Goodbye my Sweet Bear - Rest in Peace
In the early hours of Sunday morning, 29th of May 2011, I lost my German Shepherd Bear to bloat. He was 15 years old and the dog that kept on keeping on. He had arthritis in all his joints and had trouble controlling the movements of his hind legs. He was probably more deaf than he let on and his muzzle was almost all grey. But Bear was a trooper. Always up for a walk and to play with the tennis ball. Even in old age he was the most handsome dog I'd ever seen.
I will always blame myself for not acting more quickly when Bear displayed the first signs of bloat that night. He became restless and wouldn't come inside when I called. He kept trying to throw up and his mouth became covered with foam. We went outside to keep an eye on him and I realised his tummy had blown up a bit. He was a skinny dog and it was easy to see it, like a balloon had been inflated.
We took him back inside out of the cold and started to google his symptoms. He got more restless but would lie down more as his tummy expanded. This was about 1am at this stage and my partner suggested taking him to the Animal Emergency Centre. I was hesitant as I had heard bad experiences about Emergency Centre Vets. But when Bear's tummy had grown even larger we bundled him in the car on his favourite bed and rushed to the Emergency Vet. I remember holding on to his big paw telling myself over and over and over that he would be okay, we would be in time.
By the time we reached the Emergency Vet Bear had gone into shock and I was trying to hold back my hysterics. X-rays showed the size his stomach had grown to and our options were to euthanize or operate. We chose operate. The vet put a catheter in his stomach to relieve some of the gas and his breathing calmed a bit. The vet moved him to another table and I touched him for the last time whilst alive. I wish now I had stayed longer, kissed him and told him I loved him. But he was still in shock and I still held in my heart that he would be okay.
We moved out into the Waiting Area while they prepped him for surgery. They tried putting a tube down his throat to untwist his stomach but that didn't work. After some time we were told to go home and wait as the surgery would be a long time. The vet would call us, either sooner or later. Sooner being if he wasn't going to make it. Later being if he had gotten through the surgery and was awake again. We got the sooner call.
We were told my dear dog was failing. There was too much blockage and too much damage and he was not coping. His blood pressure was dropping and he just wasn't handling it. My Bear was euthanized on the operating table at approximately 6am, about 6 hours after we realized there was something wrong. We went and saw him a few hours later after they had cleaned him up. He was on a blue stretcher in a 'Pets at Peace' bag, on his side and seemingly just asleep.
I sobbed for my baby. I fell and touched his poor head, his beautiful fur and cried as I remembered how velvety his ears felt. My Bear was asleep, never to wake up again.
I torture myself now with the 'what ifs', I blame myself for not acting sooner, I am haunted by his memories. I cry everyday. I miss him. I feel guilt and pain in my chest and stomach. I let him down. I was his mummy and I let him die. Forgive me my sweet Bear, I wish I could turn it all back and pet you and kiss you and take you out to play with your ball. I meant not to let you down.
I will see you again one day. Love Mummy