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Posts: 4
I had to put my 11yr old Shar-Pei down a couple of days ago and the guilt and pain I’m feeling is becoming more than I can bare. I wake up in the middle of the night abruptly, and immediately feel agony over her loss. I had a panic attack a day ago and I’m hardly able to eat. Most people I speak to really either don’t understand or just brush me off and talk about their own issues. I’m finding it very hard to reach out to anyone who understands what I’m going through.

..So her name was China Girl and she had such an interesting personality. She was a sweet, goofy, stubborn, and loving, wrinkly ball of cuteness. She and I were pretty inseparable. She would only eat if I was in the kitchen with her and she followed me into every room. I miss her every step I take in my home, and it’s almost unbearable to be at home. Every morning I would wake up and look at her in her bed. She would wag her tail and it would tap on the wall. I didnt even have to utter a word, my presence made her happy.

I miss her so much it hurts. I feel heavy and my heart is completely broken. I feel I let her down and didn’t do enough.

She had Shar Pei fever basically her whole life. It’s managable, and I did my best to keep her healthy and comfortable. A few weeks ago she became sick and after about a week I took her to the vet. At that point she didn’t seem too sick, but I had blood work done and had her examined. Everything came back great and I continued with the meds assuming she would be fine in a few days. That never happened and I ended up at the animal hospital. She was not getting better, but still didn’t seem like she felt terrible at that point. We had an ultrasound done and gave her some fluids. I went home with no answers, but a lot more meds. She rapidly declined from that point on and didn’t want to eat or drink. My husband and I had been rotating who would stay up with her and take care of her prior to that every night. I also have 2 small children, so it was becoming quite difficult after going through this for weeks. At the point of her refusing food for 2 days I knew it was enough.

I made the call and completely shut down. I had no answers and no way of knowing how to treat her. It was torture and I couldn’t do it anymore. I feel like I just gave up on her. I feel I may have been selfish. I feel I could have done more. I listened to everyone’s else’s advice and thought I was being selfish if I kept her here any longer. It’s so ironic, because now I feel I was selfish for NOT keeping her here.

There are so many factors killing me now. She actually looked great up until last couple of days. She lost a lot weight and it showed at the very end. Her hearing and sight were still good and she always made it outside to the bathroom. She actually would do her best to wake us to go out too. She still greeted us at the door. I feel my story differs so much from most since she still appeared fairly strong. She did decline in last couple of days, but seeing her normal almost throughout made it harder to know what to do. I hate the fact I never had any answers as to why she was sick.

When she was euthanized her veins were hard to find from being dehydrated . It was a long drawn out process and it will always bother me how awful it was.

I’m literaly sick over her loss. I really feel I was the one she trusted and should have protected her. She loved me unconditionally and protected me and I didn’t do the same for her. I feel I gave up on her and I’m worried she’ll never forgive me for that.


Posts: 9
Dear Chris79,

I am so terribly sorry on the loss of China Girl and the heartache you are going through right now.  Losing our faithful and devotional fur companions is hard enough but then sometimes they decline very rapidly leaving us with the decision to not let them suffer and then re-thinking later on did I do enough, was it too soon?   I know exactly what you mean when you say she appeared strong.  These wonderful pets of ours are so determined to hide how sick they truly are until they are nearing the end.  What I do know is when they stop eating (although sometimes may still take in water), when you need to be up with them throughout the night and you see there is a rapid decline, we in our hearts know their quality of life is diminishing.  You made the most powerful test of love to your China Girl by not letting her suffer. 

I went through a similar situation just over a year ago with my dog.  Diagnosed suddenly with heart failure (no symptoms prior) and stage 4 if you can believe this.  I was hopeful the medications would work and for 2 days everything seemed somewhat back to normal but then noticed I had to be up with him all night.  Eating off and on and then stopped altogether.  He was wandering all night and very weak and so was up non-stop all night.  I made the decision very quickly (in fact the next morning) because I just knew it was only going to get worse.  Soon as I made that decision he came bouncing into the kitchen on all 4 legs and I thought how can this be??  Now he seems okay.  I had a great vet come out to my house and she spent a lot of time with me explaining that these pets of ours try and stay strong for us and by design try to mask just how truly bad they are.  She also could tell that he was right around the corner from a real critical event.

You in no way gave up on China Girl.  You took such loving care of her and there is only so much you can do that is humanly possible.  They have no way of telling us in our language how they really feel but we do get a sense from them that they have a reached the stage in their life that the question becomes quality.  Unfortunately, that answer has to come from us and it so very difficult.  Not only do we miss them when they are no longer in our lives, but we question every single thing we did or think we did not do.  This is perfectly normal and part of the grieving process and our minds trying to cope with the loss.  There is nothing for China Girl to forgive you for.  You did not let her down.  You gave your heart and life to sweet China Girl.  You gave her the greatest gift of love us pet parents can give our sweet pets.  The decision to let them be free of what is ailing them.  You in no way gave up on her at all.  I hope in time you can realize this.  China Girl would not want you to feel this way at all. 

You are in my thoughts and I will say a prayer for you and China Girl.  A big virtual hug to you!

Linda (featheredwolf)


Posts: 106
Chris, I am terribly sorry about your beloved pooch. Our neighbors had a Shar Pei mix -- gosh, he was a sweet dog. It is really hard when you feel like no one understands what you are going through; I'm glad we have each other who do understand and empathize. I truly think it helps. Obviously, we hate for anyone else to experience the pain we are each experiencing but it helps to know there is support out there and people who will listen.

Our dog was also a "velcro dog" -- wherever I was, she was. I wake up at night and wonder where she is because I do not feel her against my leg; I start to call her name at bed time "Annie, let's go to bed!" Their absence leaves such a hole. In some odd way, sometimes I feel like she is right beside me.

It's hard when they go from healthy to deceased in a day or two (my dog's experience, too). I think it is such a reminder that life in general is so fragile -- be it a dog, a human, a goldfish.

I hope each day is a bit easier for you; know you did all you could for her and the last gift we can give them is the promise of no more illness and pain.

Posts: 4
Thank you featheredwolf for your response. Your personal story has given me some peace. Knowing how strong your sweet doggy was, even through her illness, just goes to show that they are so much stronger than we could ever possibly realize. Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers. I really, truly need them right now.

Also, thank you Dogsarepeopletoo. I can completely relate to you as well. I keep forgetting my China girl is not here. I go to open the door to let her out, say goodnight, or even think I hear her sometimes. I hope time has eased your pain and your feeling some peace.

Thank you both for your kind words. It’s so nice to know there are people out there who totaly understand what I’m feeling. You’ve made me feel a little better honestly. I know the days ahead will be difficult and time will help ease my pain I’m sure, but my goodness this is so hard.
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