My dog died suddenly last Wednesday 8/17 at 3AM. He had an hemangiosarcoma that burst and he bled to death internally. It was all so traumatic and scary. Basically he collapsed and I screamed and tried to pick up his conscious but limp body. I can normally pick him up even though he’s 72lbs, but it was impossible to lift his limp body. I pounded on my neighbors’ doors, but no one answered. I live on the second floor and I had to drag him down the stairs, trying to hurt him as little as possible. He was terrified. I was terrified and sobbing. Once I was at the bottom of the stairs, I managed to get his harness on and from there I lifted him up on his feet and I helped him up and walked as fast as I could to my car. He surprisingly got some strength back and managed to mostly jump in on his own.
He was breathing very hard as I drove 90 miles an hour to the ER vet. When I got there, I screamed for help. People came running out with a little metal stretcher. He had a seizure and his heart stopped. They performed CPR for 15 minutes, but they couldn’t get his heart to start again. His abdomen was full of blood as well as the sac around his heart.
I am so broken. I have had a lot of loss in my life, but this is by far the hardest. I’ve never loved anyone as much as I loved this dog. I know I’m not supposed to be this devastated by the loss of a dog, but I am. I was so connected with him. I have another dog and a cat, and I love them, but not nearly on the same level.
I don’t know how to keep going in life. I feel like I’m being punished for something, like my whole life is my punishment. I lose absolutely everything I love. EVERYTHING. He was my family. My best friend. My baby. My soulmate. The love of my entire life. I know that dogs die, but he was only 10. I’ve had him my entire adult life. Why does the universe take everything away from me? Why can’t I at least have my doggy soulmate for his full lifespan? Why did he have to die so traumatically?
I feel so guilty about how he died. He died Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. The Thursday before I took him to the vet to check out some pain he was having while walking with some weakness in his back legs. He is TERRIFIED of the vet and must take anxiety medication before we go. The vet said he had a herniated disc in his neck and that we would try some anti-inflammatory drugs and pain meds for 10 days and then see how it goes. The meds seemed to help. We went to the dog park the next day to walk around. On Saturday we went swimming for hours at a lake. He had such a great time and he was so strong and healthy. We took it easy on Sunday and Monday to not hurt his neck. Tuesday morning he was his normal self. Then he didn’t want dinner on Tuesday and he sat down during a potty walk. This concerned me because it had never happened before. Otherwise his potty was normal. I thought his neck was really hurting him again. He just wanted to lay in his bed and he began to pant a lot. I thought the panting was due to the pain and because it was very hot. I stuffed him with meds and put him in my bedroom (where the AC is) and gave him an ice pack. The panting didn’t stop and I noticed his belly was a little bloated. I don’t know why I waited so long. I was so anxious about it that I cried and then cleaned my entire apartment to distract myself. When I finally decided enough was enough, he only had 20 more minutes to live. I had no idea he was dying until he collapsed when he got up to go to the vet.
The ER vets were asking me all these big business and financial decisions. Did you know they charge for CPR by the minute? They kept asking me if I wanted to do x and x and x. I sobbed and said “Please save my dog. I don’t care what it costs.” They still kept asking. My head was spinning. I didn’t know he wasn’t breathing until they asked me about CPR. I couldn’t think. When he died the ER vet tried to explain things to me, but I didn’t understand. I couldn’t take anything in. The love of my entire life was gone.
I wrote a frantic email to his regular vet the next day because I just didn’t understand what happened to my baby. I wanted to know if I could have saved him, if he died because of my choices.
This was her response:
I hope you are taking it easy and taking time for yourself at this time. I was able to take a look at the records that dove had sent over. It sounds like he had a large amount of blood in his abdomen and around his heart. They did a quick ultrasound to see why his belly was so bloated and found that his whole abdomen was fluid filled (blood). The only thing we see usually that causes blood in the sac around the heart and blood in the abdomen, is a type of cancer called hemangiosarcoma. It is one of the worst diseases as it doesn’t show any clinical signs until it presents like that. It is a cancer that usually starts on their spleen and then can rupture at any time- even sleeping. Then they are essentially bleeding internally. With the blood being around the heart, it usually indicates that it has spread to the rest of the body. Prognosis is grave.
Just from a personal perspective, my husband’s family dog passed away from this as well as 10 years old. My family’s dog 6-7 years ago, was found to have a hemangiosarcoma on his spleen very early, but with me knowing what quality of life is with this condition, we ended up euthanizing him. Even when caught early, there is very little short of extensive invasive surgery and still only gives a short amount of time. I personally have not seen any pet that survives at any stage of this awful awful cancer.
Again, I am so very sorry for your loss. I look forward to seeing you with Scout next time. Let me know if there is anything else I can do.
XXX, XXXX, DVM
I feel some relief knowing that it’s not my fault that he died, but I feel so awful and angry at myself because I could have made his death less painful, calmer, and in my arms engulfed in love. I could have lovingly stroked him and said goodbye. Instead I let him suffer all night, his last few minutes were terrifying, and he died in a parking lot.
I love him so very much. I don’t even know how to deal with this. I feel so broken. My other dog is so depressed and confused. She’s been scared of me. She saw me scream and drag her brother outside and then he never came back. Why do so many bad things happen to me? Why am I not allowed to have love in my life. I try to be a good person, but it’s never enough. Cooper loved me as much as I loved him and I loved him with absolutely everything in me. He deserved so much better than this.
I’m trying to make up for the way he died by honoring him. There is a rescue group here that rescues dogs from California shelters and relocates them to our state because we don’t kill animals very often. I created a fundraiser to raise funds to rescue dogs from the high kill shelter where Cooper was born in 2006. This group may make this long term and set up “Cooper’s Fund” that is a long term fund that people can continue to donate to for the purpose of rescuing dogspecifically from Cooper’s shelter. I hope Cooper would be proud.
I’m trying to find a place where I can purchase 100 orange rubber balls (chuckit balls) that were Cooper’s absolute favorite thing in the world. I want to tie notes on the balls from Cooper to the dogs who may find them, and then spread them around at all his favorite places. The coast, the river, the dog park.
I got his ashes back this afternoon (Wednesday). They came back in a plastic baggie in a cheap tin can. I can’t bear this, so I’ve been looking at urns. It’s the most depressing thing on the planet. I don’t want my baby to be bone dust in a box. God my heart hurts. There is a huge sucking wound in my soul.
Now I am totally alone in the world. There is no affection in my life. No cuddles (my other dog doesn’t like to cuddle or play), no spooning giant black labs at night, no one to force me to take him on big adventures. No one to buy ridiculous things, like dog shirts and life jackets. My heart hurts. My life hurts. My soul hurts. One moment it doesn’t feel like it really happened, and at other moments I literally fall to my knees because the weight of the sadness is too much. Sometimes I forget (especially if I’ve taken sleep meds) that he’s gone and I call for him to come sleep with me and then I remember. I’ve not been able to keep food down. I need to take xanax more than normal just to manage my paranoia about my other dog. I’m so hypervigilant about her breathing and any noise she makes. I keep relieving Cooper’s death. I keep having nightmares about his death or that they were cremating him alive.
My soul hurts. I’m broken. I’m alone.