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Posts: 1
My little westie girl died yesterday and I can't bring myself to accept it. Her name is Maia, she was so intelligent and mischevious, and she was still so young at only 8 years old.

She's had chronic issues with breathing for her whole life ever since my wife and I got her as a puppy. She was prone to infection and would have a runny nose often, needed to sneeze a lot and would sometimes cough to get stuff up, but she had antibiotics periodically to manage it and so we just got used to it over the years. She always seemed happy and energetic despite it.

Last week we took her into the vets to have her teeth cleaned and to have a sebaceous cyst removed (Westies are very prone to skin conditions), but her mucus had flared up and the vets decided that putting her under general anesthesic while her nose was so prone to blocking wouldn't be a good idea, so they prescribed some antibiotics, some medicine to help reduce the thickness of her mucus, and a low dose of steroids to help the other medicines work.

She improved almost immediately, and over the next few days perked up so much. She played with her toys and ran around with us and just generally seemed in very good health. Then suddenly we woke up on Monday morning and she was panting, only able to take short, sharp breaths through her nose and had been sick and done the toilet indoors multiple times. We waited for a couple of hours with her to see if she would improve, as she usually shakes off any illnesses, but when she didn't we took her back to the vet.

After some tests and being kept in for the day we were told that Maia had developed acute pancreatitis and that it had been complicated with pneumonia, most likely from breathing in bile. We were shown an x-ray of her lungs and they looked foggy, like they were filled with dust. She had been responding to the medicine they'd given her that day, so we were told to take her home and that we would see how she was doing the next morning. My wife stayed up that night to check on her, and when I saw her next on Tuesday morning she had gone downhill again, back to panting and now groaning in pain too, and refusing to eat or drink or even move.

We made a makeshift stretcher out of a blanket and a plastic container and carried to the car to take her back to the vets. They told us it didn't look good, but that they would administer more medicine before anything else but that we might have a hard decision ahead of us. For the rest of the morning my wife and I still had some hope that Maia would recover, but I got a call at 2pm to say that her pain was much worse, and asking us to come in as soon as possible.

We heard a dog screaming while we were in the waiting area, and found out once we were in the examination room that it had been Maia as the vet tried to move her into the room for us to see. I couldn't believe it was her, I'd never heard her yelp or scream like that before. She was still panting and in so much pain, it broke my heart to see her like that. The pain was terrible for her despite the amount of painkillers she had been given. We were told that it didn't look good, and so we took the decision to put her down before the pain got worse.

My wife and I stayed with her and talked to her and stroked her for a while before it happened, to tell her she was loved and that she was the best little girl ever, and that we were so proud of her. We got her during a very hard time in our lives and when we were both barely out of our teens, so we'd all grown up together. She was a baby to us more than a pet.

We held Maia while the injection was given and comforted her as best we could, and she rested her head on my wife's arm and looked at me as she died. We held ourselves together until she was gone and talked to her the whole time, but we couldn't stop crying once it happened. I still can't believe that we killed our little sweet girl yesterday. It was so sudden, and so without warning. She'd been healthy and so happy only 2 days before.

We said she was our rainbow baby, because she came along and brightened our lives up after such a dark time. On the drive home, with her little body in my lap in the passenger seat, the rain of the day had lifted and I saw a rainbow outside. I hope that it was from her.

We brought her home and buried her in our garden, and bought a cherry blossom tree and some colourful flowers to plant for her. She was our little rainbow baby and we wanted to commemorate her with colour.

I still can't believe she's gone. I feel so guilty, that I should have seen something wrong earlier. I don't understand how she could have gone downhill so fast. Every time I go into the kitchen where she slept I expect to see her, or to have to step around her as she tries to be as close as possible in case I drop something tasty. Everything at home reminds me of her, and I can see the tree where she's buried right outside. It doesn't feel real, but I know that it is.

We also have a cat, Sooky, who we can tell is upset. We let her sniff Maia before we buried her to try and help her understand that she was gone. None of it makes any sense to me and I can't imagine life going on without her. We had so many plans to take her places this summer now that we have a car, on so many great walks. And now she's gone. She should have had so many years left, but in only 2 days she went from seemingly healthy to dead, and I just can't wrap my head around it. My wife and I are both inconsolable and have no one else besides ourselves to turn to. We both feel so guilty and I think still in shock at how quickly everything happened. I miss her so much.

Sorry for the long post, this is all just still so raw. Thank you for reading about our little girl.

Posts: 106
I am so very sorry that you lost your little girl. I know how extremely grief stricken you are.  Unfortunately the only thing that will help relieve your devastation is time.  Nothing that I can say or do will help decrease the pain.  I lost my little girl Bella just over a month ago.  The grief is still with me lessens a tiny bit each day.   Nothing hurts as much as losing a dear friend and companion.  Please know that we are here for you on your journey.  Please take good care of yourself and remember to eat and get as much rest as you can.  The extreme grief will lighten up a tiny bit at a time but it will happen.

Bellas Mom,
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