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Posts: 3
On Tuesday I had euthanize my 8 1/2 year old chow mix Marley. The decision to euthanize was very difficult. In my mind I did the right thing. But three days after I question if I did the right thing. My wife and I adopted Marley in January 2000 when he was a pup. Although we adopted him together, Marley quickly became my dog. Over the last 8 and a half years we developed such a strong and loving bond, he gave me unconditional love and was never angry at me about anything. I told Marley things I never told anyone else. I'm still talking to him although he's gone. Some may think that's crazy, but by talking to him it's helping my grieving.

For the last 5 weeks of his life Marley was sick, more sick than I ever imagined. Marley had always periodically threw up in the house. It was generally after he ate his food too fast. Last November his vomiting worried me to the point where I took him to see his vet. They found nothing physically wrong and recommended I take away his food for 24 hours. I did that and he seemed to be fine.

In mid April the vomiting returned, Marley also had diarrhea. I asked our neighbor who is a vet(but not Marley's, we just moved to our home the previous October) to examine Marley. His preliminary diagnosis was gastritis. He gave Marley a shot and gave him a prescription. I'm sorry but I don't remember the name of the medicine. I was also instructed to start Marley on a bland diet (boiled meat, rice, etc.). Marley seemed healthy, he weighed 50 pounds which was his normal but had a slight temperature.

My neighbor was heading out of town for the weekend but he asked me to make sure I called him to give updates on Marley's condition. On Saturday April 26th I did just that. Marley was still vomiting, still had diarrhea, and was not eating any of the food I prepared for him. My neighbor instructed me to take Marley to the Animal Hospital just around the corner from our neighborhood and get a complete blood work. I asked if I could wait until Monday and he thought it should be done that day.

I took Marley to the Animal Hospital and they did the blood work. His white blood cell count was very high, 40,000. They prescribed an antibiotic, again I can't remember the name.

Monday morning I called my neighbor. I was worried the antibiotic was not working. Marley was still throwing up and was not eating. He was drinking water. I took Marley to his vet that afternoon to get x-rays and to have more blood work. The x-rays looked fine but his white blood cell count was now at 50,000. The prescribed Baytril.

By Thursday the Baytril appeared to be working. Marley was once again energetic, was not vomiting, started eating again, and had that twinkle in his eyes. I was so relieved, it looked like everything would turn out all right. Marley's last dose of the Baytril prescription was given to him on Saturday, by Monday the diarrhea and vomiting returned and he stopped eating again.

I thought he wasn't on the Baytril long enough and had my neighbor get me another 6 days worth of pills. The same thing happened, by day 4 it looked like he was OK. After the prescription ended he regressed to where he was.

The next step was to schedule an ultrasound. I took him to an animal hospital which had saved our cat in December of 2006. We did not have money to be able to pay for the office visit, blood work, ultrasound and meds. I knew they would work with me to create a payment plan. That really eased my mind. His white blood cell count was 70,000, the highest the vet had ever seen. The ultrasound showed there were nodules on his liver and I authorized for him to conduct a cytology on the nodules. He thought the nodules could be the result of a bacterial infection, and prescribed an 8 day supply of wide spectrum antibiotics (one was Zenequin and the other I'm sorry I can't remember).
He put the chance that it was a bacterial infection at 50%, he also told me it might be cancer. Marley was down to 40 pounds.

The next day the vet called and told me it was not bacterial. The cytology did not indicate cancer but could not rule it out. It wasn't Addison's. We decided to see how the antibiotics would work and I would touch base with him the day after Memorial Day. Once again the antibiotics appeared to work. On Thursday Marley and I had a great night together. We played in the yard, he chased rabbits, and we took what turned out to be our last walk. Marley ate some sausage that I was having for dinner. I really thought he was going to be OK, but with what happened twice prior I was prepared in case he wasn't.

Sure enough, Marley started throwing up again Saturday, the food I hand fed him turned into diarrhea, I sensed the end was near.

When I was at home over the holiday weekend Marley rarely left my side. He slept on the floor by my side of the bed , a place he never slept before. I was still hoping the last couple of days of antibiotics would heal him, they didn't.

I left a message for the vet on Memorial Day and asked him to call me Tuesday morning. He did just that. I told him Marley was not getting better and asked him what he suspected was causing him to be sick, knowing what his answer was going to be. He told me cancer. I told him I did not want Marley to suffer and that I thought the best thing to do was to put Marley to sleep. He told me that he thought that was the best thing to do. His opinion was that the cancer was spreading very quickly and any treatment would not extend Marley's life very long. Marley was not in any physical pain, and to let him go before he was was very important to me. I decided to take him to the hospital that afternoon after work to have it done. I came home and gave Marley the biggest, longest hug I ever had. I was also crying my eyes out.

I couldn't be in the room when he was euthanized, I did not want that to be my final memory. It's now 3 days later I wish I would have been. I was thinking what was best for me and not thinking about what was best for Marley. I feel so bad that I did that and if I had it to do again I would have been there.

Over the last 3 days I have been so sad. I keep thinking that only if I could have taken him to the vet and got a diagnosis much earlier, then the cancer could have been treatable. I wonder if the dog food I fed him all these years contributed to his death. I ask myself if I walked him enough and if he was in good enough shape to fight the disease. The guilt is so overwhelming.

When I'm at work I'm OK because I'm busy and not thinking about what happened. When I'm at home it's tough. Though my wife and son are here with me, I cannot seem to stop being sad. Marley doesn't greet me at the front door when I come home from work. There's no more asking "want to go potty"? and seeing an excited Marley running toward the front door. There is no longer a smiling, tail wagging Marley rushing to the side of my bed when the alarm clock goes off each morning. I find myself not wanting to clean up fur he had shed, because part of him is still here. I miss my friend. and I feel so sad that he's not with me any more.

I found the following poem as I've tried to make peace with what happened. It says exactly what I'm feeling about losing my friend.

A Million Times I Will Miss You

They say memories are golden, well maybe that is true.
I never wanted memories, I only wanted you.

A million times I will miss you, a million times I will cry,
If love alone could have saved you, you never would have died.

In life I loved you dearly, In death I love you still,
In my heart you hold a place, that no other pup could fill.

It breaks my heart to lose you, but you did not go alone,
For part of me went with you, the day God called you home.

Your precious memory is my keepsake, with which I'll never part.
God has you safe in His keeping, but I'll have you forever in my heart.

If tears could build a stairway, and heartache make a lane.
I'd walk the path to heaven, and bring you back again.

Our family chain is broken, and nothing seems the same,
But as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again.

Author Unknown

Thank you for the opportunity to let you know about my friend Marley


Posts: 686
Oh Jim, I am so terribly sorry for your loss.  Marley sounds like an absolutely wonderful boy.  I know he was the light of your life.  I lost my kitty soul mate, Gus, almost 6 months ago.  He was only 3 yrs. old.  It is so hard to imagine life without them.  Time does help to ease the pain.  I still miss Gus terribly, but most of my tears have given way to smiles as I remember all of the funny things he did.  Our boys will always have a special place in our hearts.

Please try not to feel guilty.  We all do it.  It is part of the grieving process, but everything you did for Marley was because of your love for him.  In the end, you gave him the most unselfish gift possible, a life free from pain and sickness, even though you knew the pain  would be unbearable for you.

When you feel ready, please try to post a picture of Marley.  I'd love to be able to see him. 

You are in my thoughts and prayers,
Kate (Gus' mom)


Posts: 699
Dear Jim,

My heart is aching for you, I am so very sorry you lost your Beloved Marley.

Your words are so full of love for your boy, and clearly you did all you could to take care of him and treat his illness.  Sometimes no matter what or how much we do, we can't fix the problem, we can't make it go away.  You gave him the ultimate gift of love by letting him go.

Remember the love you shared with Marley - that will never die.

My deepest sympathy,
Katharine, Grunt's Mom Forever

Posts: 5,100

Oh, Jim, my heart is breaking for you.  Your precious boy, Marley, was still so young, but just got so terribly ill.  I am so very sorry you had to say farewell before you could spend more time together.   There is nothing on earth like a beloved dog's love and devotion.   They love us so unconditionally, give so freely, and ask for nothing in return but our presence in their lives.   They live for us.  And when they leave us, it tears a piece of our heart out and changes us forever.

But, my God, aren't you blessed to have felt such deep love and affection for Marley?  And, wasn't Marley blessed to have you in his life?  Death cannot destroy the bond you have with him, nor his with you.  And, NO, you are not crazy for talking to him.  I still sing to my beloved little terrier, Betsy, whom I lost January 11th.  I can feel her strong spirit near me each day.   I think when the shock of your sudden, unexpected loss of Marley lessens, you WILL feel him, as well.  Your bond was simply too strong not to.  Trust me on this.

You gave Marley the most merciful, loving final gift, Jim.  You released him before he experienced that inevitable terrible pain associated with cancer.  What a selfless thing to do.  You completely put aside your own feelings and thought of him.  There is no greater love. 

Please don't feel guilty for not being in the room with him when he passed.  I was in the room with Betsy and still feel all types of guilt.   Marley knows your heart.  He felt your love surround him as the angels came to gently lift him to the Bridge.   We should all be so lucky at our hour of death. 

And, Jim, he feels your love now.  So, keep talking to him.  And, come here and talk about him as much as you want.   We will never tire of hearing Marley stories.   We will be here for you.

Sending big hugs from Texas,

Betsy's forever mom

P.S. I lit an internet candle for Marley under your name, Jim.  To see it, go to AurichWolf's Light a Candle Here thread on this grief support board.  Click on page one and then click on the little Light a Candle Icon there.  It will burn for 48 hours.


Posts: 62
Dear Jim,

Your love for Marley shines through your post. He sounds like a wonderful boy, and he knew how much you loved him every single day, even the last. Please don't let the guilt eat at you. You were incredibly strong in taking him to the vet and sending him off to the bridge before he felt any pain. That's the ultimate self-less act, and the most wonderful gift to him at your most difficult time.
Please take care of your self, keep coming back here when you need to. Your grief will eventually ease a little, to where you can eventually think and talk about him without the tremendous pain, but it will take some time, so just be kind to yourself meanwhile. Marley's spirit is still with you, it always will be, so keep talking to him when you feel like it.


Posts: 2,245
Dear Jim:
I am so sorry about your loss of Precious Marley.  Your post was heartbreaking and made me cry.  These Precious Angels bring so much Joy into our lives and when they leave they take our souls with them.  Christopher has been gone for over 14 months and I still cry for him every day.  While for some the pain does get better, that has not been the case for me.  Christopher was my Heart, My Soul and My Best Friend.  I will miss him and cry for him Forever.  This site is a wonderful place, full of understanding people who feel your pain.  We are all here when you need us.

Big Hugs
Christopher's Mommy

Posts: 23

Your post made me cry all over again.  Your story really was a memorial to Marley.

I know what you mean by talking to him.  They are our most special friends aren't they?

I am still in that fresh period of greiving as it's only been 15 days.  I went through this 2 years ago with my Sheltie and thought I was "prepared" this time, but I guess you never are. 

I have guilt this time too and I torture myself with all of the things I could have done.  There were some medical symptoms with my beagle too that I passed off as "old age" (he was 14) but it ended up being heart failure and if I would have caught it earlier some meds may have helped.  At this point even 6 months or a year is precious. 

I don't think you could have done anything else for Marley.  Her condition was too grave from what you wrote.  If you really listen to what the vet said and about the cancer moving so quickly, I don't think even catching it earlier would have helped in my opinion.  You were a kind friend in the end and I think her sleeping by your bed shows she knew that.

She was alive and vital up until the end and you can remember her that way.  I have had the three aging dogs with only my 15 yr old German Shepherd left now and it is a hard road to watch your once vital companions slow down a little more as time passes.  

The way you are grieving is a lot like I was with my Sheltie.  I couldn't bear to clean up his hair either for a while.  I finally did, but I did one weird thing; He slept across from my bed every night on a blanket by the wall and after a wet night he would come in dirty and leaves marks against the white wall.  I would always wipe the wall down, but after he was gone I didn't.  I would look across from my bed and think that's "his place" They were there for the longest time.  Until the painter came the following year in fact and I was embarrassed.  (I live alone so I can get away with being strange)

We grieve for a long time, but fortunately the sharp pain lessens with time.  Now I am going through it all over again with another.

My heart goes out to you and Marley

Posts: 1,569
The guilt is part of the process we here have gone Through, should of; could of, would of. You did the right thing for Marley and he is at peace. I was with my Peaches ten days ago when the vet released her from her pain. It was hard to do but I have had to do it more than once. In the end you did do what was best for Marley. I know the emptiness. I work evenings and my wife works days and me and Peach had our routines. I am lucky in that I have several other special friends a beagle and a long hair German Shepard but they are the outside type and Peach was my lap dog. I brought her home and she is in her favorite spot between two shade trees I stop there everyday before I leave for work and tell she is missed so much but she will be with me always in my heart. When I get home I say a little prayer over her for all the other special friends that have crossed the bridge and also for all the others who are going through what I am. This site has helped me cope with my loss. There are many here who care and we all have a common bond; we have lost a special friend companion and a soul mate. So sorry fro your loss, God Bless.------------Jerry in Oklahoma.

Posts: 3
Thanks to all for your kind replies and support. Each of your words are comforting as I make my way through the grieving process. Today may be a little tough. It's the first weekend day without him. No work to take my mind off of his loss.

Again, thanks to everyone. I will post a photo as soon as I figure out how.


Posts: 124
Dear Jim,

Marley was a special dog and friend to you. You touched each other's lives and you will never forget him. What a gift you have been given-the unconditional love of a dog. You are in no way responsible for what happened to Marley. In the end, marley would have died from cancer anyway. It was very fast spreading. You are in the bargaining phase of grief-maybe, woulda, coulda, shoulda. You were very concerned about him and did everything possible to save him. Cancer is a very fast spreading disease and it kills more dogs than any other disease. Guilt is anger turned inward and it is natural to feel that way after a loss. You have no reason to feel guilt. You did nothing wrong. The only thing you're guilty of is loving Marley. I wish I could take away your pain but you are in grief and you must work through it yourself. Cry those tears and work through this terrible thing that has happened but remember that a beautiful has soul has touched your life and you will never be the same.

Take care,


Posts: 205
Dear Jim...I'm so sorry about the loss of your Marley (great name)...He sounds like a beautiful've come to the right site for support....
I too had to assist my collie/chow Tai-Chi to the bridge 4 months ago tomorrow and I'm still grieving...there will be good days as well as bad..what helped me was I made a memorial page for made me break out pictures of her and I laughed and cried remembering when each one was taken....
Marley watch over your daddy and remember how much he loves you..
Tai-Chi's mom Lisa


Posts: 1,205
Dear Jim
Regrets are always with us, we always wish that we had done things differently, human nature I suppose.  I am so sorry that you had to let your Marley go, it is the most difficult thing I have ever done.  I have 8 babies at the bridge now, and most of them had to be PTS, though I lost 2 to road accidents.  Neither way is an easy way, I have grieved just the same.
May you soon find peace, Love Di xxx

Posts: 1,093
Dear Jim,

Your story of Marley is a beautiful tribute to the love you have for him. I know that we all (I think) have some regrets when all is said and done. What I also know, though, is that the ones we love, and who love us, do not. Marley was filled with love and he knew it. He will always be with you, too, regardless of whether his physical body is still here. I know it's not the same - but it is something. There are days when I still ache terribly missing my Molly, whom I lost 15 months ago, but there is not a day where I don't feel her presence here still. Some comfort, at least. There is a whole life that we must learn when we lose our best friends. Sometimes it's sad and lonely, but at times, too, it is filled with love and the warm memories of the greatest of friendships. I hope you can find that in time.

My heart goes out to you. I'm so sorry for your loss.



Posts: 3
Here's a picture of Marley.  It is from 3 years ago after he had gone in for his spring shave.

Again I wanted to thank everyone for their kind words and support.  You all have made a very tough weak easier.


Posts: 89
Jim, my heart goes out to you, I can tell from your post that you did everything humanly possible for Marley.
All the love you have for Marley came out in your post.
We lost our Sparky to bladder cancer and like you, I have asked myself a hundred thousand times, WHY I did not see the signs of him being so sick.  After Sparky died the vet there said that our fur babies are soo good at hiding they are sick that before we know anything is going on it is to late sometimes.
We did everything possible to save Sparky, but it was not meant to be. 
The what ifs will consume you, in fact yesterday I was reading a post here and someone said to be careful when syringe feeding our fur babies that if it goes in the lungs, pnemonia can set in. 
That got me to thinking that a few days before we took Sparky into surgery I had srying fed him and after his surgery he had a rattling sound in his chest I wondered if that is what killed him.  Even after
3 1/2 years I still have this guilt.  God will only know why Sparky and Marley had to leave us. 
We just have to wait till the day we see our fur kids again and be reunited with them.
Sparky is burried in our back yard and every day since he left whenever I go to work in the morning I say Good morning and tell him I love him and to watch over everyone else at the house.
Just know this site is here for you whenever you need it to help you thru your grief.
Hugs to you.  Sparky's Mom*Anna

Posts: 95
Jim, I am so sorry for the loss of your Marley. He sounds like a beautiful friend. I know your pain all too well. Coming home to a quiet house, no one to welcome you. You are not alone.

You beautiful poem says it all. Thanks for sharing it.

Take care.

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