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Posts: 4
It doesn't even feel real yet. He was only 6 years old and had never really been sick before, but 5 weeks ago, symptoms started coming on pretty suddenly. He stopped eating (which was very weird for him because he had a never ending appetite for anything and everything), was vomiting and lethargic, and was having trouble breathing. I was back and forth from the vet every week while they ran every test, xray, and ultrasound they could think of, but they couldn't come up with a definitive diagnosis, they just suspected some form of GI disease. He was put on some steroid medication in hopes that that would treat the symptoms and give him his appetite back, but he kept getting worse and worse. I finally took him to the ER last weekend because he was having so much trouble breathing. They drained the fluid out of his chest and kept him there for more diagnostic testing. Once he was a little more stabilized, the plan was to do an endoscopy to try to biopsy a piece of his intestines to see why he was losing so much protein and accumulating so much liquid in his chest. He went into cardiac arrest as soon as he was put under anesthesia, so they had to immediately stop and wake him up. He stayed in the hospital for another 3 days but his health kept declining despite the round the clock care. The vet suspected at this point that it was either a very severe form of IBD or intestinal lymphoma and didn't think he would recover. I didn't want to see him in pain anymore so I made the hard decision to bring him home for one last night with me and scheduled someone to come to the house to put him to sleep so that he would be with me where he felt the most relaxed and at peace.

I know he was sick, but I keep thinking I made the decision too soon. He was only 6. What if all he needed was one more day on the medication to start feeling better? What if he would have responded differently to another treatment plan? The vet didn't think he'd make it through the night without his IV care, but he did, and he ate his favorite salmon dinner, had chicken for breakfast, and seemed like he was in fairly good spirits, all things considered. By the time the euthaniser got to my house, I was so torn about what to do. She told me it was better to do it while they were having a good day, than to wait until they were in pain and miserable. Laying there with him and watching him slip away was one of the hardest things I ever had to do.

My vet had offered to do a free biopsy afterwards so we could find out exactly what had happened, so the lady helped me put his body into my car so I could drive him over. After she left, I just sat in the backseat of my car with his head in my lap for 2 hours because I couldn't bring myself to truly say goodbye and drop him off. It's been a few hours now since I dropped him off and I can't stop crying. I can't bring myself to put any of his toys or food bowls away, but every time I look at them I'm reminded that he's not here. My house just feels so empty without him now, it was only the two of us here. It's just not fair that he had to be taken from me so soon. I thought I'd have at least another 5 or 6 years with him to make memories.

RIP Rigby: 3/10/13 - 12/13/19


Posts: 599
My heart goes out to you.  I had to make this dreaded decision a short while ago too.  It's been 12 days now and I still have waves of sudden awful sadness and crying.  I'm sorry this all happened to your beautiful loving friend.  We never know how long they will be in our lives, and it's never long enough.

Posts: 17
I am so sorry for your terrible loss. You were an awesome pet parent to Rigby. I would recommend being around a loved one for a bit. Make sure you reach out to all of your family and friends. It helps to talk about your feelings. Talking to other pet parents helped me a lot.

We put our dog Hank to sleep Saturday the 7th. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Posts: 10
It’s so hard.  My girl has been gone 4 weeks and her beds are still out. I am slowly... very slowly... getting rid of things or putting them in storage when I have the strength.  I picked up her ashes and that was brutal, too.  BUT.  Time does help. Journaling and posting about your boy and your love helps. Crying when you need to, allowing yourself to grieve fully helps. 

I am so sorry. My girl was only 5, so I understand the tragedy of the age.  But your boy had been suffering for a while, and they still didn’t know what was wrong. So you know you made the right choice.  It’s hard, and we all second guess.  But you did the loving thing. Be gentle on yourself.  (((Hugs)))

Posts: 41
I'm so sorry for your loss. You made the best decision you could with the circumstances you were in. I struggle with the same guilt since my Mia was put to sleep on October 28, thinking maybe she would have rallied but knowing she would not. You gave Rigby love and devotion and a good life and you can take comfort in that. I know it feels like your life together is unfinished, so much more to do together that will not happen, but I found it helpful to write a kind of journal of memories. I know time will take some of them away and I wanted to remember her little quirks and her sweet personality. Everyone grieves in their own way, so just take it slowly and do what you need for yourself - cry or scream or sleep or keep all of his things near you. Talk to people who understand. I wish you peace. Hugs.

Posts: 1,191
I am so sorry for your heartbreak. I can completely understand about holding on to his body and not wanting to give it up because then it would really mean he is gone...

When my Squeeker died, I did in-home euthanasia and I did not take his body in to be cremated until 4 days later. I knew he was gone, but I just could not stand to let go of  his body. When I went to the pet cremation place, I just sat in my car for about 20 minutes, not wanting to get out of the car because then it would mean he'd truly be gone and I wouldn't have his beautiful fur to smell or pet anymore. Thankfully they were able to do the cremation right then, so about 2 hours later I came back and picked up his ashes. I cried all the way home because the finality of his passing was truly real - no more Squeeker to hug, smell, pet, to be with. 

It's so hard. Rigby was such a beautiful soul...My heart goes out to you...

- Kelly
Angel Blackie's mom
Angel Squeeker's mom


Posts: 4
Thank you everyone for the kind words, it still doesn't even feel real yet. I started writing down everything about his sweet, goofy personality that I could think of and all of our memories so that I'll never forget as time goes on.

@goofygirlinva, I wish I could've kept his body with me longer, all I could think when I was sitting in the backseat with him was that now I'm this weird girl cuddling a dead body and no one would understand. I was just in so much denial that this had actually happened and didn't want to let him go. I wanted to remember exactly how his fur felt and how comforting it had always been to me to stroke it and thought that if I stopped, I would forget. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who did this and maybe it's a little more of a 'normal' reaction that I thought.
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