Goodbye my Sweet Bear - Rest in Peace

by Michelle
(Canberra, Australia)

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

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Mar 23, 2015
I lost my darling Sharna (Baby Girl)
by: Paula (UK)

I completely understand how you felt but you could not have done more.... as I have just lost mine and part of me cannot stop blaming myself. We do all we can for these beautiful babies and one day I do believe we will see them again, just as we remember them. Until we meet again xx

Dec 17, 2012
I lost my darling friend Sam
by: Lynette

My child-dog Sam (12-year old Shar-Pei)was euthanased on Wednesday morning 12/12/12 due to a bloated tummy which also showed a cancerous condition on the scan. It was a great shock and I remain heartbroken to have lost my dog after such a sudden serious illness.

I held his head in my arms whilst the vet administered the intravenous injection...with Sam giving me a loving tail-wag and looking into my eyes for the last time....he was at peace that his Mommy was there with him!

Although I can't stop crying, I am quietly satisfied that I was the last person he saw and the last voice he heard as I whispered loving words into his ear, telling him what a beautiful, wonderful, loyal and loving friend he had been and how much I loved him, before he became limp in my arms and passed away. Bye darling Sam!

Aug 16, 2011
by: Banshmansh( UK)

Michelle, Do not blame yourself. Your Beautiful Bear is at peace now in the Rainbow Bridge meadows.
I know about Bloat.
Its known as Gastric Torsion here in the UK. I was bloody lucky, very very very lucky.
My Beloved Banshee suffered a GAstric Torsion in 2002. She was 8. She had had her tea. I used to feed her at nights, just once a day. So round 10pm she started to show symptoms of feeling uncomfortable. She was drinking water, then minutes later being sick. ONLY bringing back up the water she just had. At first I could not understand why she wasn't bringing up her tea too.
But as the night wore on, I know there was something seriously wrong. So having contacted freinds who have Shepherds, they told me not to worry too much and see how she was in the morning.
I decided to call the vets and was told after describing what was wrong, to bring her straight in.
At midnight she had an Emergency Operation. And thank god, they saved her life . She went on to live many more Happy joyful years.

But the thing is, Torsions can happen to deep chested dogs. The stomach just twists, and that is fatal to 95% of dogs who suffer a torsion. Once you have a dog that sufferes a torsion, it mentally scars you for the rest of your life. I will never forget that awful night.#
My freind John, had a beautiful Akita....and he lost him through a Torsion.
I suppose it is a big help to feed your dog 3 times a day, like I do, smaller portions. But my Golden Rule is at least 1 hour after the meal, its rest time.
I will never let my dog have a walk or get exited running & jumping directly after a meal. Its sets alarms ringing in my mind, with a huge Neon sign flashing. WARNING TORSION.
I will say this, don't torment yourself with guilt. If you feed your other dog smaller meals 2/3 times a day, and let the rest period be at least 1 may never suffer this terrible trauma again.

Jun 21, 2011
God Bless
by: Mark Ohio

Love Bear in your heart and prayers, it's tough and be glad for 15 years of joy.

Jun 20, 2011
loss of a best friend
by: phil

have just read your comment about your loss of bear .i too lost my german shepherd 2 months and i was heartbroken and also felt guilt that maybe i could have done more ,but later came to realise that i did all i could .reading your comments i think you sound like the kind of person who would have done anything for bear ,and it pleases me to know there are people like you who love there dogs i wish you all the best for the futre phil

Jun 13, 2011
Sweet Bear - RIP
by: Linda A - St Louis

Your beloved Bear is not suffering any more, even though he is in Heaven; he will always be in your Heart.

Jun 12, 2011
So Sorry
by: Anonymous

I too lost a 12 year old dog to bloat. Even if you would have know, the same thing would have needed to be done. Surgery at their ages would be traumatic to their bodies.. It's ok ..

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Thank you for this web site. Very informative and well written. I often advise my shepherd people to visit here for information. Again GREAT JOB.
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What a fabulous website!!! I really enjoyed reading about the history of the dogs. There is a ton of helpful information on here and defiantly something for every reader to enjoy!!!
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Recently got a GSD again. Last time had GSD no internet etc. Cant believe how much info for free. Kenneth

I love and appreciate the helpful advice I found on your website!