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Posts: 2
Tonight I am thankful for having found this board as I didn’t realize how badly I needed to read the words of so many on here and know that I am not alone in my sadness.

This post ended up incredibly long...and I apologize for typos since I’m posting from my phone.

My first pet and best buddy of 15 years was a medium haired black kitty I named Schizo and adopted from the Humane Society in 2003. I got him when I was 21, a very transitional time in my life as I approached the end of my college days. I never liked cats but thought getting one was a convenient choice since they require less care than dogs, haha. I spent weeks visiting the Humane Society and thought I’d found the perfect kitten - a long-haired female mostly white kitten with spots of calico. I headed in to adopt her but when I got there, this crazy black kitten caught my eye as he frantically shredded the newspaper in his space. For some reason I decided to hold this weird kitten that was almost bald in front of his ears. I knew immediately he was the one - as soon as I put him in my lap he rolled over on his back and hung his head over my knees. He was the weirdest cat I had ever met.

Since I’d wanted a dog I decided I would teach my new cat Schizo to walk on a leash. I was in college so I took him to class, made almost daily trips to the pet stores and took him to parks. I got him a booster seat and he ended up loving hanging his head out the window of the car. He flew home with me every trip and was a total trooper - I always carried him on and he never needed sedation. He enjoyed watching the old aisle TVs on airplanes. He wore his Santa suit every Christmas and even accompanied me to work on occasion...secretly, of course.

In 2010 I got a black Pomeranian named Cole and the two were inseparable. Well, at least that is what Cole would say. Cole was only 6 weeks old when I saved him and Skitz was basically the parent he never had. They would chase each other and of course Skitz would occasionally decide Cole’s crate would be his for a few hours. They were best buds and acted like typical siblings.

In May of 2015 my mother was hospitalized. When she returned home she got a bouquet while I was at work...that contained lilies. Skitz ate part of one and ended up in kitty ICU for 5 days. I thought I’d lost him but he fought back and made a full recovery.

Around May 2017 things started to change with Skitz. He was eating less and barfing more often than he used to. He’s lost a couple lbs - from 15 to 13. His blood work came back fine and he got over two (what we thought were) UTIs over the summer. In the fall I knew something was wrong but his checkups still came out fine. He began barfing every other night around October so I started leaving him in the laundry room at night. He really took to it as that was where he previously was kept when we would leave and set the alarm. He also loved the giant window.

If you are still reading, this is where it got hard.

Things really changed in early 2018. He got down to 11lbs and got what I now know wasn’t a UTI that wouldn’t go away. Then the blood started too. Labs came back with some things off - could be minor or could be cancer. I work in cancer research so I really knew it was cancer but I hoped it wasn’t. Hope can be a funny thing. They wanted to do an ultrasound but I opted for a x-ray and a stab in the dark that it was one of the other possible we started some meds. He recovered a bit but it would all come back then the meds would end. After 4 weeks with no luck I decided to do the ultrasound. He was down to 9lbs at this point.

It was a Wednesday. Long story short here, I thought I was going to be with him for it (or at least wait ther) but they just took him from me when I arrived and I just headed home to work. Turns out no one ever explained the process to me and mobile ultrasound folks are totally unpredictible. After multiple calls and some ridiculous miscommunication, I got a call from the vet. Skitz was still under and it was cancer. Bladder. Stomach. Lesion between a kidney and his liver. Thickening of his intestines consistent with cancer. I was overwhelmed. My vet knew what I did for a living and made a bad judgment call thinking my seemingly rational behavior was genuine - he asked if I wanted to go ahead and euthanize while he was still under. I was confused and overwhelmed - I’d just dropped him off with lots of miscommunications...never to see him again? My answer was no. They pumped him with meds and wanted him back in the next day. I said Friday, they gave me extra meds to take home.

I took Thursday and Friday off from work to just hang out. We spent time outside, cuddling, talking. Thursday came and went. As did Friday. I had no idea these things required planning so I only started making calls Friday afternoon - I was angry with my vet and refused to go there. I decided that since I got him at the Himane Society I would go there for euthanasia and cremation and I would go Saturday morning.

I cried so much. I woke up Saturday to find him resting in the morning sun, staring peacefully out the window. It’s like he knew. We got ready and I had my mom drive across town. I put Skitz in his hoodie in hopes it would work like a thunder shirt. All the way there he held on with his little paws and rested his head on my arm.

I was emotionally exhausted. I completed all the paperwork and then when it was almost time I found it I couldn’t go back with him. In that moment I felt like it was okay to just let him go so I did. The receptionist stayed with him and we all cried together afterward.

That night I made a terrible mistake - I read a post online about how horrible of a person you are to not stay with your pets. To say I was devastated would be an understatement. I cried until I fell asleep around 4am Sunday morning. I cried most of Sunday. I went back to work Monday and cried in the bathroom throughout the day. I cried all week. All I could think of is what that article accused me of - leaving him alone and scared in his final moments. Deserting him when he needed me most. I thoughtful how lonely he may have been, how scared. It was and still is the most painful guilt. More painful than anything I have ever felt. The thoughts were, and sometimes still are, emotionally overwhelming.

We said goodbye. I felt like he said goodbye to me that morning. I felt peace. Until that evening.

I have been fine for the last 4 months but a friend on Facebook posted an article tonight about how one vet is done with people who don’t stay with their pets. It brought back all of that guilt. I cannot change the decision made and I need to get through it but it’s is so very difficult.

I know this post is crazy super duper long but I needed to share his story and my struggles. I was comforted by so many words on here this evening and I hope mine can help someone. We all do the best we can with the hand we are dealt. When the unexpected happens we have to make a choice.

Posts: 1
Please no no no Don't feel guilty. You did the best thing for your baby.  I can't stand these people that quickly try to make others feel guilty. They are the ones who should be ashamed.
I related so well to your post.  
To back up, I just put my darling little toy poodle to sleep last thursday so it has just been a week.  I still cry a lot. I had her for 17 years.  I have been going through so much sadness and guilt, so found this board.

Gosh your story about your cat, reminds me of my story.  I had my toy poodle, I can't even say her name it is just too painful, give me time.  anyway I had her and decided I might like a cat in the house maybe to give her company too and I just felt like saving a life. this was years ago. 

I knew the local shelter had lots of cats so sister along with me and crate in hand we headed for the shelter.  I spent a lot of time looking at all the cats. Deciding I would like to have the prettiest kitty in the building. Ha  for some reason this ugly scraggily looking black cat looked at me, I looked at her and it was love at first sight! Poor thing, this was a No Kill Center and she had been there for 4 years ever since she was a kitten.  being a black cat was not in her favor, being black AND scruffy well I guess that is why she was still in there. :(  Don't people know that beauty is only skin deep, love is deep in the heart and soul. Anyway, she had never been outside. There was  a girl there that often slept in there ( a very large room of cats) and Onyx (that is what I named her) would cuddle up with her often.  I had her for a few years and she became ill. I guess I should tell about the first time I let her go outside ( I would never let her go out without me going out and watching her. I had a large fenced yard ( I know cats climb) but she never tried to go over the fence. When I first put her out I just sat with her. She shivered she was so scared. Eventually she became more brave and would play in the yard chasing bees, butterflies,  and it was so beautiful to see.  anyway she got very ill with Kidney disease. there were treatments but I  couldn't afford them. our local vet at the time was SO expensive.  

Please don't feel guilty. Reading your story all I could see is how wonderful you are to have given her those long years.  wow........what an awesome Mommy.  People don't realize how hard it is to go in the room with them. My daughter was a biggy about oh you must be with them but when it came time to put down her baby pekingese she couldn't do it. They actually dropped Keesha off. My daughter also had some senior dogs that she adopted in their old age.....she went in with them. She only had them for like the last couple years of their lives.  She knew she just couldn't do it when it came time to put Keesha down, she had her for 16 years. 

I was not going to go in because I didn't think I could keep from crying and our pets know when we are sad and they worry. I am sure in your heart you knew what would happen and wanted to spare her and you both the sadness of it all.  BE  proud.  Sometimes we have to love someone so much we have to let them go, and in this case you loved your kitty enough to spare her the pain of knowing you were hurting.  I did decide to go in my my dog. I decided as long as I could keep from crying and not worry her, that I would. it wasn't easy. I had to use all the strength I could muster to hold on and not cry. when it was over,  I walked out of there bawling my eyes out after she was gone. I kept saying oh my god NO ........oh lady reached her hand out to comfort me as I went out. 
you know it is the selfish people that want to keep their pet alive forever and let them be in pain.  Just because it is the current Fad that people must be with their pet.......don't you ever worry about that. Next, the big important thing (fad)  will be:  you should not be with them because you will worry them.

it's ok. ........You did the best thing for the both of you! Now go tell that person off LOL.  You are OK and you did Right! Please excuse my thoughts that are all over the place. I have so much to say........and not enough time.


Posts: 2
Awww, I loved reading about your post and you story is so much like mine - that little girl really was the prettiest, haha. I used to let Skitz go outside too and he never tried to get away. I usually put him on a tie-out but all he ever wanted to do was lay in the grass and watch everything around him. Your post makes me feel like someday I may find another buddy like Skitz.

Thank you so so much for responding. It’s such a difficult thing - so much more difficult than I ever could have imagined. My best friend went in with her pugs and held them - she said those last moments still haunt her sometimes.

The tough part was that I didn’t even realize it was a choice and was caugh off-guard by he Humane Society’s policy. The choice was made for me and I didn’t decide to pack back up and go elsewhere. It felt okay and right in the moment and I try to hold on to that.

Thank you so much again - it’s so hard not to be affected by some of the things I read!

Posts: 8
What a great story about Skitz and Cole.

You know there are those out there that just don't understand. That includes vets too. In my many years I've found vets that have no compassion and put blame on the pets owners for things even out of their control and vets that even get heavy hearts when they can do no more to help your little one except to try and make them comfortable.

I've been with all my little ones over the years when they needed to start their journey over the Rainbow Bridge and it is a very very hard thing to do. I get choked up even now writing this. You feel so helpless as their little bodies are at rest and you know you won't be taking them home. I've known big burly men who can't go into "the room" with the vet when it's time so don't feel bad one bit that you didn't. You did not abandon Skitz in his final moments. You loved him and that's what matters so don't pay any attention to the others.

Just the other day I had to send my little one on her journey over the Rainbow Bridge. On the outside she looked a very healthy 14 yr old cat. To see her you'd think nothing was wrong, but inside there were multiple things going on, some that were being treated for over a year, and some that I just couldn't handle financially this time around so I made one of the toughest decisions I've ever made and it killed me yesterday to do it and will continue to for a long time (crying as I write this). Which gets me to my point. I'm a big guy and I could not bring myself to go into the room until I knew the vet had given my little one the "happy & pain" drug that relaxes them before the final needle. Only then seeing her looking like she needed help to continue her journey did I stay and it took every bit of strength I had even to stay for the final goodbye.

It's not easy to say goodbye under those or any other circumstances. Just like we all grieve in our own way for as long as it takes regardless of what other say.

Posts: 26
I think I know the article you saw, I saw it too.

It’s such a very tough, heartbreaking decision that we make for our beloved pets and we all make it under different circumstances. Some of us choose to stay, and some of us don’t, all for different reasons and we all cope differently too.

But regardless of what we choose to do, it is no reflection on how much we loved and cared for our furry ones.

I do choose to stay, but the price that I pay is that when I replay the last moments of my pets life, I have that etched into my memory. I can assure you that the process is very quick for our babies, but, for me it adds to my pain. I have just had to go through this 1 week ago with my beautiful boy Matrix. Not being there I’d imagine also adds to the pain so neither choice lessens it.

I think that people that become vets do so because they love animals. Even though some can’t be with their pets for whatever reason, you can be reassured that there are people with them that care and will be providing reassurance during the process. Vets have to carry out euthanasia all the time, so I guess they would have to separate themselves from it in some way or else I don’t think they would cope!

In the future you may be faced with this choice again. I think the important thing to remember is that neither decision is wrong. The decision to release your much loved pet from the pain and distress is the most loving thing you can do for them. And that’s what counts.

Much love xxx

Posts: 30
I'm so sorry for the loss of your sweet little boy Schizo.  He seems like he was an awesome little guy.

I very rarely go on this board anymore, but the one time I did, I saw your message and it shook me how similar your experience was to mine.  I know people don't visit this board and post just to hear about others' experiences, but maybe it brings comfort.  And it's something we share in common, I suppose.

Anyway, your experience mirrors mine in so many ways.  Schizo entered your life in 2003, and my little baby girl Bitey entered mine in 2002.  We were both in college at the time, although I was almost done with college.  You were more of a dog person, but you adopted Schizo because of your circumstances.  I grew up in a cat household, but never really connected with any of them until I met Bitey (I didn't even let the other cats into my room).  They even left both of us in very similar ways.

Bitey had barely been eating and was losing weight, but I didn't notice fast enough.  We had another cat that had a bad disease, and we put him down on a Tuesday.  Three days later, I would lose Bitey.  But it wasn't until he died that we noticed she was barely eating, as he had eaten her share.  I took her to the vet on a Thursday, and they found masses in her chest.  I didn't do an ultrasound, but I did do the xray.  They found masses inside that they couldn't determine the nature of.  I scheduled her for exploratory surgery the next day.  When they opened her up, she was eaten up inside with cancer.  It was in her intestinal tract and many other places.

After they opened her up and found the cancer, she was almost gone.  With her age and the anesthesia, she was barely holding on.  They called and said as much and asked if we wanted to come say goodbye.  Of course, I could barely process that.  I was trying to cope with the thought of losing her, and now I had to make the choice for them to keep her alive when she was almost gone?  The choice was then taken out of my hands.  The receptionist said she told Bitey that it was okay to let go, that her boy would be okay.  Since they were losing her, they euthanized her to at least stop the pain.

So I didn't get the chance to say goodbye.  That is one of the biggest regrets of my life.  I dropped her off at about 7:00 that morning, and we didn't get a call until about 11:00.  I didn't stay there at the vet.  What point would there have been?  But if I had, I might've had the chance to say goodbye.  If I would've known how bad she was, I would've had her put to sleep and spare her all that trauma.  She hated the vet, she hated getting in the car, she hated being around other people.  But I took her there anyway.  She was losing some weight, but not a huge amount.  And other than not eating much or her favorite foods, she seemed almost her normal self.  So I would've beaten myself up for having her put to sleep without knowing what was wrong with her too.  Damned if you do, damned if you don't I guess.

I lost her two and half years ago Tuesday.  She was one of the last links to my younger brother, Luke, who passed away at 18 in December of 2002.  He also passed away without me getting a chance to say goodbye.  I just realized that.  Wow.  She was supposed to be his kitty, but she chose me instead.  And she kept me going.  Through college, through losing my brother, through my first place out of home, through meeting and marrying my wife.  And then she was gone.

You did the right thing.  You did what worked for you.  Schizo said goodbye to you already.  He didn't want to make you suffer anymore.  You did the hardest thing but the most right thing - caring for him and making the hard decision that ended his pain.  Just because you weren't in the room with him doesn't mean you weren't there for him.  You were there for him his whole life, and you were there for him when he died.  And NEVER let anyone judge you for what you did.  Unless you're the one in a situation like that, you have no right to judge others.  Everyone likes to say what they would've done, but all that is is talk.

Anyway, I just wanted to speak my two cents.  Your experience with Schizo touched me, in a way very little else does.  Life will definitely be different now, but you'll find a way to manage.  I lost my father and brother, and yet my Bitey was my hardest loss to get through.

Godspeed, Schizo.

Posts: 1
I feel so sad and lost like someone has put a knife in my heart i took my darling dog Rose to the vet yesterday we drove all the way in the car togeather and i kept talking to her and patting her paw as she wasnt eating and her breathing was waa labored and she couldnt go to the toilet the vet done bloodtest that came back clear and i was so happy and then she checked Rose's beautiful furry belly and said i am sorry to say this but Rose has a lump and i can tell by just feeling it is cancer and by her labored breathing she was 99 percent sure it has spread to her chest :(I feel so bad i wanted to die just hearing those words and Rose looking at me with her gentle trusting eyes i feel like i have betraved her.The vet went on about all these thing that could be done and all i could see was Rose trying to breath properlpy and then she said i think it would be best for Rose if she euthanized Her :( she left me and Rose togeatger what do you say or do for your beloved dog who shared my life since she was 7 weeks old so not fair 11 years old so many more years we could of have but no I hugged and kissed my beautiful girl put my arms around her beautiful soft fur while the vet took her beautiful precious life away she put her face between my arm for comfort it was horrible when i felt her heart stop beating and she just lay in my arm i cant get that vision out of my head i just want her back i miss her so bad :(
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