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Posts: 4
Less than 48 hours ago I had to say goodbye to my best friend, Buster.

Buster was a 10-year-old labrador retriever. He was such a good boy. I got him when I was 10. Buster was just a few months old, weighed only 21 lbs, and was still learning about the world. He was my first love - I fell in love with him at first sight. From that moment on he has been my baby, my best friend. 

In his first years of life, he bonded with my grandfather. They were best best buds. When he was 3, my grandfather died of cancer and Buster grieved with us. After that, my grandmother took over as his main caretaker because I was in school and back and forth between my mother's house and my father's house (where Buster lived). When he was about 5 years old, he developed a severe skin allergy. He would constantly itch, scratch, bite his skin until his hair would fall out and his skin would bleed. We tried everything, but the dreaded prednisone was the only think that would help. 

We he was about 7, he became so ill. He lost so much weight and had no life left in him He was diagnosed with diabetes. We struggled with getting his glucose under control for a long time. His glucose started in the 800-900s, we were able to get it in the 200s at best. His luck y number was 36 units of insulin 2x a day. 

In the years following, he looked as good as he could with all of his problems. He enjoyed being a lazy old man and we loved him. When I would come home he would greet me with endless tail wags, he would put his head in my legs and i would scratch his butt and he would dance. He would lay down and I would snuggle him - he hated me sometimes because I drowned him in kisses. I loved him so much.

About 4 months ago, I moved 2.5 hours away to finish college. Friday afternoon my dad called me and told me that he wasn't doing well. He was vomiting, having diarrhea, and would lay down and dig a hole in the back yard. My dad rushed him to the emergency vet and I started driving. I met them at the hospital. The blood panel didn't show any major abnormalities. We decided to treat him at home for his own comfort. They sent us home with anti-nausea, antacids, and antibiotics. That night he wouldn't eat, drink, or sleep because he was so restless/in pain. This continued into Saturday. Because he wouldn't eat or drink (we tried to force it, but we didn't want to try too hard and put him in pain) we couldn't give him any medications. Saturday night I looked at him - he was dehydrated and instead of being restless, he just laid there. He was exhausted and in so much pain. I knew we had to take him back to the emergency vet, but I knew he might not come home.

When we got to the hospital, we waited for a while. Buster laid uncomfortably on the floor. He had no energy. After the doctor examined him, she explained - it could be several things (she suspected internal bleeding), but even with further tests and treatments, because of his age and his health conditions, if we continued treatment it would be more money spent, only to come to the same conclusion. She suggested and supported euthanasia. My heart was broken, but I knew what we had to do.

I laid on the floor with him for about an hour. My dad, my grandmother, and I did not want to say goodbye. I kept kissing him, rubbing him, and telling him how much I loved him. I wanted to stretch out those last moments for as long as possible. I filled our the cremation paperwork with my baby lying next to me. When the tech came in to insert the catheter, he didn't budge. She had to try multiple veins because his blood pressure was so low. He didn't fight it at all. I was somewhat thankful - I would has broken my heart if he was fighting.

I knew he wanted to go, but I didn't want to say goodbye. We helped my grandmother to the floor so she could kiss him one last time - he lifted his head for her. She left the room before we pushed the button to tell them we were ready. When the doctor came in, she assured us we were giving him the greatest act of love and kindness. She explained the process. The first injection would be a sedative to put him into a calm, detached, state of peace. The second would stop his heart. She warned me that after he was gone that his body my gasp. She assured that he would be gone and he wouldn't know what was happening. As she inserted the first needle, I stroked his head and told him I loved him over and over again and kept telling him that I loved him. I listened to him breathe. I did not want to let go. She inserted the second needle. His breathing sped up and my heart raced and broke at the same time. His breathing slowed, and then stopped. He was gone. I sat with him for a minute. I wanted to kiss him one last time - as I leaned in, his body jerked and gasped. It was so painful. This happened again and his eyes were left open and his tongue was hanging out of his mouth, cold. My dad couldn't handle it and wanted to leave. I told him I wanted a minute alone, but he wouldn't bear t stay in the building any longer. i covered him with a blanket and left my baby cold, lifeless, on the floor of a strange building with strange people. 

I wanted him back immediately. I screamed and cried into my boyfriend's chest in the lobby. I had just paid a doctor to kill the love of my life. I knew he was suffering, but that didn't stop the pain and guilt. I felt so bad that his last days were so painful.

I wonder if I had decided to keep him at the hospital on friday night and run more tests if he would still be with us. I wonder if he was digging a hole in the backyard so he could be alone to die. I wonder if he enjoyed his life with us. I wonder if he new what was happening, and if he knew I did it because I loved him and didn't want him to suffer. I wonder if it was the right time and if I did the right thing.

I miss him so much and our family isn't the same without him. I worry for my family when I go back to school and live 2.5 hours away. My grandmother lost her companion, and I have never seen my father cry so much.

The pain of having to say goodbye to your best friend is unbearable. I can't eat, sleep, or think. I'm living in a haze and I just want him back. I miss him and I will always miss him. My heart is so broken. 

Posts: 580
Dearest Buster's mom,
I know it's a cliche' but try not to feel guilty about letting Buster go. They always let us know in some way that it's time for them to go. I still feel guilty and I left Termy go on Sept. 18th and I still wonder if I did the right thing. We did, we really did. It's the greatest gift we can give them, to let them go and end their suffering. I am so glad you got there to be with him. I know someday we both will accept that we were the best Fur Parents and we loved them with all of your heart. I held Termy in my arms on that fateful day but I feel better knowing he didn't die alone and I was there with him in the end just as I was there for him all his life. I too wanted Termy back and still do. I also wondered about the what ifs. Did I rush the decision, could I have done something else etc. etc. But I think as you will someday agree we did what was best for out babies. Cry, yell or what ever you need to do. There are wonderful poems and also articles here on this site for dealing with all of the thoughts and feelings we all go through at this time in our lives. You are not alone, we all have been where you are now.
Write me and I will listen.
We all will.
Love and doggie hugs
Termy' mom

Posts: 3
I’m so sorry for your loss.

Your story is very similar to mine. I lost my Jeremy on Thursday. Losing him was unbearable and I didn’t want to leave him there. But I know it was the best decision for HIM, even though it killed me. I miss him everyday.

I try think of all the good times we had with him and all the funny things he did in his life. It’s getting me through. There are times when I’m overcome with grief, and that’s okay. But I’m trying hard to think of him and smile instead of cry all the time.

I hope it will get better. Hang in there. 😊

Posts: 4
Termy's mom,

Thank you so much for your kind words. In my heart I know Buster was ready, but the overwhelming desire to have him back makes me wonder what I could have done differently. I'm glad we were both able to be there to comfort them in their last moments. But sometimes I just replay that horrific moment in my head. I miss him so much.

I can just tell how lucky Termy was to have you.

Posts: 4
Jeremy's mom,

I'm so sorry for your loss as well. 

I wonder if I'll ever be able to look around the house without crying. I swear I can still hear his footsteps. It snowed last night and I just thought about how much he loved it. I hope it will get easier for us all.


Posts: 4
Another thing about his passing that is hurting me is that I made the decision without truly knowing what was wrong. The doctor suspected cancer or pancreatitis. She said we could do x-rays or scans ($500+) but feared that it would be more money spent to come to the same conclusion. During her examination she said he was feeling so much pain in his abdomen, and suspected internal bleeding. He wouldn't eat or drink. Or give us kisses. Or anything really.. I just feel so guilty for saying goodbye without knowing. Maybe there was something we could have done to make him better. 
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