To Lose A Friend

by Drs. Foster and Smith on November 22, 2009

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Dutch looking at the pond.  His favorite spot to sit.

Dutch looking at the pond. His favorite spot to sit.

**Guest post from Heath S.**

A few weeks ago my family and I suffered the unexpected loss of our much- loved Golden Retriever Dutch.  I hope every dog owner reads the Canine Congestive Heart Failure post  as this is what took our much loved pet suddenly with no warning.

It was a normal Friday evening, around 6:00 I noticed Dutch laying by the front door.  Not a normal thing for him as he always had to be at our side or sneaking a sniff at whatever was on the counter.

Dutch was a very large Golden topping 145 pounds.  Not overweight, just a very large beautiful dog.  As I approached the door to let him out, he seemed fine; just not acting like himself.  Sam, our other Golden, had been pestering him earlier so I thought he just needed some space and let him outside.   Dutch would always come to the door and bark when he wanted to come back inside.  Ten minutes later my wife Lisa let him in.

Once inside we knew something was not right.  He was trembling and having trouble walking.  He gave me this look like something was wrong with him.  I didn’t hesitate and called my vets emergency after hour’s number.  His wife answered and stated he was already at the office with another emergency so I rushed Dutch over.

As we waited for the vet, I noticed Dutch was now having labored breathing and his stomach appeared to be swollen.  He couldn’t get comfortable as he laid on the floor next to me.  Minutes seemed like hours as we waited. Dutch just stared at me; I knew deep down there was something very wrong with him.

After a few questions and an initial exam, the vet drew a sample from Dutch and tested it. He immediately wanted to do an ultrasound as Dutch’s heartbeat was so faint he had trouble hearing it.  The ultrasound showed what appeared to be his enlarged heart.  Not being able to get a clear enough view, the vet took an x-ray of Dutch’s chest.  The x-ray showed the fluid and swelling around his heart.  Tears welled up in my eyes as the vet explained his condition to me and diagnosed him with congestive heart failure.

Sam watching over Dutch during his final hours.

Sam watching over Dutch during his final hours.

The vet prescribed a couple medications and we gave Dutch his first dose.  The vet could not answer as to how much time we had with him but did say he felt positive we had gotten him there in time and the medication should help reduce the swelling around his heart.  We would soon know just how bad it was.  Dutch and I arrived home at 10:30 PM.  He waited as I closed the garage door and followed me inside.

Once inside he laid on the kitchen floor, he wouldn’t get back up.  Lisa, Sam and I made him as comfortable as possible.  I had fallen asleep next to him on the floor and awoke suddenly around 1:30 AM.  Dutch had moved across the kitchen.  As I approached him, I could tell he was in bad shape.  His breathing was still labored and weak; once I got to him, I laid his head on my lap.  A few minutes later, he was gone.

Dutch was just 9 short years old, had never had any health issues and lived a grand life.  He loved to play with our children and watched over them every night, normally sprawled across them as they slept.  He was best friends to Sam and a faithful and loving companion to my wife and I.  He helped raise Sam who is going to be 2 years old to be just like him.  Loving, obedient, treat lover, squirrel chasing, guardian and friend.  Dutch, we miss you!


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Pets Grieving Pets
December 27, 2012 at 10:49 am

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Ellen B. November 23, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Heath, I’m sorry for your loss. A sudden loss is so hard on family members. So sweet that Sam stayed close to Dutch in his final hours.

Barb November 23, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Heath- my heart goes out to you and your family. It is so hard to lose a special friend, especially when he was so young and the illness was so sudden. Don’t forget to give Sam extra hugs as he will surely miss his “brother”.

Melanie T. November 24, 2009 at 9:24 pm

Dutch’s Family,
So sorry to read your sad story about Dutch.The pain of losing a beloved pet is very hard.When I lost my pug (Rosie) a year ago.My other dog (Katie) was depressed for weeks. Just give Sam lots of hugs + loving . He loved and misses Dutch as much as you do.My prayers are with you and your family.

polly December 1, 2009 at 9:34 am

Heath-we lost our beloved 18 year-old MoJo last week too. All of us are in a desperate state of grief, including the cats who used to sleep and eat with MoJo. She suffered heart failure about a month ago and her quality of life declined rapidly in the last 4 weeks. She ended up having a minor seizure followed by a major one I witnessed on the morning of her death. We had prayed that she would just go in her sleep because none of us felt capable to decide and make the call to put her down. After her major seizure last Sunday, we felt that we owed it to our sweet girl not to have to put her through this again. She had also stopped eating a couple of days prior. The guilt we feel is not easy to describe now. All the what ifs, all the second thoughts. All the feelings of “did she have some life left in her” and “did we give up on her”…What has made it harder is that we have very few friends who understand the love we had for this member of our family.

Arturo M December 4, 2009 at 7:29 pm

I am a first time dog owner (Jack Russell), and it was difficult at first to adjust to having an 8 week old pup. He is now 7 months old and I love the little guy so much that It sadden me to read your story Heath and I can only imagine how you feel about losing Dutch. I am officially a dog lover and am not afraid to show my affection to my little pooch, hopefully for years to come.

Marie December 5, 2009 at 1:43 am

I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. Your buddy was so lucky to have you! You gave him a great life!

Valerie December 7, 2009 at 3:40 pm

Heath,
So sorry about your loss. We just lost our beloved 7 1/2 year old Golden Retriever, Jake, a couple of days ago. He started out the day just like any other day. At about noon, he wanted to go outside, his eyes were a little glassy and he didn’t look like he was feeling very well. I watched him and noticed that he had thrown up in the grass near the back deck. He kind of stood there for a while and then moved on. Later we checked on him and he was in front of the house. He had thrown up again and was just sitting in the grass looking around at the house and the cars, etc. We brought him in the house and he rested for a while. I went to the grocery store and when I came back, he threw up again in the breezeway while we were bringing in the groceries. I called the vet and they said to bring him in right away. While I was making the call, he threw up again. We got him into the car and to the vet. They checked him out, took blood, x-rays, etc. He seemed like he was feeling a little bit better. They found that his red blood cells were high and that he had low potassium. They decided to give him intracutaneous fluids with potassium, a shot to stop him from throwing up, and an antibotic. They said we could take him home or to the emergency all-night vet. We decided to bring him home and keep an eye on him. My husband and I decided to take turns staying up with him during the night. He tried to get up but couldn’t but seemed to be resting after an exhausting day of vomiting and being at the vet. My husband went upstairs and I took the first shift. He hadn’t been upstairs for more than 5 or 10 minutes when I saw Jake struggle to breath and his chest stop moving up and down. I yelled for my husband but by the time he got downstairs, Jake already seemed to be gone. We took him to the emergency vet who verified that he had passed. We are still wondering what happened to our happy and healthy puppy. I feel as though I have lost my child. I miss him terribly and keep looking for him around the house. He was the best dog, he loved everyone and everyone loved him.

Thank you for letting me share my story. Hopefully sometime soon I will feel ready to bring another loving do into my home and my heart.

Michelle A July 25, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Heath; I just put my beautiful Freckles Sweet to sleep January 8, 2010. She was a white Labrador mix rescued at 2 weeks by a vet. She was the love of my life, gorgeous. sweet, loving. January 6, 7, 8, we went to the vet. I could tell she was not herself. Friday the 8th, the doctor discovered blood in her abdomen, an x-ray revealed cancer of the spleen, inoperable due to hemorrhage in her belly. I had to agree to put her to sleep right away. I buried my face in her neck telling her how much I love her forever, tears running down my face. I felt her body fall asleep and then I felt her heart stop. The searing pain of her sudden unexpected loss took my breath away and all the brightness of the days is gone.

Patricia November 17, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Everyone who shares their life with animals has the duty to put that animal’s well-being before our understandable, but nevertheless selfish, desire to hold on to them. I never again want to read about anyone’s inability to do the right thing by their beloved pet. Don’t let them suffer when you owe them so much !

Someone who grieves . . .

mary mcIntyre July 11, 2011 at 1:21 pm

I am so sorry for your loss as I had to put my cat tinker bell to sleep yesterday july 10th she had laid in the sun all day with her sister rolled in the grass sit in my lap for her loving and late in the afternoon she went in the house about ten min.later she was crying when I went into see what was wrong with her she could not walk I rushed her to the vet .they said that she had a blood clot to come loose from her heart and went to her back part and even if they could get her back to where maybe she might walk again she might throw another blood clot in two to three months and be right back to where she is now so love your pets like there is no tomorrow this is my third cat that I have had to put to sleep but I still have my beautiful cat cee cee and I will love her all the more

Charles Grubbs May 17, 2012 at 4:03 pm

We lost our Boston Terrier, Patch, this last Monday, May 14th, 2012…He had been snake bitten and although we took him to the vet an unexpected result of the bite happened, he stopped making red blood cells. I’m still in a state of shock and miss him dearly, he was the love of my life. He fought it for 10 days and was just so weak, Bless his soul. I’m lonely so lonely without him, he loved me with all his heart and to lose him like this was just horrible…he had the most beautiful big eyes, and the biggest smile you could ever imagine.

Zoie the Shipooh November 28, 2012 at 1:57 am

I am sorry. I hope in the months since Patch died you have found some closure, but I know it is something we never “get over” and who would want to? Love is love and when shared with a pet it is special as we care for them totally. They in turn are grateful and reflect back what we give them.Nothing like it and grief means your dog was loved and knew it and had a great life.
I hope no one ever feels guilty with the death of a pet as no matter how it happens, illness, accident, or being helped to die with the vet, those dogs (pets) were special to someone. That is the greatest thing, to know that animal knew they were loved.

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