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Posts: 296
My sister in law called me yesterday to tell me that their beloved 14 yr. old American Chow, Duke, died that morning.  What complicates the grief is that last Wednesday, Duke cried out, then collapsed.  They all ran to his side and after a few minutes, he got back up.  The next day, my brother, SIL and niece were flying to Iowa to pick out an apt., as my niece made vet school in Iowa and starts next month.

Anyway, they reluctantly took Duke to stay at the vet's instead of the usual boarding place he goes to, and they called every day from Iowa.  The vet didn't tell them at that time, but had Duke lived till they got back, he was going to suggest putting him down, as the vet and several assistants had to carry him out to do his business.  However, they hand fed him and he was eating.

Well, they got back home Sunday night and were going to pick Duke up Monday morning when the vet called to say Duke had died.  He thinks he had a stroke.

My SIL asked the vet if he thought Duke had died from the stress of them leaving him at the vet's, and now they all feel guilty for not being there with him to say goodbye.

What makes matters even worse, is that my dog, Kirby, is the same exact age as Duke, and was having all kinds of problems this last year, so we all thought Kirby would have gone before Duke!  This just seemed so sudden.  He hadn't shown any symptoms at all, and wasn't on any meds even though he was 14.

How do I comfort my brother's family?  I know they feel terrible that they had to leave Duke but the trip couldn't be cancelled!

RIP, Duke, you were a beautiful boy.


Posts: 730
My heart goes out to all who are mourning the loss of Duke.

When a beloved passes on, there's always guilt and the inevitable 'what ifs'. It's a natural part of grieving. He was well taken care of his last days and he knows his family loved him.

Sometimes things just happen the way they do.

I wish I had a better reason but please tell them Duke wasn't by himself and now he's their forever fur angel.


Posts: 594
I'm so very sorry for your brother and his family as well as all who loved Duke. The only thing that helps is time. I went though the same thing with my brother about 6 months ago when he lost his beloved Smokey who was also 15. All you can do is be there to lend an ear when needed. It is so very hard.

Godspeed sweet Duke, fly free with the angels.

ConnieV(Jakie's forever mom)


Posts: 5,100
Dear Laura,

Please convey my deep condolences to your brother and his family for the loss of Duke. 

Your brother and his family are in the doubt/what if/second guess phase we all go through as we grieve.  You may be able to console them by telling them it made perfect sense to board Duke at the vet's, given his symptoms just a day before they left.  I believe a Chow's normal life expectency is somewhere between 10-13 years, so he was quite elderly.  I would have made the same choice they did.  I now board my little nearly 17 year old miniature pinscher only at the vet's, given his advanced age.  If they had boarded Duke at his regular boarding place and he had passed there, they also would have second-guessed that decision, as well.  

I know your brother and his family feel terrible that they weren't there with Duke.  Please tell them that Duke carried their love for him in his heart so he was not alone when he passed.   Dukes knows their hearts and knows exactly how much they loved/still LOVE him.  You can also tell your brother and his family how very PROUD Duke must be of your niece's acceptance to veterinary school.  

Betsy's forever mom
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