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Slice of Life Sundays: 12-13-14 {A Sad Farewell}

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Today is a very sad day. As was yesterday and the day before. On Friday our sweet girl Zoe lost her battle with cancer. If you’ve read my past Slice of Life Sundays posts then you know that we’ve been fighting to keep her going. Unfortunately her body didn’t have the strength to continue fighting.

This picture was taken four weeks ago when we got the news she had cancer. Even though she felt sick she still smiled for us.

On Monday evening she left some food in her bowl. This is totally out of character as she lived for food. In fact we have tried every slow feed product made because she always ate so fast. I immediately grew concerned but since she was still eating we figured she was just having a rough day. The vet told us that during chemotherapy dogs will have good and bad days and not to get too alarmed if she has a bad day. To just make sure she eats for strength. On Tuesday morning she did the same thing. She left a little food in the bowl. Tuesday night she wasn’t wanting to eat at all. I thought that maybe she grew tired of the food we were making. We were home cooking for her. With a little coaxing I got her to eat by adding some canned chicken to her food. As long as she was eating and taking her medicine we weren’t too concerned at this point. Wednesday morning she didn’t want to eat again so my husband gave her canned chicken in the food again and she ate. We had been giving her lean ground turkey with rice, spinach, green beans and a few red peppers for their anti-oxidant benefits. She normally devoured the food and looked for more. I called the vet because she was due for chemo on Thursday but wanted to know if they wanted to see her Wednesday instead. They said that since she ate it would be okay to bring her in Thursday as usual. Wednesday night was the same. She wasn’t wanting to eat but ate most of her food with canned chicken added. She also took all her pills. Thursday morning she refused to eat at all even with the canned chicken. My husband struggled to get her to take her pills but she took them all.

Zoe Collage 1

He dropped her off for chemo in the morning. By noon I got a call from the vet that Zoe’s number’s had sky rocketed from the week before. Basically the chemo was not having any kind of effect. She said that they had her on IV and gave her a couple of injectable nausea meds. She was weak for chemo but they were going to give it to her anyway because it was the last chance she had. The chemo they administered was the best one they have. When my husband picked her up he said that he noticed she was very weak and lethargic and her breathing seemed heavy. We assumed she had just been through a lot that day and with a good night’s rest she would wake up better. That’s basically what I told myself to not go crazy but deep down when I saw how she was breathing I knew it was not good.

Zoe Collage 2

Friday morning her breathing was still labored. In fact it sounded worse that the night before. We could not get her to take any of her medication. We tried pill pals, cheese and even hot dogs. This dog would jump at the chance to have a piece of hot dog and she turned her nose away from it. We knew it was bad and that this was no kind of life for her. We had to put our selfish feelings aside and do what was best for her. We took her to the emergency clinic where the oncologist is located. She wasn’t there but we consulted with another vet who told us that Zoe had developed fluid in her lungs. We had already made the decision to euthanize but the doctor’s finding reassured us that there was nothing more that could be done for her. We could have let her die on her own but we felt that euthanasia was the best choice to ease her suffering. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.

Zoe Collage 3

Each day we are getting a little better but basically my husband and I are devastated. We miss her so much and would do anything to be able to see her again and to hold her again. Zoe was a special dog. She had a rough start in life. They wanted us to put her down as a puppy. The breeder we got her from was negligent and did not give her wormer and shots like she said and Zoe had the worst case of hook worms they had ever seen. She needed a blood transfusion the first night we had her. We told the vets to do it. To save her. She continued to not improve and needed another blood transfusion but they didn’t want to give it to her because they said the chance of rejection was too high. They said to put her down. I told them no. To try a stronger wormer. We weren’t going to give up. They did and that night the worms started coming out (sorry gross I know). She got better and beat the odds.

Zoe Collage 4

We gave her the opportunity to live 6 years and she gave us the most fulfilling 6 years. She was a total spazz with so many quirks that drove us up the wall. Like stealing our socks and also having to carry a sock in her mouth along with a rawhide. She always acted like we never fed her and was always begging for food. We never could train her to not put her nose on the table as we ate. Our back door is filthy from her scratching at it to come back inside when her sister started barking. She was always a nervous little dog and didn’t like noise. For a beagle she never made noise. She was the quietest, most gentle little dog. She only barked at the trash truck and when her sister started barking if she didn’t like someone ringing or knocking at the front door. Since a puppy I let her sleep in the bed with me. A big mistake but one I don’t regret. We were her pack and she loved to always be near me. Whether on the couch or in bed she liked to snuggle up in a ball along the back of my legs. It’s a feeling I now long for. There is an emptiness in the house everywhere without her. Her energy was so different than her sister’s. Pepper is low key and likes to be by herself. She’s not a snuggler. Zoe ran around all over the place. I miss hearing her collar and tags jingle everywhere.

Zoe Collage 5

There’s a pain so deep in my heart and I’m not sure it will ever go away. There’s also an emptiness that I feel in the pit of my stomach. I pray to God every night that she is with him and that she knows how loved and missed she is.

Zoe Collage 6

Thank you for taking the time to read Zoe’s story. I needed to write this as part of my healing and grieving. I might be absent from the blog for a bit as I try to transition into a new normal. I know there are people that see animals as just animals but to me my dogs are my children. I have no children and I’m getting to the age where if I don’t get pregnant soon then that ship will have sailed. So whether you think of an animal as a family member or not, to me I just lost a child. A precious child who I’ll never get to feel and hold again. It breaks my heart. Her personality and affection will never be replaced. She was one of a kind. Do me a favor and hold your pets a little tighter today. Let them know how loved they are. We never thought we would lose Zoe at such a young age. The cancer came on so suddenly without any signs and took her just as quickly.

The picture on the left was taken after I picked her up from week three of chemo. She seemed so happy and we thought the chemo was working. The picture on the right is when we took her to the vet to be put to sleep. She looked so sad and was even worse than this but I don’t want to post those pics.

Zoe15-cropped

This is one of the last pics of Zoe. She had come back in the room from the vet inserting a catheter to administer the euthanasia drug. She gave us this big beautiful smile as if to say that everything was going to be okay. We got to spend precious last moments with her and she drifted back into a very lethargic state with labored breathing. I will cherish this picture forever. I know she did this for us so that we could remember her how she always was before the cancer.

Zoe: August 2008 (we never knew her real birthdate) – December 12, 2014.
Always in our hearts baby girl.
Keep smiling that big smile for us until the day we meet again.

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Comments

  1. Sandy Wootten says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I lost my little dog Tessie 2years ago. It was heartbreaking. Your little Zoe looked like a vey sweet girl.
    Sandy

  2. Melody James (Sweet Ivy Confections) says:

    I wish we lived near each other Melissa…I would love to give you a hug and just let you talk and/or cry or whatever you need to heal. I felt that pain for so long with Oreo when we had to put him down. Unless a person has gone through it, no one can imagine the pain of having to make the decision or go through it. I do have children, but my Oreo was “another” one of my boys. Take your time…don’t hurry…grieve as long as you need. Love and hugs…Melody

  3. Sorry about the loss of Zoe.dogs do go to Heaven! I lost my pet Labrador Edd of 14 years last march. Devastating if u have put your pet down. I am still haunted by the fact that how I was able to make that decision.. He was just like yours refused to take any meds and showing sign of liver problems.. He was a very healthy dog till the last few months. Of his life. I feel like dogs complete our lives. Find peace in the fact that you did everything for him to have a very happy life. Pets are fun to have but when they leave they leave us broken-hearted!

  4. Zoe was a very lucky little doggie to have two parents who loved her so much for six years. I hope in time you remember only the good times with her <3

  5. Melissa, my condolences for the loss of your beloved dog, Zoe. Dogs are the most perfect beings … they just want to love and bring happiness. You and your husband gave Zoe a good life and no doubt, she felt she was the luckiest dog ever. I hope you will be comforted by your warm memories of her. Take care.
    Joan – My Cookie Clinic recently posted…CHRISTMAS COOKIE ROUNDUPMy Profile

  6. I am so sorry to hear about your fur baby. I cried looking at the photos. She looked like an angel. Take care.

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