Registered: 1290094445 Posts: 9
I had to make the agonizing decision yesterday to free my most beloved Jack from his earthly body. He started having trouble breathing Tuesday night, so I took him to the emergency vet, where they kept him on oxygen while running tests through the night and yesterday. His lungs were full of fluid, so they ordered an echocardiogram to look at his heart. It showed what the radiologist thought was fluid compressing his heart, so they tried to use an ultrasound to guide a needle in to remove the fluid - which turned out to be a mass. They were able to get some cells from it and determined it was cancerous. They recommended we not wake him up from the anesthesia he was under for the procedure. I had to make a decision immediately and wanted desperately to do what was right for Jack, so I took their advice and let him go.
Now I'm second guessing myself. I wonder if I could have had the tumor removed. They felt that he was unlikely to survive such a surgery due to his weakened condition and his advanced age. I don't know how old he was because he was a senior when I adopted him 3 1/2 years ago. And he would have had to be transported to a specialty hospital - and he couldn't breathe without the oxygen. I'm not sure if I did the right thing. But I do know that my decision was based solely on what I believed was best for Jack. Nothing else mattered. Still, I'm concerned that he could have thought I abandoned him when he needed me most because I left him at the clinic (they let me visit with him, but wouldn't allow me to stay with him) and the last people he consciously saw were strangers. I was with him when they administered the drug, but he was anesthetized and unaware. I want so badly for him to know how deeply I love him. And I would have done anything if I could have given him quality of life. But I couldn't bear the thought of him struggling to breathe and undergoing invasive, painful, and frightening procedures with only a small hope for recovery. Jack was my life. I suffer from social anxieties and have very few people in my life. I'm not married and have no children. Jack was my everything. And my life is so empty right now that I don't know what to do. If I can know he's okay, I don't care how much I hurt. I believe we'll be together again for an eternity of happiness and that's the only thing that keeps me going. But I just wonder where he is and if he's okay and if he knows how much I love him. I feel so guilty and alone.
Registered: 1282691899 Posts: 29
You are not alone!!!!!!! And in time you will know for certain that you did what was best for your baby and will leave the guilt behind. We are all here to guide you on your way to healing and assure you that time will heal your aching heart. I am so very sorry for your loss, we all know how painful these first days and weeks will be. Come here often, I found this site to be my saving grace in my darkest days. Bless you and your sweet Jack. I am truly sorry for your loss. ~ Cindy (BuddysMomNC)
Registered: 1178570509 Posts: 1,288
I am so very sorry for your recent loss of Jack, I know how difficult this time is for you and am so glad that you found this site. It has been a live saver for so many of us. It is so normal to feel we let our loves down and that we should have done more for them. You will come to realize as time goes on that you did the right thing for Jack. You are still in shock I am sure and need to just take care of yourself right now, be gentle with yourself and allow yourself to feel all that you need to. The people in your life, do they understand and can you talk to them about this loss? If not remember we are always here when you need to talk, tell us about Jack and know that we understand all too well. Jack knows the love you have for him and always will have. Remember they never judge. He is in a very beautiful place with lots of love as he waits to be reunited with you. I wish I could offer you more in the way of comfort but know that we here at Petloss care deeply and we all know what you are experiencing. Please stay with us and talk about Jack. All of my sympathy for your loss of Jack, Helen
Registered: 1157341655 Posts: 452
Dear Jack's mom,
I just read about the choice that you made for Jack with Jack's needs first and truly, that is what a mom does. That Jack was your 'child' in ways that mean great love, you did absolutely the right thing in allowing Jack a peaceful exit from our world.
Doubts always can undermine such a decision, but you also had the expert advice of your vet, who was so kind to allow you to be with Jack as he was given the anesthetic. So, you really were with him when it counted for him and for you also.
If you can feel the support here also of others writing to you and telling you their own stories of making that difficult decision to allow their pet to leave their side and have a more gentle, peaceful end to their lives, I hope that will help decrease your doubts and sense of guilt that you may be feeling. A sense of abandoning a pet is very common afterwards, I had that very feeling leaving the vet's (where my cat had been many times over 12 years) without her. I felt I needed to be 'with her' even though she was 'gone.'
To question where our pets go, well, I like to think of the idea of spirits being perhaps being in something like a 3rd dimension. Something we cannot see, or visit, but that maybe once in awhile, we can sense. Many friends here have talked of such a 'sign' from their pets. That can be a profound comfort too. If a spirit is indeed 'whole and happy' after illness, then that spirit is eternally grateful to their owner, that person to whom they gave all their loyalty, for allowing them to travel to this 'somewhere else.' What greater gift is there than that as it is done with great love and sacrifice.
You allowed that love to shine as you made your decision to allow Jack to no longer suffer on earth, despite your emotional need to keep him beside you, sharing your great love. You were brave, selfless and are still being very brave. To share your sorrow here at Pet Loss, I hope will be the beginning of a journey when you will not feel alone. I am hoping that the few people who do care for you and understand your sorrow right now, that they will reach out to you and bring some extra comfort to your days.
If you do find that you consider going for a little bit of counselling, allow yourself that path of self discovery for awhile. It may be very helpful to have someone to talk to who is skilled and professionally helpful for anyone, such as yourself at this time. Jack would want that for you if it could be helpful.
Ever since I first visited Pet Loss over 7 years ago now, I like to think that our pets spirits whisper to my heart as I reach out and type my words to another friend here at Pet Loss, words that are guided perhaps by those spirits. It's a lovely thought, don't you agree?
Well, always remember that forever you are Jack's mom, that you can continue to love Jack, just in a different way. You can visit Pet Loss as often as you want to and share stories of Jack with us all. There are many of us here who know about each other's pets through stories and pictures. It's compassionate sharing, empathy for another person and such a healing result for anyone. I do hope you will continue to visit here.
Blessings to you today and for your fur angel, Jack.
Wendy (Decker's mom)
Registered: 1228234766 Posts: 347
I can really relate to your post. I had to have my 16 yr old cat put to sleep two years ago. He went in to the vet because he became sick and wasn't eating, and later the vet called and told me he had bladder stones that would need to be surgically removed, but first she would need to see if she could get him feeling better before doing surgery. At his age, I didn't want to put him through surgery. I think it would have been really hard on him. I decided against surgery, and that was the toughest day of my life. I had so many doubts wondering if I did the right thing, but all I know is I did what I thought was best for him. It sounds to me like you did the right thing for Jack. I'm sure your decision was based on the love you had for him. You didn't want him to suffer anymore. I wasn't with my cat when he was put to sleep either, and I felt so much guilt about that for a long time, but our pets know how much we love them and that we would never do anything to harm them. I also believe that we will see them again some day, and that is what helps me. Jack knows how much you love him and that will never change. There are many caring people here who know just what you are going through. You don't have to go through this alone. My thoughts and prayers are with you in this difficult time.
Registered: 1272672086 Posts: 356
I am so sorry for your loss of Jack. You have done everything right and I am sure Jack is happy with your decision as well. He knew that you have done the best for him as his mommy and loves you for it even more. He will let you know that he's alright and watch over you and guide you through your grief.
Thinking of you and your little Jack.
Registered: 1290094445 Posts: 9
The love and kindness expressed here has touched my heart. Words can't express my gratitude to those who've reached out to me - and who have acknowledged my precious Jack. I'm still hurting so badly that I don't know what to do. I just feel like I let my baby down. It was my responsibility to keep him safe and healthy and I failed. While I only had him for the last 3 1/2 years of his life, I only fed him natural food without any kinds of artificial colors or preservatives and he only drank bottled or filtered water. I wouldn't allow him to walk on grass that had been chemically treated. I just don't understand how he got cancer. My fear is it's somehow linked to a rabies shot he got back in June. The last dog I lost had a rabies shot in November 2007 and died from cancer in March 2008. I always feared the two were linked and explained this to my vet when she wanted to give Jack his shot this past June. Unfortunately, because it's legally required, I allowed her to give him the vaccination and now I wonder if that choice caused his death.
I'd like to share a little about my darling Jack. He's a beautiful light cream colored Pomeranian with sparkling dark eyes. He weighed 8 pounds and his age was unknown, though he was a senior when I adopted him, possibly 9 years old, which would have placed him at 12 now, but the vets thought he was older than that. I found out about Jack shortly after I had fostered for a Pom rescue group. My foster Pom had gone to her forever home and I was missing her terribly. The adopter had misrepresented herself on her application and in our phone conversations and I was very unhappy with the home, but since I was only fostering, there was nothing I could do. I vowed I'd never foster again because it was too heartbreaking. And then I heard there was a Pom tied outside after it's people left the area. They were going to take him to the shelter, but their daughter said she'd find a home for the dog. She had given him to a family who kept him for a while, but they decided he needed too much vet care and he wouldn't play with their children, so they gave him back. The daughter couldn't keep him and her parents had plans to leave the area, so they just tied him outside and left. I was still hearing from people who were looking for a Pom because of the one I fostered, so when I found out about the one that needed a home, I said I'd ask around and try to find someone who might want him. When I learned he was just left tied out at a vacant house, I couldn't leave him there. I made arrangements to meet the daughter and pick him up. From her, I learned that she used to work at the Humane Society when some people brought him in. The shelter couldn't put him up for adoption because he snapped - I'm sure due to fear - so she took him home and gave him to her parents. She freely admitted that her brothers used to "tease" him and he was nervous around people. That was an understatement. He must have been abused because when I first got him, he was reasonably good with me rather quickly, but afraid of most everyone else and he was a fear biter. But even if I tossed a piece of food to him, he'd drop to the floor with his head down and ears back. Loud noises and sudden movements terrified him. I was not looking to adopt at the time, having vowed that I would never open myself up to the hurt of losing another dog after the passing of my Bess. I had already had Misty at the time of Bess' passing (and still had her when Jack arrived), but I didn't want to add another dog that I'd have to lose someday. I tried to find him a home, but his age (unknown, but a senior) and his fears (and snapping) were an issue. It didn't take long for me to fall totally in love with Jack and realize he was a blessed gift for me from a most loving God. Approximately 9 months after Jack came into my life, My beagle Misty became extremely ill with a fast growing cancer. Jack was my rock during those days. I didn't want to cry in front of Misty, so I'd go to another room where Jack would follow me and do the "Pommie Prayer" - sitting on his haunches and waving his arms. He had the saddest look in his eyes; he was begging me not to be sad. I would hold him and hug him and he made me feel so much better. He was my best friend. It was also during this time that I did something I've regretted ever since and I pray now that he forgives me for. When Misty was really sick, I wanted special time with her and I feel horrible for having done this now, but I put up a baby gate to keep Jack out of the room some of the time. He'd sit at the gate and the one time when he had a chance, he ran in and scooted the far side under my bed. He just wanted to be close to me, even if it meant he had to stay under the bed. After that, I let him stay with us, but I still feel tremendous guilt for ever excluding him. During the time of Misty's illness, she stopped eating, so I had to tempt her with all sorts of treats. And despite being readily available, Jack never took one of them that was meant for Misty. It was like he fully understood. After losing Misty, Jack continued to be my rock. We became even closer. Because he was only 8 pounds, he was able to go everywhere with me. I became one of those people who carries their dog everywhere and Jack loved it. I bought a collection of "pouches" for him to ride in for extended outings. Basically, if Jack wasn't welcome somewhere, I didn't go unless it was absolutely necessary. Because I work from home, we were together 24/7. I think that's part of the reason his loss is so profound. He was part of every facet of my life. He slept on my bed and when I woke up in the morning, I was afraid he might fall off the bed if he was left alone, so I brought him to the bathroom while I got ready for the day. Then I carried him downstairs and made his breakfast. We went about our day together until evening, when I'd carry him back to bed. One of things I'll miss the most is the look he got on his face when he saw me after we were apart for even a short time, particularly when we were out in the yard. Quite often, he'd wander off sniffing and then realize he didn't know exactly where I was, though I could always see him. I'd call to him, but because his hearing wasn't good, he couldn't always tell what direction I was calling from (his vet believes he was deaf in one ear, which made perception difficult). I'd move to within his line of sight and he'd get a look on his face that I've never seen before. He would light up. I can't begin to explain it, but I've never seen anything like it. I saw a glimpse of it yesterday morning when I visited him in the hospital. It's so hard to write this and I feel like I'm rambling. I just love him far more than I can possibly express and I desperately want to be with him. I want him to feel my love and know I would have done anything for him. I know God loves the animals He created and He has made Jack well again. I just pray that I'm worthy enough to have the joy of his love in the next life. I worry because I only had him for 3 1/2 years and other people had him longer than I did, but they all threw him away and I never would have done that. I just pray that he knows that - I didn't abandon him when I had to take him to the vet - and that he will love me in the next life. For right now, my heart is aching to hold him and tell him how much I love him. He recently "claimed" one of my coats when he showed that he liked to lay on it, so it became his. I hug and hold that garment now as some link to him. But oh, how I ache to hold him and look into his sparkling eyes and see his Pommie smile. I just don't know what to do without him. Jackpot, mommy loves you Putt Putt and you'll always be in my heart. Please meet me at the Gate when it's my time. Until then, please be with me spiritually. I love you baby.
Registered: 1288125073 Posts: 50
Jackpotsmom -- I am so sorry. It was three weeks ago today when I had to make that same agonizing decision to relieve my Muffin of her suffering. She had abdominal cancer and she was terminal, but I still felt guilty like you, and I still had those "what if" questions tormenting me. My vet, though, sent me an article on euthanasia and it stated that animals don't fear death, they fear pain -- we freed our babies from what they feared most because we loved them so. And -- even though they are now free of pain, ours is strong and seems to have no ending. I used to feel it wasn't fair, but then I know I would rather be suffering than my Muffin. I miss her so much, and for awhile I was doing better. I felt she had left signs for me to let me know she was ok and that gave me so much peace. But, within this last week I can't even hardly talk about her without breaking down. It ebbs and flows.
You did do the right thing. The vets would not suggest something like that if there was nothing more they could do. I know Jack knows you did it for him and that you loved him so much. He is always with you, I believe that. I would talk to him. Even ask him to show you he is ok, and that he understood. I still talk to Muffin, she was my baby girl. I know right now you can't even see how you will be able to move forward from this, but slowly you do. I had to try because I know Muffin wouldn't have wanted me to stop living, or loving. I have to honor her by living, even though it is so hard without her. This isn't something you may feel strong enough to do right now. That's ok, but I promise you, you will get there. We are all here to help you and support you on this new journey you have been forced to take. Everyone is at different places on their journey and I really think that is so helpful because we know how devastating this loss is, and we know we can move forward, even though things will never be the same again. I wish I could give you a hug right now because I just know how hard this is. I will be thinking of you and please keep us posted on how you are doing. Feel free to PM me, too, if you just need to talk. Try and take care of yourself. Jen ~
Registered: 1290094445 Posts: 9
Thank you so much Jen. Finding this group has been a Godsend. As I mentioned, I have few people in my life. I do have one dear friend who also cared for Jack and he's doing his best to be supportive, but I don't think anyone really understands the level of pain and despair.
Thank you also for sharing the insight from the article. It's an excellent point and one I've written down to remind myself when I'm feeling particularly guilty. The true understanding that's been expressed here has made me feel like I'm not so alone. And for that I'm grateful. There are moments that I just "panic" and feel like I absolutely *need* to have him here and then I feel like I'm going crazy - screaming, crying, wandering around at a total loss of what to do. I don't know how I'm going to move on. Right now, I don't want to. In a way, I feel I'm being selfish because I'm the one who's hurting. If he's okay - and he has to be - that's really the only thing that should matter to me. I just wish he was here to I could do more things for him - give him more ice cream and other treats, take him more places, and tell him how very much I love him. I just want him to understand that and love me too and I want us to be together again.
Registered: 1289178194 Posts: 9
I'm so sorry for your loss of Jack.
My family and I had to make that terrible decision almost two weeks ago. I understand the feelings of guilt. I had them as well. I just have to keep reminding myself there was a reason we had to make that decision and it was in Tuckers best interest. As hard as it is to not have him here I know in my heart that he is ok and I will see him again one day. But, I miss him so much somedays it's hard to remember that. This site is an amazing place to come for support on the really tough days. I hope you find comfort here and I will be praying for you.
Registered: 1289445569 Posts: 21
I'm so sorry for your loss of Jack.
Jasmine died about a week and a half ago and I understand the guilt you are feeling. She got sick and was having a seizure--but I didn't know that until we got to the emergency vet because it didn't seem like a seizure I'd seen my other pup Day have. Then I left her at the vet because they were going to give her seizure medication and do some blood tests. A few hours later the called to say she'd stopped breathing and her heart had stopped and asked if I wanted them to try to revive her. I told them no because she was facing so many health issues already. But then I second guessed myself (and still do) constantly. Did I do the right thing? Would she have been ok if I'd gotten her to the vet sooner, if I'd taken her to the doctor earlier in the week? Should I have asked them to revive her and maybe she would have been ok? And on and on. And I, too, wondered if she thought I had abandoned her because she died when we weren't there. It seems guilt is part of this process even when we only want to do what is best for our babies so they don't hurt. The support here has been great and has helped me so much to deal with my grief. I will pray for you during this difficult time.
Registered: 1219887733 Posts: 11,059
I am very sorry your sweet boy, Jack, has passed on. When one makes the decision to help their baby to their next life it is only normal to have mixed feelings. Jack loves you for ending his pain and suffering. We want so much for our pets to be with us longer but sometimes it isn't meant to be. Jack was welcomed at the bridge by all of our babies and he is with the best of the best.
Mare precious Christoph ~ 2 years now ~
Registered: 1290094445 Posts: 9
Thank you for the continued support. It truly helps to have a place to turn where others really understand. I also belong to a wonderful group called Canine-L and the words of kindness I've received there have also been a Godsend.
I've come to terms with not trying to remove him from the oxygen after others have shared stories of their beloved furbabies suffocating to death in front of them. I wouldn't have taken that risk with Jack. I'm still grappling with the "what if" I had him transferred to a hospital that could have tried to remove the tumor. My fear was that his last days would have been spent in fear and pain and either the surgery wouldn't have offered a cure (if it spread) or he wouldn't have survived it. Every person at the e-vet advised against it and I especially trusted the radiologist - who I believe truly had Jack's best interests at heart. She told me she'd wake him up if I insisted, but she didn't think it would be fair to him because she was almost certain he'd suffer for 2 days while awaiting the path report and we'd end up euthanizing him at that time. Since then, I've done some research that suggests tumors near the heart can be removed successfully, but I don't know what the prognosis would be for a dog of his age and weakened state. Another disturbing thought hit me at about 4am and it's now eating away at me. When I visited with Jack about 8am yesterday, he had food and water in the oxygen chamber with him. When he saw me, he tried to come to the front of the cage, but tripped, spilling his water. The subsequent visits I had with him, I don't think he had any water or food. He probably wouldn't have eaten anyway, but he always drank a lot and it's bothering me a great deal that he had to go all day (they didn't do the procedure until 4pm) without any water to drink. I can't believe I didn't notice it at the time and ask them to get him water. I feel absolutely horrible about this and how uncomfortable he must have been. I could have helped him and I didn't notice it. I'm truly so sorry and feel terrible. I know there's nothing I can do now and feeling bad won't help anything, but I can't help but feel like that was one small thing I could have done for him and I overlooked it. It hit me like a rock at 4am and I've been distraught over it since. I pray that God kept him comfortable during that time and because he was so sedated, maybe he wasn't suffering from thirst as much as he otherwise would have. But I feel so horrible for not noticing it and speaking up. I did notice they didn't have a puppy pad in there for him to use for potty, so I asked (had to ask twice) and they gave him one. But I feel so incompetent and stupid for not noticing the water. And I'm afraid he suffered because of it. He can't ask for water himself. It was up to me to ask for him and I failed. I pray that God can help him understand now that I didn't realize and how badly I feel. I would have done anything for him. I must have been so wrapped up in the decisions of what to do that I overlooked this necessary comfort for him. I feel like I failed him yet again. My poor baby. I'm so sorry.
Registered: 1271859354 Posts: 214
I am truly sorry about your loss. Jack seems to be a very special boy and from your description of his lit up look when you two met again I know he loved you dearly and he knew you loved him just as much, otherwise he would never lit up like that. :)
I'm not sure if I did the right thing. But I do know that my decision was based solely on what I believed was best for Jack. Nothing else mattered." And this is everything. When I decided to euthanize my girl seven months ago after five excruciating painful days for her (and me) I breathed normally for the first time in 5 days. Because I put an end to her suffering. And that is the most painful decision in a pet parent's life but also needed and fair. About the sorrow for not being there with him at all times: I felt the same thing after Sashimi died, not being with her the whole time. But I had to respect visiting time for the other animal's sake. It's necessary. And I'm sure Jack didn't feel thirsty... I'm sure he was taken care of, don't dwell on it. You're going through a shocking period of you grieving process and it's all natural, but don't dwell on guilt or second-guessing. You need to let yourself grieve but also heal. You cared for Jack and made sure he felt no more pain. And he is thankful for that now and knows that you'll never ever leave his side again like others did, because of that. :) Wishing you comfort. * Leonor