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Posts: 9
Never thought I'd see the day where I'd be spilling my guts to a bunch of strangers on the internet, particularly over the topic of grief, yet, here we are. Hell has frozen over!
The grief has me feeling powerless and adrift. The loss of my beloved, constant companion has rocked me as much, if not more than any loss I've experienced, & its becoming concerning.
In an attempt to NOT script a novel, I'll try to paint the picture of how I got here, as it pertains to my loss of my pet:
Riley, my late whippet, was originally purchased as a gift for my dad. Dad had lost his whippet a few years prior & was devestated. While rehabbing from health issues, the family thought a new puppy might inspire dad to get out of bed and get him to be more active. So for xmas, we wrapped up a box containing an 11week old Riley. While it didnt quite work out that way, riley was still a blessing to have, as she would spend the entire day in bed with him for his last couple years. After dad passed in 09, I moved back home from across the country. Riley immediately became my shadow. She became an excellent frisbee dog, & went with me everywhere I'd go. After a couple years, it was time to move back & by that time, riley & I had become so close that the thought of not taking her with was inconceivable.
Ill say this; even as a single-person household, moving someplace new, finding a place to live & work is hard enough. When you throw a dog into the mix, its that much harder. Even a dog like riley, who may have been the most polite, well-behaved, obedient dog I have known. Seeing as how I couldnt bear the thought of leaving her home by herself 8-14 hours a day, I only worked jobs where I could bring riley with every day. As you might imagine, that leaves a pretty narrow field to work with. I have no regret about any of that, and would do it the same way again. It was tough, but we never went hungry or without. After last years hurricane went through & destroyed our apt., we managed to land "gracefully" yet again. In late feb.,after returning home from being out all day, we assumed our position on the couch for the evening. I could feel her breathing was labored. Got worse as night went on. The following a.m., she was in obvious distress. I contacted a nearby vet to tell them I was on the way in. Xrays revealed an enlarged heart & fluid-filled lungs. She was struggling to breath. Was presented with the option of leaving her at vet for 2 days in oxygen tent, hooked up to IV's & then seeing if they could find out what was the cause, & if there was a fix. Was looking at 2500-3000grand without knowing if there was anything they could do to get her healthy &or out of distress.
Riley is the 4th whippet that has been in our family over the years. Of the 3 others, the youngest died at 11yrs old, the oldest lived to almost 14. Riley was 12.5 yrs old, & although she had been showing her age the last few years, she had been a happy, healthy dog until the last night of her life. I thought to myself "we should all be so lucky to have gotten off this earth having only had 1 bad night in our lives". The vet who saw her seemed to be pushing all sorts of diagnostics & treatments to an ailment that he had no idea what the cause was, or if he could treat it. I thought if her current ills werent going to do her in, being left in a strange enviornment, confined, not knowing where I was, hooked up to IV lines would have. In the hour we spent at the vets office, she was visibly going downhill in front of my eyes, & became not able to stand on her own. I decided to have her put down. Honestly, Ive never 2nd guessed that decision. What I cant expel from my mind are her final moments. When I informed the vet that I didnt want to put her through any more, he explained that they would have to take her into the back to put a catheter in her leg, then they would bring her "right back" to me for the final injection. After they carried her off to god knows where, & did god knows what to her for 20 minutes, the door comes swinging open & they slid her like a pizza box on the exam table in front of me. Her tongue was hanging out the side of her mouth, her eyes were just blank & lifeless. I was mortified. I thought(think?) she was dead already. I immediately asked(screamed) why they did this without me present. The vet replied "oh, shes still alive". I put my hand on her chest & might have felt her heart beat once. The vet came and made an injection into her pick line. Riley let out one last violent hack/gasp & then the blood just came pouring out her nostrils. I was livid. It was everything I could do to not grab the vet by the neck & say WTF!!! I was devestated at the prospect of losing my dog, but the most important thing to me in that moment was to be able hold her, tell her how much I loved her( i truly believe she knew what those words meant) and be the last thing she saw before she slipped off. I wanted her to feel me holding her in my arms, and see that I was with her, & I feel like I let her down in her final moments of consciousness.
I had never been party to putting a pet down before, so although I really didnt know what to expect, I surely didnt expect it to go like it did. Even though I felt duped to some degree, I also acknowledged that there was no outcome to the situation that was going to have me walking away feeling good about anything, & that kept my feeling of rage towards the vet in check, thankfully. Was lucky enough to coincidentally have family in town during and since that day, but now that they have left town, the silence of a house without my puppy is deafening & still heartbreaking.
It was 9 days after she died before I could actually eat anything. When depression hits me, the thought, smell of food is nauseating to me. After the 2nd time I had to pick myself off the ground from passing out, I was finally able to start eating again. Still running into people & their 1st words are always where is/how is Riley? Riley had quite the following wherever she went. Every person she came across just fell in love with her.

So much for not writing a novel....
I just feel like its time to start moving forward from this, but I just cant seem to get there.

I have no clue if anyone will actually read this but maybe writing it was therapeutic. But if you did, thank you.


Posts: 92
Oh my goodness. First, I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved Riley. I know it must be very difficult. Second, it sounds like the vet you ended up seeing was not compassionate or professional with you; and that made a very difficult situation for you even worse. I'm so sorry you had to go through that. You will find many kind, supportive people who understand your love - and how devastating the loss of your pet is, here. Bless you. ((hugs))

Posts: 2
My heart broke for you while reading this and just wanted to say I’m so sorry. I appreciate you sharing because we just had to put our pup to rest Monday, who I’ve had with me through some pretty dark times in life. He was the most loving, kind and faithful boy you could possibly ask for. I feel your pain. For me, it feels absolutely debilitating at times too— I would give anything, anything, to cuddle with my boy one last time and kiss his velvety soft ears. He made it to 15.5 years, but it became clear these past few weeks that us holding on to him any longer was selfish— he had labored breathing and was at the point where pain pills weren’t helping his arthritis and he was having a tough time walking or standing. I have been dreading and anticipating this for the past year or two, and sadly, it’s much worse than I feared. I thought releivingnhim of his pain would somehow soften the loss, and obviously I wouldn’t change the decision, but it has left a gaping hole in my heart and It physically actually hurts. I cannot tell you the joy he put in my heart for so many years. All I can keep telling myself is that he knew how very, very loved he was. Every day. It sounds like you made sure Riley knew this too. What a gift. And maybe our pain now is in a weird way a beautiful testament to that love. Riley was a really lucky pup. Hang in there.

Posts: 2
Well, I just wrote a novel back to you and somehow it’s gone and posted. uhg. Internet! Anyway, even writing that never-to-be-posted response to you was veru therapeutic for me, so just wanted to thank you so much for sharing your pain here. Just had to put my long-time, loyal companion, Baxter, of 15.5 years to rest and it, too, has been way worse than I thought. I thought releiving him of his pain and struggle these past few week (which I don’t regret obviously) would maybe slightly softened the blow, but there is a gaping hole in my heart and my home, and it just aches. It physically hurts. I would give anything to cuddle one last time and kiss his soft ears. Anyway, just wanted to say I’m so, so sorry. Our pups were lucky to be so incredibly loved every single day. Riley sounds like she was an amazing friend and companion.

Posts: 9
Pawsprince & baxterboymom:
Thanks so much for the kind words.

BBM, I, too, am so sorry for your recent loss. Like yourself, theres not much I wouldnt give to have just another night, hell!, even just 10 minutes to cuddle with riley. I can definitely relate to the "hole" thats left behind & the physical/emotional pain associated with your loss. When I roll over in bed, I still find myself sweeping my arm across to make sure Im not going to crush her. Navigating thru the house, I still make sure to hold the doors an extra second behind me so as not to let it hit her, as I subconciously expect that shes right on my heels. When riley passed, I was fortunate enough to have family around for an extended visit. Now that they have left, the impact is much more noticable. I feel like the people im closest to are hesitant to bring up the topic as they know how deeply that dog & I were connected(see co-dependant).

Pawprince, you are spot-on. While I try not to judge the vet too harshly, short of telling me there was a quick-fix that would have her back to her normal self, there was no resolution he could have offered that I would've found satisfactory. Not his fault. That said, I found him rather cold, sterile, & not very mindful of what the situation was doing to me, & less than transparent about the procedure to put her down. For that, I truly wanted to knock the sh*t out of him. If & when I move past this, I may write a letter explaining my feelings of their services that horrible day.

Again, thank you both!

Posts: 1
I can feel your pain, just lost my best friend Hipis (Hippy in english) just can't stop crying, seems like i can't even breath, the thought of never being able to see him and play with him again is just devastating. But I am happy to find this page at least I know I am not alone in this and we all can support each other. I am there with you, send you support and love, we should be happy that we were blessed to have our best friends in our lifes...

Posts: 580
I know everyone says it, but I am truly sorry for Riley's passing. I know and feel your pain. It hurts! Your heart is broken as is mine and all of us here. It sounds as if you and Riley had a great life and the love you shared was magical. I lost my heart dog Termy last September  he was just over 16 and it still hurts and I cry daily. I am sorry to that the vet you had was such an inconsiderate person. Most as you know are in the field because they love animals some are in it for the money. It only made your last memory of Riley tougher. Termy's passing was peaceful for him and devastating for me, I will forever remember that day and regret it for the rest of my life but I can't go backwards. I am happy for you that you and Riley had a wonderful journey together. Hold onto the memories. I hope you find all the compassion and support you need here with all of us.
Love and doggie hugs
Termy's mom
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