Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 14 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Depths of Despair

My heart is broken today. I am overwhelmed with grief. My beloved Puck is no longer here by my side. No longer do I hear his nails click, click, clicking across the hardwood floors. His repositioning groans are absent. And his heavy sighs have disappeared. I dropped something on the floor and immediately expected his quizzical look off to my left, but it wasn't there. There are empty beds in every room, and lonely toys and balls strewn across the living room floor. I hesitate to vacuum for fear of losing every trace of his physical presence. I knew this time would eventually come, but it came so suddenly, and this is the hardest thing, by far, I've ever had to endure.

Puck developed internal, abdominal hemorrhaging around 8:00 PM Thursday night. I rushed him to the emergency vet clinic when it became clear to me that something was wrong. He was using every muscle he had just to breathe, and he couldn't stand up. The emergency vet found bloody fluid in his abdominal cavity. She surmised he had a malignant tumor which had ruptured. Apparently, this is quite common in older labs and retrievers.

There was a possibility it was an isolated incident, and the bleeding would stop, and he would fully recover. Surgery was an option, too. But where there is one tumor, there are often several, she said, and it would only be a matter of time before another one ruptured. Even with surgery, his life expectancy would likely have been only 3-6 months. It was too little reward, I thought, for the pain I would have had to put him through.

He stabilized enough in the emergency clinic that I was able to take him home. We laid on the bed together. My friend Cindy also spent the night. He didn't sleep, and by the middle of the night, it became clear he wasn't improving. It was at that point that I made the most difficult decision I've ever had to make. It was time to let him go.

I snuggled with him and tried to make him comfortable for the rest of the night. Cindy drove us to the vet yesterday morning, and we began the process of saying goodbye. Cindy and I stayed with him through the end. It was impossible. Even my vet cried. Everybody loved Puck.

I know today he's in a better place. I have to believe he's running free in some unbelievably magical place, without pain and with pure abandon, just the way he did in his earlier years. I have to hold on to the possibility that we will meet again. I have to, or the pain is simply too much to bear. My heart is broken. I'm overwhelmed with grief. I'm trying my best to walk through it with dignity and grace. I'm sure that's how Puck would've wanted it. I love you and miss you, Buddy.

14 comments:

dreambigrunner.com said...

I'm soo sorry... a few years ago my childhood died as well and I never had a moment in my life where she was not part of. It was tough and to the day I often think about her, but over time it will get easier. I never thought I could have another dog, because I didn't want to forget my first dog. But a few years later I rescued a deaf, old dog. Nobody wanted him. But he is great! I didn't replace my first dog, but I made another dog very happy. We both make each other very happy.

AmbyLand said...

I am so sorry. Pets are family. My dog is one of my best friends and my first baby. I hope your heart finds some comfort soon. My heart breaks for you.

Marti said...

I am so, so sorry for your loss.

Mopsa said...

I'm so sorry to know your good friend is gone... I wish you a lot of strength in this difficult time.

Tina Fariss Barbour said...

I am so sorry for your pain. We've lost two of our cats, and it tore our hearts out because they were truly family. I, too, have to believe that we will see each other again, or I couldn't bear it. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Erica said...

Etta, my heart is breaking for you. These little creatures become such a huge part of our lives, it truly is like losing a family member. I know completely how you are feeling right now, as I lost my springer spaniel/yellow lab of 12 1/2 years, Lady, this past February, and my cat of 10 years this past September as well. As with Puck, Lady's last trip to the vet came due to sudden, unforeseen circumstances; this is the cruelest, I think, because there's no time to prepare. And, just like you, we had to make the difficult decision to let her go than try to prolong her life when she would be in pain.

Though little can comfort you during this time, I will offer what helped get me through my loss (and, frankly, continues to help when I think of her). There is a poem called "The Rainbow Bridge," which I strongly urge you to read if you haven't before (it's on my blog here, at the bottom of the post: http://eewills-barbaricyawp.blogspot.com/2012/03/in-memoriam-my-fair-lady.html).

I cannot imagine that heaven will be any different than this poem describes. I am convinced that both Lady and Puck are running free and happy, without any pain, and enjoying the endless sunshine until the day we join them. You gave Puck such love and care during his time here on Earth, and he knows that.

I know from experience that, with a loss like this coupled with our disease, the next few months are gonna be hell, but there are people all around you who love and care about you....including Puck, who will always be with you and watching over you. Remember the good times, and know that you won't be sad forever. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Etta.

Bengal said...

I am so sorry. I recently lost my cat of 13 years. It's never easy. They are our family.

Robyn (RedDogGirl) said...

The loss of my dog two years ago is the most painful thing I have ever lived through. I did not think I would survive it, but here I am. There aren't words - all I can say is you are not alone, be gentle with yourself, feel your way through it, and reach out for someone to lean on when you need it. Love and light to you....Robyn

midnight rainbow said...

So sorry to hear about Puck. I have lost many furry loved ones and it seems it doesn't get any easier. I wish I had the words that would make it as you enter this grieving time. I'm am so sorry it was so sudden and unexpected, but I am glad you were able to spend all of your last minutes with your precious friend.

May Puck run free until you can join him. :)

I know how bad it hurts, please try to take care of yourself and give yourself what you need. You will be in my prayers.

Eric said...

Its very sad to here from you. I can understand how it feels i also lost mine in February 2011.

Anonymous said...

i am so sorry.

jackid said...

I am sorry to hear your sad news and I know exactly how you feel as we lost our baby just a few months ago and although we have 2 cats the house seems so empty I do hope you can get through rough time and it doesn't throw you back to much it hit me really hard as it was so sudden with Jasper as with Puck again I am really sorry if ever you want to talk you can always contact me as I suffer from depression to maybe we can help each other
Jacki xx

Lonely Pinay said...

Im so sorry about what happened to your dog. I experienced the same thing too. I know how it feels. I know its not gonna be easy but take your time. Just remember that you did the right thing. Prolonging a pet's suffering in order to prevent your own ultimately helps neither of you. Nothing can make this decision an easy or painless one, but it is truly the final act of love that you can make for your pet. I hope you enjoyed your new year. Dont worry about puck he's in a very nice place now. :)

Anonymous said...

My four legged family members are the only ones who have always been there for me. I love animals in general especially my dogs and cats. Coal was the best friend I have ever had. He saw me thru two divorces and no matter how dark the darkness got he was always right there with me. He saved my life more than once when my world bagan to implode in on me. Mainly due to the visciousness of other human beings. I had him for 13 years and had to let him go due to cancer. The tumor on the side of his head just wouldnt stop growing. I couldnt get out of bed for a week. About a month later a puppy came into my depressed life and it was like drawing the curtains on a dark room. He was a lab/pit mix just like Coal with an incredibly funny personality. I named him C.J. for Coal Jr. He helped me more than I can possibly describe with my bouts of despair and anger. I had to make sure he was always on his leash when I let him outside in the backyard because he was so solid and full of energy that he would just jump the chainlink fence with ease and I was afraid of him getting in the road. Sunday before this past Sunday I let him out in the morning. I forgot his harness and just clipped his new longer leash to his collar patted him on the head and said I will be right back pal...Ten minutes later I came back out to get him and saw the leash pulled tight from the tree to the chainlink fence. My heart dropped out of my chest as I rushed to the fence and found him lifeless. I couldnt get the collar off of him and when I did I tried to breathe into his nose in hopes he would wake up. I rushed him to the fire department down the street and two firemen tried desperately to get oxygen into his lungs but the faint moaning stopped as I begged him C.J. please dont die please dont die C.J. Its been almost two weeks and I cant stop crying. Ive been through alot of pain in my life but this has totally destroyed me. I feel so guilty. I feel like im the cause of my 2nd best friends death. I wake up most nights in a panic from nightmares of me trying to get that damn collar off of him. I feel like my soul has been snatched out of me and Im just this chaotic void. I so hope all of you are right about seeing our four legged family members again one day. Im afraid thats the only thing that will stop the bleeding from the hole where my heart used to be...Im so sorry for your loss. I know all too well how very much it hurts...



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