Pet Loss Story from Doc Jen in WI
At Memorials for a Lifetime, our mission is to help people grieve the loss of their pet by preserving memories for a lifetime. One of our customers has offered to share her story about losing her beloved pets. What’s comforting about her story is that she is also a vet…
As I sit here and remember back, it was a year ago today when the sad story all began to unfold. On December 24, 2014, my orange tabby “Sunshine” fell off the couch that day. As I picked her up, I noticed both her pupils were extremely dilated. As a veterinarian, I knew what was going on and that I needed to get her to an emergency clinic quickly. Sunshine had a 4 year history of hyperthyroidism, which I thought was being properly managed. After rushing Sunshine to the emergency clinic, I soon realized that according to her blood results and eye exam, she had not been managed properly. As a result of this, her blood pressure increased to a point where the retina detached in both of her eyes leaving her blind. Upon coming home and after much TLC, Sunshine was being well managed for her hyperthyroid and high blood pressure issues. She did very well maneuvering around the house being blind, but I think that’s because she could see more than what the emergency vets told me she could.
Upon brining Sunshine home, my 7 year old Golden Retriever had a weird episode where she acted like she could not get up off the couch. She seemed like she didn’t want to move. I wasn’t sure at this point if something had scared her or her hips hurt as she had very bad hip dysplasia. Within a couple minutes of taking a pain pill, she jumped off the couch and was running around like nothing happened. Well that was until the morning of January 17, 2015. I was on call and my phone had just gone off. JerZ was chasing Sunshine around the house and I yelled for her to kennel up. JerZ did not come. So I went to the living room to see what she was doing and I found her laying under a table next to a pile of dog poop. That was extremely odd for her as she never had accidents in the house. So I bent down next to her and pet her head. I grabbed under her belly to stand her up and she fell over. I started balling. I looked at her gums and she was white. I threw her in my vet truck and dropped her off at the clinic in town as I had to go to a farm down the road to treat a sick cow. After treating the cow, I checked my phone and I had a message that stated, “Jen, I need you to come back to the clinic ASAP, we are losing JerZ. I am doing everything I can to keep her alive.” I drove as fast as I could and ran into the clinic to find my baby girl barely holding on. I knew what was going on and I wanted confirmation so we stuck her belly with a needle and got pure blood. JerZ had a ruptured splenic mass and was bleeding internally. I made the decision to put her down. I was very fortunate that as she closed her eyes for the final time, I was with her and she and she was comforted by my voice. For an owner, it’s horrible to go through, but as a vet, it was a very humbling experience.
I deal with death pretty much on a daily basis and I try to comfort my clients the best I can, but no words are truly comforting in that exact moment. It was the hardest decision I had to make because the vet side of me was like ok let’s cut out the spleen and do blood transfusions, but my heart was saying no.
It was very hard to come home after putting her down, but I was comforted by my little Sunshine. As the months went on, Sunshine’s health stated to fail. She was getting very thin and her appetite was next to nothing. On September 30, 2015, 9 months after her emergency visit, I elected to put Sunshine down. Again, I was very thankful I could be with her and talk to her during her final moments. She was the best cat as we had been through a lot together in her 14 years. I got her right before I went to vet school, then I moved her from New Jersey to Iowa with multiple trips back and forth on an airplane and then she spent 9 great years in WI.
I knew I wanted to do something very special so both my girls could be together and that’s when I found the urn through bestfriendservices.com It was the last one available in the US! As everyone else was sold out of this particular statue, which was a sign that this was the one I needed to have.
The statue is of a girl holding a cat with a dog sitting at her feet. It holds both their ashes and sits on JerZ’s old kennel along the their photo books and memory shadow boxes hanging on the wall. Their spirits are much alive in the house this holiday. I often my find my 8 month old Golden Retriever puppy Paizley chasing something under the Christmas tree from the cat’s old bedroom. She will run to the tree and lay there and stare at the tree skirt where Sunshine used to lay. Also Paizley will walk by JerZ’s old kennel and the hair on her back will stand up and she will start barking and pawing at the empty cage. Priceless moments that now make me smile.
I hope this story brings you comfort that even veterinarians experience loss and pain! I also hope this story makes you aware of several medical conditions that can be emergencies. If your cat has hyperthyroidism, make sure your vet routinely checks renal values on blood work, thyroid levels, and does blood pressure checks. Also, if you have a dog who suddenly acts like he/she can’t get up or move and gums are white, take him/her to the vet immediately! My heart goes out to all the families that have lost their fur babies.
~~ Merry Christmas from Doc Jen in WI
We would like to thank Doc Jen from WI for sharing her story. If anyone else has a story he/she would like to share, please send it along by emailing us.