A Facebook friend recently posted about taking their dog to the vet to be put down. She was just getting old and having all sorts of health issues, couldn’t walk anymore, etc. It was so sad and I could really feel her pain. It brought back so many memories of having gone through the same exact thing 7 years ago. So I thought I would share a journal entry I made after his death. I wasn’t keeping a journal at the time, but I wanted to write down the events of those last days so I would never forget and I also needed a way to cope. If any of you have ever lost a pet, I am sure you understand.
We rescued Bobo from the Humane Society in October 1993. He was 2 when we got him and seemed so scared. He quickly warmed up to all of us and became an important part of our family. I was still living at home at the time (college) and so he was a family dog, but after I moved out he stayed with my Mom and stepdad although he would sleep over at my house from time to time.
June 18, 2006
On, May 19th Mom took Bobo to the vet. He hadn’t been eating much and was not himself. She called me at work from the vet’s before lunch. His blood test came back very bad. Some of the liver counts were way out of range. If the regular range was 0-100, his was say 1100. So she was very upset. I left work and met her at her house. We were both a mess. Saturday we took Bobo for an ultrasound. Our appointment was with Dr. B. She was so nice but told us that things did not look good. At this point we could tell that something was wrong. Bobo was jaundiced. She explained some possibilities with us. The doctor said the liver size looked ok. She could not see his bile ducts because he had actually eaten that morning. She would send the pictures off and we would hear back in a couple of days. She gave us antibiotics just in case. They also gave him some fluid under the skin.
We then had an appointment to see Dr. O (his regular vet) on Monday morning. He thought that maybe Bobo might have leptospirosis, a disease that can be caught from wild animals. (My Mom’s back yard backs up to a county park and there were often coyotes, foxes and deer.) That test can take up to a week to get back. He also said that we can come in everyday so he can get fluid shots for a few days this week and he also suggested that we start him on this new liver pill that can help regenerate the liver. He called that Thursday and said that the results indicated that it was Lepto so he wanted us to use a different antibiotic and we should notice a change in 2 weeks. He also told us that we needed to be careful around him because he is contagious and we needed to call our doctor about it. Our doctor put us on Antibiotics as a precaution.
I would help my Mom every morning, before work, give Bobo his pills. It was so hard. He hates getting pills and the liver pill had to be given on an empty stomach and the doctor suggested a pepcid before the new antibiotic. The pills became more difficult to give him. Every time I would show up and put those gloves on, Bobo would start to shake. I felt so bad. I would hold his mouth open (after I would pry it open) and my Mom would put the pill in as far as she could get it. She had been giving him pedialite with a syringe so she would use that to get him to swallow the pill. Placing the syringe through the hole left by a tooth that had been pulled previously. Getting him to eat was a challenge. He would eat one thing one day and then not want it the next. He would smell it and turn his head.
About a week after we started the new pills Mom called me Saturday night saying that Bobo had been throwing up. I drove over there thinking the end was near. (Thankfully I only lived a half mile away.) She had given him some baby food so we don’t know if it was the medicine or the disease or the food. I held him for awhile but he spit up again so we had to put him in his bed. He has been tied up since the doctor called because we could not risk it since he was contagious. That was so difficult because he has been such a huge part of our lives and we were always around him and holding him but we couldn’t now. I felt so badly.
The next few days he seemed ok. I think Mom struggled because she thought she should have taken him to the vet after he threw up the first time and had him put down. She said she had finally come to terms with things. But I am glad she didn’t. I just felt like the meds could help and he would be ok, just give it time.
My brother and his family were coming to town Thursday, June 1, so Bobo would be staying at my house so as not to risk them getting sick. I hated being away from him when I was at my Mom’s visiting them. He must have felt so alone.
In the evenings I tried to get him to eat but he didn’t want much. We would try anything. I let him sit in the living room with me and then to sleep I had him in the kitchen. A couple of nights he wanted in the living room. It broke my heart. I ended up throwing my back out so I spent most of Sunday and all of Monday at home with Bobo. Then Richard (stepdad) came and got him and brought him back home after my brother and his family left.
Thursday, June 8, Mom took him back to the doctor for a follow-up blood test. We were still giving him the pills and he continued to not eat too much, but he was drinking quite a bit, so that was good. The doctor said that if the blood test came back a certain number, then it was not Lepto. If it came back negative then it was his liver and there was nothing that could be done. He was still so jaundiced; his eyes, inside of his ears, the belly and the underside of his tongue. I hoped and prayed it was the Lepto. If that were the case then the antibiotics would help.
Tuesday morning, June 13, I went over to help give him his pills. We got the liver pill down and thought we got the antibiotic down. He spit most of it back up. Mom decided then that she was stopping the pills until we heard from the doctor. It was just so tough on him. Tuesday afternoon my Mom called me at work. She said the doctor called and said that the results showed that he never had Lepto. So it was his liver and that it was most likely liver cancer. I started to cry. I think I knew something was really wrong, but I wanted to have hope. So I went over to Mom’s after work and just held Bobo and loved on him. The doctor said that if he doesn’t eat anything by Thursday we should bring him in so that he isn’t suffering anymore.
Bobo actually ate some stuff that afternoon and also on Wednesday. But he wasn’t eating too much Thursday. Mom called and found out Dr. B was working that weekend and that they were booked but would work us in if necessary. I had gone over every evening to see Bobo. I didn’t want to accept that he was going to be gone soon but I think I knew.
Friday he didn’t want anything. I knew the time was coming. I went over after work. The whole week I had been crying at work and at home. I spent the evening there to be with Bobo. He just slept most of the time. My poor “bubby” (that was my nickname for him). I hated seeing him like this. I felt like we lost so much time when we thought he had Lepto. Time we could have spent loving on him. I know he knew we loved him. I just hope he didn’t remember the bad times. I hugged him and petted him. I think we were both comforting each other. I held his head to mind and said “kissy kissy.” I would always say that and he would lick my face. He hadn’t done that in so long and I didn’t try to get him to do it after we thought he had Lepto. I had been trying to get him to do it once we found out he did not have Lepto and finally that Friday evening, he did. It wasn’t a big one, but it was enough to make me so happy. I went home and cried myself to sleep.
Saturday morning, June 17th, I go over about 8:30am. My Mom told me that we will see Dr. B at 1pm. I broke down. It finally hit me. This was it. I was going to lose my “bubby”. I didn’t know how I was going to get through this.
I had a project to do at my Mom’s; putting wire shelving up in her hall closet. Mom moved the ottoman down the hall so Bobo could be with us (he liked to sit on it). It was good therapy. My mom and I were back and forth outside and Bobo would follow. It was good to see him walk around. My mom ate a bagel and gave Bobo some bites. He ate 3 before he spit the 4th one out. It was good to see him eat but we also knew that this would not sustain him. And if we waited it would only put off the inevitable and he would probably start suffering a lot. None of us wanted that. I went home to grab a quick bite to eat. While I had been at home in the bathroom washing my hands, I caught a glimpse of my Grandma (she died in 1992). It was so weird. I looked again and she was not there. I had been thinking of her a lot and been hoping that she was going to watch over us and Bobo. I got back to my Mom’s at 11:30am. I think the waiting was the hardest . I just wanted to wrap him in my arms and for him to be all better and live forever.
It was about 12:30 and I picked Bobo up to take him out to pee for the last time. That is what I was thinking as he walked in my Mom’s front yard. This would be the last time he would walk there. I started to cry again. Mom picked him up when he was done and handed him to be. I got in the car with Mom and Richard. We wrapped him in his towels and left for the vet. The drive was hard. He would look around. We drove through the park and he sat up and looked out the window. We knew he recognized it. This was the last time he would ever be at the park. Then he eventually laid down on my lap.
We got to the vet and I carried him in and immediately they took us to the room. There was a nice chair in there and I sat down and just hugged him so tight. I didn’t want it to be over,They gave us a book to look at to pick out a container for his ashes., Mom had decided she wanted him cremated. I wasn’t sure at first but then felt that it was the right thing to do. We decided on the black ceramic one.
We then put Bobo up on the table. We put one towel down and sat Bobo on that and then covered him with the other towel. He was not shaking. I was glad. I think he knew and I think he was ready. The doctor came in and told us how it would happen and what to expect. She said his eyes might stay open and that he might take one final “breath.” It would be his diaphragm leaving the air out – a muscle contraction. She said he also might urinate or defecate. It was just all of the muscles relaxing. She said it would be fast.
She gave him the first shot of sedative. She said he would feel a little stick and then it would take about 5 minutes. It would just relax him. She gave him the shot. I held him and he winced a little. Then she left the room to get to the other shot. He started to droop his head a little. I took his front paws and laid him down to make him comfortable. Mom covered him with the towel again and we petted him. I could barely feel him breathing. I think his body was just so weak and just giving out. The doctor came back in, sprayed alcohol on his right leg and stuck the needle in the vein. The overdose of sedative was pink. She then listened for a heart beat and said “I think he is gone already.” She then rolled him gently to his right side, listened again and said “He’s gone.”
It was so fast. I wanted him back! I knew this was best for him but at that time it was so hard. I had hoped that we would not have to do this. I prayed that he would have gone in his sleep overnight. I know that I would have felt guilty for not being with him at that time. So I am glad I could be there with him in the end. The doctor gave us some time to say our goodbyes. I bent over to hold him and his last breath left him. I started to cry so hard. His body was so lifeless but still warm. I held his paw and caressed him. Then before we left I picked up his head and gave him a kiss in my favorite spot, right between his eyes above his nose. It was the most perfect place for me to kiss my bubby.
We left and the drive home did not feel right. We had left something so precious and I think we were all feeling empty and numb. I did not want to go to my Mom’s house. I did not want to see his bed or anything. It was just so hard.
I went home and cried. I have been crying so much, I can’t believe how much one person can cry. Every where I look I see him or hear him. Hear him walking on the carpet downstairs or in the kitchen. Seeing the tree outside where he would always go to mark. Then the memories start flooding my head. All the wonderful times we had together , all the joy he brought into my life. I went through a bunch of pictures to find the ones of Bobo. It was so neat to see him when we first got him; how dark his hair was (it grayed as he aged). All of the pictures of him being silly and the hats we would put on him and he would sit there and let us. He was such a joy in our lives. He was so amazing and I can’t believe how much this hurts. I keep thinking that it was all a bad dream and that I will wake up and he will be waiting at my Mom’s and wagging that tail of his, happy as always to see us. I never thought I would love a pet as much as I loved him. My heart hurts but I know he is up in heaven and he is not in any pain anymore. He is up there running around and I know my Grandma is taking care of him.
I emailed a couple of friends to let them know and noticed that my Italian phrase a day desk calendar was still on the 8th of June. So I started tearing off the days to catch up and got to June 17th (the day we put him down). I could not believe what I saw. The phrase that day was “Non preoccuparti, staro benissimo”. The translation read “Don’t worry, I’ll be fine.” I just could not believe it. I started to cry yet again. This must have been a sign from Bobo. There is no other explanation. I know that in my heart. I also managed to find the strength to put his bed, cover, bowls and leash I kept at my house, in the living room closet. I can’t have them out yet it is just too hard. I hope in time I will be able to.
I love Bobo so much and I just can’t imagine ever getting over losing him. Maybe I won’t but I have to believe the pain will be easier to bear and it will subside. I will look for strength in my family , friends and God.
There were a couple of more entries I made during the week after. Basically just trying to cope while at work and at home. The vets that tended to him sent a sympathy card and a print of his paw. My Mom framed it and gave it to me. Then Bobo “came home.” My Mom picked up the urn with his ashes, about the size of a large coffee mug. It felt good to have him back so to speak and have some closure. Over 7 years have passed and there are still some times I miss him so much. Crazy right? He was my first pet, but he was really so much more.
Here are some pictures of him.
His hair was so dark when he was younger I called him Ewok sometimes. 🙂
This was the day of my Grad school graduation in 1996.
He loved opening presents at Christmas. Tearing the paper and spitting it out. Whether it was his present or yours.
My mom sometimes fed him corn on the cob. Instead of trying to take the entire cob like most dogs, he would actually eat it like you or I would.
He would let us put sunglasses on him Or hats. He had such a wonderful demeanor.
This was taken a year before we had him put down. His hair had so much white and gray in it. but he still had a lot of spunk.
Here is the calendar page, in case you didn’t believe me. Still gives me chills when I see it.
Thanks for reading.