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25 May 2014
Last Thursday, I made the difficult decision to help our senior dog cross the Rainbow Bridge and am now filled with pain and doubt beyond what I have ever experienced. Hope came to us as a short-term foster dog 2 months ago. When I went to the shelter to pick her up, they handed me an old, overweight, stinky beagle that had been overbred and found under a bush in someone's yard. I brought her home, bathed her and quickly discovered she had difficulty breathing and I was afraid she would not last the weekend. She was deemed unadoptable by her rescue so we decided to keep her and get her the medical care she needed to live out what time she had left.

After an X-ray and blood test, my veterinarian diagnosed her with advanced heart-worm, lung damage and a heavy parasitic burden. She was not a candidate for aggressive treatment. She spent the next 30 days on antibiotics and steroids and we got her started on heart guard (slow kill method). For a while she improved. Then came the cycles of severe diarrhea lasting 3 weeks. It cumulatively took its toll. I would get it under control just to start again. Some nights I had to pick her up and carry her outside to go to the bathroom just to get her going. She had ups and downs.

Despite it all, she was the most gentle, humble, sweet soul I have ever met. My other dogs and cats took to her immediately. She asked for nothing and was grateful for every kind word and pat on the head. Her favorite spot in the house was in front of our oven staring at her reflection in the glass. It made her so happy. She spent most of her time moving from dog bed to dog bed throughout the house. Her presence gave me such amazing peace and comfort. After over a dozen foster dogs, I never connected with one like Hopie. I believe she must have belonged to someone who loved her at one time despite the obvious neglect she endured. I was just so happy to have her in my life.

My mother came to stay with us and after observing her for a few days, suggested that she would never improve and the best we could hope for was an extension of her current existence. Her constant cough was a reminder of the disease she carried in her heart. Her slow movements a reminder of the daily battle her body was undergoing. The diarrhea and vomiting reduced her quality of life further. I made the appointment to euthanize her spontaneously one morning while I had the courage. I cried the whole way to the vet. My husband offered to take her, but it needed to be me. I walked her slowly around the building to say goodbye and scooped her up in a blanket and brought her in. I felt remorse the minute I stepped into that office and have been filled with intense, unmanageable anguish since. I held her face in my hands and stared into her eyes as she drifted away. No one else in my family shared the connection or appreciation for what an amazing dog she was. I am devastated and empty. Thoughts of "I did not do enough" or "give it enough time" plague me. I'm having anxiety attacks. I've had to euthanize a pet before and it was devastating. The difference is I had them forever. I knew their medical history. I knew the progression of their health. I knew they had been loved. With Hope, I only had what little information my veterinarian could gather. I knew life treated her unkindly. I feel like I gave up on her too soon. I feel like she finally found comfort for too brief a time. I never once begrudged her care. She was a gift and I feel like I let her down when it counted most. I ask her every day for forgiveness.
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Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 30th November 2023 - 08:58 AM