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Posts: 40
The Good
I lost my first dog 25 years ago, it was a family dog. A mix Husky. My kids were young and after a good cry and several  bad weeks we mostly got over it. After all, the kids had school. Wife and I each had work, time passed and we never got another dog. Fast forward thru kids leaving home, divorce, retirement, after many years my new spouse decided she wanted a small dog. I was dead set against it after having many quiet days while she was still working. But one Saturday she went out the door with an odd look on her face. I opened the door after her and said loudly "don't you bring a dog home". Of course she did. This tiny  little black creature in a crate came into our home for the first time and I ignored it the best I could for about two days, then I started to like it, and in a week I loved her.
I made a ramp so she could reach the height of the king size bed, she loved being up there. We decided to call her Liberty. The wife went back to work and Liberty and I began our bonding. It blossomed fast. She was so tiny but grew like a weed. As Pomeranians go she was big at 15 lbs. She learned fast too. The pee pad was used only in emergency and the crate left in the spare room was only used for some afternoon naps. She slept in the bed with us all night. 
Quickly developing her own personality she became what we surmised as an extremely curious and affectionate, vibrant little girl. Her favorite spot was on the back of the couch looking out the window at squirrels, cats, rabbits or the mailman. Ah, the mail. I get the bill, she get the envelope to shred. and tear, and then run away, with me chasing her so she won't eat the paper, and she knew that. Toys of every shape, size and texture were everywhere until we got a huge toy box to keep them in. She integrated well with other dogs so we started taking her to the small dog park, rain-sleet-snow-sunshine. She loved it. On the wife's work days I would take her to a lovely treed park about 2 miles away, every morning like clockwork at 10am. She could go leash free there and made a great friendship with an Australian shepherd 3x her size but you wouldn't know that by the way they played. Evening walks around the neighbourhood she would always pick something up long the way and bring it home. Usually some small stick or walnut shell. She never begged for food at dinner but got treats like ice cream sometimes. She was a picky eater. There were so many quirks and scenes of delight I could go on and on, but I won't. Outdoors or indoors it didn't matter to her as long as we were with her. Those bright clear eyes shining so strong and her smile would melt your heart. She was my constant companion 24/7 for 3.5 years.... then

The bad
On Friday Dec 21/2018 the day began as usual with our morning walk at the local park. Weather was poor but she didn't mind. She was normal. After lunch we watched some tv and she slept on top of the couch. I reached up to scratch her belly and found it a bit warm (low grade fever maybe) her nose was dry as well. Okay, maybe a dog cold or flu. I would keep an eye on it. At bedtime she was a little sluggish but not to be overly concerned.
Come morning she was not on the bed when we woke up, but on the ottoman, and very lethargic. I said lets go pee (always first thing we did) but she didn't move so I carried her outside and she squatted and peed like normal but when she walked away I checked the leaves and there was blood on them. I picked her back up and went inside to call the vet. Got her to the vet inside of 20 mins, they tried to run a blood test but couldn't get the blood to sperate. They recommended going to the EMERG clinic about 1/2 hour away. We did. Immediately. Same there but they got a pallet count of 28, should be 45.
Diagnosis of Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia. They could treat her but didn't have blood incase a transfusion was needed. They suggested an OVC in Guelph about 2 hrs away. They phoned ahead for us and we left at once. Her blood count had dropped to 23 by the time they tested her there. She was in critical condition. We stayed until they stabilized her, then drove home.
The doctor was really good, Liberty was at the finest animal care facility in Ontario. We had a chance.
Her first day of treatment her count dropped to 15 so they did a blood transfusion and it along with the drugs helped. It rose to 23 but she was still critical. We drove up every day for a visit and the doctor called every evening with updates, not very promising. A second transfusion and more powerful drugs. Her skin was yellow from jaundice, her outlook grim. I drove up Christmas day around 1pm to see her. It was brief. She was very weak and could not stand up on the table but then she rose up on her two front legs shakily, licked my face once, then swiveled her body away from me and laid down again with her face to the wall. I did the 2hr drive home crying all the way. At home the wife and I just sat staring at the floor until the phone rang at 7pm. The doctor said her breathing is labored and she won't make it through the night, to come now. We did.
In the ICU she looked horrible, her poor little belly puffing in and out. She knew we were there. It was time. It needed to be done to end the suffering. Very hard to do.
After that and time to wipe our tears we took her home with us. She lay in my wife's lap for the drive. At home I placed her on the bed in the spare room. She was in a euthobag so I unzipped it and folded the top back so she was partly exposed. Such a pretty girl. I stroked her fur for  an hour crying always. For 2 days she stayed with us, nothing was open because of the holidays. But it was good to have her home again. I laid down beside her both nights gently petting her fur and softly telling her how much I love her, Then I would fall asleep and be at peace until morning.
Called Gateway crematorium on Thurs 27/2018. Dropped Liberty off there (emotional) and picked out an urn and paw print. I am waiting for the call to bring her home for good.

Now for the ugly part
I'm 65 yrs old, I've  lost friends, relatives, in laws, and my dad just 3 months ago. But this, this is by far beyond. I am in agony.  My sadness is so great I am ill, I can't eat or sleep, nothing interests me. I can't stop sobbing. The house is so quiet it feels empty. I have honestly never felt this bad in my life. Booked an appt with a grief counselor, maybe that will help. No one understands except other pet owners. I know it takes time but the grief is overwhelming.
Poor Liberty probably got this disease from her vaccination which was just one month ago. Its rare but definitely not uncommon. I've done a lot of research to keep me busy these last few days and its becoming a growing problem of dogs dying from AIHA (look it up yourself)
Please be cautious and ask your vet questions ( maybe a titer test before a vaccine ) By following the masses and getting my girl her yearly shots, just doing what my vet says to do, she is gone at 3.5 yrs old. Try to do the right thing and this happens.

Liberty was one of a kind, my heart dog. She will be missed until the day I pass from this earth...…..RIP my sweet little girl


Posts: 27
I'm so sorry for your loss. I lost my 11 year old baby girl a little over 3 weeks ago and the pain is still fresh. My thoughts are with you

Posts: 8
Libertydad, so sorry for your loss. I lost my 11.5 year old boy Shepx on Dec 10, also at Guelph. They were so wonderful there and I feel like we gave him the best chance, but it was not meant to be. I think the holidays makes it all the worse. It is so difficult as they are there for every waking moment of your life and there is no escape from the reality of it when you are home. Just know you tried your very best and she knows she was truly loved. Allow yourself to grieve, it has only been a short while, I totally understand what you are going through, my hope is that it eventually gets better for all of us.

Posts: 40
Thank you kramersmom...I feel like a walking zombie. I think of her every second and check the couch where she would be sitting every five minutes hoping to see her there. If it was meant to be, I just feel sad that she didn't get a fair lifespan. I would endure this agony the rest of my life if she could have lived 10 yrs. Just so she could enjoy it. I would willing die myself at 10 yrs and one day.
Yes the hospital at Guelph is excellent, I wish I went there first instead of wasting time locally, but the outcome probably would be the same. Thank you again for your kind words, they really do help, knowing other people care.    Libertydad
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