Sunday, May 7, 2017

Goodbye Petie

It is with such a heavy heart that I write this post. I am completely heartbroken, but I know it will help to get my thoughts out here, so here I am. I've shared the most about this situation on Snapchat more than anything, but in case you didn't know, our rat terrier, Petie has been battling cancer, among other things. We made the difficult decision this morning to let him rest. It was one of the hardest, if not THE hardest, decision I have ever made in my life and I don't wish this kind of pain on anyone.

Petie joined our family in 2001. He would have been 16 years old later this month. 16 years is such a long life for a dog, so for that I am thankful. He was my brother's dog originally, and after my brother moved out from my parents' house into an apartment, my mom continued to take care of him. Once my nephew was born, my mom spent (and still spends) a lot of time traveling back and forth between San Antonio and SoCal, which meant Petie was getting boarded a lot and that made me sad. I worried about him a lot. Two years ago, my brother agreed to let me move Petie up to St. Louis on the condition that my brother could take him back whenever he was ready. Petie was 14 at the time, so he was not a spring chicken, but we wanted to make sure he had all the love and company in his older years, for as long as we were lucky to have him. Plus, the husband had been wanting to get a second dog anyway, so it all worked out for everyone. I took a one way flight to San Antonio one weekend so we could drive back with Petie.

He was the sweetest, smartest dog, so it took zero convincing for the husband to agree to adopt him. He fit right in and I think Annie, our beagle, kept him young. He's had a few health problems over the last few years. He had a perineal hernia, which meant that he had an abnormal placement of his pelvic and/or abdominal organs in his booty area. He was over 10-years old at the time that he was diagnosed with this - the condition is common for dogs who are not fixed, and he wasn't fixed at the time. My brother's vet at the time was wary about doing such an extensive procedure on Petie being so old. It wasn't affecting him at the time other than him taking a little longer to go to the bathroom.

We adopted him in April of 2015, and in December later that year, his hernia really started to affect him. If he wasn't sleeping, he was constantly trying to push and go to the bathroom. Not good. We took him to a specialist who routinely performs hernia surgeries on older dogs. They took tests and his little heart showed that it was strong enough for the surgery, so we knew we had to have it done for him.

They also castrated him during that same surgery, though they left his sac since that really is just cosmetic only and they didn't want to keep him under anesthesia longer than they had to. The pic above was taken just a couple of weeks after his surgery. He did AMAZING. I was such a nervous wreck, but he is strong as nails and he was already going to the bathroom normally within the first few hours of coming home. It was like we had a brand new dog and our hearts were so happy to have been able to relieve him from the discomfort. 

It was smooth sailing for the next few months, but then in September of 2016, his sac seemed to be red and irritated and bleeding out. We took him back to the same specialist to see if this was somehow related to his surgery. Come to find out, it was a mast cell tumor, which historically tends to attack the private parts first. After more tests and ultrasounds, we found out he had 3 big masses that could or could not be cancerous and they recommended removing, including one on his spleen. We were hesitant to put him through another extensive surgery - he was 15 now! But again, his vitals came back strong so we had to at least try.

Everything was removed with clean margins except one mass. Our options at that point were to 1) put him back under the knife to have them try and remove it, knowing they still may not be able to get everything 2) have him go through radiation treatments, which would involve him coming several times a month, going under anesthesia, and then doing the traditional radiation or 3) placing him on an oral chemotherapy treatment - he would get this every other day, and as it built up in his system would diminish down to just once a month.

We decided to go with option 3. We could not fathom putting him under the knife one more time knowing they still may not be able to get everything. And the radiation treatment also sounded too intense. We knew we had to do *some*thing though and the oral chemo seemed like the best option.

Again, it was smooth sailing once he started the chemo. We took him to the oncologist every 3 weeks or so, and each visit was uneventful, which is certainly what we wanted. He had managed to work his way to only getting chemo once a week, but then at a visit earlier this year, the oncologist noticed his lymph nodes were swollen, which is a sign that the cancer was back. We upped the frequency of his chemo again to every other day to see if that would help. After a few weeks of that with no positive reactions, they switched him onto a more aggressive chemo treatment. It was still oral, but it was hard core - I had to wear gloves to even open the bottle. He was on this for a few weeks, but his cancer was not subsiding. The oncologist said his lumps were forming new lumps.

There was one last chemo treatment available, which was an injectable kind that he would need to get once a week for 4 weeks. Before we agreed to try this route, the oncologist asked how we were feeling. At that time, Petie was still doing great. Yes, he had some days where he was feeling lethargic, but he was still eating great for us and we would still get his happy bounces once in awhile. He definitely had more good days than bad. The husband asked the question I was dreading. He asked if this last chemo treatment was successful, how long we would have. The oncologist said that *if successful* we were buying him two months.

Two months.

My heart was shattered knowing this clock was officially ticking. That was on April 26th.

We had to at least try. As long as he was still food-motivated, we still had to try. He had his first injection that day and he had a really great week. The best week he has had in a long time. I had taken him off dog food and was making him chicken and rice and ground beef and rice, and he was chowing down, which made my heart so happy. He loved his food, and would sit by me watching me cook for him in the kitchen.

His last appointment was on Wednesday, May 3rd. The oncologist said that Petie himself looked great, but his tumor was not getting any better. Since he had had such a good week, we didn't have much to lose by trying a second injection, so they gave him another dose.

Thursday was a rough day for him though. His tumor began to bleed and pus and give off a smell. We figured it was getting infected, so we called our specialist who told us we should definitely take him to get looked at so he could get put on an antibiotic. We took him in Friday after work. The ER vet happened to be a vet who used to work at our local pet hospital - he knew Petie well, and I felt comfort that he was the one overseeing him that night. He did tell us though that he was very concerned about his tumor. He believed it was a necrotic tumor which meant it was growing so fast that there wasn't enough blood supply going to it which meant that it was likely dying on itself, hence the smell. He went ahead and prescribed him the antibiotics, but said we should start preparing ourselves for the worst if the smell didn't get better over the next couple days or if his attitude started to decline.

That evening, he did amazing though. He was jumping around, even begging like crazy for some pizza, which we gladly gave him. He even ate 2.5 bowls of ground beef and rice for me that night. The smell seemed to go away also, which made us breathe a little sigh of relief for the moment.

Saturday was much different though. He became very weak and lethargic and had no interest in food. No food meant he was not getting any medicine either because we certainly did not want to force pills down his throat at that time. We have no carpet on our main floor of the house, but he had trouble finding his footing, so we pulled out carpet scraps for him to walk on and lay on. I spent Saturday night laying by his side. We hoped he would wake up feeling better on Sunday (today), but it was much of the same, if not worse. He gagged at the smell of food, even when I tried to hand feed him small pieces. The photo above is from this morning while I laid with him some more.

We let him out to potty one more time and he just walked aimlessly before finally just laying down and closing his eyes in the grass. Something he never did for as long as we've had him. We knew it was time.

We took him back to the local ER vet. I basically asked the doctor how we can do this? He hates being held, and as we held him, he fought us, even though he was weak, he was still strong. Does that make it wrong to put him down when he still has fight in him? But then do you wait until he has no fight in him? Wait until he skips 1 more meal, 2 more meals? 3 more meals? What is the right thing to do?

And the vet, who again has known Petie for as long as we have, said that when you know what the ultimate end result is going to be but you just don't know *when* it will exactly happen, it's better for them to do it when they do still have that strength left in him. He said that often times the owners that have decided to wait it out have regretted it because then their pet goes through unnecessary suffering that could have been avoided had they made the decision sooner. Yes, we could have kept him for one more meal, one more night, but who are we doing that for at that point? Him or us? The vet said the words, "It is time, guys."

So we said goodbye to him today, and I cannot remember the last time I have felt this pain or cried so much. I knew I had to write this post just to document these thoughts, these feelings, these photos of the sweetest dog ever. But, I'm going to be taking a break from blogging and my Monday linkup for the week.

Thank you to my Snapchat family and blog friends who have supported me and prayed for us throughout these last few months. Your support is invaluable and all of us thank you for it. Please hug your pets for me.


  1. Caryl, long time follower who loves your blog (die-hard Cards fan in Chicago!) but rare commenter.. but wanted to say how sorry I was to read this (it made me tear up.) Dogs are family, and all of us who have one (me included) dread the day you are experiencing today. Just know we are thinking of you, and that you did the right thing - and you are such a wonderful person for giving Petie such a great life. He is one lucky dog! -Kelly

  2. I have been following you on Instagram and Snapchat for a while now, and I just finished reading your blog. Needless to say, I was in tears and have been through this agonizing pain. You took great care of him and he knew that. You absolutely made the right decision to let him go so he would not suffer anymore. It's so hard to let go, but you were brave enough and unselfish enough to do so. You did your best, and that's what matters. Take care. *Debbie*

  3. I'm so heartbroken for you Caryl. Dogs are such special creatures and I can only imagine the day I will have to make this same decision and I start crying even thinking about it. I hope you find some comfort in the lifetime of memories you have with Petie. You did all the right things and gave him the best life and I can see how much you loved each other in these pictures.

  4. Ohhhh Carylee...I'm so sorry for this. It's amazing how strong our pets hold our hearts and saying goodbye is impossible. But what wonderful "parents" you have been to Petie and he was so lucky to have you.
    XOXO Jodie

  5. Oh I am so sorry for you loss. I have the hardest time reading stories like this as I know that one day we will have to decide the same for our little pup and I don't think I'll ever be ready. Will give him an extra treat today in Petie's honour!

  6. Sending you a huge hug. I know how hard this is xxxxx

  7. Oh, Carylee, I'm so sorry for your loss...reading this brought tears to my eyes. My two kitties are also like children to us so I can understand how devastating this decision must have been for you and your husband. Hold onto the special memories and good times you have with Petie and know we are all thinking of you!


  8. I'm so sorry to be reading this, we had a similar situation last year with my beloved Jack Russell, that was one of the hardest decisions I've had to make, but the best for my darling Candy. I feel for you and hope you know you did the best thing and your doggie was very much loved xx Jacqui

  9. Prayers and hugs for you! This is such a difficult thing to do. Pets are family and children, and this is never easy. I've been there before and hate the thought of being there again.

  10. I am so sorry for your loss. Deciding to put a pet down is such a hard decision. I have had to do it twice. And it really is awful. Knowing that Petie filled your life and your home with so much joy for 16 years will get you through this difficult time.


  11. My heart is aching for you my friend, you were such a good dog mom to him all the way through. Sending you lots of love.

  12. I am so sorry for your loss. Thinking of you and saying a prayer. XO


  13. Having been through similar situation, I can empathize with your pain. I'm so sorry for your loss.

  14. I'm so very sorry to hear about Petie, I have lost several dogs over the years and it is truly like losing a family member. My prayers and thoughts are with you. How fortunate he was to have you to care for him.


  15. My heart is broken for you. I have been there and it's awful. There is nothing like the love of a dog, they are part of our family and losing them is so so hard.

  16. This was such an amazing tribute to Petie- that sweet boy! I'm so sorry this had to happen; losing a pet (no matter how long their life) is SO, so hard.

    Thinking of you, lady!

    Le Stylo Rouge

  17. Im so very sorry for your loss. We went through a similar situation with our dog last year. I still miss him today and was crying reading your story. Our sweet fur babies always hold a special place in our hearts. Plus, deciding to let him rest was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made and to this day I still question if it was the right time. But, like you, the end result was inevitable and it's better to ease their suffering. I feel for you girl, so not easy!

    Pumps and Push-Ups

  18. Omg I am seriously in tears reading this! Losing a pet is just like losing a family member and is one of the hardest things anyone can go through! I am so sorry and I know Petie had such a wonderful life with you spoiling him! Prayers for you and your family! <3333

    <3 Shannon 
    Upbeat Soles

  19. OMG I am so sorry! I can't even imagine what you are going through, right now. Big hugs!

    xx Leah / www.eatpraywearlove.com

  20. This post is just so heartbreaking! Love all of these pictures (the ones of you and Petie made me especially teary eyed) and I'm so sorry you are going through this pain right now. You have such a big heart and were such a good person to take Petie in and give him all of the love and support he needed in his final years!
    Gina || On the Daily Express

  21. I just went through this with my dog last March. It's heartbreaking but you did the right thing because we never want them to suffer. I am so sorry. He knows how much you loved him.

  22. So Sorry for your loss, I have been there with my kitty a few years back...praying for peace and the memories to get sweeter, its so hard :/


  23. Oh no, I am so sorry for your loss. What a precious boy! It is so hard to say goodbye to pets, they are family members. I am so glad you had so many years with him.

    xx, Elise

  24. I am bawling...Caryl I'm so sorry for your loss. I have followed Petie's story on snap and know how much you loved him. I love my pup so much and can only imagine what your heart is feeling right now. Prayers as you remember your sweet boy.

  25. I am so sorry for yor loss girl. Reading about Petie story brought tears to my eyes. I can feel it with the precious pics you shared. I know you did the right thing to let him go. You are strong girl. Prayers!

  26. So sorry to hear about Petie. It sounds like he lived a wonderful life and was well loved by many.

  27. Oh goodness, Carylee, I am sorry! I have 2 pups Gibson and Truffles that are my little world. It seems as though he lived a good life and 16 yrs, how wonderful the time you did spend wiiht him. Again, so sorry for your loss.
    jess xx

  28. Caryl my heart is incredibly heavy for you and your husband and I'm so sorry for you loss. What a great story and sounds like Petie lived the life every pup could want! My 2 rat terriers will be 13 this year (both with a history of 2 different types of cancer, one being mast cell tumors) and crazy as this sounds being strangers, your story will inevitably bring me comfort when the "time" comes for us as well. I wish you all the best! 💗

  29. I am sorry for your loss. Whether it's a human or animal friend, it's never easy to say goodbye to those who have shared our lives. God bless you.

  30. I have tears in my eyes Caryl. His sweet little face and seeing the picture of you lying next to him on the floor kills me and breaks my heart. Dogs are like our children and I can't imagine how much pain you're in. I've had to put dogs to sleep before but they were my moms dogs. I really am praying for you and Matt. You did the right thing and petie is in a better place.

  31. I'm so sorry for your loss! I can't even imagine what you are going through. You were so nice to take him in and make him part of your family. Big hugs!

    Nicole to the Nines

  32. Oh no, I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. Petie sounds so sweet and loved hearing about his life with you guys. Hugs to you all!

    cute & little

  33. I am heartbroken for you, they are such a huge part of our family. I really do believe you did what was best for him, tough choice but the right one.

  34. I'm so sorry for your loss. This must have been really hard to go through. I lost my dog to (what we think was) a brain tumor two years ago, so I know how difficult it is. Sending hugs and prayers your way.
    Rachael www.threadsforthomasblog.com

  35. Oh hon, I'm so sorry. It is one of the hardest things to do and deal with and I'm thinking of you and praying for you guys. We went through it a few years ago with our Boston Terrier and last month we found out our rescue guy, a Doberman (and my favorite pet of all time) has 2-3 months left due to a heart problem. I'm loving every day with him but it is not easy. My heart goes out to you. HUGS and lots of love and healing.

  36. I am crying as I read this. Our pets are part of the family and it is so hard to let them go. I am so sorry for your loss of Petie and am sending you virtual hugs right now. xo Mary

  37. I am so sorry to hear about Petie. I had to make the same difficult decision for my 16 year old cat, Kitty Bear. It is so hard but in the end, I was glad she wasn't suffering. Sending prayers to you.