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Posts: 1
I had to say goodbye to my bichon shihtzu yesterday.  He was 18 years old and the light of my life.  His last year hasn't been that great, he's been kenneled during the days because it was too much for him during the day.  I have four kids ranging from baby to 15 years old, and the activity during the day, he'd trip over toys or get anxious and start circling or he'd try to be on the couch with everyone but then I'd worry about him falling off, so he was kenneled or outside during the days and during the nights he'd have full reign of the house and he'd mostly sleep standing guard outside my bedroom door.  I'd get up to use the washroom or get a drink and he'd follow me around, have some cuddles and then stand guard at my doorway again.  I had been thinking for the past few months it was going to be time soon as his legs slowly started losing strength, when he'd eat his legs would give out and he'd lay down on the floor with his legs spread and eat like that.  It's been really hard watching him decline but he was still so freaking happy and eating well so I kept putting it off.

Then during the wee hours on Tuesday night, I let him out to go to the washroom and he came back in and yelped a bit but I couldn't see anything wrong with him.  He slept with me and he seemed just fine.  Later during the day Wednesday he was having a hard time eating, like he couldn't close his mouth and food kept falling out.  I gave him a bath and trimmed around his beard to get a better look at his mouth and it was off to the side a bit.

I called my vet and made an appointment for Thursday morning, but then sitting with him on the couch it looked like he was so uncomfortable, he wasn't yelping or showing signs of pain at all but it didn't look comfortable and he didn't seem happy.  I took him instead to an emergency animal hospital, and they took Xrays and said he must have had a fall outside because his jaw was broken on one side.

I'm dealing with not only guilt over letting my puppy go, but guilt over the reason why.  He had been steadily losing his teeth for about a year because he was 18 years old, but he never had bad breath and I didn't want to take him to a dentist because he was terrified of cars and with his age I didn't want to put him through the stress.  It turns out he had an infection in one of his remaining teeth that spread to the bone and they said the jaw bone was like swiss cheese, it was likely not even a hard fall that broke it, but they felt like surgery wouldn't be successful because his bone wasn't strong enough for screws and it would put him through 4-6 months of a lot of pain and antibiotics and it may end up breaking again.  Otherwise he would have been healthy enough for a surgery, his bloodwork and exam showed he was incredibly healthy for an 18 year old pup, and if he had broken anywhere else it would have been fine

So I made the decision to end his pain and let him go, I had the money in pocket to pay for the full surgery and at first I was adamant that they do everything to save his life but after talking to two vets and realizing what kind of pain that would be putting him through and the low chance of success, I felt like I'd be so selfish putting him through that just so I could have more time with him.

So now he's gone, and I've been sobbing non stop, not just guilt over letting him go but guilt over not taking him to the dentist, guilt over him kenneled during the days even though he was so freaked out at being out during the days.  I snapped at him a few times over the past year as well because he started making messes in the house, I was never mean to him and he was deaf anyways but I'd mutter that he was a bad dog under my breath and now I feel horribly guilty for ever even saying anything negative.  I'm replaying everything in the past year, and even though he's had so much good and so many cuddles and so much love, I can't help but let the guilt eat me alive and I can't even see the good. 

I feel so bad too for giving him a bath and trimming around his jaw to try and see his mouth a bit better, he had an appointment for grooming on Apr 1st so his hair was his winter coat and I feel like what if it was a hairline break and I did damage by bathing him and trimming around his jaw, what if they would have been able to fix it if I didn't do that? I was so careful around his mouth because I knew it was something with his mouth and he didn't yelp at all but I can't help but replay everything and it's eating me alive.

During the final vet visit it went by so quick, we all held him and loved him and kissed him but then the pain meds started wearing off and he started getting restless and trying to move around so the vet came in and started the euthanasia and then there was no changing my mind and going to try surgery it was just done and I was sobbing. 

They told me trying surgery was my choice but they didn't feel it would be successful or even possible once they got in but I feel like I made the wrong choice and now there's no undoing it and no bringing him back, even if he only had 4-6 months I could have focused on making it the best 4-6 months of his life and now he's just gone.

I'm sorry this is long I'm hurting so freaking bad I've had him since I was 16, he's older than my 15 year old son, he was my longest baby and I don't know what to do without him and despite a long and happy life I can't stop feeling like I failed him and didn't deserve his love


Posts: 19
I’m so sorry for your situation. I’m praying for you. Your feeling of guilt and sadness are normal, I’m learning. I have them too, deep and horrible feelings. Feelings like I would rather be dead than go through life without him and the guilt of not spending enough time with him. I lost my dog Buck on Wednesday and I can’t stop crying. I am also learning that we loved our dogs and they knew it and had great lives. You have given that dog your heart and love and time and that’s all he ever wanted. Being human is not being perfect, we all have the “what if’s and should haves” but that is the worst possible thing we can do to ourselves. God forgives us, he wants us to forgive ourselves too. I am so sad and depressed, so upset that I didn’t hang out with him more. Maybe a lesson Buck is teaching me is to be more involved with the people and dogs that are still in my life. There is no easy way out of our feelings, this I know. Please give your self time. If you need to cry, then cry. If you can laugh at funny things he did, then do. If you need more help, find it. I’m calling my Dr. and hopefully a mental health professional after I write this. I know I need help. My prayers are with you and I’m so sorry for your loss, but you are not alone.

Posts: 580
Please be gentle with yourself. Your Baby lived a wonderful life knowing he was loved and adored. I kinda made the same choice with my beloved Termy. He was  just over 16 years old and his teeth needed cleaning but because of his age I opted not to have the procedure done. I was afraid if they gave him Anastasia he would not wake up and that I would loose him in surgery and I wouldn't have been able to say goodbye. In the end he stopped eating and I have always wondered if it was painful teeth or he was shutting down. I will never know and it did eat me alive for awhile. What I'm trying to say is we make decisions based on our knowledge and what we feel is best for them at the time. You didn't fail your little one. You loved him to the bottom of your heart as he loved you as much. My sweet Termy was kenneled too because of seizures and spent every night in his crate for his own safety. I know he didn't care because he always ran into it waiting for his treat. Your little one would never blame you for anything because he knew everything you did was for him because he knew you loved him. Our babies  are so forgiving and never hold grudges.
Know that you were loved and adored.
love and doggie hugs
Terny's mom
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