Mama's boy

by Kym
(Albetta, Canada)

I have had Japanese chins all my life, in 2000, I looked into a breeder who had a little boy for sale, my mom and I drove 8 hours to go see and probably purchase him, when I arrived, I saw "Freeway" and fell in love instantly, the breeder told me that his brother from the same litter had just been returned that morning, we went home with 2,"Jackson" was a sweet heart right from the beginning, freeway was a free spirit that LOVED his ball, but Jackson loved his mom, that was me. He was tender-hearted, sensitive, loving, and devoted to me, most dogs when frightened or hurt or scared run and hide, Jackie would never hide he'd coming running to me, he knew I'd never let anything harm him, no matter where I was Jack was right beside me, if I had to be away, my husband would have to talk him out from under the bed, for the first few days, I never left him for more then a few days, I'd worry just as much as he did.This is why he was nick named Mama's boy. One of my favorite things about him is how he'd sit beside me with one back leg out stretched, as if to say "scratch my belly" and I did. Summer time I'd put out a blanket to sit with my fur kids and he'd always sit behind me in my shadow and lean against my back, he was always there. Jack loved to be brushed and loved his teeth being brushed, he loved the flavored tooth paste, I'd bring out the toothbrush and he'd be dancing up my leg, "do me first mom" and once he was done he'd sit at my feet while I did everyone else and as I put each one down he'd make sure to wash their face of any toothpaste I might have left on their face. He loved his walks too, he had such a prance, anyone who knows Chins knows what I mean, his prance was so pretty, like he knew the world revolved around him and life was good. In 2011 I noticed he was losing weight I took him in to my vet and every test that was thought of was done on him, nothing really came about, I was told to just feed him more and keep an eye on him, so I did, his weight seemed to stabilize for awhile, but by early 2012 I noticed he was a little wobbly in his back legs and the muscle mass seemed to not be there, I took him back in and again every test the vet could think of was done, but again nothing substantial, I was told to just let him live out his life and not a word of a lie the vet said to me " he's almost 13, stop wasting your money on this one dog, you have others." The next day I found another vet. I told her I'd put my house up if I had to, I needed to fix Jackie, I had a heart ultrasound done, nothing unexpected for a 12.5 year old, I did more blood work and it was found some of his number were kinda wonky, so I did an abdominal ultrasound, and it was found that his bowels were thickened, this was something at least, we changed his med's, and his diet, and every week we'd go in for blood work, slowly his numbers looked better and better, he gain some weight back, and slowly we cut back his med's to a lower dose, things were looking up he was back to his old self, I was warned that although things were looking up that some of the blood work did show the possibility of cancer, the only way to know for sure was to do a biopsy of his bowels and colon, but the chances of survival during the operation was about 30% because of his heart and the med's he was on, so I opted no surgery, he was doing so well on the med's, I knew it wasn't cancer. Jackie did great for 3 months, his blood work was stable he was eating and playing, actually playing again, I was sure he'd live forever, his birthday came and went he'd made it to 13, this is about 1 year then most Chins, but one day in June I came home to find Jackie having a real hard time breathing, I rushed him in to my vet, I knew it was bad, Jack ALWAYS sat on the console of my car right beside me, my co-pilot, this ride in he laid on the seat beside my not even raising his head, it was a busy day at the vets but they said to leave him and they'd make sure to see to him, I trusted my vet completely, so I drove home, as I got a block or so away, something inside told me to go back and just sit with him, because he wasn't coming home, but I didn't, I thought if I did it would make it really happen so I went home and waited for a call, by 3pm the vet called and said he was in an oxygen tent and was breathing a little better but as soon as they took him out he'd turn blue, they did x-rays, and blood, and gave him med's that would have made a German Shepard breath better, but nothing changed he was fighting for every breath, by 5pm the vet called again and said to come in and we'd discus, his further treatment, my heart beat a little faster, she didn't say come say good bye, there was hope, I drove as fast as possible, when I arrived they put me in a room and brought him to me, I knew the second I laid eyes on him he wasn't coming home, I don't know how a bright black and white dog could look grey but he did and in those few hours his beautiful little face had sunk in, he looked so sad and done in, I cried and cried the vet left us alone for a few minutes before she started to talk to me, she had done everything she knew, the only thing she could guess was there was a small blackened area on one of his major heart valves that she believed was blocking the blood flow and oxygen to his heart, there was nothing to be done, she said she still couldn't say 100% that was the problem, and the only way to know for sure would to do another ultrasound which was at least 1.5 hours away, she didn't think he'd make the journey with out the oxygen and even if he did because of the med's he was on they couldn't do surgery anyways, he'd bleed out. I called my husband and daughter they arrived, and we talked about what to do but I knew it was up to me, I wanted to do what was best for Jack and to make sure I could live with myself, I knew doing the ultrasound wouldn't change the out come of that day and it would just prolong his discomfort, and I didn't want him to possible die in a room full of strangers scared and alone during the ultrasound, so I made the hardest decision of my life to say good bye to my beautiful baby boy, I held his little head in my hands as he took his last breath and kissed him good bye. That was 7 month ago and I cry everyday still, I can't seem to get over it, I'm mad at myself for not going for the ultrasound, I play the "what if game" everyday, I say to myself " he gave me unconditional love everyday of his life, and I couldn't just do 1 more ultrasound".

Comments for Mama's boy

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Jan 07, 2014
Beautiful Jack
by: Diane

It's natural to have these feelings of guilt, I know I still do a year after my Chrissy was killed. I wish I could tell you it gets better, but I think we just learn to live with our grief.I cried as I read your wonderful tribute to your Jack, and I want you to know there was absolutely NOTHING you did wrong.It would have made no difference in the long run if another test was run, Jack would still be gone.I'm so happy for him that you were there to comfort him, even though it tore your heart in two. It meant the world to him. We all keep our precious babies alive in our hearts, and that part of our soul that is missing will eventually be filled with another, not to replace the one we lost, that could never be done, but rather to heal the wound by giving our love to another precious baby that needs us. Please take care of yourself and know there are many out here that know how you feel and will try to help in any way we can. Bless you for loving so much.

Jan 04, 2014
mama's boy
by: Anonymous

I am so sorry for the loss of your Jackie i can't say i know how you feel but i do know you did the best for him,i too just lost my best friend moe a 6 yr old gray tabby it is very difficult to make that decision moe had a tumor that was on his heart which was inoperable I held to tight I did not want to let him go it is hard i think about him all the time and I still get teary that was 2 month ago 15 nov at 6 pm I know he is in a better place but like you i still miss his purr my vet sent me a card that I would like to share with you
They walk with us,they sleep with us,
They sit with us when we are blue,
And when it's time to go,Apart of us go too

Jan 04, 2014
You gave unconditional love in return
by: Heidi

Please don’t be hard on yourself. You gave your Jack a second chance and he knew it and showed his love and appreciation his entire life. You provided Jack with a wonderful, caring and loving home for him. You did everything possible for him from blood work, tests, even changing vets. You were always there for him.

I know how very difficult that decision is. I’ve have to make that decision several times over the years after having multiple companion animals. Regret on top of grief is a normal reaction. But as you said yourself, would the results of the ultrasound have changed anything? Would he have been able to survive the treatment – if there even was one available?

One of our dogs had suffered from kidney disease and we were giving him ‘life support’ of sub q fluids every day. Looking back, I think I waited too long to make the decision but we just couldn't let go. By the end, he was so weak he wasn’t able to stand and then he started seizuring and I knew it was time. We took him in and he died peacefully in my arms. Three weeks after he died, our other dog who was so close to him, suddenly became ill. It seemed out of nowhere. Her organs were crashing and they recommended euthanasia right then. We were in no state of mind to accept that and said we wanted to take her home and let her die there. But she got to the point where she was crying out in pain and I couldn’t even get her to swallow anymore so I couldn’t give her pain meds. So four days after her diagnosis we made that awful decision again and peacefully ended her suffering.

I went through the guilt of maybe I should have noticed something sooner or taken her in for check up blood work or tests sooner. Her diagnosis was Cushing’s disease but she didn’t have any of the typical symptoms. So much guilt and regret. But my vet asked me, if I had known months ago of her illness, and knowing that the treatment itself had a high probability of causing death, would I have gone through with the treatment? My answer was no, I wouldn't have risked it (my vet knows me well).

But I wish I would have realized that our little girl was grieving too. I would have comforted her more. Once our other dog was gone she didn’t have the strength to hold on any longer. That was eight years ago and it still breaks me into tears. They were together twelve years and I believe they are in Heaven together again.

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