Your Pet Loss Stories

'Smokie the Bandit'

by SeMone Epps
(Dayton, Ohio)

Hi today I sent my husband alone to the vet with our 17 and a half year old Lab and Beagle mix knowing that he might not be brought back home. This was my dog even though he lived with my husband and I. As you all know dogs generally take to one person and although he tolerated my husband I was that person.

Smokie was a very good dog who was rescued from a shelter when he was 3 and 1/2 years old. He had lived a very rough life on the streets and had been badly abused. It took a lot for him to trust us but he eventually did. Two years ago he had a stroke or an ear infection depending on which vet you talk to. As a result his head remained a little tilted which made him even cuter as he recovered back to his old self.

Then about 6 months or so ago I noticed a lump growing on his face and one vet immediately said put him down. So I went and enlisted a new vet who was more compassionate. This resulted in a trial antibiotic and eventually a removal of part of the mass which was sent to a lab. The results were heartbreaking in that it was cancerous and incurable. Smokie was given up to 5 months to live and he passed in 6 weeks.

I regret that I was not there to watch him be euthanized but my husband was a trooper and took him and stayed with him to the end. I feel that I not only let my dog down but my husband as well who had to go through the experience alone while I was at home alone. My husband told me he cried and it was very sad. Now I wonder if Smokie knew I was not there and if he felt abandoned by me after all the years of his faithfulness to me.

Just today before his journey as sick as he was when he saw (out of his one good eye) or faintly heard my voice (as we thought for the most part he was going deaf) he dragged himself up to greet me and lay at my feet for his rub. So confused right now I think I actually thought the vet would send my husband back home with Smokie today and say not yet. Talk about denial. What a way to say goodbye. Guess you are never really ready.

Now we are left to deal with his Jack Russell companion who we purchased as a puppy 4 years ago to revitalize Smokie and be his friend. I must say that Jazz was a wonderful companion for Smokie and extended his life by being so attentive to him. They slept together, he followed him around, tried to guide him by barking at him when he wandered into things or behind things and became stuck.

But poor Jazz right now he is roaming the house looking for Smokie non-stop, refusing to get out of their dog bed when called, and amazingly now is cowering with his tail tucked between his legs and peeing when you approach him. If you know anything about Jack Russell's they fear nothing so this behavior is very alarming to my husband and I. Smokie died today in the afternoon hour and Jazz by evening has already transformed into a dog we don't recognize.

Already regret my decision not to go to the vet today and maybe not only should I have gone but Jazz too to say goodbye. Guilt and grieve stricken with no idea what to do now.

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