows all about everything, I'd have loved to have met him.

Jetson and he are very similar in their natures. Jetson was the saddest lil pupper when I saw him in the cage at the market. He looked like he was just wishing the earth would open up and swallow him. Then when the stall owner (horrid man) gave him to me to hold, well, it was all over. Jetson snuggled into me and I belonged to him from that moment, and nothing has changed.

I think Jetson and Louie are great friends at the Bridge, and I can see them having meetings and discussing the ways of the world together, and of course, their mummies who miss them so.

Thank you for your kindness Christy, and I truly wish for your big kind heart to become a little less sad.

 

Love,

B.

 

jetsonsmum

Registered:
Posts: 332
 #11 

Dear CRB,

Thank you for your kindness. I have posted a message for you on your poem thread for Baxter...I really just wanted to read that peom again as well!

 

Love, Barbara.

NativeWinds

Registered:
Posts: 8
 #12 

We know how you feel about losing a pet to cancer.  Our little Duke (an 8 year old blue healer) was diagnosed early this past August with bone marrow cancer.  Unfortunately, by time the cancer was found in him he was at a stage V.  He underwent chemotherapy, but becuase his imune system became compromised with all the medicine he was taking, his body slowly shut down . . . he caught a cold and fever on October 8 and throughout October 9/10, he faded before our eyes. 

 

On the morning of October 11, after rushing him to the emergency vet hospital due to his state of unawareness, he drifted into a coma and then went to enternal life at the Rainbow Bridge.  He fought so hard in August and September, but just could not sustain the loss of his imune system to fight off any infections.

 

He was a such a good little guy . . . we miss him so much, but take affection in that he's at peace.  We now look up at the sky and talk with him and pray for him everyday.

 

 

jetsonsmum

Registered:
Posts: 332
 #13 

Native Winds,

Duke is a handsome boy. I'm very sorry you had a struggle with cancer with a dog who was far too young to pass. Your love for him is clear and you too did all you could for your boy.

I too take some comfort in my long 'chats' with Jetson, especially at night when the stars are out.

Thanks for sharing your story with me.

B.



Registered:
Posts: N/A
 #14 

Dear Barbara,

 

This is one of the most beautiful stories of hope and love that I have ever read.  Jetson was truly a miracle.  I would have given anything to have given Maggie Rose some extra time, even a few days.

 

You were a marvelous caregiver and Jetson was blessed to have you for a mom.

 

I am happy that when your baby did have to go to the Bridge that it was peaceful for him.

 

Your story is lovingly and very professionally written.  I am glad you found Pet Loss also, because PL has saved many lives, including my own.

 

In your tremendous grief over the loss of Jetson, you have the knowledge that you certainly left no stone unturned and the two of you climbed a mountain together.

 

What a lovely picture of Jetson and Keith in the sunshine.  I hope memories like this give you a great deal of comfort.

 

I am so sorry for your loss.

 

Hugs,

 

Rhoda (Maggie Rose's Mommy)

jetsonsmum

Registered:
Posts: 332
 #15 

Rhoda,

Thank you. You always have so many kind and caring words for many here at PL. People like you make my process of healing just that little bit less traumatic. After all, you have reached out to me when you yourself are suffering your own loss of Maggie Rose. I have seen a photo of her. She is just beautiful.

You have made my morning with your sweet reply.

Thank you.

Barbara.

PureGolden

Registered:
Posts: 62
 #16 

Barbara,

 

Thank you for your kind words of encouragement about Maggie.  I took her to the vet on Thursday and was delivered some bad news but I wasn't surprised. Her lymph nodes are so big and now she has a large mass in her stomach.  However, she is still eating and doing normal body functions ok and seems to be content at the moment. My vet is so wonderful. He told me as long as she is content enjoy our time together, but he did note it will probably be soon so to prepare. I have been preparing for months but it doesn't make it easier now that the time is actually arriving.  So we shower her with love as we always do and are always near to her.

 

She is such a part of our family and I will be heart broken when our journey ends. I am a better person for having her touch my life.  I had a dream of my lhasa, Shadow, who went to the bridge in August. It was like he was giving me a sign that he will be waiting for her.  I take some comfort in knowing she will be very excited to be reunited with her brother.  I know she misses him so.

 

It's difficult to put into words the loss one feels.  But I thank you and the PetLoss family for such comfort and support.  If you ever need to talk please email me.

 

I hope you are finding peace in your heart with the memories of Jetson.  It would be lovely to hear some of your fondest memories of him when you are able to share. I am sometimes to that point about Shadow, I weep for him but there are times when I think of something he use to do and it makes me smile. 

 

Sincerely,

Melissa 

jetsonsmum

Registered:
Posts: 332
 #17 

Melissa,

 

I am so sorry you have received this sad news. Maggie sounds as though she is still enjoying her life and that is wonderful.

 

Also I think it's very good that you have a vet who you trust completely and who is compassionate about your particular case; they are an important ally to have.

 

It feels like you are stuck in a big mess and have no way of figuring out how to begin cleaning it up. That's how I felt/feel. Melissa, this is a really tough time for you, I know. And I do believe in some ways you are fortunate that you have had some deal of time to 'prepare' yourself for what will happen. Jetson got well last year, and then we lost him within two days of us noticing his troubled breathing in June. There is an element of disbelief there.

 

You are doing all you can to make Maggie's time beautiful, and trust me when I tell you that you WILL know when it is her time to go to the Rainbow Bridge. You are her mummy, you adore her, and you know her so very well. You can read her like a book, and she will tell you when she can't fight anymore.

 

If there is anything at all you need to talk about, please tell me. I totally understand what you're going through.

 

Until then, please give that beautiful girl of yours a big kiss from me, all the way from Australia.

 

Hugs,

 

Barbara. 

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