PDlogo   Sharing Your Pet Loss Experience






Owner's experiences coping with Pet Loss. 

Rusty was a domestic short haired kitty that looked much like Friskies Morris. He was born 11/16/89.  He was a happy relatively healthy kitty until 2000.  Prior to that, he had an interesting life which I sometimes think had something to do with his illnesses in the end, but that can't be verified for sure.  He had a few fights where he was beat up (I think the other cats were beat up more!) and he had hospital visits and numerous procedures to "fix him up".  Then there was the time he spent a night 40+ feet up in a tree at 10 below 0 wind chills where I was frantically looking for him and eventually found him, rescued him (he had been chased up the tree by a pack of dogs) and he recovered.  All this early stress in his life, I wonder what the toll was in his later years.

In early 2000, Rusty became ill.  We didn't know why.  A blood test showed his liver ALT values in the 800-900 range!  Extremely high.  He had a ultrasound and then a biopsy which did not reveal any "real" problem. His blood sugars were normal at that time.  After medications, the value fluctuated, then stabilized.  Every now and again, for seemingly no reason, it would go back up then come back down on it's own.  In October of 2000, his blood sugars began to rise and we tried to put him on Glipizide, but when that didn't work, he was put on PZI insulin and became officially diabetic. 

It was not long before we noticed that the insulin did not appear to be working.  When he was up to 26 units twice daily (he was about 14 pounds at the time), we decided to try a new insulin - Humulin Ultralente.  The new insulin, also, did not appear to be working and after some research and some suggestions from the pet diabetes mailing list, I began to suspect Rusty had Acromegally.  I brought him to the "big" hospital in Boston (Angell) and they tested the "insulin like growth factor" in Rusty's blood.  It was 189.6 - normal is 5 - 70.  It was confirmed that he had Acromegally.  Acromegally is a condition caused by a tumor in the pituitary gland that in turn over-produces the body’s growth hormone.  This causes a myriad issues - including bone enlargement (calcium levels were always high).  In addition, Rusty had a heart murmur, a few small mast cell tumors (which were removed) and some of his organs became enlarged but did not cause a problem

The growth hormone in the blood blocks the bodies ability to absorb insulin - hence the large dose of insulin.  Rusty was never really regulated - we just managed the levels. I learned to test blood at home and became a full time care giver for my baby. We managed very well for more than two years considering the Acromegally diagnosis!

In the end, the Acromegally took him - based on the tests we did in the last weeks of his life, it appears the tumor began to grow at a fast rate.  He became blind (the pituitary gland is under where the optic nerves cross in the head), his kidneys enlarged and started to shut down, his thyroids enlarged (hyperthyroid test came back negative) and other organs also enlarged.  He was a trooper to the end.  I had him with me for exactly 13 years and 6 months (I got him on January 2, 1990).

At this writing, it has not been a week yet since he is gone (June 2, 2003 was the last day).  I am still crying, but find it helpful to talk about him and tell his stories.  I have a small memorial on my counter with a candle and pictures and a copy of the Rainbow Bridge poem that I look at every day.  My friend gave me a locket in which I have a picture of Rusty that I wear everyday now.  I tried the APLB chat line, but did not find that helped me much.  The best help after Rusty was gone was the emails I received on the pet diabetes mailing list and all of the support from that group.

Rusty was sent to a farm in upstate New Hampshire to be buried and I hope he is happy and playing now.  I still feel he is with me, and expect to see him when I come in the door everyday.  But, I know that now he is not being poked with needles, having blood tests, pills and liquids stuffed in his mouth....so it has to be better....right?  

I envision him a happy cat, playing and romping and having a great time - something he has not had in 3 years.  So, it's bittersweet, but I am happy he is out of pain and on to a better, happier place where I hope to meet up with him again someday.  --
Contributed by Patty pandler@andlernh.com ,June 2003


Jason - On April 22,2003 I lost my baby boy. The love of my life, my beautiful Bichon Frise. He was 15 years old. He was diagnosed with diabetes in March of 2002. He also had other health issues that we were dealing with. This made things a little more complicated. Before Jason's illness I found myself becoming more Spiritual, I was reading everything I could about death. At this time I hadn't lost anyone, but I was having some rather strange experiences. One of which I was awaken in the middle of the night by a very strong smell of flowers. The aroma would only surround my bed. And my favorite was an angel sitting next to my bed, surrounded by a beautiful golden light, the light was unforgettable I wanted so much to leave with that angel but she told me no, she waved goodbye and left. When Jason started getting sick again with the vomiting, of course I had him to the vet the very next day, but I also would do a meditation with him in my mind lying on a table surrounded in that beautiful golden light, and asking God to send in healers to help my Jason. Many times I believe God answered my prayers. I remember one morning I woke up and found a white feather lying right next to Jason. Jason was sick for about 2 weeks straight, he was having fluids almost every other day, he began circling, he stopped eating, he no longer wanted his medication. I said Jason mommy will be o.k if you want to go Home to God now its o.k baby. With that he got up and very slowly walked to his bowl to eat. A very nagging feeling came over me that seemed persistent and that was to call small paws rescue and ask for a puppy. I felt guilty about this because I thought what am I doing? Jason is so sick how could I even think of a puppy? Well knowing that small paws only gives puppies to people that have lost their dogs I figured my chances were nill. Within 15 minutes of sending them an email I got a phone call from Robin at small paws, she prayed with me, and then said you bet you can have a puppy. Jason, continued to eat and I thought this is looking good, wishful thinking I know. He still refused his medication and his big beautiful eyes lost their glimmer. I knew he was dying. For the first time in 15 years my boy didn't look at me. When I went to lie down next to him he got up and walked away. I just cried, Jason mommy loves you. The words of Sylvia Browne rang in my head, 9 times out of 10 when someone is dying they will turn there head away, not that there mad at you, but leaving is hard. Well the morning I left to pick the puppy up from the airport I gave Jason his breakfast and he ate and got his insulin. When I called come my husband said Jason was refusing to eat again. I rushed home. Jason could just about stand. He sniffed the puppy over and then came over to me. I rocked him liked a baby all night. He laid helpless in my arms. The next day when we took Jason to the vet, she said there was no more we could do. I laid on the floor with him and sang to him you'll never walk alone. When it was over I thought I wanted to die myself. I found my strength in knowing God is a loving God, and He doesn't take anything away from us. I believe God led me down a path, years before Jason got sick, to show me things I didn't know, to meet people that would help me, to understand the process of death. Jason was cremated and I thought I would never be able to pick up his ashes. But I kept saying this is only the car that carries the soul. My Jason is alive in Heaven, He's here with me now, watching over me. I told Jason, when you get there, you let mommy know you made it o.k. The day he died, I was standing near the kitchen sink and smelled roses. I bent down and said Jason I know it's you. I still have his pillow right next to my bed, I sleep with his blanket, and his ashes are on my nightstand. They will be buried with me, when its my time to leave this world. I still get, days that I wish he were here with me. But in his spiritual body that is now healthy, he is still running right alongside me. I will see, my baby again someday. And I know there is no time in Heaven, so to Jason mommy was just gone for a few minutes. Even though it will be years to me.   -- Contributed by Betty, June 2003.


Solomon was a beautiful 10 year old Dalmatian. He was diagnosed with diabetics in Nov. 2002. He became ill suddenly and died May 23, 2003. Solomon has been gone now for 2 weeks. I have cried every day for him and missed him terribly. We had to put him to sleep due to his sudden decline. He began having a lot of pain on Wednesday and by the end of the day couldn't walk at all. The vets did what they could but he wouldn't eat and was in such pain they said it was time. I have went through guilt over the decision, it all happened so fast. I also don't really know what happened to him. We were very bonded and he was my child and only pet. He had a beautiful loving spirit that I will always miss. I am still coping with it all and its has helped to read on this site and to talk and post about him. We buried him on our land and I have planted white flowers on his grave since he was mostly white, 10 for his age. I gave his food to the local shelter but have kept all his things and they comfort me. I began a new picture album and have his pictures all over the place. These things comfort me at times but the grief is still very strong at this point. Thanks for listening and letting me share and for this web site. Soliesmom4ever.   -- Contributed by Soliesmom, June 2003



Pet Loss Main Page    Contribute Your Story    More Stories

home  education  resources  techniques  site info  contents

Updated June 2003
Copyright. All rights reserved.
This site is for information purposes only.  Please consult your veterinarian.