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Old 05-01-2005, 02:44 PM
Keith75 Keith75 is offline
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Default I failed my dog

Hi,

I don't know if there's any point to me doing this. I've been crying me eyes out again so I searched around the web and found this site and felt like I should tell this story. This goes on for a bit, sorry

When I lived at home I would take my parents three dogs down to Tollymore Forest Park at the weekends for a good 2-3 hour walk. I really enjoyed doing it and the dogs loved it. The 'three' comprised 'Emma', a Red-Setter cross who loved to grab huge big fallen tree branches and drag them around the forest, 'Tess' a German Shephard cross who would try to take every branch that Emma lifted off her, and 'Fred', a Springer Spaniel who loved nothing more than jumping in the river and swimming round and round. He was the only one who swam, the other two wouldn't jump in unless they really want the stick that Fred had. I took them to t he forest as often as I could, at least twice a month, it was an hours drive to get there.

After I moved out and got my own place I tried to keep the routine up and though not as often, I would take them out when i could. Eventually Tess' hips got bad and the big walks weren't good for her so I had to stop taking her. It felt different her not being there so I went less often. The trips became less regular as all the dogs were getting older and the long walks would take its toll on them the next day. One day in March last year I took Emma and Fred to the forest with the plan of meeting my girlfriend there with her dog, a big German Shephard. I arrived a bit before she did so while I waited I walked Fred and Emma around the forest arboretum. It wasn't that big and in all the times I'd visited the forest I'd never walked round it. While we walked I had the dogs chasing sticks and jumping about, there was a small stream that wasn't that clean and had a foamy scum on it, of course Fred had jumped in and started to drink before I could stop him. I shouted at him to get out of the water and out he came covered in muck. We walked back towards the car park to wait and there were some stone seats in a grassy field so I sat down there. Emma went off to inspect everything she could find and Fred came over to me so I patted him and scratched his ears. It was a prefectly tranquil moment. Then, without any visible cause, Fred got up and walked away from me and lay down on the grass behind me. I remember looking around at him and saying 'whats up with you' as he would never pass up the opportunity for some attention. But he seemed okay and shortly there after my girlfriend arrived. I got up and walked down to the carpark to meet her, the dogs tagging along behind me. When i got to the car I chatted to her about this and that and her dog jumped out and was getting all excited to see other dogs. Fred had sat down next to me and wasn't moving which was odd for him, he looked out of breath. He paid no attention to the other dogs and looked slightly dazed. I noticed it and tried to get his attention. Even waving a dog biscuit (which he loves) under his nose had no affect. Then he lay down and it started to dawn on me that something was seriously wrong. That horrible sinking feeling in your stomach were you wish against all reason that this wasn't happening but it is. I knew i had to get him to a vet as he was becoming unresponsive and looked dazed. My only thought was the dirty water he drank, he must have been poisoned. I ran over towards the rangers office to find out where the nearest veterinary clinic was but the ranger wasn't there. I left Fred with my girlfriend looking after him while I jumped in the car and raced off to the camp site where I was sure the ranger would be. Sure enough there was his van and after a bit of frantic searching i found him and told him I had to get my dog to the vet because he's been poisoned. He gave me directions, it wasn't that far luckily, so I raced back to the carpark. I had real difficulty in getting Fred up and into the boot of my car as he made no effort and seemed completely out of it. When I got him in the boot he just stood there and I had to force him to lie down so I could close the boot. I left Emma with my girlfriend and without much though for speed limits I took off as fast as I could go for the vets.

This was a journey down windey country roads but I drove flat out all the while shouting over the engine roar to Fred in the boot to stay awake and stay with me. When I got there I overshot the vets and laid down god knows how much rubber on the road when I hit the brakes. I got into the vets carpark and hauled Fred up into my arms (he was a bit tubby but not overweight that it was bad for him). I bashed in through the doors and pretty much demanded that someone see him right now. There was no other dogs there so I was in luck. The vet came out to see him in the reception where I had laid him down, I told her what happened and about the water but she kept asking me about his health and his stomach etc. I couldn't figure what the hell she was on about, he's been poisoned I kept thinking, listen to what I'm telling you. After a quick check of his gums and heart she got him carefully lifted in to treat him. She said it would take a while, there would be scans and drips etc and that I should leave a number. I gave her my mobile number and not knowing what else to do I went back to the forest park for Emma and to let my girlfriend know what had happened. I felt a bit better at this stage because I figured the vet would be able to get him on the mend and he would be okay. When I got back to the forest we decided that we might as well walk the other two while we were there rather than sit and wait and worry. About an hour and a half later, in the middle of the forest, my phone went, it was the vet. She told me that Fred had a tumour on his heart and that there had been a fluid sack around his heart caused by the tumour which had burst and this was what had put him into shock. I couldn't believe it as Fred was, or had seemed to be, in perfect health. Only a few weeks before, our own vet had given him a check up and said he was fine and as strong as a bull. The vet told me he was in stable condition but very weak. I asked about taking him home and she said he could be moved but she wasn't recommending it. I then had to phone my mum and tell her what the vet told me, I had previously phoned her from the vets office to let her know what was happening. She was very upset and couldn't talk when I told her about the tumour, I had to tell the rest to my sister who was there. We decided on bringing him home as it felt really wrong to leave him at the vets. My girlfriend and I headed back to the car, she packed up her dog and left for home and I drove to the vets to get Fred. When I got there I had to wait in the reception for 5 minutes then the vet appeared and asked me to come into one of the examination rooms. Fred wasn't there. She apologised to me and said that Fred had 'breathed his last' just as I had arrived. They tried to revive him but couldn't , the shock was too much for him. I didn't know what to do or say and strangely felt disconnected from all of it. She asked if I would like to see him and I said yes, we walked down the corridor into another room and as I walked in there was Fred wrapped up in a blanket on the floor, his head sticking out looking like he was asleep. I knelt down and patted him and expected him to wake but he never would. The vet asked me if I wanted some time with him but I said no, I was okay. I had to call my mum and tell her the bad news, not a pleasant task. All I managed was "Hi its me, I'm at the vets.....he's gone" She sounded near hysterical with grief on the phone and my sister had to take the call again. The wasn't much else to do but bring him home now. The vet carried him out to the car for me though I wish I had done it now. I drove home with Fred wrapped up in the boot and Emma curled up in passenger seat foot area next to me. I got back to my parents house and carried him in. My mum was crying but I wasn't, and hadn't done. I went over the the whole thing again and after a while I headed back to my own house. I still felt numb and detached like it hadn't sunk in. This didn't last. In the next few days it began to eat away at me. I had abandon my dog, the friendliest, happiest dog little dog I knew. I dumped him at the vets and he died, after being examined and prodded by strangers, he died in a strange place alone. I should have stayed with him, I should have recognised what was happening to him when he walked away from me to lie down, he was dying. It could have been perfect for him, he could have died in a green field on a sunny day with me there with him, but I f**ked it all up and adandon him when he needed me the most. I cry my eyes out when i think of him. It hurts me in a way I've never known. I would give up my life in a heart beat for the chance to go back and do it differently, but I can't and it kills me. I'm not a christian, I don't believe in god or heaven but I hope against all that I know that someday I will see him again and tell him how sorry i am for what I did. I thought I was trying to help him but I was condeming him to a lonely death. I hate myself for that.

Despite all this I should like to point out that the veterinary staff were very nice and considerate and thoughtful. In the days after his death they even sent a condolence card out to me.

Sorry, this had gone for ages, if you read it all, thankyou. In some stupid way I felt like I should share it, as if it might make everything better.

It won't. I miss you Fred.

Last edited by Keith75; 05-01-2005 at 03:05 PM.
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Old 05-01-2005, 03:16 PM
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nedim nedim is offline
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I'm so sorry to hear what happened. You need to know that it wasnt your fault at all. If you had known what was going on, the outcome would've been different, and you know that. Losing a friend is always hard, but think of all the good times you shared prior to his death. I think Fred would have wanted you to be happy and proud when you thought of him. I hope you feel better in due time. R.I.P Fred.
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Old 05-01-2005, 03:54 PM
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smkie smkie is offline
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i understand, i share your grief..and this is the best place to bring your words. hugs my friend. I hope, as you do, that they will hear somehow. YOu didn't know this dog was going to die. I think a dog has the most forgiving heart of all the animals..and you should remember that. They do not want us sad, and would do anything to make us smile. A dog lives a forgiving life..we should learn from them. I failed my best friend too (see CHarlie..your dog is now in the best of company) and i have to tell myself that he would not want me to remember him with tears, no matter what, but instead would want me to remember all the joy he brought, the protection he gave, the comfort we had. I hope you can work on doing the same..to honor their lives with love..not guilt.
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Old 05-01-2005, 06:48 PM
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Barb04 Barb04 is offline
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Keith, I am so sorry to hear what happened to Fred. You did everything you could to save him when you thought he was poisoned. It sounds like the vet tried his best to help Fred. I can tell from your story that you and Fred had a very special bond, and I know Fred knew you were doing everything to save him. Fred will always live on in your heart and in your memory forever. I am glad you came to us to tell his story. If you feel up to it in the future, we'd love to see a picture of Fred. If you want to share any special stories, we'd love to hear them. It's not easy going on when we lose our special friends, but we can try by sharing the times we had with them with others.
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Old 05-01-2005, 07:33 PM
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bubbatd bubbatd is offline
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Keith, my heart goes out to you . Had you not taken him to the vet, you would have always wondered. Yes, you weren't by his side, but maybe that's why he went. He wanted to spare you the pain. You may not believe, but look up[ " Rainbow Bridge". Glad you found this site. Bless you and Fred.
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Old 05-01-2005, 07:47 PM
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I am very sorry you lost your companion and friend. It is very difficult to lose those who bring so much to our lives. Don't, however, feel like you failed him. Fred knew that you were trying to help him. He knew you didn't abandon him and you just wanted him to get better, dogs understand much more then we can imagine. I understand that you wish he could have had someone familiar with him when he passed, but he didn't die in a cold heartless environment. From what you described, it sounded like you brought him to a very nurturing and loving vet. These vets are vets because they love the animals they treat, and it sounds like the vet really felt for Fred. Fred was with a caring person who was working with all they had to save him, and he knew that.

You couldn't have known what was really happening to him when you left him, and when you knew how serious the situation really was, you went to him. You were good to him, and you should feel good about the many wonderful days that filled his life with JOY because of YOU.
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Old 05-02-2005, 03:02 AM
Keith75 Keith75 is offline
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Thankyou for all your replies and kind thoughts. I know people say you get over things in time but I wonder if that's true. I went back to the Forest this March, one year after his death, I hadn't been since he died. My parents had Fred cremated and a few days before I went back they took his ashes to the forest and scattered them at a place called the Meeting of the Waters where two rivers ran into one. It was a spot he loved to swim in. I didn't feel up to going with them so I went a few days afterwards to say goodbye to him. I brought Emma and Tess along with me for one last walk. It helps in some way to know he's gone back to nature and now become a part of the forest he loved.

I'm sorry to hear about a lot of your own stories, especially Charlie, I really feel for you. I think that life has a habit of putting you in situations where you just can't win, and no matter what you do, depsite the best intentions, things go wrong. I remember a saying I once heard, don't cry because its over, smile and remember what you've had. I'm trying to do that. Charlie sounds like he was a great dog, your very lucky to have had the time you did with him.

I have tons of pictures of Fred, I'll have to scan some in post them here.
Thanks again.
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Old 05-02-2005, 08:11 AM
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Keith, I'm so sorry.....I know how you feel. Everyone's right; think of all the fun you had with Fred, because he wouldn't want you to be upset over him. The two of you most definatley had an amazing, and very special bond. Just remember, that he knew you loved him. And all a dog really wants in life is to be loved.

R.I.P. Fred, you'll be missed, and always loved.
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Old 05-02-2005, 09:27 AM
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This is a good place to come to share your thoughts. My heart goes out to you, but you've got to stop doing this to yourself. Like it was said, dogs are the most forgiving of creatures and if they can do it, it is YOUR DUTY to forgive yourself. I am quite sure that Fred didn't think the same way as you or any of us would think in that way....in the way that you are torturing yourself about not being there. He may well have not been thinking along those lines at all. He may have been in such a daze, sleepy and perhaps comfortable and not aware of who was around him or not around him. He may not have been worried at all the way you are worried. Sometimes we think that our dogs think just like we do and they most likely do not.

I've lost dogs too in my long years of having dogs. Sometimes I did the same thing...second guess myself. Just recently I put my 14 yr. old Lab down. She had her liver failing, causing seisures and she didn't feel too well. She did have her happy moments, but was arthritic and like your dogs, losing the ability to go on good walks, which was her favorite thing in the world. She would lie around most of the time and looked like she wasn't having any fun anymore, so I took her in to be put down. Afterward, I kept second guessing (and still do, as this was recent) about whether I chose the right time. She could have gone on OK for a while longer. The vet thought she seemed pretty OK. But he didn't see her when she would slip and fall when she got on the vinyl floor or outside in the snow and ice, falling right off the deck and 4 stairs down to the ground. He didn't see me lifting her up to help her walk day after day. So, this looked so miserable for her so that made my decision, but yes, she probably could have gone on and gotten a little more happiness from her life...maybe another month or so. But I just couldn't stand seeing her falling down hurting herself, bored looking, panting all the time, seizing etc. I finally came to grips and said to myself, "you made the decision with what you knew and thought at THAT time. That's what you had to work with. What REAL difference would it have made?" You've got to have a serious talk with yourself and remind yourself that when you make a decision or an act, you are acting on what you have to go on at THAT time, not other times. It's not logical to think that anyone can make a decision based on unrealistic data.

Your dog and my dog didn't suffer too much and if they do think in any way like we do or if they think after death, they would be loving, wagging and it wouldn't cross their minds for one second that something was wrong with the way we handled things. They would be only grateful and appreciative of the lives we shared with them, happy for the fun things we did for them and with them and glad for all their pals. That's the frame of reference to work with, not all the complicated, human emotions.

Forgive yourself so you can be happy.
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Old 05-03-2005, 04:40 PM
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Gustav Gustav is offline
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*cries* Oh i'm so sorry for your loss!! But you did what you thought was best!! It's all you can do in these circumstances!! i'm positive Fred is happily playing in Rainbow Bridge now with all his puppy friends!!
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