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Posts: 5
I have two dogs--nine and ten years old. My nine year old, Rocco, is dying of lymphoma as I write this. I saw him born and fed him bottles. I have seen him everyday of his life. He has been the most devoted dog--my dog---never leaving my side. When he was a baby he would shake if I left. I'd always have to go back to get him. The vet said two months ago he definitely had lymes and started him on antibiotics. However, he was already loosing weight and had swollen lymph nodes. He would eat for several days and then refuse to eat, and then the cycle would begin again---no eating and then a few days later he would eat very well. The vet also said she suspected lymphoma but that we'd try the antibiotics first. She said if it was lymphoma--all that could be done was an $8000 course of chemo---or give him prednisone pills to keep him more comfortable. I asked if she would give me the prednisone pills then but she said NO NO---that they would have to do a fine needle biopsy first to determine if he had lymphoma. I said, "You wont give him anything??" She said NO.  He was already loosing weight fast and throwing up---and I had attributed it to the fact that we had moved to a new home with many stairs---and I thought with all the running around he was doing that perhaps he was overdoing it. And it was a hot summer. And, everyone said that perhaps he wasnt adjusting to the move and was anxious about his new territory. I managed to get all the antibiotics in---which was no small feat because he would spit them out even when I crushed them and some days he had no appetite. But then he got frail and lost more weight and I just knew I wouldnt be able to get those prednisone pills down his throat. Even if I had the needle biopsy for $250.00---which was a large sum at a time that I was laying out large amounts of money to turn on new utilities and get the house running-- I knew I couldnt afford chemo and knew he wouldnt take the pills. He just WONT take pills. He will do anything else.  Also, I had a car accident the week we moved in, so we had to buy a new car. Anything that could go wrong did. But the past few weeks have been bad, and I called the vet recently and a few others vets as well and they all said, "Well bring him in for a shot of prednisone!" And I thought, WHY DIDNT YOU TELL ME THIS BEFORE???  I should have known to question the vet. I should have called another vet. I should have explained I could not afford the biopsy right then, along with the cost of a visit and then another visit a week later when the results came in. But I hate myself because I SHOULD have called other vets, been firmer, done SOMETHING. Because now it is too late. He is so frail and weak, and I feel like I did this to him. I know I didn't cause the lymphoma and I know even with a prednisone shot, his illness will still be terminal. My husband doesn't think at this point a shot would even be beneficial. Everyday is worse than the day before and we are surprised he is still alive. But he keeps surprising us....and every morning picks his head up. I guess I hate myself for not doing something LAST MONTH. Why didnt I know? How stupid I am.  (lymes and lymphome symptoms are very similar--and of course I was praying it was lymes and not lymphoma.) Now he is too far gone--and I feel he is hanging on for me. He just wants to lay by me. I know he doesnt want to leave me. I have sat by him for hours and have fed him small bits of food. I managed to keep my dogs even when we were in an apartment and I gave both dogs a good life....but this haunts me. Will I prolong his suffering if I bring him in today for a shot? Is it more for me, rather than the poor dog? The light is going out of his eyes and the quality of his life is not what he would have wanted. He manages to keep down some water but doesn't want to eat. I know that soon he will pass....either naturally or perhaps I will have to put him down. I just never had such a devoted dog. He waits at the bay window for me whenever I leave, and when I return you see that white head looking down.  But the past few days, there has been no white head looking out the window. I know he is too weak to do it although he wants to. I guess I just cant forgive myself. Is this normal?  I also hate myself for not having more money. All of this happened right after the move and the car accident and money was so tight and I had to get my son ready for a new school district and pay for the school bus, clothes, supplies, etc. But my baby is dying and there is nothing I can do.  I feel like the worst doggie mom ever and I hate myself along with grieving the loss which I know is going to come. 

Posts: 628
Dear VeryCozy, My heart was breaking as I read your post.  What heart ache you are going through.  It is truly unbearable to watch our dear pets suffer.  
I know, I have been there, just very recently.  We lost our Bonnie Lou in June of this year.  We had her 13 years.  I watched her health decline very quickly.  I prayed to God to take her in her sleep so we would not have to make that decision.  But, it did not work out that way.  We had to have her taken in and then come home without her.  Very, very sad day for us.
We had her cremated(private cremation---so I know that it is only Bonnie in the box).  I have her box here in the computer room surrounded by her pictures and a flameless candle behind the box.  As long as I am alive, that candle will always burn.
Do not blame yourself for your sweet one's decline in health.  When our pets get ill, it can come on very fast and with no warning.  You did the best you could do under the circumstances.  Sounds like you had a lot going on during this time.
And do not blame yourslef for not being more assertive with the vet about the medicine.  I would have done the same as you.  I am not a very assertive person, and I trust the people that give me advise and am a little afraid of people that have a little "authority" over me. 
I will be praying for you; keep us posted and come back anytime.  We are here for you.

Posts: 116
Verycozy, I understand how you feel. I think most of us here who lost a pet to a disease think: I could have done this, I should have done that, why did I miss the signs, If I had more money. You love Rocco, you gave him a wonderful loving life.

Your love shines through in your post. We are all human Verycozy, allow yourself to be human. Ill pray for strength and courage for you, be strong for him.


Posts: 1

Dear Verycozy....My heartfelt thoughts are with you. It is so hard to watch a loving pet suffer in any way. On August 30th I lost my best friend in the world. She was a 14 yeard old chihuahua named Zoe.She was a shelter dog and a part of our family for over 11 years. Like your beloved dog she became very ill suddenly. I have 3 dogs and one had surgery in March for bladder stones..not to mention regular check ups I always did what I could best afford for all of them. Zoe never really showed signs of not feeling well or slowing down until about a month before her passing. She went to the vet and I got her pills for arthritis. Then she perked up..only temporarily. She had a hard time climbing the stairs or getting on and off the furniture...At night I slept with the light on holding her in my arms. One night...that last Sat night together I woke up and saw her sweet face just staring at me. She no longer gave kisses and she had stopped eating. Her wieight loss was rapid. On the last Sunday we had together I held her and cried...I knew it was time...she was very sick and had held on for me....She was my everything. Not a day went by that she wasn't told I lover her or kissed...we were always together.....she was mine. I called the vet on the 30th of Aug...that afternoon I made the toughtest decision of my life. I could have subjected her to endless tests and an IV for hydration....but as the vet said..we would still end up in the same place. I held her and cried for over an hour..just the 2 of us alone...and then the time came to say good bye. My precious little girl was cremated and now rests in Angel View Cemetery. Last Thus one month to the date of her passing I went there. I needed to see where my baby's last trip was. They were very kind and I sat for a few hours just reflecting on our life together. I am very sad...and I cry every day...but I am blessed that she had a peaceful and humane death and was laid to rest with dignity and in a safe and  beautiful place. I wish you peace and healing whatever your decision. None of your pets illness was your fault. Your dog is loved and cared for to the best of your ability. Even millionaires don't have enough money when their pets time has come. So please don't place blame on yourself. My thought are with you.


Posts: 596
I'm crying with you. I did the same thing to my darling Bubba. The light was leaving his eyes, he didn't want to eat, he was just very old and very tired and until things became an emergency, I made him hang on for me. I felt very guilty about that after I made the decision to let him go. But the decision was made for me when he had a crisis and I had no choice.

I will say in retrospect that I will never do that again to one of my dogs. The guilt I felt was overwhelming. But at the time, I didn't want to loose my darling boy. This is one of the hardest things you'll face. Only you can make decisions for your lovely Rocco. And only you will live with whatever feelings you have because of your decisions.

I feel so sad for what you're going through. You have no reason to blame yourself for any of this. It's so natural to blame ourselves when we're helpless to stop the progression of disease. It's horrible to watch the one you love suffer and fail.

I wish I could do more for you. My heart breaks for you because it's so similar to my situation. All you can do is your best, whatever that is. He knows you  adore him, and obviously he adores you too. Bless you both.

Posts: 541
Dear VeryCozy,

I am so sorry you are going through this heartbreak. My eyes filled with tears reading your post. Alot of us here know the pain you are going through.

Please don't beat yourself up about what you haven't done. You have done what any pet-mom would do. You listened to your vet and trusted her. You were doing all you could do at the time and you had so many other things going on in your life, too. Yet you still were trying to help your boy. I have suffered through so much guilt about listening to our vet for so long and I know how that feels. Like you, I didn't realize that my dog was not treated properly until it was too late and there was no option but to put him down once I finally took him to another vet. We just have to remember that we were doing what we thought was best for our dogs at the time with the knowledge we had. It is natural to trust out vet. They're supposed to know what they are doing!

My thoughts and prayers will be with you and sweet Rocco during this difficult time. My heart just breaks for you as I know how horribly painful this is. Please let us know how you and Rocco are doing.

God Bless. Sending hugs,

Posts: 356
Dear Sue,
I am so sorry to hear of your Rocco and the pains you all have to be going through. Please don't beat yourself over the obstacles and whys, Rocco's sickness was and is terminal and you didn't cause it. You tried to help as much as you could under the circumstances and he knows that. He loves his mommy and knows mommy loves him too. Help him through this, be with him.
We are here to support you.

My thoughts are with you, your family and of course Rocco.

Posts: 564
Verycozy, I'm so sorry for what you're going through.  I know too well the feelings of helplessness, self-anger and guilt, having been through it all just recently, and still having some problems.  I lost both of my sweet dogs in July, three weeks apart from one another.  Luke was 13 years old and Lil was 12. 

Like your Rocco, my Lil was diagnosed with Lymphoma in June, and by the time it was discovered, there was no way to contain it.  She was immediately put on prednisone and pain medication just for comfort hope that she would live more than a few weeks.  If that wasn't devastating enough, my Luke, who has struggled with diabetes for the last three years, sensed that his little buddy was terminally ill, and he quit eating!  That completely messed up his diabetes, and over the next 1 1/2 weeks, he starved himself.  He was so ill that I needed to release him from his pain on July 5.  Little Lil, besides being so sick, missed her buddy terribly, and was heart broken.  Three weeks to the day later, I needed to release her, as well. 

These dogs were my children, and I loved them dearly!  Now there were none!

But, here's what I've learned by coming to this forum....there are people here to whom I can bare my soul, and they will never judge me.  When I felt like I was the lowest piece of dirt on the earth, they helped to lift me back up, out of the black hole of despair.  I have stayed, because not only do they help me with my healing, but now I get the opportunity to help others with theirs, as well.  I can truly say that these folks have saved my life.

Please come back here, and use this PetLoss family as a sounding board, as well as a place that will help you to maintain your sanity.  As unbelievable as it may seem to you right now, your pain will lessen with time, and with the support of people who have been through the same deep pain as you have.  May God Bless you and give you comfort in your grief! Rick

Posts: 282

Clara,  please don't hate yourself.  No, you're not stupid.  You trusted your vet and why wouldn't you?  She is the professional.  Don't blame yourself for not pushing her. At the time you believed she'd given you all of the options.  Now you've found some other vets who are willing to do more.  That's common in medicine.  Some doctors believe in exploring more avenues.   Even though your husband thinks the shot won't help,  I think it's a good idea for you to get it for him.  If it alleviates some of his discomfort and gives you the peace of mind to know you did all that you could do,  it will be worth it.     If you feel after the shot,  that his suffering is just being pro-longed,  you will have other options. It's a matter of being there for him.  Rocco doesn't need you to be perfect.  He doesn't know anything about human medicine.  He just wants you to be by his side. Dogs live for the day.  So if you are by his side and he lives one more day, he'll be happy.  If you're by his side and he lives 5 more years,  he'll be happy.   It's all the same to them.  It's only humans who measure our time in months, years, and decide what's fair and what's not fair.   Rocco is so lucky to have you.  He just wants to feel your love and comfort. 


Posts: 1,523
Dear Sue,

I came here today, praying to be a help and blessing to someone. I prayed that My Father lead me to who "He" wanted to talk to. It is you. Sue, I love My precious Sammy beyond measure. I would have laid my very Life down for him. Sammy got sick. Very quickly. And then he went on Home to Jesus. I have to say, that even if I had known that Sammy was sick... I would not go to Heroic measures. Not that I wouldn't want to spend the money or anything like that. It's just that it seems to me, that once they have a serious and I do stress SERIOUS diseases, it's so hard on "them" to do things that just prolong suffering. I know many would not agree with me. But they cannot tell us how bad they hurt. How sick they are. Our Babies are not afraid of Death, they just don't like the process. I believe that our Babies pray and praise their Lord. And it just might be that Rocco is praying to go Home and be with His Creator. He IS such a Good and Faithful Servant, and loves you with all his heart. He may be praying that you give him the most Beautiful Gift of Love that you could possibly give him. It's not your fault for any reason. It's so hard to lose our Heart of Hearts. It is devastating. But please don't let the evil spirit of guilt have any part in this time. It doesn't belong. We are here for you Sue. We truly do know what you are going through. I pray that your Heart be filled with Wisdom Sue. Always remember... It's just until then. The Love that you and Rocco have together is Forever. My Heart is with you. God bless you and Rocco.

Love, Mayme ~ Sammy's Mommy

Posts: 5
Thank you. I broke down after I wrote this and held poor little Rocco and cried and he sniffed my tears. Then I tried to buck up for the sake of the dog and talked to him normally. And happily. Yes, it was a fast decline and I am so confused as to what is best. This is killing me. He keeps hanging in there---I know he doesnt want to leave. But it is see him suffer. I also lost a cat 10 years ago, under tragic circumstances. It was TERRIBLE. But this is killing me. When he has the strength, he scrambles to get up and shakily and slowly comes to try to find me. I've never seen such strength, and such a will to live. He doesn't want to go. He wants to be next to me. The poor baby insists on going outside to do his duty although I have an area of newspapers on the deck for him...although it is difficult for him to get up and down, he is resolute and what bravery he shows. What bravery. The love of a dog is truly unbelievable. (dont worry, I have blocked the stairs now. Its too risky.) 

When I was at the vet, I was really in shock when she said he probably had a terminal illness. You know, I was in shock. I wish the vet had given me more info, more options. When they tell you something that devastating, don't they know its all too much?    

Posts: 5
Thank you all for your lovely thoughts and they are so soothing, and your losses are just as devastating.  All the losses are so terrible. I know I cannot second guess myself. I know in my heart I did all I could do. I know its the lymphoma doing the damage, not me or anything I didnt do. I cried as I read all your posts. All of you understand so much. Even my family--who loves the dog---they just dont have the attachment I do. I mean, they feel bad, but they are coping much better. In one way I feel I couldn't get another pet---I dont know if I can go thru this again. At least if I had more money I could keep my baby a little more comfortable, but I know that's just my way of coping. Sometimes that is just prolonging the inevitable, I suppose, and it makes us feel better, that we can do something. Thanks for all your support. If anyone wants to send me a PM or email, that is fine. I am quite broken up. But reading all your stories helps a lot. We are all in this together--all of us animal lovers. I truly hope they are waiting for us on the other side. Is it true that animals come back? Is there really a animal heaven, do you think??

Posts: 11,059
Your story is very heartbreaking and I am sorry you're going through this right now.  You are a very loving and caring fur mom and your precious dog has been blessed to have you in his life.  When a beloved pet becomes ill, all of us question whether we did enough.  I have been down that very same is well traveled by everyone who loves their pet to pieces.  I pray that Rocca has a peaceful journey.  The rainbow bridge is a wonderful place where our babies are safe from all harm.  Someday, we will be reunited with them for all of eternity. Your petloss family understands what you are going through and we're here for you.

precious Christoph ~ sweet bunny boy ~

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