The loss of my pet
Please don’t judge me, everyone mourns differently
I put my beloved dog to sleep last month but I don’t miss her as much as I think I should. I know that I love her and will always love her but my life has not stopped, does that make me a bad pet mom? Who is to say how I should mourn the loss of my pet or of a family member for that matter. We all mourn differently, so please don’t judge.
My Baby was 12 years old, a black and white female Shi-Tzu
In the beginning
We had twelve wonderful years, she was my little girl since I didn’t have a daughter, only boys, and I called her my hairy daughter. I recall going to see her for the first time, I found her seller in the Miami Herald, remember when we still had newspapers? I was looking for a Shi-Tzu as my sister had just bought two and they were the cutest little things ever. I called the seller and we agreed to meet at her home, when I got to her home, she said that she only had one female left and she showed this tiny little black and white puppy. The cutest thing ever, I fell in love.
We took her home and we soon found out that she was not like other puppies, she was not as playful as other puppies and she didn’t want to be loved either. She had her own personality, it was on her time. But we loved her no matter what and she loved us unconditionally. She went on local trips with us to Sanibel Island, Captiva Island and on long car rides. She loved to stick out her head out the window and let the wind blow on her face. We had 9 wonderful years. Until one Sunday afternoon, my youngest son was goofing around and slipped off the sofa and landed where baby had been sleeping. I didn’t think anything of it until the following day, that I noticed baby’s eye a little cloudy. I immediately put the blame on my son’s fall. I took her to the veterinarian to get her eye checked out and told him what had happened of coursing I was already thinking that her eye condition was due to my son falling on her; however, the veterinarian, said, NO. This eye issue was not caused by trauma but poor breeding. She had an eye condition called Corneal Endothelial degeneration, for the rest of her life, her cornea would fill up with water blisters, if popped they created ulcers in her eyes.
Her veterinarian warned me that her eye condition will be getting worse and ultimately leaving her completely blind. I took her to see pet eye specialist, who performed a surgery in the hopes that we can save the eye that was having most of the issues, but the surgery was not a success. They wanted to perform more surgeries which at the time I choose not to proceed. I didn’t want to put my baby through any more surgeries, every since her first eye surgery, she had trouble swallowing; therefore, I didn’t want to put her trough more surgeries that required her to be intubated. Her previous veterinarian wanted to remove both of eyes but I couldn’t accept that as our only choice. For a couple of years she did well with special eye drops that would drain the water from the blisters therefore reducing the chance of her ulcers but I guess the eye condition was worsen and the eye drops were no longer working. She continued to get eye infections; therefore, she too was on daily eye antibiotics. What kind of life was that. I decided to switch veterinarians and took her in for a consultation, I took her records and after seeing her diagnosis he advised me not to remove her eyes, to allow her to live her life as best she could until the quality of life was not good.
As years went by the blisters on both her eyes were getting worse, there was so much eye drops and antibiotic ointments as part of her daily regiment. She hated the drops but she was a trooper, she never once was aggressive toward me when I placed the medications on her eyes. She was a wonderful dog!. In my opinion, until earlier this year, I believe that she was still able to see to some degree, not clear but I believe she was still able to see shadows and light. But something happened this past April She was spending too much of her day on her bed, only getting up to go for our daily walks, and to eat. Something was happening to my baby.
One afternoon on May 10th a day after my son had had ankle surgery, I came home from work and she didn’t come to greet me as she is so used to doing. When I giggle her leash to go outside for our afternoon walk, she didn’t get up from her bed. I started to worry as many times I will see her on her bed not moving and I would go check to see if she was still alive. I walked over to her bed and saw that she was blinking but didn’t want to get up. Her eye was extremely red and oozing some kind of discharged. I figured maybe she will get up if I open her can of food; but I got no reaction from her. I picked her up and took her outside to the grass in front of my house and she just laid back down on the grass. I knew something was not right. I called and made an appointment with her new veterinarian and took her in the following day.
Decisions had to be made
At the veterinarian’s office, they did a physical and she was fine, no fever. Her eye was an issue but they could not tell why she was not eating, drinking or moving without running some tests. At this time, financially, I was not able to cover additional expenses as my family had just been through my son’s ankle surgery and had to meet deductibles and who knows what other medical bills would be coming our way. Knowing that her eyes were in bad shape and the financial burden, I called my husband and my kids and told them that I will be making a decision. With tears in my eyes, I told the Veterinarian and his staff what I was thinking and would they think that I was a bad pet mom if I chose to end her life. The staff and my veterinarian were extremely understanding of my concerns and decisions. I am not sure what I would have done if I felt judged. You have to put yourself in my shoes.
I went ahead and asked for a quote and they told me that if that is the route I have decided to go, to take my baby home, love her, feed her her favorite treats and spend as much time as I could. I did exactly that, I took her home, I put her on my bed during her last days, I gave her her favorite snacks, Cheetos and the pizza crust.
On Thursday May 10th at 5:00 p.m. I came home from work, picked my baby up and took her for her last car ride 🙁 . My husband was meeting me at the Veterinarian’s office as he knew how hard this was going to be on me. But he didn’t realize how hard it was going to be for him as well. And I didn’t realize it either until I saw him tear up. They took us to one of the examining rooms where they laid a towel down on the examining table, I sat her on top of the towel and she just laid down. I kept talking into her ear telling her that I loved her and that I am so sorry that I would be doing this but that she will no longer be in pain or discomfort. The technicians prepped her up putting a line in her vein, they gave her a relaxer to calm her down, she was completely relaxed. The Veterinarian asked both my husband and I, if were ready and I said no, that I couldn’t watch, I took at peak at her and she was just laying down on her side still breathing. I couldn’t handle it and let out a yell and starting crying, at the same time I saw my husband with tears in his eyes. (I am crying now, as I sit in front of my computer wiring this post). I walked out of the room and my husband followed. It was a horrible experience and I know it is only a pet to some people but she was part of my family for 12 years. After all she was a family member.
Coming home that night was Sad, I knew she wouldn’t be home and I no longer needed to walk her before going to bed. There was something missing and it was Baby. I till have her red bed in my bedroom where she would sleep. I can’t get rid of it. It has her scent.
As days passed I was feeling guilty but not for making the decision to put her to sleep but because I was not missing her as I think I should. I heard of all this pet parents that do outrageous “in loving memory” for their pets, and that is completely fine, but it was not for me. I was relieved that she was no longer in pain and I was relieved because I no longer had that responsibility to care for her and make sure that she was fine. Am I a bad pet mom? Who is to say how I should mourn my loss? Why was I feeling guilty? NO, I will not feel guilty. I did the right think for my pet and my family.
Two weeks later, I received a very nice card from our Veterinarian, they knew that the choice I made was not an easy one and they saw how painful it was for both my husband and myself to be there that Thursday afternoon. The card read:
“Dear Acevedo family,
Losing a pet can be though, and it reminds us how short and precious life can be. May you be comforted by the peace of knowing
that you provided a loving home to your incredible pet”
In the end what matters is that I did what I thought was the best at such time for my Pet