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Posts: 10
In 2000, I was blessed to find Chip at a local pet store. He was only 6 weeks old, a Chihuahua with stubby little legs, a chubby belly and a little white spot on the top of his head (the rest of his body was tan, except for some more white on his feet). I used to say that the spot on the top of his head was where the angels kissed him before sending him to earth for me. The pet store owner took him out of the playpen he was in and he immediately began running around, playing with a huge black lab, running in between the lab's legs. I fell in love with him the moment I saw him. I picked him up and he immediately began licking my face and nibbling on my chin. That was the beginning of my happiness as a daddy. 

I brought him home with me and knew we were meant to be together. He was a rambunctious little guy, always playing with things, burying himself in piles of laundry, and just generally being adorable. 

A few months later, at the same pet store, I found Q, my red and blonde tiger-striped cat with cinnamon colored eyes. He was more quiet and shy than the other cats, and my heart melted again. He was very scared of being outdoors, and so he always wanted to stay inside. As a kitten, he loved playing with his feather toy, and he would often lay on top of my shoulders and lick my hair (which I thought was strange, but I loved it). He truly became a brother to Chip. They were always together and would often wrestle with one another on the floor. 

We were a happy family, my two boys and I. 

In 2002, JayJay came into my life. He was a white poodle about one year old. He was incredibly sweet and easygoing. I could take him anywhere and he never met a stranger. People fell in love with him instantly; he had a lot of friends. Unlike Chip and Q, JayJay was intrepid and fearless. He immediately bonded with my other two boys and they became a triad of brotherhood. 

These three remained with me constantly, and always provided me with love, companionship, and endless bouts of cuteness that both warmed my heart and invoked happy laughter. While Chip and Q were the two brothers who could wrestle and play together, JayJay was the brother who cuddled with them both and played "keep-away" with his toys. 

In 2007, our little family experienced a huge loss. I came home from work one evening and was greeted by Chip and JayJay at the door. Wondering where Q was, I went looking through the house. I found him in the kitchen and he walked up and greeted me as well. Everything seemed normal. A few moments later, Q went into the hallway and collapsed on the floor, and began convulsing as if he were having a bad seizure. I ran over to him to find out what was wrong and he continued twisting and contorting, which got worse. He began wailing loudly and seemed as if he had no control over his body, and worse, he appeared to be in extreme pain. After a few moments, this subsided, and I felt a wave of relief and began trying to soothe him. But then it happened again. This time was exactly the same as before, with the exception that, at the end, Q was dead. I felt helpless and horrified at what I had seen. I wondered if there had been something wrong with him that I hadn't noticed and began reviewing as many memories as I could to try and pinpoint something, looking for a way to blame myself for his suffering. That night, Chip laid in bed next to me, sobbing loudly. It broke my heart even more to see his pain over the loss of his brother. It took me several months to get past my grief. I would find myself bursting into tears at random times, and I felt out of control of my emotions.
Then, something happened that changed this.

One day, I was napping on my couch in the middle of the day. In this dream, I woke up and looked from the couch into my kitchen, and Q was standing on the kitchen table, looking out the window, the afternoon sun shining on him and making him appear divine. I was extremely confused and slightly upset and said "Q...what are you doing here? You died!" He turned around and looked at me, before jumping down from the table and walking over to me, where I was still lying on the couch. I cried, told him how much I missed him as he rubbed his face and head on my hand and I stroked his fur. After I calmed down, I ran my hand from his head all the way down to his tail. As the end of his tail passed through my hand, I woke up. The strange thing, however, was that I could literally FEEL the fur in my fingers as I woke up. I believe that he came back to visit me to let me know he was okay. After this, my grief subsided and I no longer had bouts of uncontrollable crying. 

Chip, JayJay, and I moved on from this, and I entered a period in my life that was very unpleasant. For years, I struggled in a lot of ways, but the one thing that was constant was having my boys with me. In 2010, I went back to school to get my degree and had gone back to live with my parents while I did this. The boys went with me and loved being with grandma and grandpa. I felt bad that I wasn't home much, but I knew that I was doing something that would better my life, and in turn, theirs. By the time I entered my graduate program, I was spending too much time at college and at internships to stay at home every night. I had met someone at this time, also, so I could stay with him on the nights I couldn't go home. My parents began caring for my boys almost full-time while I pursued this dream. Again, I felt horrible about not being with them, but I kept telling myself that once I graduated and got established with a job, I could get my own place again and bring them to live with me again. Things worked out well, though at this point my boys were getting up there in years. My Chihuahua was 16 years old by the time I graduated, and my poodle was just a little older. My new partner and I had a stable relationship, and we began house-hunting, to find a place where I could bring my boys. In March of 2017, however, that dream was shattered. 

My mother called me. She had taken Chip to the vet, because he had been coughing and acting lethargic. This had been going on for a couple of weeks but had gotten progressively worse. Due to his symptoms, I was worried, but mom promised to call me while they were at the vet's office so I could talk to the vet over the phone. When she called me that day, she put me on speaker phone and asked the vet to tell me what was going on. The vet explained that Chip had developed a severe case of congestive heart failure. He described how Chip's heart was beating way too fast and hard and that Chips lungs were full of fluid, making it hard for him to breathe. The vet said that this must have been progressing, undetected, for quite some time. He said that he could attempt to hospitalize him and treat him for his acute symptoms and then try to manage it with medications, but he also told me that he felt this was not likely to work. Chip's heart was under way too much stress. His recommendation was to euthanize Chip. I hated that I was over two hours away and was unable to be with him, but I agreed to go ahead with euthanizing Chip. I felt that would be a better, more compassionate option than making Chip wait until I could see him again and prolonging his suffering. Chip was euthanized on March 14, 2017. I blamed myself harshly for not being with him in his final moments, and for not getting him back to living with me before he died. 

JayJay continued to do as well as he could, considering that at this point, he was close to 18 years old. Over the years, age had taken a toll on him, causing him to go deaf, to develop cataracts, and to also develop skin tags/moles that tended to bleed. About a month and a half after Chip died, Mom called me again. This time, JayJay had been to the vet and was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. His was not as advanced as Chip's, and the vet was going to prescribe Lasix and a heart pill to try and manage it. My mother vowed to do all she could to keep him around long enough to get back with me, his daddy, for a while. At that time, I had found a house and was in the process of buying it. The deal was closed in August and I was preparing to move into the house, trying to get moved in as quickly as possible so as to have JayJay with me, though it felt like we were racing against the clock where his health was concerned. But we did it. In September, JayJay was moved in with us and things finally felt right. I didn't have Chip with me, but I did have the last of my boys. 

JayJay did well living with me. I was making sure he got his medications at regular intervals, he was eating right, and he began having more energy, only rarely having any cough, and he seemed genuinely happy. I was over the moon with happiness. Everything was as perfect as it could be. But the day after Thanksgiving, Jay became sick. He wouldn't eat and was throwing up. My husband and I thought that he had developed an inflammation in his gastrointestinal system, as the symptoms were consistent with this. He was still drinking water, so we gave it a few days to see if it would clear up. It didn't. Yesterday, I became extremely worried and made arrangements to take him to a vet. Last night, he was extremely lethargic, weak, and was constantly shaking and whimpering. I put him in his bed, and went to sleep, knowing that we would get some help this morning. 

When I woke up this morning, JayJay was not in his bed. He wasn't in any of the usual places he normally stayed in the house. He had made an accident on the floor, though. I found him lying in a corner of our dining room. He seemed extremely run-down and "not himself" at all. When we got to the vet, he told us that JayJay was severely dehydrated and that something was definitely wrong. With JayJay's symptoms and his age, the vet was extremely worried about him. He told us that he could hospitalize him and give him fluids and run tests to see if they could determine what was wrong, but that this would be very costly and there was a chance it may not lead to anything useful. He said "You have to consider that JayJay is like a 104-year-old person. We can rescue him from what he's going through, but what are you rescuing him to? Even if I'm the best vet in the world, the most I can do is to get him back to where he was a couple of weeks ago. He's a very old dog and these health problems are likely to return. Fixing this won't give him years to may give him a few months". After much crying and thinking about it, we decided to let him go. Seeing him suffering like that broke my heart, and I didn't want to risk prolonging his life only to have him die at home, possibly in a way similar to Q, all those years ago. We made him comfortable, and showered him with love throughout the process of euthanasia. He slipped away very peacefully.

I feel like I did what was best for him, but it still feels like my heart has been ripped out of me for the third time. Part of me doesn't want to go on without him, without Chip, and without Q. He was the last of my boys, and all of the dreams I had with them left when he died. It has only been 12 hours since this happened, so I'm still extremely emotionally raw. Along with extreme sadness, despair, and grief, I'm also feeling angry, guilty, and hopeless. My heart is screaming to call the vet back and tell him we changed our bring him back. To give me one more day, week, or month with JayJay. But this isn't possible. My heart also knows that I did the most loving thing I could for him by letting him go...this doesn't help, though. My heart is shattered right now, and I don't know if I'll ever be able to put it back together again. Even if I do, some pieces will be missing. 

I know that this post has been all about the events that led to me losing my babies...but I kept it to that because that's what this forum is about. Like with all pets, these events don't define what they meant to me. They don't tell you about all the life that happened in between these events...the things that mattered the most. There isn't enough time to write that all out, and words would probably fail to convey the richness of my experiences with these boys. They got me through the worst parts of my life, and were with me in all of the good times. They motivate me to be a better person. Hopefully, when all of this pain ends, those are the things I'll remember. 

At least I can take some comfort in knowing that wherever they are, they are together again.

I love you boys...I hope you can feel how deeply my love ran now that you're on the other side. Please, wait for me. I'll carry you with me in my heart until my last breath, and then we will be together again. Forever. Until then, just know I miss you deeply and love you still.

Posts: 10
I'm into the second day without my baby Jay. I went to work today and tried to keep myself busy, but still had two meltdowns during my shift. Luckily, I wasn't extremely busy today as several of my clients rescheduled (I'm a therapist for community mental health). My co-workers kept offering their condolences, and I accepted them with a quiet "thank you" but it felt empty. In fact, I felt empty myself through most of the day, so tired...When I got home and opened my front door, I immediately burst into sobs again, without Jay there to greet me. His Christmas stocking is still hung and I don't have the heart to take it down but it also hurts to think that it will be empty this year. I'm really hating Christmas right now, and I'd rather just pretend that it isn't happening. I don't want to eat or have fun because right now enjoying something is just wrong. I even have thoughts that I wish I could just die and be with all of my boys again...I'm not suicidal, but just wishing we were all together. I don't know what happens when we die but if there's a chance that they are waiting for me somewhere, I want to be able to see them, hug them all, and know that they are, in fact, "in a better place". My heart hurts so badly. With my last boy gone, I feel broken on the inside and I don't know if I'll ever recover. 

Posts: 10
It's been two days and eighteen hours...I'm still ripped apart. A big part of me feels like I deserve this pain. I should have opted for hospitalization. Tonight I came home and my husband had made spaghetti...I immediately remembered how much JayJay loved spaghetti, the way he would dig in and get the sauce all over the fur around his mouth, staining it from white to red. 

I'm sorry baby Jay. 

Posts: 6
My heart goes out to you. My baby left last Friday. They are true angels. Full of love. So healing. So therapeutic. So loving. I too am still in shock. Realing from the pain when my heart remembers the truth. The emptiness. The regrets. The huge loving bond. Such a huge loss. She was my heart dog. My angel girl. The best thing that ever happened to me in such a difficult world to be in. I used to be in Social Work. I had to retire early. Seattle helped me get through years of hardships....much like you, too many, too deep, too long to explain the depth of love and grace she gave for over 8 years. Gone much too soon. Though how could we possibly be ready to lose such unconditional deep love & joy... My girl was that for me. A big fur ball full of love and kindness. And the only constant joy I have ever known. My soul mate. My true love. My special sweet baby girl. I am in disbelief she is gone. It’s so empty here now.
You are not alone my friend... The grief of losing a child trumps all hardships life can throw. My baby was my hero. She rescued me.... I am sure you feel much of the same. One day we will go Home and see the again. Sweet furry kisses & hugs. We can be together for all of eternity. I must hold strong to that faith. One day at a time friend. We have to try... for them. I’m sure they don’t want to see us in pain either. But the grief takes its own time. We must forgive ourselves for anything...and be strong for them. We were blessed to feel such amazing love & comfort & healing...
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