Wednesday, January 06, 2016

My 1st Day Without Winston

First of all I want to thank everyone for their kind comments and emails. The number of them surprised me, yet they made a bad day feel a little better. A friend emailed me last night hoping my day without Winston had not gone too bad, although she knew it would be a tough one. After I sent her a response... she said it would be a great blog post for the readers.

So here is a brief update for my 1st day without Winston.

Before I post that below my divider I need to briefly let you know what changed with Winston and that for some reason after I posted Monday, Winston started going downhill for some unexplainable reason. I'll not go into detail but just list some of the things that told me it was time. I remember on my Monday post that I mentioned at 2:20 that he started whining a lot, with numerous trips outside (3 in an hour), with no results.

  • Late Monday night after a lot of hours of sleep - struggles to get up in the sitting position 
    • He yelped when I tried to help him   (a sign of a lot of pain)
  • Late Monday night turns down an offer of water
    • For 17 days he had been guzzling water at every opportunity
  • Late Monday night turns down a handful of kibble
    • For 11 years and 7 months he never turned down anything to eat .. ever
  • Peaceful night of sleeping in bed Monday night - although struggles to lay down
    • He was back to using short choppy steps with his front paws to lay down
      • At one point stopped and could not lay flat
    • Cannot sit up Tuesday morning
    • Yelps when I try to help him up as he is struggling to get to his front feet
  • Tuesday morning after I carry him to the gated area - with no gate - struggles to lay down
  • Tuesday morning struggles to pee and has one very very small piece of poop
  • Tuesday morning refuses his breakfast of kibble and water
  • I knew from all of the latest changes and the look he gave me Tuesday morning it was time
    • I just knew there was nothing else I could do
So here is how my 1st day went without my very best friend. I will add that Wednesday morning has not been any easier. I got 9 hours of solid sleep Tuesday night and feel like I slept 30 minutes. I have two concerned bloodhounds that follow me when I pace around the house and come running when they hear me at my desk.

***************************************************************
This was my email reply to her:

I guess it has gone as expected. It’s been too quiet. Not because Winston was noisy but the bloodhounds haven’t played, stella didn’t howl for lunch and heidi is always quiet. Washed all the Mexican blankets, the dog Coleman sleeping bag and put the barriers away of the gated area … I didn’t want to see it anymore.

Took a shower, shave, a nap, two different walks with the bloodhounds. I looked through all of his photos. I took the last 3 of him this morning. 

I remember how he felt this morning when I held him at the vet, while I talked to him. His coat was so soft. I remember after the sedation shot that he almost finally laid down with my arm under his head to hold him, when he sat back up, refusing to quit and how he finally laid down with his eyes barely open.

I remember after it was all done how the vet tech took his ears, spread them out on the table and she couldn’t stop petting them.

I know it was the best thing for him. I know I made the right decision but like you know and I know from experience, it’s just a hard thing to grasp and get through.

I keep looking back and wondering what the cause was. Was it possible he might have had an infection from losing 4 teeth in 2 days although the vet gave him antibiotics? Did he have a stroke type thing on his spine. Did he hurt his back by doing his normal morning jumping off the bed.? Did Stella accidentally fall or step on him as she ran for the door after waking up?

Then I remember the facts … it happened … he was old … he had a great life … and he was just a great basset hound … that’s it.

So I pet and rub the ears of the other hounds. I talk to them. Hug them and at times I pace the house. I think of him lying down at the vet’s right now to be picked up by the cremation company tomorrow and know they will call me next Wednesday to pick up his ashes.

I still see him wag his tail just like Maggie did .. right before they gave they a shot to sedate them.

Time will take away some of the pain away but some of it will never leave. I’m still sad at times for the basset hound that died 8 months after I moved here in 1997. 

He didn’t want to eat this morning and didn’t. He didn’t take hardly any water this morning, then looked up at me with those sad eyes.

I thought when Bertha died at home while I held her as she tried biting me was the worse I had ever felt … but it’s going to take a long time to get over Winston. He was the best of all the hounds I’ve ever had….the best.

*******************************************************
Here are a couple of photos I took yesterday morning when I got back. Heidi did nothing but her favorite hobby of sleeping. Sadie and Stella put noses to the ground looking for Winston when I came back. They both jumped into the back of the FJ sniffing as I took the dog bed out to return it to the house. They were unsuccessful in their attempts to find him.

eyes closed




24 comments:

  1. letting them go can be the kindest and the worst thing for us ever as human beings

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It never gets easier. Over 28 years of having basset hounds and already 16 years of having a bloodhound, I think I've only had to do this dreaded act 4 times. At least he is out of any pain he was feeling.

      Delete
  2. So very sorry for your loss. We too know the anguish, sorrow, and grief of such loss. And that tail wag at the end? Heartbreaking, yet still a confirmation of the trust and love between you. Think of it as Winston's way of saying "Thank you" for everything...my life, and my gentle departure. The other dogs know, especially when they sniff his blanket from the car. They just know. And they grieve too. All the best to all of you for comfort and healing as you face each day.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I feel your pain my friend. I never got to hug Winston but I still have tears in my eyes today. Hug the others and just hang out together today. You all need each other.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Their getting a lot of hugs, walks and games of fetch. I'm not sure Heidi enjoys being woken up just to be petted.

      Delete
  4. They say time heals, but it doesn't, it just blunts the pain. He'll always be a part of you and you'll always miss him, sometimes when least expected. But he had a great life and you can be proud of your empathy, something some humans lack all too much. You were exemplary in helping him, but there's a point where one can't do any more and it's time to let them go. That each of us should have someone like you when it's our turn to go, someone to see us down the road with such love and compassion. Hugs to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No time doesn't make the pain go away ever. Like you say, it blunts the pain. Thank you for your kind words.

      Delete
  5. Oh my, now I have tears. Bye Winston! The other dogs look so sad!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are feeling much better here early Thursday morning. Begging for breakfast, some playing and even Heidi wags her tail as he trots back to bed.

      Delete
  6. Steve, always remember that for Winston, you were the best thing in his life. The love and trust that you shared can never be under estimated, and will never be forgotten. You did the best you could for him, and there will always be an empty place in your heart that only Winston could ever fill. A lot of other folks learned to love him too, because of you.






    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Russ. It's kind of overwhelming to think how many people loved him without ever meeting him. You never know who a blog might touch.

      Delete
  7. The tears are falling in Kansas City too, and I think all of us can feel your pain right now. Russ is right when he says that a lot of us learned to love Winston and also your other hounds because of you sharing them on your blog. Give all your pups a big hug from me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Cat M. To think I started this blog in October 2011 as "my" RV blog, where I was going to write about my travels like many of the others listed on the left side under "Blogs I Follow". The hounds tell me to tell you, they appreciate the hugs.

      Delete
  8. Your email friend was right in suggesting you post your thoughts & feelings about your first day without Winston. It is part of the healing process for you & I think writing about it is a good thing. Almost without exception every RV'er we have met or known travels with their best Pals & they all well understand the heartache of loss. I was glad to see the response you received from fellow RV'ers & Bloggers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Al. At the time I didn't know how long it would take to write the next blog post. I found that writing made me feel better. Then writing that page about Winston's life made me feel even better, plus knowing I was writing it for a "special" reader. I was also somewhat amazed not only by the number of responses but the outpouring from people scattered all over the USA.

      Delete
  9. Thanks so much for making this follow-up post, and thanks as well to your friend for suggesting it. It really helps to bring about some closure. After your initial posting of Winston’s passing, I had a feeling he probably took a turn for the worse. It sounds like he may have had some other internal issues going on. Big kudos to you for being tuned in to know when enough was enough. I can only guess that comes from years of experience and sensitivity regarding your hounds. As a Winston admirer, it makes me happy to know that he was loved, well cared for and lived a happy, healthy life to the peak of expected lifespan for bassets (almost 12!) with only a short decline at the end and no prolonged suffering. If only we could all be so lucky...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did''t know when I would write an update but eventually I had plan to let everyone know that something happened Monday afternoon/night ... that I just didn't wake up and decide on a whim I was putting him down. Even at times this morning I still 2nd guess my decision but realize it is only me wishing he would come back. Well even the first few days after he was injured his stomach area looked bigger on one side compared to the other side. It is like a friend told me when it happened .. he lived near the end of his life expectancy, had a great life, but his quality of life too a very very bad turn to change all of that. Thank you for all of your kind replies.

      Delete
  10. Darn it!! Eyes sweating again!! Thank you for the update. The very worst part of having fur buddies is when they have to leave us!! Take some time and give the crew some extra love and attention.
    Don in Okla.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh, my goodness.... tears come, tears go... my, my, my.. it never gets easy You were the world to him, you did your very best, no one, nothing can ask for more..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I could tell sometimes by the way he looked at me ... we just stared at each other, that he was happy with what I was doing for him. He was stubborn like all basset hounds are and that probably kept him fighting to get well longer than he should have.

      Delete
  12. There are many, many of us who have read your post with tears & remembered feelings of when we had to make that same final decision. With us, it has been 4 times, and it never ever gets any easier. We think "we can't do this again, it just hurts too much," but then we find another neglected/abused pup who needs a home, and do it all over again. I've been reading, but not commenting, on your blog for over a year, but this particular post required a comment. I was so hoping that Winston would get better... All we can do is keep reminding ourselves that good pet owners have to look at what's best for them, not us.

    Renee

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are right about so many things in your comment. I am still telling friends as these dogs pass, I will no longer replace them. Yet, that will remain to be seen. I can't ever imagine myself living without a dog. I was sure Winston was going to get better. He was just as stubborn as I am in trying to look at the bad side of things. I decided and told him very late Monday night that he no longer had to be brave to keep me from feeing bad, or sad. I knew then what was best for him.

      I am glad that before I announced that I had to put Winston down, I went into the dashboard and changed comments to "all" so Anonymous readers could comment. For some reason I never thought of adding the word verification as a step to prevent or at least control spam comments.

      Thank you for reading, for hoping that Winston would get better and understanding what a pet owner goes through in times like this.

      Delete