Registered: 1534800401 Posts: 2
I have lost my friend. 15 years ago, I made the decision as a young grad student to get a puppy. It was a terribly impractical time in my life to get a dog, but I had never wanted one so much. The day I picked up Chewy, he was running through the house, making laps from the living room, to kitchen, to dining room, and back again. He was the funniest little thing I'd ever seen. 2 months old and weighed just over 2 pounds. From then on, he was my buddy. With me all the time. We went through several roommates, boyfriends, roommate's pets, and moved lots of times. He was so easy-going. A small dog, but never a lap dog. He wanted to sit right next to me. He loved to shake his toys, and would growl so loudly while he was playing. We used to play tag in our condo living room. He had beautiful silky, silver hair, with a beautiful golden face. Chewy would sit in the window, and watch for neighbors and their pets to walk by. He loved to steal food. I never gave him food from the table, but he'd steal it if he had the chance. Once he got a whole piece of pizza. Eventually, I got married, and he welcomed a new person into our home. He had plenty of love to share. We moved to a new house, with a large backyard. He would run over the whole yard, barking out loud just to see if any other dogs would answer back. He was 11 years old when we moved in there. I fooled myself into thinking he'd live forever.
I had a baby this year. 2 weeks after she was born, Chewy was running toward us in excitement, and accidentally fell off our bed. He jumped right up, but I noticed he had an injury to his eye. There was a deep indentation that hadn't been there before. At the vet later that day, we discovered he had a corneal ulcer. After 2 weeks of treatment, it wasn't improved. On to a specialist. He told us that it was a facet, that likely wouldn't heal. We couldn't eye drops about 7 times a day. I regret that now, as it must have annoyed him. But he was so good, never complaining or trying to stop me. His eyesight changed, getting much worse. I didn't understand why he seemed to be going blind, when we were giving so much treatment to try to help. He started walking into walls, walking off sidewalks, running into a cat into the house. It didn't make sense, but the ophthalmologist told us he also had cataracts. I had a newborn at the time, and just accepted that he was losing his eyesight. I know now that it was likely his kidneys causing the blindness. On July 27th, Chewy didn't finish all his food. It was so odd. He was always so quick to eat food. Looking back, I realize now that he had been eating much slower for at least a couple of weeks. It's funny the things that you dismiss at the time, that seem so significant now. But now he was only eating a part of his daily meals. That Monday, he went to the vet. Nothing significant on exam, so they sent some bloodwork. The next morning, I got the message. Chewy had kidney disease. He needed to start a new diet, he needed to take medication for nausea and to stimulate his appetite, and he needed to spend the next 3 days at the vet receiving IV fluids all day. It was shocking, because he had been so healthy. At 15 years old, he had only slowed down a little. He played less, but he was so happy. He was active. We were considering cataract surgery to help his eyesight. But he started vomiting. After 2 days of fluids, he was worse, and still not eating. Another test revealed he also had pancreatitis. We started giving pain meds, more anti-nausea meds, and changed his diet again. He came home the next day, and he seemed a little better. But by Monday morning, he was refusing food, refusing his meds, and seemed lethargic. We went to the emergency vet. I spoke in detail to the internal medicine vet, and was convinced that we were missing something. He had such a sudden decline, there must be a factor we are missing that has caused the illness. They scheduled an abdominal ultrasound, and promised to look for causes for the acute illness. The ultrasound was not good. Every organ had a problem. The pancreatitis was chronic, and the kidney disease was severe. He'd obviously been sick for a long time, and I never knew. He hid it so well. He spent 3 more days in the hospital. He was still refusing to eat. I made the choice not to place a feeding tube. So he came home with me, knowing that he had to eat, or he didn't have a chance. At first, he ate small bites. Some turkey, a little bacon, one bite of ground beef. He was on so many medications. His blood pressure was super high, which likely caused the blindness he had experienced over the summer. And I had to give him SQ fluids everyday. I hated that so much. I am a nurse, and it wasn't difficult. But I hated causing him pain. So we tried everything to get him to eat. After a few more days, he stopped taking the bites of anything. He wouldn't take the medication anymore. His back legs were failing him. He'd slip when he tried to walk. He couldn't get himself in and out of the door anymore. He spent the whole day sleeping on the couch. He didn't run outside anymore. He didn't jump up when people came home, though he would still wag his tail the best he could when I came in. It all happened so quickly. Then one night, he started making an odd sound, like a backwards sneeze. He did it every few minutes for hours. He couldn't rest, couldn't get comfortable. I stayed up with him until 1 in the morning. Pulled him close to me in the bed, knowing it was likely his last night with me. I wouldn't let him be scared, and suffocate in front of me. I promised him that. But it was the hardest promise I've ever kept. The next day, I asked my husband to make the appointment at the vet. I couldn't do it myself. My parents came, to say goodbye and watch the baby while we went. I drove us to the vet. He sat next to me in his little seat, strapped in. Smiling, looking as he always does, just a little more tired. He was so beautiful. We said goodbye. They offered to put him on my lap, but I knew he wouldn't like that. He sat right next to me. While I tried not to stress him by crying, just whispering it was okay. I told him he was the best dog I could have ever had. And how much I love him. And how sorry I was that I had failed at making him better. And how sorry I was that I was making this terrible, horrible decision. And just how much I would miss him. And his little body went so still. I petted him and said goodbye. Then we took a tiny box home, and he's buried in our backyard. And now I look at the tree that he's underneath all the time. And I miss him. I feel so guilty. And so lonely. I miss him terribly. He should be here. It's been 15 years, and I barely remember life without him. The birth announcement for our daughter included Chewy, and how he was going to be a big brother. He was only a big brother for 3 months. I really thought my daughter would know him and love him too, but now she never will. It's so much loss. I keep looking for him in the house. He's not where he's supposed to be. I can't believe I'll never see him or pet him again. I miss my friend.
Registered: 1394551257 Posts: 234
Fifteen years can seem to come and go in a flash, yet so much is crammed into them. From a single young woman you have gone to a married mother and doubtless much else happened in that span. And Chewy was there for it all, the good times and perhaps some bad as well, doubtless always ready with a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen, and a smile when you told him all the good news, an invaluable and omnipresent being. Until he wasn't. And that is horrible. Animals can teach us so much, except how to live without them. Someone asked me the other day if I am prepared for my cat to die. How can I be? How can I game plan that, for what in practice can ever match the horrible finality of his absence? From having been there before, I know all too well how terrible the feeling is at times like this and you have my deepest sympathy as you miss your friend. I hope though that as your daughter grows up you will tell her about Chewy. No, she will never know her as you might have wished but she can still learn about him from you. Several years before I was born my parents had a little girl but she only lived for three days. As I grew up I knew of her, what her name would have been, what happened, etc. Yet when people asked how many siblings I had I would fail to include her. Why? To be honest I don't know, but what I am sure of now is how wrong I was to exclude her. She lived and deserved to be acknowledged as I one day, far too belatedly, realized. She is, and will always be, my sister and she deserves to be recognized. So I say to you, to the degree you can, let Chewy continue to be that big brother he only got to be here for three months. Let your daughter know the love you have for him and he for you and doubtless your little girl as well. Whatever you do I am sure will be the right choice for you. May you have peace and light in your lives and may your girl have health and happiness.
Registered: 1531963706 Posts: 104
I am so, so sorry. There are no right words. Hugs and peace for your family.
Paula, Raider’s mom
Registered: 1192815206 Posts: 1,191
I am so very sorry. It isn't fair that Chewy's time here on earth with you and your family was finally over. It never is. You loved him with all you have and always will, even though he is gone.
I am so sorry... Kelly - Angel Blackie's mom - Angel Squeeker's mom
Registered: 1198790925 Posts: 65
I am so sorry for the loss of your loved one. Chewy sounds like a wonderful dog, a great friend, and a soul deeply connected to you. As difficult as your grief must be right now, I hope that you can remember the good times and know that Chewy loved you so much. It sucks and it hurts to lose someone so close. I am sure you have feelings of regret, anger, denial, all the things that are a natural part of this process. My thoughts are with you as is my support.
Registered: 1532487720 Posts: 11
Our time with our pets is all too brief. The pain of your loss is so intense right now but will lessen in time. You will always miss your Chewy and the time you spent with him will become a cherished memory💜
Peace to you and your family
Registered: 1534800401 Posts: 2
Thank you for your kind words and support. No one mentions Chewy anymore. I don’t know if they don’t want to upset me, or if others have forgotten him already. I am still in shock that he’s not here. Still surprised that he’s not next to me, near me on the bed, or following me from room to room. Today was the anniversary of the day I adopted him. 15 years ago today I welcomed that little dog into my life. I miss him terribly.