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30 Aug 2017
Yesterday I lost my nearly 8 yo dog Kobi. I rescued him as a pup from a terrible start in life and he came out of his shell and became the most sweet loving confident boy. He was a fit apparently healthy dog who worked sheep on my farm with me and my other dogs. About 5 days ago he was finding it hard to get up and was limping, he was also off his food. I gave him dog anti inflammatory medication and the next day he was up on his feet and eating well. Over the next few days I limited his exercise and then he was feeling much better and asked to come on our daily walks across the paddocks.

So in the day before he died, I had to go and do some sheep work and I left him behind in the house, but later that day he again came on a walk with me. He was very slow but I thought he was just recovering from his sore leg as he was favouring it slightly still. I had taken him off medication that morning.

That evening he was off his food again and I thought because his leg was painful. My plan was to take him to the vets to get x-rays done on his legs and hips to check for arthritis. Anyway I gave him another painkiller and he ate a bit of food. Some hours later late at night he threw up his food. I took his temperature and it was normal along with a cold wet nose. So I didn't worry too much

As the night progressed he started to try and drink a lot of water and was throwing up and salivating. I live a long way from vet help and thinking it was just a gastro problem I decided to wait until morning when the vet opened. There is an emergency vet about an hour away but she operates out of home and has young children and I didn't want to wake her up for what seemed like a case of gastro. The nearest proper emergency hospital is a 3 hour drive away.

I tried to make my dog as comfortable as possible, left the lights on and the back door open so he could get out and I spent a restless night listening to him drinking, throwing up and then lying in his bed. I went out to check on him sporadically and as morning came he seemed to be resting in is bed, I felt helpless as how to help him and was feeling exhausted myself. I phoned the vet as soon as they opened and said I was bringing him in. When I lifted him out of his bed I realised he was going into a coma and the thought crossed my mind that he was dying. I was the longest hour drive in the vet. By the time I got him there he was dead.

I was completely devastated. The vet thought that there had probably been some underlying issue that was surfacing and thought it possible that even if I had got the dog to the emergency vet in the early hours of the morning there would not have been much she could have done.

Apart from really missing this sweet boy I am now wracked with feelings of guilt that I didn't pick up some signs earlier because I was busy and also convinced it was just likely arthritis in his legs. A vet had checked him over a some time ago and said that there was minor pain in his legs probably from a bit of arthritis.

I also feel terrible having listened to him vomiting through the night thinking that it a trip to the vet first thing in the morning would be okay. I feel guilty that I might have let him down and that I didn't get to say a proper goodbye.

I know I gave him a great life with me but losing him young coupled with these feelings of guilt about perhaps not being there for him the night he got sick I find very difficult to get past.
20 Nov 2014
I found this site while trying to work through the loss of my dog Holly who I love so much. I have so many feeling lof love, loss, regret and guilt.

Holly was my heart dog, a dog so precious and special to me because of our amazing bond. I have lost loved dogs before and each one hurt a lot. This time it feels worse than ever. It was very unexpected even though she had just turned 14. Her coat was glossy and she had a great appetite and was always ready to come for a short walk with me. I kinda thought we might have another couple of years together.

8 weeks ago I was in an accident that fractured a couple of bones so I was very much concentrating on getting better and trying to run a small farm, so my attention wasnt so much on the dogs. I did notice about 4 weeks ago that Holly seemed to be breathing heavier than normal and perhaps wasnt quite as keen on coming for a walk. Her appetite was great but a couple of times she seemed to choke on her kibble. I looked in her mouth and her teeth are pretty worn and she eats fast, so I decided to wet her kibble and feed a commercial RAW diet with some yoghurt which she loved and there was no more difficulty swallowing.

She seemd to be doing well but I noticed her starting to pant more again so I made a vet appointment on a Friday. Out here a vet is a 2 1/2 hour round trip and the emergency vet is a 6 hour round trip. The vet examined her and said her heart seemed fine and that she probably just had old dog lung problems and gave me a bronchiodilator and suggested I bring her in for an x-ray the next week if they didnt help. She could have done the x-ray that afternoon but I couldnt wait around outside for hours in the heat, because of where I live it is just not a question of me going home and waiting and I still feel guilty about that although the vet has told me that she hadnt seen it as urgent at all.

Well she seemed fine and that afternoon was barking at the other dogs when I was training them and getting her share of eating sausage treats I use. Saturday evening she seemed less keen on her food so I fed her raw steak which she loved. She seemed to be getting worse so I stopped the medication in case she was having a reaction to it. Well Sunday night was one from hell, poor little thing could hardly breathe. I was up all night and no way of getting her to an emergency vet safely because of the vast distance. I have never felt so alone and was the longest night ever.

X-rays at the vet the next day showed a pleural effusion and shadows on her lungs. The vet drained the fluid and I took her home to await test results. The draining had eased her breathing but I was still up all night. The next day she was very calm but had stopped eating or drinking. She wanted to come in the car when I took the other dogs to check the sheep. It was a hot day and her lack of drinking and eating worried me.

I rang a vet friend who is also a specialist and she told me that a pleural effusion in an old dog is never good and was most likely cancer. I booked her in to the vet that day to euthanaise her. The results hadnt come back and the local vet does not do consults after mid day and I couldnt put my Holly through another night struggling to breathe, but we all agreed it was most likely cancer and her lung cavity was starting to fill back up as she was starting to pant. Her colour was poor and she was starting to dehydrate. I couldnt put her through any other intervention just so I could hold her longer so she went to sleep while I held her. I cetainly didnt want her to die overnight at the vets alone in a cage. The vet was great and we had a long discussion before I made the decision and it was so hard but I knew it was the right one. The test came back later and confirmed cancer.

My specialist friend told me it was unlikey I would have picked up the signs early enough to save her as they do very well on 25% of their lung capacity. I just felt so unprepared and I guess I feel some guilt from having had to concentrate on myself after my accident. I wish I could have held her more and spoilt her more. I wish I had had the x-ray done that Friday and waited for a few hours in the heat, I would have if I had known.

We had some great adventures together and she knew how much I loved her and had so much trust in me. All the other times I have been able to take her pain away and get her better. Not this time and boy does that hurt.

I have 4 other young dogs who love my attention but it was Holly I had the extra special relationship with. I am definitely finding it hard to let her go. Each morning I wake up with this knot in stomach. I call her and tell her I love her and always look to her favourite sleeping place. Her eyes would shine like diamonds when I did stuff with her and she used to look at me with such love. She was always the first to greet me when I came home. She has left a chasm in my heart the size of the Grand Canyon.

I think just talking about it on a site like this is helpful. Most people out here wouldnt understand, they have working dogs like I do but have no hesitation shooting them when they get old or cant work.
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