Thursday, July 26, 2012

The post I have needed to write...

Warning: this post is very sad, about my dog. That is all I can say.

It has been a little over a year since we brought our babies home from Ethiopia.
And so it has been a little over a year since we said goodbye to our original boy, our dog Pablo.

Pablo was ill when we left. Two years prior he had been given only months to live but miraculously had hung on and remained fairly healthy.

We even left our dear pet sitter and vet instructions on what to do should he take a turn for the worse while we were on the other side of the world. This is the same lovely pet sitter who emailed us photos twice daily of our sweet Pabbies while we were on our long CCRM vacations. She was ecstatic that we were finally going to become parents when we left for Ethiopia.

We were not prepared for what we found when we came home.

Pabbies. Emaciated. Sick. Nearly gone, but hanging on.

We saw him right after crossing the threshold of our new lives with our babies in our arms. After laying our babies down for their first night in their new beautiful nursery we just held him and sobbed. We knew what we had to do.

I decided it needed to be me. The next day, still sleep deprived and shaky and terrified and overwhelmed and elated at being home, I called our vet. They booked us--me and Pabbies--into the last appointment of the day so we could have some privacy.

Somehow I left the mister with the two babies, who were still feeding nearly constantly, who were crying quite at bit at their new unfamiliar surroundings, ripped apart from every single thing they had ever known, and put Pabs in the car with me. I took a bunch of his favorite treats and sobbed on the twenty five minute ride to the vet, feeding him treats and petting him the whole way.

When I got there I was a basket case. I could barely take him out of the car.

And things only got worse.

They couldn't get a vein. They couldn't start an IV. He was crying, howling in pain.

All those treats I thought he was happily gobbling up on the way there were just sitting in his mouth. He was too weak and sick to swallow.

I had done nothing to ease his pain.

The vet had to make a decision to inject him in the stomach.

It was horrific. I could barely stand to hold him, to have me see my face associated with this horrible pain we were causing him, all while trying to end his life in a pain free way.

The vet was young and inexperienced and not our usual vet. She was crying too. The tech was crying. I was shaking and sobbing.

Pabs did not go quickly.
He did not go peacefully.
Every single thing that could have gone wrong did.
And I held his sweet body until he took his last breath.

We buried him with his favorite toys under a tree in our yard, and I look at that spot nearly every single day and wish I could have done more for his last moments in this life. I have never--will never--forgive myself for failing him in his final moments.

Oh Sweet Pabs. It's been just over a year since you were gone. You waited until your brother and sister got here and then you asked us, with those beautiful but old and sick eyes, to take you out of your misery.

I will never forget.

And it is shaping the way I think of many things which I will have to write about here soon...about the way we treat animals in this world.

But I have needed to write this for a long time, to get it off my heart. Thank you, for letting me share it here.


  1. This made me cry. I have my own 14 year old man that I know that day will come for us too : ( So sorry !

  2. I had a huge reply post that got "eaten". Grrrr....
    I'm sorry - this post made me cry. It brought back painful memories of losing our Bromley 1.5 yrs ago.
    And there is currently a local story about a dog beaten & left to die that tugs on my heart strings. Thankfully the public outrage is so extreme that the SPCA & police will have no choice but to act on it.

  3. Ohhh :( Unfortunately, I can imagine. I still hold a grudge against the vet who was at the clinic when we lost our lab. Long story, I'll just say it was not how we wanted it to end. Anyway, you obviously have a heart for animals like we do. Their unconditional love has brought us through many a tough time in life. And even after a year for one being gone and three years for the other, their loss can still bring tears to my eyes. I wish it could have been different for your Pabs... so sorry for your loss...

  4. Oh gosh, I'm so very sorry. We lost our dog in February this year and it still hurts a lot - thank you for the warning at the beginning of your post by the way. Such a tragedy.

    Sending big, big hugs...

  5. Dear sweet boy. I'm so sorry, but I'm sure he knew you loved him. hugs. big, slobbery puppy hugs.

  6. :-((( This post made me cry. I'm so sorry you went through this. I can only imagine how traumatic it must have been. They really are our first babies. He obviously knew how much you loved him by waiting for you to get home.


  7. This is indeed terribly sad. I know how hard that would have been in and of itself, but to have it happen right after you brought your babies home...ugh. I'm so sorry that the end was rough for your sweet pup, but I am pretty sure he knew you were trying your very best for him. In our case, we had to put my beloved cat down one month before our J-dog arrived, and though the situation was much better (the vet was wonderful, he had already had an IV in for a while for his treatment and it was very quick), it was still one of the hardest things I've ever been through. And it still hurts over a year later, so I do feel your pain. Big hugs.

  8. I'm so sorry for the loss of your first baby and the guilt you feel for the traumatic end to his life. Death is never meant to be an easy or a quiet thing...we wish it were. It makes the thought of loved ones leaving a sweeter goodbye. But, sadly, death is as painful as birth. Blessedly, we will not remember it. He will always live on in your heart and those few moments of fear and pain will not diminish the lifetime of love you gave him.

  9. Oh, I'm so sorry that it was such a difficult end, it sounds like it was incredibly hard. I remember when you posted it last year and thinking, between new babies and malaria, you guys just couldn't catch a break.. .and then this. We have an old girl ourselves, and are watching for signs of a downturn in her health, and it's just...hard. It's so hard to lose someone we love so very much.

  10. I am in tears reading this. I have similiar feelings about the last moments for our sweet Patches last March. I was selfish and needed to hold onto her longer than I should have. They also had a really hard time finding her vein- but I was not there. I was not strong enough, and had to have Chris take her. I feel horrible that I wasn't strong enough to be there with her at the end. My heart goes out to you- and I'll give Romeo a few extra treats today in Pablo's memory. :)

  11. Pass the kleenex please....

    Hugs MTL...

  12. Even though I am not necessarily a pet person I totally understand the profound loss you went/are through. This post made me in cry. Sending love and hugs.

  13. Oh, you poor dear! I am so sorry that things went so badly. it does sound like you and Pablo had such a bond that it would be impossible for him not to know how much you wanted to make it all better.

    Please do try to forgive yourself. Those were almost impossible circumstances to negotiate at the time, and you did what you thought was going to be best. You could not possibly have forseen how badly things would go. (Although I think maybe a vet could have forseen it, so having an inexperienced one is one of the most frustrating parts of this story.) You and Pablo had years of shared love and comfort and care and understanding, and giving him years of that kind of life is what defined how you were there for him. And at the end you were there. You were there. That has to matter more than anything else.

  14. Oh, oh. I completely understand--we've been down that awful road with a beloved pet too. Our sweetest pup-love Molly did not go peacefully--it haunts me too. So much love to you.

  15. Oh, Pabs. I still picture him with you, your first baby (and a pretty darn cute one at that!) and his love of cheese. It's so hard to say goodbye and even harder to know how to best help them. The last two weeks with Prince weren't just a surprise that they were the last two, but heartbreaking too and I know we felt unsure of our choices. But, you were there, you had always been there, and that's all that matters. He was with the person who loved him most. And I do think he was waiting to see his human brother and sister and see you two become parents. He was a great dog. Sending you lots of love.

  16. I am crying as I write this, both for you and your Pablo and for me and my late, great Bailey. She was my pre-baby dog, and she was with us as we tried everything to get pregnant. I still have guilt about her death, too. I had had an upper GI test done that morning, so I was at home with her that afternoon sleeping off the drugs. I remember her coming into my room and trying to wake me up several times, and I was just annoyed with her for not letting me sleep. When my husband finally got home from work, he found her near death in her bed, all alone, while I was sleeping in my bed. We rushed to a nearby vet we had never been to before, but she had already died in my arms in the car. We drove almost an hour to my parents' house, with her dead in my arms in the backseat, so we could bury her in their yard. I bawled the whole way and I didn't stop for days. We are blessed to have kids now and even a new dog, but no dog will ever take the place of my first great dog love, my precious Bailey. I truly am sorry for your loss, and I know that even a year later it can still hurt like hell (it's been almost 5 years for me and I can still cry at the thought of my little girl).

  17. I'm so very sorry for your loss - this sounds awful. In tears thinking of you and your sweet Pabs.

  18. Oh, that sounds absolutely horrible I am so sorry! For you, poor poor sweet Pablo. so sorry. Tracy

  19. Hi MTL - I can imagine the pain your heart feels. You are such a warm, caring person. You did everything you could at the time, given all the circumstances. Pablo knew it. He had the best Mommy.

    I think about this situation every day with my sweet Daisy Mae. She is 12.5 now and I don't have time for her now with the baby. I tell her all the time that I love her and spend time with her when I can. She is having issues with her back legs and I have a feeling she is not going to go naturally. When she goes, I know a part of me will, too.

    Although sad, thank you for sharing this story. I really do hope that we get to see them on the Other Side.

  20. This made me cry. I am so sorry about Pablo. I am not religious, but I saw a saying I loved once - "Heaven is the place where all the dogs you've ever loved come to greet you when you die." I would love for this to be true. Thanks for sharing your story.

  21. I am so sorry for your loss. You were wonderful pet parents and that is ALL anyone could have done/been! we lost a 13 year old dog earlier this year and my husband is still mourning. it is ok. it says a lot about you as a person to hold this grief so near.