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Thread: Still grieving / any stories or advice?

  1. #1

    Still grieving / any stories or advice?

    Nearly ten months ago I made the decision to euthanize my beloved, Tulip. I find myself regretting that decision to this day. I thought I would try writing about it to this community who has helped me many times before with advice and comfort. I know it's a depressing subject.

    Here is the original thread on her illness ( but to keep it short she was diagnosed with a tumor in her liver. She had been losing weight and showing signs of pain. The diagnosis happened right as I was making a big move an hour away from where we lived and from our vet. I blame myself for making such a big decision during that time of change. My emotions were wild and I feel like I failed to listen to myself and Tulip, and instead relied on other people to make the decision for me. While we were in the waiting room she turned around and seemed to be fighting for her life by trying to eat a carrot. I ignored all the signs because I couldn't handle the stress and the pain. I miss her and I feel so stupid for having let her go.

    The worst part of it all is that I let her go in what I imagine was a terrible, frightening, and painful way. I moved on a Saturday and had her scheduled for euthanasia on Monday with the vet. I was incredibly emotional and decided on Sunday that I couldn't wait because I worried she was in too much pain. I think I was also selfishly motivated because if I went on Monday I would have to cancel work and class and drive farther. So I ended up taking her to an emergency vet on Sunday. It was unbearable and I couldn't keep myself together. I went into the place crying and could barely get words out and had all the dog and cat owners in the place staring at me and my little lump in a blanket. We waited for an hour in a private room even though we could still hear the dogs outside of the door. Then after waiting all that time someone came in and talked with me about the procedure and handed me the form and told me I wouldn't be allowed in the room with her. I asked them why and all I can remember is that they said something about how it's hard to find their heart and they don't want the owner to be uncomfortable. I let myself be blinded by my emotions and by my want for all the pain, mine and hers, to just be over with already. And I signed the form. And they came back and took her and I could barely say goodbye through my hyperventilation. And I waited for what seemed like forever and I found myself at the door trying to listen and eventually I heard her let out a squeal. And I waited some more and they handed her to me in a tiny rectangular box taped shut. After ridiculously going to clean the apartment I had just moved out of with my mom, then making a long drive home, I took her out to be with her cage-mate for a moment. She was stiff and she died with her eyes open. I laid her in the cage and Opal was too scared to recognize her or do anything. I took her out to the woods and dug the deepest hole I could manage and kissed her goodbye and buried her forever.

    I worry that she wasn't actually gone when they stuffed her in that box and sealed it shut. I worry that she was incredibly frightened and in terrible pain in her last moments. I feel like I did her so wrong. I feel like I should have walked out of that door and never let it happen the moment they said I wasn't allowed in. I knew it was a red flag. I try to rationalize it and say that if I had walked out my mom who drove me would have been upset because she drove me out there and that she would think I'm being too emotional and weird about a guinea pig. I try to rationalize it and think that somehow she didn't go in pain and it was in her best interest to let her go before she felt the real pain of the tumor. I think about how I buried her in the woods and how she's at least at peace in the earth and will grow into something else. It still breaks my heart no matter what though that she went the way that she did and that I wasn't with her. I feel like I abandoned her. I wish more than anything I would have waited to take her in on Monday. Or even waited to make the decision at all.

    She was only two years old. The days after she died I couldn't stop crying and it became such a tender subject I just pushed it out of my head. The past couple of months I've started thinking about her again. Looking at old pictures and videos of her has helped. But it's still such a terrible feeling, no matter how much I try to rationalize.

    Have any of you gone through a similar situation? Have you found anything that helps?

  2. #2

    Re: Still grieving / any stories or advice?

    My old girl, Nikki, passed August 4th. She too was euthanized, as she was suffering from numerous and reoccurring bladder stones and heart disease.

    The squeal you heard was likely from the euthanasia medicine being injected into her heart. When I had Nikki euthanized, she was first put asleep, and when she was fully unconscious, eyes still open, she was given the "killing shot" in the heart. Despite being asleep, it made her squeal as well. I will never forget the sound it made and I'm sorry you had to witness it as well.

    My story is kind of similar to yours. I couldn't make it to my typical, experienced, exotics vet because I was living with my (now ex) boyfriend at the time, and the drive would have been 2 hours each way. Not that I minded making the drive - but it was unfair to Nikki, who hated car rides. The vet I took her to in the local area at the time I had never been to before, and he almost didn't let me say goodbye before having her euthanized. I had to speak up and ask for a minute of peace because he pulled out the syringes immediately upon entering the room and was preparing to put her down. Overall, the vet seemed cold-hearted towards the situation in general. I had her cremated, and didn't get her ashes back for about a month when I was told it would only take 1-2 weeks. I finally received them in a tiny tin container and had to order her a proper urn, which you can see in my avatar.

    The best thing you can do now is know that you made the right decision in having your beloved Tulip euthanized, and learn to cope with the loss. I know that's easier said than done, as I still miss my Nikki every day, but know that Tulip is now running free at the rainbow bridge without any pain or suffering - there's only sunshine and lots of fresh, green grass to eat. Maybe she's playing with Nikki.

  3. #3
    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
    May 12, 2015
    Ontario, Canada

    Re: Still grieving / any stories or advice?

    No matter what I do, I can never forget my Pooper pig. He didn't leave me in similar circumstances to yours, but losing one under any circumstances is difficult at best.

    You had to make one of the hardest decisions anyone would ever have to. I haven't yet had to do it with a pig, but I have had to do it with my cats. They were both so ill, there was no bringing them back and having them euthanized was the kindest thing I could do. And you already know how difficult it was. I hope I never, ever have to do it again.

    That said, I can also say that if faced with making that decision again over letting any of my pigs suffer needlessly, I love them so much that I would do it again. It would tear my heart and soul right out to do it, but do it I would. They deserve that kind of love, to be let go when faced with a medical condition like a tumor that will only get worse, and with pigs they get worse so much faster. You MUST remember that you did Tulip the greatest kindness by letting her go, even if you weren't in the room with her.

    It hurts. There's no question about that. And don't ever let anyone tell you that it's not okay to grieve your lost girl. It IS ok. I'm still grieving for my boy, and it's been a year now.

    That's the price of love that strong. Mourning it when we lose it. But it really is better to have had it and lost it, than never having had it at all. Tulip is waiting for you at the Bridge, and one day you'll be there to pick her up to go home. What a happy occasion that will be.

  4. #4

    Re: Still grieving / any stories or advice?

    Thank you both very much Nikkipig and Guinea Pig Papa for your words. They have helped me tremendously. What I wouldn't give to have Tulip in my arms again. But it helps me to hear about your experiences and your love for your pigs. And to remember that we all have to go through tough things like this. I offer my condolences for Nikki and for Pooper. You are right Guinea Pig Papa in that the love for these creatures is very, very strong, and losing them is incredibly painful. But I agree it's better to have loved and lost than have never had it at all. I don't know how much I believe in the afterlife but it still is an absolutely wonderful thought to think of Tulip and other little pigs running around and enjoying themselves together. I guess I finally understand the beauty of the Rainbow Bridge.

  5. #5

    Re: Still grieving / any stories or advice?

    Thank you



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