I just had to sign my toy Chihuahua's death warrant, as I refer to it, at the vet's hospital -- to put my best friend down after 13 1/2 years of always being together as much as possible. On Friday, he was fine; on Saturday he started vomiting a little. On Sunday, I took him to the PetPB hospital in Boynton Beach, Fla. They did tests that showed his kidneys were shutting down. They did everything from IVs to flushing his kidneys to try to help. On Monday, I had to do it. It happened so fast and I feel so helpless in not understanding what signs I could have missed, as I've always tried to be very watchful of all my critters. I feel like I did something wrong, that it's my fault. He came into this world alone and picked me to be his best friend at six weeks old. But he didn't leave this world alone, as he will always be in my heart forever. Please advise. I guess I'm writing to you in the hope that you can help me cope. I just don't understand what I did wrong and what signs I missed.
S.D., Boynton Beach, FL Aug 23, 2011
Many people who have never experienced the bond of love with an animal cannot comprehend the depth of grief and frequent feelings of guilt that come with the death of a companion animal. In many communities, often facilitated by local humane societies or by veterinary referral, there are support groups to help grieving souls like yourself. I am sure that if your dog had shown earlier signs of kidney failure (such as excessive drinking, nausea and disinterest in food), you would have taken your little dog for a veterinary appointment. Dogs with kidney disease often seem to cope well and appear to be healthy, then suddenly they go into acute renal failure. Do not blame yourself. You and the veterinary hospital did their best to save his life. The one blessing is that he passed away quickly and his suffering was not protracted, as is so often the case with chronic degenerative diseases. This past July 19, we euthanized our 15-year-old dog, Batman, and I can understand fully what you are going through -- especially wondering what you did wrong and what signs you missed. This is only natural. Some people blame the veterinarians instead, all such recrimination being part of the anger, frustration, helplessness and despair associated with this emotionally challenging event. Give the process time and focus on the love shared and special moments over your years together.
8/22/2011 7:13:15 AM #
I have been a faith reader of yours for some time. Your heart for pets and their owners is extremely large. This article is just one of the many times it stands out. Bless you.
8/25/2011 5:51:12 AM #
Dear S.D., I too had to put my beloved 13 1/2 years Shi Tzu to sleep on August 21st. She was fine one day and the next day she had a seizure and could not walk. It happened so fast for us too that we are in shock! Grieving for your best furry friend is unbearable and I am still numb. I too need help in coping. Just wanted you to know that you are not alone. BJC, St. Charles, MO
10/31/2011 7:20:15 AM #
I had to "put down" my girl Susie down about 6 years ago. I still cry over her. She seemed healthy then started to lose weight, then her hair..she moved slowly, did not want to eat, etc. The vet just treated her for allergies with shots (I think this was the cause). She lasted a few months until one morning I came down to get ready for work and she had dragged herself to the kitchen...she had pooped all over and had it on her. Will never forget that image as long as I live..I took a washcloth, cleanned her as much as possible, took a big towel, wrapped her, called the vet and held her for hours until the time to take her to the vet. He gave her a shot to euthanize her. I put my head down next to hers and told her to "go" that I loved her. I have not and will not ever get over this. I cry even now..she was my baby.
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