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My beautiful boy is gone.

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Home Forums Loss of a pet My beautiful boy is gone.

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  • #20334

    I had the most wonderful dog for almost 13 years. Harlem. He was a. Springer spaniel x human as I always said. And he was the most caring, clever, funny, independent, stubborn, argumentative, loyal dog I ever knew.

    I am in a wheelchair and my whole life has been about fighting to get by and being let down every single time by people in my life, but he was always there. He did chores, went on his own walks, followed me everywhere, stormed off when he didn’t get his own way and knew every time what I was feeling and how to help. He also spent 7 years working up to 5 days a week as a pet therapy dog in 4 different aged care centres. Including during covid when he was literally the only visitor the residents could have. He spent hours with dying residents easing their suffering, helped people who no longer talked or interacted to engage again, sat with people who were ill or sad. His whole life was about others.

    He never did dog things like running towards dogs in a dog park, or catching balls because that meant he couldn’t keep an eye on me.. (in truth he was amazingly clever in a loveable jerk kind of way ie if i threw a ball in a park, he would pick it up and put it up on some steps knowing I couldn’t get it and thus couldn’t throw it again).

    He was a proper little gentleman always looking to help me and anyone else.

    Last year he was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder and while 3 vet clinics said he couldn’t make it, he did. It took 1 months, over $35k and more tears than I knew I had in me, but he made it. The blood disorder made him tired, but when I visited him the day after his first transfusion I asked him if it was his time and he wanted me to let him go, and in true Harlem fashion he let me know it wasn’t by going and grabbing his giraffe toy that I brought him and brought it over and played tug of war. So I fought like he did. Beside weakness and tiredness the disorder didn’t rob him of his quality of life so we fought together and on the 4/11/21 he was given the all clear. They said no dog had ever recovered and it was a miracle.

    On the 5/4 Harlem had a slight swelling in his cheek. The vet said that it was an abscess in his tooth and went for surgery that day but they couldn’t proceed as it wasn’t an abscess but a cancerous mass. He had a ct scan and a biopsy 2 days later, other than swelling he showed no other signs. On the 13/4 he was breathing heavy and panting and I rushed him to vet who gave him a methodone injection for pain and he was good after. I got the results that night… a malignant melanoma already in the tissue and bone, no options for surgery because of where it was in his head. No treatment options just palliative care.

    On Thursday I had a pet oncologist look at results who said it was so aggressive that he only had days remaining.

    On Good Friday within the space of an hour a. Lump came up on his cheek and he was panting a lot and any time I pulled my hand away from him, he reached his paw out so I could keep holding it. He had been given pain meds that morning.

    The vet gave him another methodone injection and stronger pain meds. She said the mass had grown through his cheek. She said if he responded to the pain meds he would be ok for another 5 days.

    He didn’t respond so that night I had to find a service to come to the house and help my boy on his way. I couldn’t see him suffer any longer.. the vet who came said his eye was protruding so the mass must have moved to behind his eye.

    It all happened so quickly from a little swelling to loosing him and I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. I wasn’t prepared to lose him and now I feel like I am drowning without him.

    I feel such loss and guilt for not being able to save him this time. I don’t know if he knows how loved he was and that I am so so sorry.

    I just don’t know what to do now,

    • This topic was modified 2 years, 2 months ago by amberk77.
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  • #20433

    Hi @amberk77
    I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your beautiful boy Harlem. He sounds like an amazing, intuitive and unique companion. It’s so hard to lose our unconditional friends, isn’t it? I love my pets (currently 2 cats, 1 dog) so much and remembering saying goodbye to their predecessors is always heartbreaking.
    It’s so wonderful that Harlem was a therapy dog too. My dog is gorgeous but very daft and I don’t think he’s cut out for therapy work!
    It’s hard not to feel guilty about saving our furbabies, I know, but it sounds like you did everything you possibly could for your gorgeous boy. If there’s an afterlife then I’m sure he knows how much you loved him and that you were there for him.
    I found this article on the Griefline website. I don’t know if it will help but I thought I’d share.

    Losing a Pet

    Hugs and take care


    Hello @amberk77,

    I was so touched by your post, you had a real star in Harlem, and a real gift for sharing his spirit – it came through loud and clear in your words, I almost felt like I know him a little. Not knowing what to do, feeling as unprepared and lost as you said in that post, is perfectly normal given this loss, especially given how special Harlem sounds. I’ve lost several dogs over my time, and I can honestly say that every time it has been just as disorienting; grief is never easy.

    How have you been since you posted last? Have you managed to connect with any others in the forum? I know others, such as @Lissy and @Morgana1963, have also lost a loved one recently, it might help to talk with them about what might have helped them to cope in these early days. I would encourage you to keep talking to us, as a community; it really helps to share.

    It might also help to find some guidance on coping with loss, this article might help:

    Come back and tell us how you’ve been.


    Hello @amberk77
    I am soo incredibly sorry to hear about the loss of your beautiful boy Harlem. How have you been coping since losing him? He sounded like the most amazing little friend and such a supportive companion to you. You were both very lucky to have found each other in life and it really does sound like he was half human with that level of compassion, awareness and understanding that he had. What a special time you shared together. Just Wow!

    As also mentioned by @vm-mancha1, perhaps you could connect with some of the other community members that have also lost a pet recently such as @Lonerboy and @Lissy. It really helps to connect with others who have similar lived experience as us. I have lost two of my pet dogs over the last few years and it was the most devastating thing to go through, especially losing them suddenly. I really empathise with you as you experience this grieving time. I found that what helped me through the grief process was allowing myself the time and space to heal. I took a week off from my responsibilities and just cried and reminisced about our times together.

    Would you like to share what is helping you through this time? One thing that seemed to help me was creating a photobook of my favourite memories of my dog which helped me to look at him and remember all the fun times we shared. Even the daggy times like when he saw a girl dog on our front lawn and his eyes nearly popped out of his head (He was a French bulldog and they tend to look like that sometimes!). It was painful to do this at the time. Half of me didn’t want to see his face, it was too painful. However, I thought that if I didn’t look at his beautiful face shortly after I lost him, it would make it harder to do later on when I thought I had healed just that little bit more. I was afraid that it would take me backwards in my healing if I was to find a photo of him later on. Like a complete shock. I didn’t want that. I used the photobook to talk about him and share all our memories together with anyone that would listen. It really helped. I also kept it in mind that just as time moves forward without him, I would always remember him with a smile in honour of the happiness and joy he gave to me, even if it was through tears. I hope that you find something that works for you to ease the pain. Take care of yourself at this time.

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