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Sandy Grace, her story and her final hours

Mar 13, 2008 - 3 comments

We just lost our beautiful yellow lab "Sandy Grace" to kidney failure.  I know many of you have read my plea for help when Sandy was so sick.  Her creatine was 13.  Our vet was amazed at her will to live.  We took her to the vet thinking she had a gastritis virus.  Like all of you, we did everything we could for her.   We admitted her for 40 hours of IV fluids.  Her creatine went down to a 10.3-  We took her to a specialist hoping for a miracle.  The specialist wanted to put her down that day as ultrasound showed she had one kidney, the other resembeled a raisin.  We told the specialist, she was still eating, drinking plenty of fluids, was still sassy when she wanted to be, still walked to the lake, SHE IS NOT READY TO GO!!!!!    I think the specialist thought we were cruel, but we knew in our hearts our Sandy  wanted a little more time with us, and we wanted a lifetime with her.

Our vet sent bags of fluids home with us.  We gave her fluids, nausea meds, vitamins, everything money could buy to make her more comfortable.  I researched every piece of  information I could find trying to help her.  I read many articles about hollistic and homeopathic treatment.  My vet referred us to a vet who practiced orthodox, hollistic and homeopathic medicine.  We rushed her to him, he prescribed  seven medications for her.  They helped a short time.  The fluids helped for a while, but then nothing seemed to help her vomiting.  This is when I came to this wonderful site for help and support.  I tried the Tums like Jaybay suggested, they gave her some relief for several hours but nothing was longlasting.  She stopped eating (KD dogfood, hamburger, dark meat chicken, bacon, some steak, chicken broth with shreds of chicken,  a special mixture of raw eggs, honey, whole yogurt, babyfood, etc.)    We were constantly giving her ice water chips and pedialyte ice chips,  We realized if she lapped, she threw up everytime-if we gave her ice chips, she seemed to hold it down most of the time.  DESPERATE!!!!  I slept in the den with her, her favorite place was our loveseat.  If she got on the floor, I got on the floor to lay with her.  What else can we do, somebody please help!!!  We can't lose our Sandy Grace, she is so special!!!!  She loves us so much, she wants to live!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Your thoughts are constantly with your baby, WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP HER, THERE HAS TO BE A WAY.  Then, you realize you have to let her go, how can you euthanize your baby who has been your best friend and lived her life for you.   NO, I can't do this.  I PROMISED HER I WOULD NOT MAKE HER GET BACK IN THE CAR UNLESS IT WAS FOR FUN!!!!!!!!!   NO, NO, NO.   Then you know, you have to do this for your baby.  She is not eating, she is drinking very little.  She is so weak, when she throws up, I am holding her so she will not fall.  YOU HAVE TO DO THIS.  NO, I CAN'T.   YES, YOU CAN.  You are being selfish, yes I am, I want to hold her, feel her breath, rub her tummy.  You have to let her go.  We finally made the decision to call our vet, we wanted her on her loveseat  with her bankie, I wanted to hold her as she was sedated, I wanted her to remember,  to experience our love one more time before she closed her eyes in sleep.  She would not know about the second shot that would stop her heart.  She would not suffer from the vomiting and weakness anymore.  She would be at peace and healthy forever in heaven.  Our vet was coming at 11:00 a.m. on Februay 6 to help  end her suffering.  That did not happen.  Sandy was much worse, the evening of February 5, she was constantly throwing up, so weak . . WHY DID YOU NOT CALL YOUR VET SOONER!!!!!!!  I finally got her settled around 11:00 p.m that evening or I thought I did.  She was able to rest for a few hours.  She wanted in the floor, O.K., we can do this together girl.  I helped her in the floor and I laid down beside her and put my arm around her, rubbed her tummey, pulled her ears (she loved that) and told her it was O.K. to go.   I told her how much we loved her and what a great friend she had been.  I reminded her of her funny times and told her we would hold those precious moments in our hearts forever.  She was relaxed for a while.  (You see, many dogs lose their personalities during their last days of kidney failure, but Sandy Grace never did.  She knew who we were and was still wagging her tail at us her last hours.  Even with a creatine level of 13, she was still rolling in the grass, watching the seagulls and geese  I hope she was thinking of her fun times.)  We managed to rest a short while, then she started throwing up horrible yellow and green fluids.  Dry heaves that was nearly killing her.  WHAT CAN I DO FOR HER, IT IS SO LONG UNTIL 11:00 AND HER SUFFERING ENDS.  I am holding her as she is dry heaving, she has a seizure, (first one-lasted only seconds)  Her tongue is turning black.  SO LONG UNTIL 11:00, I KNOW I WILL CALL MY VET TO COME EARLY MORING!!!!  I promised her no more fluids, she would not accept any water or pedialyte now.  2:00 a.m. . .  Sandy, I am just going to hold you, I will not bother you again trying to give you any meds or fluids.  We will just lay here together and I will hold you until I can call the vet to come earlier.

On the evening of February 5, my grandson called to say goodnight-I asked him to pray that Sandy Grace would go on her own, I called my daughter, son, sister, mom and friends to pray that same prayer,

Sandy rested until 4:00 a.m., finally she tried to get up, she wanted to lay on the kitchen floor because it was cooler.  I helped her to the kitchen floor.  She laid there for a while, I could tell she wanted to be alone, so I pulled up a chair, gave her some distance and just watched her.  I laid my head back and snoozed for a few minutes, I heard her trying to get up, I got up and helped her into the den.  Just as we got into the den, she sat just as beautifully as you could imagine, she looked at me with those wonderful eyes for a few seconds, dry heaved, fell forward in a violent lunge.  I tried to catch her, as I caught her and positioned her in my arms, I could see in her eyes that she was leaving us, I cried out loud, Lord have mercy on her, two weak dry heaves, and she was gone.  I must have held her for an hour or so, rubbing her tummey, pulling her ears and feeling the warmth leave her body.  I live these moments in my mind every minute of my day and most of the night.  

Why am I telling you all of this . . in my heart, I know I should have called our vet a few days earlier . . I didn't-she suffered that night-but my prayer was answered, she went on her own.  Which way is easier for all of you who loved or loves your babies as much we did.  I do not know.  I do know that kidney failure is a horrible thing and there is no cure, it only gets worse in time.  I have read and heard about dogs who lived for a year or two with kidney failure.  The sub q's do help bring down the toxins.  THERE IS NO CURE!!  I have been told by three vets that they have not heard of any successful kidney transplants for dogs.  Maybe someday.

I hope if you have a decision to make about your babies, you will make the right one for them and yourselves.  It is such a personal and painful decision to make.  My heart is with all of you if you have gone through this or about to do so.  Stay with this site, as you will get  the best support  from these wonderful friends you have found.  Aggieone

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by leann357, Mar 14, 2008
your story about Sandy Grace brought tears to my eyes! I have two black female labs. I love them to death. I can truly feel what you went through. I am sorry.

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by aggieone, Mar 19, 2008
Thank you Leann357-I can't seem to get over it, I still cry, I still look for her-I feel like she is with me, but I can't touch!   My friends and family are beginning to worry a great deal about me.  She was so special and such a lady.  Labs are wonderful and I wish everyone I know had one.  They make your hearts grow so much bigger with that special love.  Thanks for reading her story, it was tough, but the pleasure she broought me was something.  Aggieone

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by SallyAnn26, Apr 14, 2009
I'm so sorry for your loss.Your story really touched my heart.  I only found this website today while researching. Two weeks ago I was told that my 12 year old black Lab, Jadie, has Chronic Renal Failure.  Coupled along with this, her back legs have weakened and there is grinding going on in her hip joints. My Jadie had both hips fixed (TPO's) when she was a year old.  I lovingly call her my bionic dog!  She's a good girl and I am having a very difficult time dealing with this. She isn't eating much of anything. She will basically struggle to get up and just lay in the hall by the front door for most of the day. I will take her to the vet tomorrow to check her blood pressure (she's now on med's to lower) and to re-check her kidney levels.  Her BUN was 98 and her Creatinine was 5.5, 2+ protein in urine when checked last.  Last night she couldn't hold down the little that she ate.  This morning I just gave her some chicken and rice.  Thankfully so far, so good.  I have to coax her to get up to get a drink and to go outside.  She is not herself.  This is just horrible and from what I've been reading it will only get worse.  I don't want her to suffer and I hope to God that I know when the time is right to let her go and be free from the pain and discomfort.   Thank you for sharing your story.  I know it couldn't have been easy.  

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