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Posts: 7
I hope someone reads this I'm in complete despair.
My beautiful beloved boy Archie was put to sleep nine days ago and I'm broken I don't think I'll recover from this.
He was 13 in the summer and had always been healthy and a lovely happy boy, but had severe fear aggression which I put down to a horrible start in life, I got him at six weeks old he was a rescue.
He got allergies and would bite his paws, scratch non stop and it made him miserable. I tried changing his food hoping it would help, I put him on a raw diet and it did help or so I thought but he started the itching again at the end of winter so I put him back on his old food.
A few weeks ago he seemed to be slowing down when we went out, something was "off" but there were no real signs or symptoms and I thought it was just his age and his body slowing down, he could still run about in the house and play.
He was unmanageable at the vets, they could never get near him, I took him for a small lump he had near his ribcage and we had to pin him down so the vet could examine it, she managed to get a needle test and said I'm sure it's just a fatty lump nothing to worry about.
When I took him with his sore paws after he'd been biting them he was literally bouncing off the walls and the vet couldn't get near him and he got out of the muzzle in his struggle.
So when he started being a bit "off" I didn't take him in, I knew the vets would want to transport him and do tests but it would have been impossible and so stressful for him, plus there were no real symptoms to speak of. That was until his stomach swelled up and he was walking really slow. I knew then something was wrong and I'd have to do something, I'm not working and have little money but any spare at all I put on my account at the vets so that I can get my pets seen. I also have two old cats 18 and 17 years old. I had used all the credit on my account on my cats, one got cystitis and the other needed a heart scan and is on blood pressure medication, then needed a dental. So I also had to think about finding more money but Archie's stomach went down after a couple of days and he was walking normally again.
Then last Friday morning I got up and he was lying in the hallway, his tail wagging like mad and looking so happy but I had to step over him and he didn't follow me to the kitchen for his breakfast. I KNEW then something was horribly wrong as he lived for his food.
He couldn't get up. I had to help him up and he sort of staggered out in the garden, had his usual morning wee and came back in asking for food. His stomach had swollen again and I can't remember if he went down again straight after his food it's a bit of a blur but I went straight up to the vet and asked her to come to the house and put him to sleep.
I had four hours with him so I lay on the floor with him and he seemed to be getting uncomfortable, not moving around or anything I could just tell he was uncomfortable and he was breathing fast.
The vet came at three in the afternoon and I had to warn her he would put up a fight and struggle. He didn't. He just accepted what was happening and hadn't even done his usual bark when anyone comes to the door or comes in the house.
The vet asked me are you sure you don't want him to have tests, I said no. So we put him to sleep and I wailed like a baby for my beautiful boy.
Afterwards I asked the vet did she have any ideas what it could be, she said not without looking at him but when they swell up like this it's normally the liver. I said I think I've done the right thing because he hasn't even resisted and she said yes he was very poorly. I think she was just being kind to put my mind at rest.
I hate myself. I took the quickest, easiest and cheapest option and I've let him down.
I'm convinced I did this to him, I fed him a raw chicken neck and ducks feet and this was around the time he was walking slow and his stomach swelled. Maybe this stuff has given him a puncture somewhere? Blocked him or poisoned him? I feel I don't ever deserve a pet again I loved him so much and look what I've done. I was determined at the end of his life I wouldn't let him down and I have in the worst way possible. He had no bleeding or vomiting but he did start drinking a lot all of a sudden. I'm going nuts I miss him so much and this guilt is destroying me.

Posts: 63
Please dont beat yourself up as it sounds like Archie had come to the end if his life and there was no more you could do for him. I know about the guilt as I lost my dog to pancreatitis on 1 April and have nearly driven myself crazy thinking over and over was it something I did? Why didn't I notice before he was ill - but dogs have a very good way of hiding their illnesses until it's too late. Max took the decision out of my hands as he died whilst at the vets. I like you am totally devastated and sob everyday as I miss him so much. The house is not a home without him,. But we have to go on and I know it does get easier over time as I had to put my beloved Tammy down 9 years ago and I felt guilty for ages. Looking back now I can see it was the kindest thing for her. The blue cross has a dog bereavement line and the people that I have spoken to are wonderful. Our dogs are at peace now but unfortunately we are not. Take one day at a time cry when you want and try to eat/sleep. Also I find talking about him to people helps - although I'm still shocked that hes gone and I'm sure you feel the same. Take care of yourself I'll be thinking of you xxx

Posts: 730
I am so very sorry you've lost your beautiful Archie.

I read and then re-read your post looking for evidence of this terrible behaviour you so easily point to yourself.  That somehow, some way, you let Archie down or neglected him or purposely harmed him in any way.  I have to tell you I see NOTHING that would ever, ever make me believe this is what happened.

What I see, what anyone who reads your post will see, is the story of a life and a loving relationship that you and Archie built together over these long 13 years.  You took the time to know him, you responded to his needs with changes to his diet, his lifestyle, his environment, and you were the person who spoke up for him when he could not - understanding the signs and signals he was sending you when his physical state was deteriorating.  Much more than even this, you allowed him the dignity of an ending his illness would never have allowed him to have.  At the end, he was with the one person in this world he trusted most, and he was right to give you this trust for you did not fail him. You wre always his chamption, and he knew you'd be that champion when it came time to make the hardest decision you could ever have to make. 

If there is any blame to be found then lay it at the feet of an illness that would never have let Archie survive, and would only have resulted in repeated distress and visits to the vet where he'd be subjected to more and more invasive, painful testing until he passed away.  You knew Archie best, and your presence in his life and at his death are the memories Archie takes with him - peaceful, secure, safe, loved.  It's you who is left to deal with the loss - not Archie - and if you are the parent I think you are you'd rather suffer this than allow Archie to suffer any more pain or distress from his age and his illness.  

Right now, there is just the shock and grief at his loss.  And that is how it should be.  He deserves every tear you shed, and every sleepless night.  He is worth that and so much more.  But YOU deserve to know that to add to this heartbreak by imagining that you were the cause of it is not real and not true. That's the voice of guilt, that lies to us and tells us we are to blame when the real truth is so much more complicated.   Only in hindsight do we punish ourselves for missing something, avoiding something, not recognizing the signs and symtpoms until it's too late.  But this is not about you or anything you might have overlooked or missed, it's about being blindsided by a tragedy of illness that you could neither have prevented or predicted.  

Archie knows, I know, everyone here knows that there is no rational pet parent who would ever allow any harm to come to their beloved family memebers.  But there are some things that we simply cannot prevent, or cure, or avoid.  Old age, disease, unforseen accidents.  We are not in possession of unlimited power to keep these precious little animals with us forever.

What we ARE capable of is honoring their lives and the joy they gave us by letting the grief happen, remembering the amazing times we had with each other, and knowing that even death cannot steal away the love you shared.  You'll never lose him again, for Archie is safe and held tight in the heart of the person who loved him the most. You cannot keep him, but you cannot ever lose what you shared with him. It's not the same as having him, and God I know how MUCH you just want him back, but at least it's something. 

I am thinking of you - and I know, believe me, how truly devastated and heartbroken you are.  It gets better - and I wish I could tell you when or how but I cannot.  I only know that this grief has a lifespan, and that the dark, heavy weight on your shoulders will turn into a light inside you becasue of Archie.  Not today, not tomorrow, but soon, I promise you with all my heart.  Please do not let guilt be part of this wonderful love story. It's not true, and it does not deserve a place in your mind next to the love you shared with the wonderful, unique and amazing Archie.  

Posts: 6
I'm so sorry you had to go through this. It sounds really hard. But it also sounds as if you absolutely d your very best for your pets and him included. He was suffering and you made the very difficult decision to end his suffering. All he knew was that he wasn't feeling well but that he loved you so much and then he was at peace. If tests had been done, there wouldn't have been any guarantee that his suffering could have been taken away. It sounds like it was probably something that wasn't going to get better and by making the decision you did, you allowed him not to have to go through any more suffering. I really think you did a very brave and loving thing hugs to you

Posts: 92
Fionasmom is right- you loved and did the best you could for your pup. Thinking of you during this difficult time & wishing you well ((hugs)).

Posts: 7
Thank you so much for all of these beautiful kind words. I am sorry for your losses and heartbreak and pain, I've been telling myself in time I'll rescue another but I honestly don't know if I can enjoy another dog, I'm frightened every day will be filled with dread at what's to come, I hope this doesn't offend anyone and I hope I'm wrong and other people have felt this and overcome it as I have a lot of love to give, I absolutely adore animals.
Today is a bad day again, I seemed to have turned a corner and only cried a couple of times. I got a phone call from the vets last night saying my boy is back, so today I need to go and get him and I can't stop crying again. It's like that first morning again without him. It's a ten minute walk and I'm on my own, it's a busy shopping centre I don't know how I'm going to do this.
It will be two weeks tomorrow and I'm back to square one with the grief is this normal I'm frightened for my sanity.
Thank you all once again for taking the time to reply it really helps x

Posts: 63
Archiesbark I can relate ito these feelings 100% I too feel that I am drowning in grief and losing my mind. I don't even want to live in my house anymore without him and have thought of moving. All I can tell you is it does get easier - not anytime soon for us I'm afraid - but eventually we will heal. Its early black days for us both and Alli can say is cry as often as you like and just let the grief take its own time. This board is great too. Have you written to Archie? I found that helped a lot. In time you may feel able to offer an excellent home to another dog - I did after losing my last dog and rescuing max who gave me years if joy. This is the hardest part of owning a dog that any of us real dog lovers have to face. I am so sorry you are going through this as it's so incredibly painful. Sending my love to you and I will be thinking of you xxx

Posts: 92
Archiesbark- Im sorry for your difficulty and I really feel your pain. Although my beloved pup is still with me, he was diagnosed with severe kidney disease in December, so I know the time he will leave me is drawing near. Even the thought of not having my Arby by my side makes me cry. Still trying to be thankful for and make the most of the time we have left.

I know the feeling of not knowing if you could love another and face such a profound loss all over again. Also really worry about my mental health when my beloved Arby does leave this physical world. Two people I know in person say there are times they still see their departed dogs from time to time.

For me, my dog is an angel of mine on this earth. So, guess it wouldn't be out of the question that his spirit will remain close to me even after his physical body dies.

Want to encourage you to keep reaching out on here -- we all love our pets and we 'get it'. Please rally up whatever support you can where you are as well. Some people 'get' the human /animal bond and the connections we feel, others dont. Try and surround yourself with those who understand, of course :) it helps.

Also, I personally called the national suicide prevention hotline. Not exactly suicidal, but I told the counselor on the line that I worry about that. When talking to her, had a chance to find some clarity, some help.

She basically offered the serenity prayer in so many words and listened. Consider calling to help you through.

"God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I can not change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference."

Don't know if this helps you, but I hope it does. ((Hugs))


Posts: 7
Hi and thank you again for taking the time to reply to me.
I'm feeling a bit brighter today, still really sad but not constantly breaking down like I was and I was able to go to the shops without breaking down outside. I hope I'm turning a corner, I still expect to break down but I was exhausted from it being constant. I feel I'm traumatised by how hard it hit me, I knew he was getting on and every day I had what I now know is anticipatory grief but I wasn't prepared for what hit me the next morning.
Pawprince I'm so sorry to hear about your dogs kidneys, I have an 18 year old cat with the same and I know she's on borrowed time, the vet said kidney diet for her, no - she's 18 years old and I am giving her what she wants, what she enjoys and making her time enjoyable. Maybe you are suffering anticipatory grief? I know it's horrible it's like some kind of shadow that gets heavier each day. Try to enjoy your doggy, kiss him lots and tell him how much you love him, this is one of my biggest regrets as I thought I had more time and I so wish I had told him how much I loved him and showed it.
Lynnsa it's funny you talk about thinking of moving I am doing the same, my house isn't a home even though I have two cats, I miss even his breathing and shuffling about, and hearing his feet on the floor it's so silent here it's awful. I've even been looking at saving up to buy a second hand campervan and just taking off with my cats or waiting until I don't have them anymore. The best thing about this is I can't even drive and live alone! Then today I thought to myself could I walk out the door forever and leave the house I raised my pup in and all the memories? I really don't know. God I miss him so much.
Thank you again you're such kind understanding people, it's nice to beable to talk where people don't get tired of hearing about it and it's nice to know there are kindred spirits here.
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