"My boyfriend Nathan and I lost our 12 year old chocolate lab, Haley, on Sunday. She’s been by Nate’s side since she was 8 weeks old and he’s having a really hard time.
This year started off with a false CHF diagnosis, Haley almost suffocating to death in front of me, an ER visit, costly laryngeal paralysis surgery and then...we were fine. But then last week, she started showing signs that seemed like Cushings ( thanks to the Internet ) We took her to the vet, they did X-rays and saw nothing. Since we’d already spent $8900+ in vet bills for the year, we opted out of blood work.
Towards the end of last week, her appetite staggered. She was barely eating, but still pretty lively and drinking. Concerned though, I called on Saturday to set up an appointment for Monday.
On Sunday she wouldn’t eat at all. She was lethargic, still able to move around ( just slowly ), antsy, she vomited water once, cold wet nose, urinating fine with no accidents...but her gums looked slightly jaundice.
When Nate told Haley it was time for bed, he took her to our room, put her in the bed and laid beside her because he knew she wasn’t feeling good. Within 30 seconds she was gone. She died at 9:34 PM.
We had a private cremation the next day. The man who performed the cremation said that in his experience, it sounded like a cyst/tumor metastasized and burst. He confirmed when we picked up her ashes that there was a tumor the size of a softball. Of course, that was no medical diagnosis and I’m unsure of the validity of that.
My dog, Lola, is to me what Haley was to Nate. Lola just turned 10 in June so I can only imagine how he feels losing his best friend. And although I’m mourning for Haley because I loved her too, I’m trying to be there to support Nate because their connection was stronger. But I’m lost. At age 30, I’ve only experienced the death of a pet twice—2 years ago was the first time, and then now.
I know this is a lot, I’m sorry. I’m so confused and lost as to how to help him mourn/deal/heal. My heart hurts for the loss of Haley and for the pain Nate is going through."
...I've told the story so many times between friends, my therapist and in support groups online that I thought I would just copy/paste what I wrote on Veterinary Wisdom's Facebook group verbatim. It's been a physically and emotionally exhausting week for myself, but is definitely 10x worse for Nate. Haley is to Nate what Lola is to me, and it's a really rough time--trying to grieve, being at a loss, not being certain exactly what took Haley's life--and for me, personally, reliving the horrifying reality of her passing at the foot of the bed while I was half asleep and Nate lay beside her. I keep seeing the terror in Nate's face and hearing it in his voice...recalling him trying to give her CPR...grabbing my stethoscope to make certain I heard no respiration or a heartbeat. Calling Peaceful Pet Passage ( which, once the ache has settled a bit, I will write a blog about how pleased I was by their company ) and taking her in for cremation. My nerves are still shot; my body still jittery.
Nate and I talked the other day and a little anger arose in his voice, because I don't know how this is for him. I loved Haley, but that was his baby. That was his Lola. I have to be the strong one to support him during this time, because when Lola's time comes, I will need just what he does. But I don't understand the hurt he's feeling. I've only lost one pet before ( Andrew ) and, although I loved him, the connection wasn't like the one I have with Lola. He passed suddenly, without warning. It broke my heart, but it surely wasn't as devastating as this is for him. I'm trying my best to support him, grieve in my own time for Haley and Nathan both, and get through the days without having a mental breakdown.
If anyone who reads this blog has any advice/resources/personal experiences they would like to share, I would greatly appreciate it. It's hard...very hard...and with other stresses in life also going on ( because, yes, life does go on... ) it's a heavy weight to bear.
And please, keep Nathan in your thoughts and/or prayers for healing and comfort and for the days to becoming easier as we move forward...but never forget...