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Mel_a_rator

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Posts: 11
 #1 
Somehow I stumbled upon this site in my heartbroken days after my pooch’s last day 3 days ago on Memorial Day, hoping to find peace and solace in my decision, in knowing that it was a good decision, but was there a better one at that time with all things considered ? I’ve experienced and greatly learned from my 4 former pets’ euthanasia process (albeit all from the hindsight 20/20 learning). I learned enjoying them while they’re here, and try not to miss a moment of fullest living with them (aka maximizing appreciation and minimizing regrets), waiting too late, 1000 shades of gray, grieving, peace. Also learned no matter how I “prepare” myself for the next, each and every single subsequent one seems to be actually harder (versus easier) over the decades. Isn’t this ironic ?

Needless to say, for me, my sweet Mel was just as hard, if not harder. I’m so heartbroken, I love him deeply. Mel was 14 yrs old, pit mix, his nickname was Mel-a-rator (in complete ironic humor to his personality). Everyone called him Sweet his whole entire life (after his rambunctious young years that is 😂) ! He was my 50/50 dog (I was his last and only chance at the shelter as he was on Death Row List deemed “unadoptable”). Boy, I’m so grateful I took that 50% chance on him! He gave me 14 wonderful years of joy, and devoted his whole entire lifetime to me! As he got more mature and became an adult and into his senior years, I couldn’t hardly get him to walk away from under my legs for just even one moment, forget mentioning the jetting and running off from my side every chance he could and so often did when little. He “zigzagged” side to side in front during our leash walks, cause he always turning back looking to make sure I was still coming along. Mel allowed the cat (Sissy) to be Alpha, he goes with the flow as the pack led. Don’t let all this fool ya, his bark sounded daunting and he barked when appropriate ! Mel was sooo intuit, he senses by feel the most..His forehead would furrow lines as he inquisitively looked into our eyes. He just knew when I was happy or sad !

I protected my pooch every way I knew how. We white-fibbed and called him Lab-Mix as opposed to his face appearing Pit mix. I didn’t want anybody to not give him a chance in life and immediately write him off the bat just because of his breed stereotype, and never get to see his personality! He went to boarding/training school starting as a pup because I didn’t want him to potentially publicly misbehave and get in legal trouble looking semi-pit. He got all the usual maintenance medical care, love, attention, quality food, some spa and daycare days, pup friends, and steady flow of treats. Mel was in the best overall health a 14-yr old medium sized dog could possibly be in, high quality of life.

Unfortunately and unexpectedly, his behavior started to change some. He didn’t quite eat all his 2 meals, drank and peed and potty just fine, but he was lethargic and laid around the house, and wouldn’t look at us in the eyes (as he usually does when he knew he was in trouble), some weaker compared to baseline, and he didn’t want to walk long outside. He wasn’t alert and disinterested in his surroundings although he still laid next to us. Watched him overnight and thought maybe an off-day...which would be the first off day in his life. The next day on Memorial Day, he dramatically improved but not quite to baseline. All the usuals carried on the same during the day, he walked longer today, he drank/pottied, alertness returned for the most past. In the hours of the evening, he deteriorated again. Even more lethargic, weaker, slowly walked and checked out his fresh chicken dinner but ate none of it. He seemed physically tired (wobbly some) from walking from Point A to B. Gums were light pinkish-pale, his paws and ears were not as warm as he usually is.

As healthcare provider myself of humans, I took my sweet pooch in. (Knowing healthcare is a double- edged sword I bear). After taking him to emergency vet on Memorial Day, poor news of event. I’m told Mel is internally bleeding into his abdominal cavity from a splenic-area-ish mass that had ruptured per his best interpretation of US, altho he disclaimed he “isn’t an US sonographer”. Mass said to be ~50/50 benign versus malignant. Vet said suspicious of malignant cancer, known to be aggressive and highly vascular and easily Mets with poor prognosis even with interventions especially with rupture. My heart dropped..... Vet further said Mel appears relatively comfortable at the moment and was getting some IV fluids VS were compensating. In my interpretation, that means Mel is holding for the moment in his critical state that can fully unravel full blown at anytime without anything done). Additionally, Vet said “given his 14 yrs age although age isn’t an illness”, surgical and overall outcome is poor prognosis. Vet also said knowing if malignant can not be predetermined before surgery/path.

Here comes the 1000 shades of gray, struggled in my contemplations. In general, I’m a fighter, at least always have at least tried some in life. At least trying some is better than never trying in life. That’s my personal philosophy for myself. My beloved Mel is a semi-fighter and would follow when nudged. Provided surgery stops the bleeding and Mel survives, what if the Vet errored in his suspicions of malignancy (which is said 50% of the time to be benign/malignant) ? I definitely understand starting the journey would not have been a walk in the park and could include death. but I can stop the painful journey at anytime even after taking a step. I believe I would have that strength to make that decision (clearly as I already made it before even taking that step). My heart is breaking, I made the finale decision for him and knowing we hadn’t taken even a single step towards chance. I would have tried fighting it all, in lieu of him, f I could. Now all the guilt and pain ..could euthanasia have been slightly premature ? Why did it have to be that very very minute ? Could I have bought some time with slowing the bleed in the interim and wait out the night (but knowing euthanasia is at any given second of acute decline) for a more experienced Vet’s opinion to surgically intervene ? Isn’t a 50% chance good enough for anyone to take a step for and simply try ? I gave him that 50% chance to life at adoption, why would I not take that same odds again now for.a chance to live ? He’s truly my 50/50 dog but 100% at heart ! I will never know, I hope I made the BEST decision, and not just a good one.

I apologize for the length of this posting (turning out longer than intended), iIt wouldn’t have done Mel justice nor would it fully shed the complexity of euthanasia decisions for other owners. My empathy to all you guys that have lost and I hope to find myself some peace in mine. I’m so sad, heartbroken, and surely miss my Sweet Mel Mel so very much ! Rest In Peace my sweet boy.
HeidiGirl

Registered:
Posts: 52
 #2 

Hi.  We had a similar situation a few years ago.  I'm going to attach the post I wrote at that time.  I don't know if I made the right decision with the surgery or if I should have gently eased her pain with forever sleep.  It was a tough call.  We, of course, opted for the surgery.  Upon seeing her post surgery, I could tell she was very scared and in pain.  I never felt so bad.  Seeing Heidi I said to my wife, "look what I just did to her".  Heidi was looking at me with fright in her eyes.  As it turns out, she died the next day as they were bringing her out to us to take her home.  She just keeled over.  The Veterinarian said she most likely had a blood clot move into her heart.  It was instant.  Also, the report of her tumor was cancer on the spleen that ruptured filling her chest cavity.  I thought maybe surgery would help, but in the long run, I should have let her go in peace.  I'll always regret how I handled this.  Your Mel lived a long life and I am so sorry about the turmoil you went through with your decision.  Mel had good years with you for sure!!!  Remember those happy times.  Mel will always be in your heart, always!  Maybe helping your pet get to that place and be pain free is one of the greatest acts of love one can accomplish.  A tough call indeed.  Anyway.  My original post follows.  Maybe it will help you.  Peace to you and peace to Mel.


I'm not sure which message board I should post this on, I'll use this one.  

My poor little girl.  Heidi was a Shepard Coon mix.  She was a sweet little girl.  She made me laugh when barking at the UPS truck when we got packages.  She made me laugh at the silly things she would do.  She just made me laugh and I loved her.  

A few weeks ago she started looking depressed, wouldn't eat, drank tons of water, and was lethargic.  To make a long story short, I took her to the Veterinarian.  She was concerned.  Among other tests she did an ultrasound and saw fluid and a mass in her chest cavity.  She gave an option of surgery, thinking it was her spleen with a growth on it.  I opted for the surgery and her suspicions were correct.  Her spleen was removed along with a mass, probably cancer to be tested (no need to now though), and a liter of blood that leaked into her chest cavity.  The surgery actually went well considering what Heidi just went through.  The Veterinarian was impressed with how she was doing, but cautioned she is no where near out of the woods.  Heidi stayed the night and was to be discharged at 6pm the next day (yesterday).  I was told, unfortunately, that Heidi probably had 3 months to live, could be longer, but typically 3 months to live in her case.  I didn't want her to be in pain but hoped and prayed she would have good days ahead.  The Veterinary Doctor was very good and gave good advice and on what we should expect.  We took a gamble.  My wife and I excitedly went to get her at 6pm, finished the paperwork in an examination room and they said she would be right out.  A number of minutes passed and I suddenly had a bad feeling.  I don't know why but I just knew something was wrong.  Within minutes, Heidi took a turn for the worse and her heart stopped and she passed away.  There was no reason why it happened, and there is no one at fault.  Heidi just couldn't recover.

Now, I look at it like this.  I am very, very, very sad, but I truly think Heidi knew we were there.  She was only in the next room when we were doing paperwork and going over instructions of what to do when we got her home.  She had to hear us.  At that exact moment she was fine.  And suddenly, within a heart beat, hers stopped.  I want to think that she knew it was her time and knew her mommy and daddy where there for her because the timing was just too coincidental.  She maybe knew if we took her home and she passed away there that we would be too upset and wouldn't know what to do.  Anyway, that is what I am going to think what happened.  I hope I did the right thing with the surgery for the Doctor said she would probably not have lived through this weekend without it.  I guess it was all fate.

We have two other dogs and they know she is gone.  They roam the house looking for Heidi.  Now I must comfort them.  I love those 2 dogs just as much.  

Heidi was just over 9 years old.  I will miss everything about her and I will miss her everyday.  She was my Heidi Girl.  Heidi, you are in no more pain.  Rest well until we meet again.

Mike

Loz

Registered:
Posts: 37
 #3 
Hi Mel.
I'm so, so  sorry for your loss and I know how you are feeling.
I read your post thoroughly , it is EXACTLY what happened to my beautiful collie Berry on New years eve 2018. She was 4 days away from her 14th birthday. She was fine , eating and all other functions normal. She'd had a short walk that day , at 4.30 she went to get a drink and suddenly collapsed. We thought she'd had a stroke as she was breathing but unconscious. We rushed her to the vet who was half an hours drive away, all through the journey there was no responses from her. On examination the vet said her tummy felt very full and when she scanned her it showed a ruptured spleen tumour something that we never knew she had and apparently the dog has no symptoms until the tumour ruptures. We were offered surgery but Berry had many operations in her life and when she didn't come round very well from her last one which was some difficult dentistry I promised her no more. Also I didn't want my special girl dying on an operating table all cut up. By this time she'd been unconscious well over an hour. I sobbed my heart out knowing this was the end and there was nothing we could do to make her better. We done what we thought was the kindest thing and helped her along to the rainbow bridge. I have doubted myself and asked ' did we give her enough time and a chance as it all happened so very fast. I've spoken to the vet a few times since we lost her as my grief is unbearable. She said Berry had lost a lot of blood and her length of  unconsciousness was a very poor sign she would have been brain damaged. This situation is the worst , the vet said these tumours are silent killers. We do what we know is right for our dogs at that time . I know saying this wont ease the pain. 5 month on I am still grieving, I cry everyday for her and my heart physically aches for her, she was my special girl and I miss her so much. Try not to be hard on your self, I wish you peace and love. xx
Mel_a_rator

Registered:
Posts: 11
 #4 
Mike, thank you sooo very much for your kind words and sharing your experience. Getting your reply felt like someone threw me a buoy as I’m filling up drowning in my own tears. For that, I am touched and grateful. You sound like you love your Heidi very much as well, and gave her a chance...take solace in that she tried and the fear/pain/fate she had after surgery was short time limited...knowing aftermath it was cancer, it could have been 3 more months of pain. If given a choice, perhaps Heidi would have found 1-2 days of the surgical pain out of 9 years worth it to hear her parents’ voice and feel their presence once last time.

I know for sure I didn’t make that “premature” decision for myself. I would have chosen to try fighting. I take some solace in that. But it feels so conflicting and counterintuitive that I made a decision that wasn’t me. Then I ask myself, as I did 1000 x that horrible night, would Mel have wanted to just try a step ? I kept looking for unsaid signs, reading his eyes and body language, thinking about how he led his entire life. It came to 40/60 and 60/40, basically a coin flip. And I’m trying to grapple how come age is being treated like a disease ? It feels as tho not being given a chance just because of age. Do you know what I mean ? Big sigh....so I struggled. Even now, I still struggle...

I went to a private showing at crematory to see my Boy before he was cremated to get my 1:1...I didn’t know how I would feel about it, whether it would make me feel better or worse. Seeing him like that reminded me (as a healthcare provider) that the GI fight (being malignant or not) would not have been an easy step to take at all either😔. So today it tilted me feeling I made the best decision at the time. Who knows how I’ll feel tomorrow.

Mel’s sissy cat (18 yrs) is looking for him. She goes to where they often laid around...albeit they never play-played with each other, I know their presence being near each other, they often found security in. It will never be the same without Heidi, but how are your other dogs doing now ? And how are you and your wife ?

Mel-a-rator’s Mommy
Jules
Mel_a_rator

Registered:
Posts: 11
 #5 
Hi Loz, I want to say thank you for your empathy and kind words. Receiving your message felt like a lifesaver. I appreciate it more than I can say in words, that a stranger would take that time out of their day to be so kind and heartfelr to other owners sharing their experience and perspectives, thank you. Sounds like Berry had a very caring and loving parent for almost 14 yrs, who still grieves over her, and also tries helping other owners.

Similar to yourself for the situation at the time, I still wonder if Mel would have wanted to take that chance for himself. I hope I made the best decision, I will never know. And if he did otherwise, I would ask him for forgiveness 😔. I’m also still struggling to process why being 14 yrs of age feels like it’s made into more of a con rather than a pro per others (ie. vets). I understand it’s higher risks, but the pro side to age could be that our senior animals are most likely to be in the healthiest STARTING state senior dogs can possibly be in (prior to event) to do something...anything...

I find myself throughout the day just bursting into tears, I miss him terribly. I miss hearing the sounds of his shuffling “tap dancing feetsies” (over grown long black nails on the concrete/tile sound) always showing excitement that he couldn’t stand still. I miss the way he looked at me always saying what do you want me to do next ? The way he nosed his food around in his bowl being the semi-picky eater he is. I miss the way he did a mini-skip hop on his hind legs as he misgauged the one simple curb step distance. I miss the way his ears perked up and the tall stance he stood when he was showing alertness. Sigh....so many things to miss.

Last night, I brought my sweet Mel back home from the crematory. It brightened my day some to have him, but I’m still so so sad. Will this get any better ?

Mel-a-rator’s Mommy
Jules
Mel_a_rator

Registered:
Posts: 11
 #6 
Hi Loz, I want to say thank you for your empathy and kind words. Receiving your message felt like a lifesaver. I appreciate it more than I can say in words, that a stranger would take that time out of their day to be so kind and heartfelr to other owners sharing their experience and perspectives, thank you. Sounds like Berry had a very caring and loving parent for almost 14 yrs, who still grieves over her, and also tries helping other owners.

Similar to yourself for the situation at the time, I still wonder if Mel would have wanted to take that chance for himself. I hope I made the best decision, I will never know. And if he did otherwise, I would ask him for forgiveness 😔. I’m also still struggling to process why being 14 yrs of age feels like it’s made into more of a con rather than a pro per others (ie. vets). I understand it’s higher risks, but the pro side to age could be that our senior animals are most likely to be in the healthiest STARTING state senior dogs can possibly be in (prior to event) to do something...anything...

I find myself throughout the day just bursting into tears, I miss him terribly. I miss hearing the sounds of his shuffling “tap dancing feetsies” (over grown long black nails on the concrete/tile sound) always showing excitement that he couldn’t stand still. I miss the way he looked at me always saying what do you want me to do next ? The way he nosed his food around in his bowl being the semi-picky eater he is. I miss the way he did a mini-skip hop on his hind legs as he misgauged the one simple curb step distance. I miss the way his ears perked up and the tall stance he stood when he was showing alertness. Sigh....so many things to miss.

Last night, I brought my sweet Mel back home from the crematory. It brightened my day some to have him, but I’m still so so sad. Will this get any better ?

Mel-a-rator’s Mommy
Jules
Mel_a_rator

Registered:
Posts: 11
 #7 
http://www.petloss.com/mbphotos4/mel.jpg
MyLittleOneIsGone

Registered:
Posts: 141
 #8 
Dear Jules,
Thank you for your very kind and thoughtful words. I am truly sorry about the passing of your Mel-a-rator.  It's a hard decision when you see your baby suffering. Dogs are stoic and sometimes they are in more pain than we think. You did the right thing with the choices you had. It's never easy to make that decisions.  Please don't feel guilty.  Don't you wish we have a crystal ball so all of our questions would be answered, and we would make informed decisions? It seems so unfair.  Our baby is healthy and then our of nowhere, he's not. I will never understand why this happens. 

Just like Memorial Day will always be different for you, Losing my Parker on Christmas Eve , it will never be the same for me . I have lost trust in vets. This a routine procedure. Something sinister happened. My dog was not sick, he was young. There is no evidence he even made it to anesthesia. Something was not right and I am asking the state to investigate. My dog needs justice. I deal with guilt every day because I took him to a new vet, one who should have known what he was doing. Most of all, I miss him so very much. It hurts.  

None of this for us is fair. It's very unfair. I hope Parker forgives me, for I have not forgiven myself. I didn't get to say goodbye. His ashes are still in a box in a cabinet. I can't bear to look at them. I can't even look at pictures or videos and it's been 5 months for me. This is the most agonizing thing I've ever experienced. I miss him all day long. He was the sunlight here. It's been darker since he's gone.

I hope this doesn't happen to you what I've been going through. I lost 17 lbs. and have yet to gain any of it back. I hope you are stronger than I am. Your loss is very new. It's understandable you will be grieving for a while. Each individual has their own time for grief until we we heal.  Come back to this forum. There are good people here who understand. We are all feeling a loss, or more. We're here to help each other.  You take care. ~ Parker's Mom

HeidiGirl

Registered:
Posts: 52
 #9 
Jules, just saw the photo you posted of your Mel.  Good looking boy he is (geez, I just sounded like yoda, think I'll keep it in).  I can tell he had a very good life!  

In another post you asked if it will get any better.  Well, yes...no...yes.  Time does help, but I can still tear up at the drop of a hat by just thinking about Heidi, and all of my other guys/gals that passed.  I guess that's the way it's supposed to be.  I mostly think of the happy times we shared and it makes me smile and grateful that they (all) chose us to be their parents.  Pets are funny things.  You just instantly fall in love with them and they with you.

My wife is doing fine, she is like me.  We often think of her (them).  We love dogs.  One of the other dogs that was around during Heidi's time got ill in April of last year.  I could tell he literally was "telling" me that it was time.  I just knew it.  He had been suffering from Cushing's disease and had Diabetes.  The way he looked at me and his poor disposition told the end story.  It was as if I could actually understand what he was thinking and what he wanted.  He was in so much pain.  So I took him to the Veterinarian, held him in his favorite blanket, gave him hugs with my tears falling on his face, talked to him softly and thanked him for the wonderful years and that I will see him again.  He gave me one last gentle lick and then peacefully passed into eternity.  And the world keeps turning and time marches on.

We have since got another pup.  We get them from rescue shelters.  We can't live without them.  I imagine some day I'll go through (my wife just can't bear to be with them when the time comes.  That's ok too.  I owe it to them.) the same with these boneheads.  It's the price you pay and quite frankly would have it no other way.  We love dogs that much!

So I truly hope things are going better for you.  Keep up the faith.  Bad days will still prevail, but good ones will start sneaking in.  Peace to you.

Mike        
Mondo

Moderator
Registered:
Posts: 994
 #10 

Hi Mike,

  It's been 4 and 5 years now since we lost our Toby and Tuffy.  Loved your words.  Tuffy was my hardest loss, including my parents.  

  I told myself and posted may times in my deep sorrow:  "He was worth it."  Yes, it's how it is.  Great love brings great grief.  

  2 months after Toby passed we adopted a couple of little girls from a rescue.  They're 5 and 5 1/2 now.  Time goes so quickly.  It took longer for me to bond with them, but now it's with "all my heart".

  Toby had Cushings.  Had a toe amputated a couple of years prior to Rainbow Bridge due to a recurring infection.

   Time does help. But there are days I find myself sobbing.  lol.  They're worth it. I have the boys dog tags on my keychain.  They come along for every walk. Just today the girls and I passed the place where both of their ashes are scattered. Took the tags out and held them to my heart.

Love never dies.

Tuffy, Toby, Ellie and Missy's Dad

HeidiGirl

Registered:
Posts: 52
 #11 
Mondo, I have read your posts many times and they always bring great comfort to me.  Yes, they are SO darn worth it.  Even though our pets are here for a brief time compared to our lives, it is so, so worth the price we pay.  You love the little guys and then they suddenly leave you.  The grief is tremendous, but as strange as it sounds, I would definitely have it no other way.  They give you so much companionship and joy in so many ways that many humans can't and, again, I guess that is the way it should be from these little fellas.  You are right, great love does bring great grief.  I don't regret anything and couldn't imagine our lives without them.

Mike
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