Please bear with me as I struggle to share what I learned today as I helped my 15 1/2 year old baby boy, Wasabi, leave this world...
My first visit to this site was the day I lost my 7-year old pug to AIHA - "Auto-Immune Hemolytic Anemia" - in June 2009. (Do your companions a huge favor - look it up on the internet and educate yourself.) Yoshi died within four days of being diagnosed. I was devastated and needed to find a place where I could share my pain. Thank heaven for Pug Village and the the pug parents that helped me through my grief a couple of years ago. What a wonderful group of people.
I've visited this site occasionally. Reading stories and learning more about how to care for my boys. (We added three to our family following Yoshi's death - brothers from the same litter - that's another story.)
I sought advice in this forum, the "Senior Pug" page, last year. Wasabi had woken in the middle of the the night with what sounded like a scream. I immediately scooped him up in my arms thinking he was suffering a heart attack. He calmed down. I laid him back on the bed. He went back to what seemed a very peaceful sleep. This happened again a couple of months later. Same scream. Same outcome. I found a posting on this page that sounded similar. Someone replied and said they thought it could be a result of blindness. This person worked with blind dogs and said this happened sometimes. That the dogs waking in darkness became frightened and could respond with a screaming sound. I plugged in a night light the next day. It never happened again.
This was the beginning of the "senior pug" experience for us. Wasabi began to bark incessantly at nothing. His walking became slower; running was non-existent. I knew his hearing was suffering and the vet said he was developing cataracts. We had bloodwork and x-rays taken at the beginning of 2011. The x-rays showed suspicious areas and the bloodwork confirmed that our little boy was suffering from old-age conditions. Although the vet said we could biopsy a couple of areas, to learn more about them couldn't change the fact that Wasabi was coming up on 15 years of age and there wouldn't be much she could do for him if a specific diagnosis was made. She gave us medication to ease his breathing difficulties and pain medication for his arthritic condition. I shared my prednisone with him to ease his joint pain. He seemed to be okay.
We all knew the end was coming. We dreaded it. We couldn't slow it down. I asked the vet during our visit last month if he could tell me when I would know it was "time". I wanted specifics. I wanted instructions. I wanted to see "the symptom" and know I was making the right and timely decision. I didn't want to decide. I didn't want to act too soon. I didn't want to make the ultimate mistake...take my little boy's life without absolute knowledge it was the only option left. How in the world could I decide that his life wasn't worth living anymore and why did I have to decide?
Fast-forward to last week. Watching my little one barking in the middle of the family room at nothing. Not moving. I approached him and put my hands around his back. He jumped. He was startled. I realized not only could he not hear me, he was now almost blind too. My heart broke. How terrified he must have been to not be able to hear or see anything or anyone. I couldn't let him spend his last days in a constant state of fright. I told my husband. I called the vet. I made the appointment. It was Thursday afternoon - two days ago. Our regular (and very compassionate) vet would not be able to assist us in helping Wasabi "go" until Tuesday. I thought this was okay as long as something else didn't happen. I didn't leave him alone. I sat on the floor with my hand on him so he would know I was near by. I fed him roasted chicken. My husband and I carried him outside so he wouldn't trip over the door's threshold. He was not going to be left alone for a moment before that appointment on Tuesday.
And then it was Saturday morning, this morning...as he laid on the family room floor... my husband saw him as he began shaking. I recognized this as a sign of sepsis - a symptom of the onset of organ failure and a very painful condition. My husband said he thought Wasabi might be cold. I knew he was hoping it was something other than what we both knew it was. I immediately called the vet. We (my husband and 7-year old son) were at the vet within 10 minutes. They had a room ready for us. We held Wasabi. We told him we loved him. We explained to my son that the doctor was going to try to help Wasabi (not explaining the specifics) and that we thought it was Wasabi's time to go to heaven.
My husband and son left the room. Wasabi had already received a mild anesthetic and was very calm, but still quivering from the sepsis. The vet's assistant came into the room. I held Wasabi on my shoulder. She asked if I was ready. I looked at my little boy's face, saw his eyes and could sense his exhaustion and felt the quivering of his little body. He was telling me it was time to go. I nodded "yes" to the assistant and she gave him the injection. I held him close to me and in about five seconds I felt Wasabi's body go limp. His head was now resting on my shoulder. I held him, hugged him gently, and nuzzled him as he had done to me hundreds of times before. My husband and son returned to the room. After a few minutes I laid Wasabi on the exam table still wrapped in the fuzzy blue blanket he slept on. I saw the peace on his beautiful little face. And he was gone.
I helped him go. As horrifically painful, awful, heartbreaking as this experience was for all of us, I also know with all my heart it was the right thing to do. I think it was, without a doubt, the most unselfish, loving thing I would ever have to do.
Everyone was right. I knew when it was time. Wasabi told me.
So, please listen to your little one. As much as you dread and want to ignore the signs, they will appear. You'll know the end is near. Pay attention and don't hold on a moment longer than you should. They've depended on you all their life for love, shelter and food. Now they'll need your compassion. Just listen closely. They'll tell you when.
Thank you for reading this through. Although very cathartic, it hasn't lessened the pain. That will take some time to ease. But, it will never go away completely. And that's how it should be. I told my son that the more you love, the more it hurts. We all hurt very much today.
My husband is taking care of my son right now. So, I'm heading upstairs. I'm going to surround myself with my Wasabi blankets and close my eyes for the night. I hope to dream of Wasabi playing with his friend, Yoshi, at the bridge. I so miss my little boys.
We'll so miss our Sabi...we love you,
Mommy, Daddy & Spencer
Dobby, Max & Sleepy (our 2-year pug brothers & family members)
P.S. Was able to change my profile avatar - this photo of Sabi is from October 2011
Last edited by ecapozello; 06-18-2012 at 02:44 PM.
As hard as it was, yes you did the right thing. I am so sorry for the loss of your little boy. It is so hard to lose one of our fur babies. I hope you find some comfort surrounded by his things.
Yes, they do tell you. Thank you for standing by Wasabi when he began to decline and making his exit gentle, peaceful and dignified.
In a gentle way, you can shake the world.
- Mohandas Gandhi
I could tell this was written from an overwhelming abundance of love... I thank you for sharing this... Bless your family... I will light a candle for your dear Wasabi...
Home of AKC Champion German Shepherds & Standard Dachshunds...AND 3 VERY spoiled PUGS, THE TOOTIE, TUCKER, and TOBY
The Tootie's Dogster Page: http://www.dogster.com/dogs/626112
Tucker's Dogster Page: http://www.dogster.com/dogs/626123
Toby's Dogster Page:http://www.dogster.com/dogs/876560
So beautifully and lovingly written and obviously very heartfelt. I pray for comfort and peace for you, your husband and your son.
We never touch people so lightly that we don't leave a trace.
Thank you for sharing this with us... and for loving your Wasabi enough to hear.
Ayleash ... Sponsor of the Pugs Captain and Niko, and Pack leader of: Tigger, and ...My SECOND rescue Terrier... a girl for Tigger... Ohna...
See some pics of my life recently (including the hounds, of course) at: https://picasaweb.google.com/1045433...eat=directlink and http://picasaweb.google.com/engntnc
We have been there and share your grief, be thankful we can do this for our beloved dogs
What a heartwrenching beautiful love story.Bless you for sharing it. Prayers of comfort to you and your family and huge pug hugs.
Jackie,Mom to Robbie & Stacy my human children and Tinker my furkid.
I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you so much for making the most difficult decision through your love if Wasabi.