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Hello, everyone. It's been a long time. First, I wanted to say thank you to whichever admin made it possible for me to get back into the group. I really appreciate it.

So this might be long and to anyone who reads through it, I am grateful.

About two weeks ago, I came home from picking my children up from school to find Gibby on the floor having a seizure. I tried to just move him away from furniture and wait for it to stop but it never did. My neighbor came and helped me get him in the van and my daughter tried to keep him from hurting himself on the way to the vet. When we got there, his temp was soaring and they did everything they could to bring it down and stop the seizure. They were able to, but every time they thought they had everything under control, he'd start seizing again.

I asked the vet if he was having a heat stroke. Her reply was, "He's in danger of having a heatstroke if we don't get his temperature down." She also said that seizing was causing his temperature to elevate, especially because it was a warmish day.

I asked her if a seizure should last as long as this one was and she looked at me and said, "No, this is bad."

My husband came from work and while he was there holding the oxygen for Gibby, it seemed like he was going to come out of it because he actually seemed to look at my husband and respond to him. That would be typical because my husband is the center of Gibby's world. We thought things were getting better because his temp did start to come down and they decided against using ice water to bring it down further. The vet was cleaning Gibby's feet with a rag and he flinched so she said that was good because he felt it.

I decided to bring my daughter back to the house because my husband was there with Gibby and she was just sitting in the waiting room, upset.

Between the time I came to the house, calmed our children and Annie (our four year old female boxer) down, my husband was calling saying that Gibby was seizing again and that they asked for permission to give seizure meds that were usually reserved for humans.

They decided he was going to have to stay at the vet overnight but they weren't set up for that and we had to load him back in the van and transport him 30 minutes up the road. They gave him anti-seizure meds and off we went. He started seizing again in the van. When we got to the next vet's office and were unloading him, the new vet ran out and administered more medication before they took him inside.

When she finally came out, before she let us see him, she explained that the medicines they were giving him were barely touching the seizures. She said that they would do blood work there but that we'd have to transport him yet again to a veterinary school where they could do things like MRI scans so we should probably just wait and have them do the blood work there instead of having them doing it over and paying for everything twice. She told us that it was up to us but that an overnight stay at her vet's office was going to cost thousands on top of what the other vet's office had just done and that she recommended that we go ahead and give her permission to have him transported to the school instead of having him spend the night there.

She started asking us questions. Initially, we thought Gibby had eaten something out of one of our children's rooms and it was toxic, or that he'd had a heatstroke at home. But the questions she was asking us didn't seem to have anything to do with any of that.

She asked if he'd had seizures before. I said that I THOUGHT he had had one about four months ago but by the time I went to the room to wake up my husband and come back downstairs, Gibby was walking around like he was wondering what the heck we were doing up in the middle of the night.

She asked about aggression. There was none. Gibby was 80lbs of teddy bear.

She asked if he seemed to have lost control of his bodily functions lately. I said, "You know what, it's odd because he's been peeing on the porch lately. He has a specific place in the yard that he has always gone but in the last couple of weeks, he's been going out to the porch and peeing."

She asked about head tilt or left turns. None. But as she was asking these questions, a horrible idea was starting to form. I said, "A couple of days ago, my husband mentioned that Gibby's droopy eye (had it since he was a puppy) seemed to be more droopy than usual."

She was writing all of this down so I finally just asked her. "You think it's a brain tumor, don't you." And she said yes. I asked her if she thought he was dying. She would not answer me but she said it would not be unusual in this situation for her to call the owner in the middle of the night and tell them that it was time for them to put their pet down. By then, I realized that the whole time she was talking about transporting Gibby to the veterinary school, she was saying "IF." If she could get him stable enough to transport him.

We went out in the waiting room to talk and while we were, she came back out to tell us that Gibby was having "breakthrough" seizures. That the meds weren't really working and that she'd had to heavily sedate him just to make them stop happening at all. She said that to even transport him, she'd have to anaesthetize him. She told us that he'd been seizing so long that she had to warn us about brain damage and that she couldn't even guarantee us that Gibby would be the same dog when we brought him home IF they found out what was wrong with him and IF there was anything they could do about it. She said that given Gibby's breed, age (5) and symptoms, she very much suspected that Gibby had a brain tumor. I asked her, "If he was your dog, what would you do." She took a deep breath and said, "If he were my pet, I would want this to end for him."

We asked if we could go and pick up our children so that they could be there to say goodbye. To my surprise, she said yes, even though it was around 10 p.m. at this point. We came home and told them and it was one of the most awful things I've ever had to do. I just can't even explain it.

We brought Annie with us in hopes that they would let her be there. And I will honestly love those people forever because they did. She walked in, sniffed him and poked him with her paw as if to say, "Get up." Gibby seemed to know she was there. One of the nurses was amazing and took Annie into another room for cuddles while our children said goodbye. The vet was beyond amazing. She sat on that floor with my devastated children and explained everything and talked to them about the medicine that would make Gibby go to sleep. Not one time did she act annoyed by how much time we were taking to say goodbye. Finally, I took our girls and Annie out to our car and my husband stayed to hold Gibby while he went to sleep. I think Gibby would have been glad of that. Just him and his dad. When it was over, they let me bring Annie in for one final goodbye. I was struck by the difference in her reaction to him when he was still alive and her reaction to his body. She sniffed him from head to tail and then calmly walked out of the room and that's it.

They gave us some of his hair. They took a set of pawprints for each of my children to keep. They let us keep the blanket he was covered up with.

Thank you, if you've read this far. I could go on forever about the guilt I feel. There are a thousand "what-ifs" running through my head. Did I fight hard enough for him? Did I cause him to die when I decided the house was not warm enough for a fan before I left? Why the hell didn't I put two and two together when he was acting odd? How could I not know that something was terribly wrong with him? Did I rush to euthanasia? What if it was just epilepsy or something and I didn't give him a fighting chance? How many ways did I fail him?

I know that I miss him. That morning, when I woke up, Gibby was in bed with my ten year old and by that night he was gone. It honestly feels like a person, not a dog died suddenly that day. As a family, we're devastated. He was our friend. We're a military family so we move around a lot. We opted to have Gibby cremated so that until we have our forever home, where we can spread his ashes, he'll travel with us. Because leaving him behind in ground we might never visit again felt so wrong.

You know how you sometimes see those stories about owners who take their pets on one last awesome trip before the have to put them to sleep? Or make them a steak dinner? I always thought Gibby would be an old man when he left us. I pictured him with a gray face having a hotdog on one last camping trip. I did not expect this at all. It all feels so very wrong.
 

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I am in tears....I am so sorry for your loss.
For Gibby I feel he has had a good life and you gave hime that. He has traveled, slept beds with all of you and truly enjoyed his life. You did nothing wrong and you did all you could. As with ourselves we cannot predict tomorrow and you could not with Gibby. You made his ordeal comfortable and let him go. I know its so hard and your heart is breaking, men is too for you and your family. It was good for your Annie too to visit with Gibby, dogs understand and she knows he is free. Find peace in your memories. And as a side note what a great vet. I would have done everything you did.
 

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Thank you for the kind words. :)

I really do believe Annie knows what happened. When I whisked Gibby off to the vet, Annie was in such bad shape and very upset. I kept calling my daughter that was home with Annie and our other children to ask if she was okay. When I brought my teenager home, I was almost ready to bring Annie to the vet because she was acting very strange and I worried that she must have gotten into whatever I thought Gibby may have eaten. But the vet said that it sounded to them like Annie was literally experiencing the trauma of the shock of what happened to Gibby. The vet also said that since some dogs seem to be able to sense seizures in people, that Annie knew something very bad had happened to Gibby. It would have been frightening for her to see him that way.

By the time they called me to bring the van to transport Gibby to the next vet's office, Annie was okay again.

I'll forever be grateful that they let us bring her to say goodbye to him. I was worried that she'd search the house for him or go into a depression but except for loss of appetite for a few days and making extra rounds at night to check on the kids, she just seems a bit more reserved.

Gibby was one and Annie was just months old when we got her. She's taking it better than I expected and I think a lot of that has to do with them letting her see him. It might sound silly but I no more wanted her last memories of him to be him thrashing around on the floor than I wanted that for my kids.
 

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I am so sorry for your loss. I just went through this loosing my little girl in March. Same thing brain tumor. It was fast in a matter of hours. I know you mention the what if's. I know for me I would never want my baby to suffer. I would suffer the pain of her loss than have her in pain. You have no guilt. You did so much to try to help him. Sounds like he had a beautiful family. Remember the holidays, his puppyhood, his time growing up, his photo album. Days go by and the pain of his loss is still there. Crying is part of the process he was part of the family. I also have Gia's ashes. It helps because I feel still have her. You also have your children to consider and their grief. I truly believe you made the correct decision. Everything I read says when it is our time to leave this world and we are at heavens gates our fur babies will be waiting to welcome us. I also read all dogs go to heaven and are healthy and happy running & playing. I am sorry he was so young. I was blessed to have Gia for 12.5 yrs. I think having Annie will help with the process. Even though Gibby has left you Annie helps the family grieve. With Gia she was my only baby.
It is so lonely it was just her and myself. I hope you find peace in your decision.
 

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So sorry for your loss.

Its easy for me to sit here and say this but I would forget about the guilt and try to remember all the good times. Sounds like he had a great life with your family and really thats all you can do.
 

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jmpet26... I have heard before that when you lose one dog the other dog will search and not understand what happened and it is said that if they get to say goodbye, they just understand and move on. I think it was very wise to bring Annie to also say goodbye. I am glad she is doing ok. I hope you and your family are too.
 

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First, I am so very sorry for your loss. :(

We lost our Mongo March 30th to a brain tumor - he was 8 years old.
We didn't lose him quite as suddenly as you lost Gibby though. We went from emergency vet to regular vet to neurologist. Controlled his seizures with meds and chemo and gave him about 7 months more of quality time. In the end the brain tumor wins.
We were lucky in that we were able to have our regular vet come to the house to put him down.
Not a day has gone by that I don't think of him and I still cry. I planted a white rose bush in honor of him - it has it's first bud forming. :)

My heart goes out to you, keep your memories close.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you so much. It's been almost a month and I'm still not doing so good. Annie is different. Not depressed really but kind of subdued. She has been sleeping in bed with my girls more often and only halfheartedly shouts at the mail man when he comes by.

I like the idea of planting something in honor of Gibby when we get a permanent place someday. I was actually looking at those bio urn things. A big strong oak tree seems like a fitting tribute to him. He was a big guy but quiet and laid back.
 

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So sorry for your loss.

Thank you for sharing your story. It took me a bit to read it, not because it is too long, but it's hard to read through tears. My heart goes out to you and your family.

It sounds like he had a wonderful life and your family has some wonderful memories to cherish.
 

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First off, I am very sorry for your loss. I read through your entire post and can certainly relate to your story, especially the last three paragraphs. We lost our Bella on 4-1 of this year and it was very unexpected (See my post RIP Bella, 10-26-09- 04-01-17). She went downhill in a matter of 10 days, and then her condition plummeted for her last 72 hours. I had a ton of "what-ifs." I blamed myself for not noticing things. I blamed myself for not fussing over her on her last night. I felt so guilty. I felt like I failed her. I said goodbye to her before her surgery thinking that we would pick her up later that day and be stuck, at the worst, with a big vet bill. Boy was I wrong.

Not to make this about me because you are the one who suffered a recent and tragic loss. But what I will say is I understand your pain. I still remember where I was standing when my cell phone rang and the vet was on the other end. I remember the sense of emptiness and shock that I felt when he began telling me how I shouldn't let Bella wake up from the operating table. It was my first true experience with loss, and it was so real and raw. It felt like somebody literally cut me from my abdomen to my neck, removed my guts, and ran them over repeatedly with a freight train. I cried for 48 hours straight, and stayed out of work for a week. I could go on and on, but instead I will say that...

Things will get better. Gibby knows that you all loved him very much, and you gave him a great life. He was put into the arms of your family for a reason, and he is in heaven now patiently awaiting all of his beloved humans. Hang in there, and tell his story often to different people. It will help you feel better, and it will help you to process the loss (at least it did for me). In time, your family will get another dog, and that new dog will help fill the hole in your heart. Take care and God bless!
 
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