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Author Topic: In Memory of Phoebe Rose  (Read 14723 times)
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Posts: 33

« on: October 10, 2010, 10:01:07 AM »

  I am new at this and really don't know if I am doing this "forum-thing" correctly but I need to talk about our loss, and need support from somewhere. My friend Carol ( Hope for Harry) suggested itchmo for some friends and  support. I know this is long- but I need to get it out.. Its my tribute to her as well. Bear with me if you have the time.
  I have read some posts about how to handle grief and ( duh ! I am a hospice nurse- geez,  that should make me a expert right?- NOT) - but it is so so very different when it is your sweet, innocent furry face child that you have had since birth to 12 1/2 years old. Our golden girl- Phoebe Rose was getting a bit  slower in her "older years" but was still happy and joyful,  playing - a little , greeting all the neighborhood kids and mailman daily and of course loving us always- ----but when we took her to the vet for a lump between her toes that was bleeding a bit, and  for being kind of  off her food for a week or two,   Dr.Y found some protein in her urine (re-check from a urinary tract infection a few months prior that was resolved) . She suggested a Ultrasound of her abdomen . The toe thingy was the least of our worries then.
     A couple days later - it was Aug 19th , we went to a specialty Vet Oncology Radiologist who did the ultrasound- it was supposed to last 20 minutes, but he was done in 10!!   Phoebe came back to me in the treatment room as sweet and happy as ever, uncommonly calm for being in this scary place that she had never liked before.  UM!?  I knew instinctively that it was bad news since he was done so quickly with the test.
    IT WAS- very bad news!   She had a 8cm  hemangiosarcoma on her spleen with metastasis to her liver -( about 1/3 involvement).  He was very kind , yet straight forward, which I appreciated- don't sugarcoat- tell me the truth.  He said the spleen could be removed but with the liver involvement , we would be back in a month anyway with a crisis of probable internal bleeding or rupture. I could not really process or speak at that point. Somehow , I stayed composed - a little - trying to think.
  He thought her breathing was a little heavy and asked if I wanted Chest Xrays to see if it was in her chest or lungs- which is a common mets site for this insidious cancer---- I agreed , and she cheerfully went off with him again thru those creepy swinging double steel doors for the Xrays!    There was no chest or lung involvement, but it didn't make us feel any better.   We came home , an hour drive , and I called my sister ( the breeder) and my husband , trying not to cry as I told them the bad news. What to do now. Worry , worry!!  Cry
  We talked to our vet  the next morning and she agreed that no surgery should be done- as she might die from the surgery itself  or the complications ( Blood clotting disorder called DIC) of it and why put her through that. We could try some chemo ( no guarantee there for any improvement tho) and she gave us the name of a vet from U.of Penna. to consult if we wanted.
   But we decided to keep our Phoebe-girl comfy and happy for however long she had left with us, we thought maybe a couple months( best case scenario) In retrospect- I guess I was trying to be optimistic, which I usually try to be -it was unrealistic though.
  Her abdomen , now shaved from the ultrasound , seemed to get firmer and larger on the left side everyday, she was quite wobbly on her back legs most days , and weak from a slight anemia.  She was such a trooper though- she would go outside on her own- we started letting her out our front door to the porch because it is one  step and a bigger landing out to the yard.  She would often just stand there, not squat, to pee, almost like a statue. Then she would lie down for a while- often in the hot hot sun of this past summer.  She became less interested in food- I tried so many things- cottage cheese, yogurt, cheeses, baby food, chicken livers, cooked chicken with rice, scrambled eggs -no , hard boiled -yes!  Funny girl!  She did eat a a tsp of peanut butter once in a while, a Tbsp of Gerber Beef dinner- but later gagged it up with some bile.
 She was always trying to swallow and drooling quite a lot- I asked vet about it and we decided it might be nausea, so we started Pepcid daily- It didn't  really help.
   High protein things did not seem to interest her much- which we often see in cancer patients in Hospice too!. The body knows what it needs and wants .  She did eat a couple Quaker Cheddar cheese mini- rice cakes-and Saltine crackers-  if I broke them apart for her.  She seemed to rally a bit a couple  days, but she just didn't seem comfortable to me --not painful  -but  not comfy.   Retrievers are so very stoic though.
  Some restless sleep ( which was on our bed with us) and some weird breathing patterns ( heavy- slow- snorey (?!)), some deep sleep too.
  She did not like to be on her left side- where now ,  only a week after the ultrasound , we could see and feel the lumpy swelling where the tumor must be. I would often just lay my hands there lightly and try to wish it away, it felt warm. I wish I had healing hands.
  Saturday  August 28th she laid on the front lawn with us under the Redbud tree and just sniffed the air, watched  "her estate", the neighborhood goings -on & actually barked a pretty hardy "hello" to  some neighbors, and Tess, the collie across the street. 
  Sometimes she looked and acted so very normal.    We took so many pictures of her with the shadows from the tree casting down on her beautiful golden gray face & with the white & red vinca flowers behind her, it was so hot but breezy that day .  She finally turned her self around with her face and back away from us & the front - like saying- "ok, enough is enough guys" . She looked tired - so we went inside to nap.
  She looked so sad to me at times- with those beautiful brown soulful eyes  saying " whats going on here Mom?  I stayed home with her and she often just would lie on the floor in the kitchen ( we had to put a non-slip rug under her since she was weak in her legs , we didn't want her to slip and slide when trying to get up- if she could)  while I sat at the table and wrote in a journal about her.  She would raise her head up  from her side lying  position and just check to see if I was still near- then back down again, napping mostly. Sometimes she would just be in her sphinx-like position and look around , not really looking at anything specific. I wondered what she was thinking- did she know she sick?
  Tuesday, August 31 was my husbands birthday, I thought it was time, but not on his birthday - no couldn't be that day. She was not good- very little food if any-  a cracker or two- I brought her water bowl to her to drink and she did a little - I think more for me,  she was a little incontinent once while sleeping . She was weaker, she looked depressed.  My husband slept on the floor with her that night since she was restless most of the night. 
    Morning of  Wednesday September 1st  she didn't have ANY energy- - we had to pick her up to take her out, she peed and laid down in the shade of our Sweet Magnolia Tree off the patio in the back yard, a favorite spot.  My husband left for an appointment for a couple hours and came home- he thought it was time now.  I called our vet and explained- she was very kind, said to come in later in afternoon .
  Our friends and neighbors from next store came over- 2 little boys who loved our Phoeber Dee Dee- and always gave her "cookies" or "cheerios" when they visited. They wanted to brush her and give her cheerios.  She allowed the gentle brushing, but never even sniffed the cheerios or even lifted her head or wagged her tail for them.   I think she was exhausted........ We took a few pictures- we look in shock and despair in them.
   We took the 45 min ride to the vets office ( it was 1:30 and no more clients were expected) I laid in the back of our Edge with her and stroked her velvet face and ears and talked to her the whole ride , telling her where we were , that we loved her so much and how wonderful a friend she was.  We passed our old neighborhood where she lived as a younger pup, and I told her we were there.
   When we arrived at the vets- my husband carried her in and placed her on her fleecey green blanket with her fuzzy squirrel toy with no stuffing left in it with her.    She  just laid there and really didn't try to move or get up- even when the Dr. Y  and  the tech came in- no greeting for them or tail wag . I think she knew it was time. Is that possible?? 
   It was over so quickly, she looked so peaceful, sweet, velvety soft, just like she was sleeping. Not the slightest last sigh or deep breath.
   Our vet said she thought the tumor felt so much bigger on her abdomen and that we were doing the right thing.   Do you think you really ever know for sure??  She left us to be with her. We hugged , we kissed,  we cried and we kept crying for awhile.
  I wrapped the blanket over her, and put the squirrel under her front paw. Her bladder released a bit and I couldn't let her lay there and be wet with urine. I soaked it up with paper towels and cleaned her off with some soapy towels- and dried her. There - her silky feathering  was clean and soft and beautiful again.  We kissed her and hugged her again and again- I couldn't stay much longer , I didn't want to feel her get cold.
  It was over- our beautiful , spoiled princess golden girl,  quirky, funny, lovey, playful, soccer playing, golf ball retrieving, swimming nut & wave jumping, bird , rabbit, squirrel chasing,  every kid , mailman and tennis ball lover, devoted , loyal,  best friend was gone.  It was only 2 weeks since she had been diagnosed!.  It went so so very fast.  I am so heartbroken... and miss her so very very much. Crying everyday for her. I want her back, but  happy and healthy. I wanted to take care of her, nurse her back to health , but it was not to be.
  It is now October 10th- only 40 short days ago and it seems a lifetime since she was here. Her spirit is everywhere in this house and yard and I hate coming home to a house without her. It is so painful- physically painful, everyday is a struggle to remember the good things and smile- I am so grieved.  I was there when she was born- saw her every week until she came home with us, she was my joy.
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Posts: 1523

« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2010, 10:22:16 AM »

JJOY, I read your story with the tears mounting.  Nothing can really ease the pain & the emptiness for you, but you will find many others who have shared the tough journey of loss here on Itchmo, and who will understand every feeling & be there for you each step of the way.

I know that being able to post my thoughts at each stage kept me going last year - please continue to come hear and share.

I send you hugs & healing thoughts for you & your family in this awful grief.

(Maybe moderators could start you your own thread for you beloved Phoebe)

"I can think of many ways in which I would become a better person if I were more like my cats. But I cannot think of a single way in which my cats would be any better for being more like me."  A.N.Wilson
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2010, 11:03:49 AM »

JJoy, your Phoebe sounds so incredible and such a good fur-child. And everything went so fast. I lost a 19 year old kitty the same
day as your loss and will miss her for my entire life, but I had over three years of notice. So it was not such a shock. Do try the
phone counselor when it's bad and maybe find a hospice group to join so you know that no one is alone in going through this
process of loss and grief. I know you think people might laugh because it's a pet, but I assure you they won't for pets are very much family members. Anger, denial, abandonment, grief, acceptance - all must be fought through for each person I think in their own time. I hope Itchmo can help. Thank you for sharing beautiful Phoebe Rose's story. Sending thoughts of comfort and peace to you and your
« Last Edit: October 10, 2010, 11:07:47 AM by 3catkidneyfailure » Logged
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2010, 11:14:17 AM »

I hope you feel you've come to the right place. Most, if not all, of us have lost someone we loved very much. Situations are different, but the pain is there . . . and the grief, anger, disbelief, sadness are all things we've dealt with.

Your pup sounds like a wonderful companion.It's really amazing that you were there for her birth and an important part of every stage of her life. You shared a special love and connection that will forever be in your heart.

From what you describe of her illness and last days, you really did the most loving thing for her by letting her go. And I believe with all my heart that she is once again healed and whole and healthy running and playing and sleeping in the sunshine at the Rainbow Bridge, waiting for your time to join her. I have lots of "bridge angels" and, as much as I want them here with me, I have had to let them go on ahead.

Please take care of yourself as you grieve Phoebe's passing. As you know (at least in your head) time will help, as well as allowing others to support you. I think you'll find support here from people who love their furries as much as you loved Phoebe.

Peace and comfort to you and all those who will surely miss having this special dogger in their lives.
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Posts: 10517

My RB Angels Elvis, 1991-2010, and Twit, 2001-2010

« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2010, 11:27:33 AM »

I am truly sorry for your loss, JJoy. {{hugs}}

RIP, Phoebe Rose, such a beautiful name.   Kiss Cry Cry

I will move these posts to a separate thread for Phoebe Rose.

Know that she is a young pup again playing with our puppies at Rainbow Bridge.  Kiss
« Last Edit: October 10, 2010, 11:34:54 AM by JustMe » Logged

Eventually they will understand,
Replied the glorious cat
For I will whisper into their hearts
That I am always with them
I just am....forever and ever and ever.
Poem for Cats, author unknown

"A kitten in the animal kingdom is like a rosebud in a garden", author unknown
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Posts: 3275

« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2010, 11:35:22 AM »

I'm so sorry you lost Phoebe Rose.  I love her name.

It's so sad that we can't keep them alive forever, but your tribute to her shows that her spirit will always be with you.  {{{Hugs}}}

I once asked a four year old what the secret of life was.  "Feed the kitties," she said, "Feed the kitties."--Ellis Felker
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Posts: 9410

Never underestimate the power of crazy cat ladies!

« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2010, 12:13:38 PM »

JJoy, I'm so sorry that you lost your lovely Phoebe Rose.  Welcome to the forum, although I wish the circumstances had not been so sad.

I can feel your love for Phoebe shining through in your post about her.  Thank you for the honor of sharing the story of her last days with us.  Sending you many thoughts of comfort and peace to help you through this difficult time.

If you have a picture of her that you would feel comfortable posting here on her memorial thread, I would encourage you to do so.

Here is a link to our candle page, where some of us have lit candles in Phoebe's memory.   (The candles burn for 48 hours.  Click on a candle to read the message.)
« Last Edit: October 10, 2010, 12:16:35 PM by catbird » Logged

The problem with cats is that they get the exact same look on their face whether they see a moth or an axe-murderer--Paula Poundstone
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« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2010, 02:59:13 PM »

JJoy, I was very saddened to read of the loss of your Phoebe Rose. Cry Many hugs, thoughts, and wishes for peace and comfort going out to you.
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2010, 03:06:45 PM »

I'm glad you found us, JJoy.  I haven't any wonderful words to lessen the pain, I'm afraid.  I think, the stronger the love, the more the pain, when they leave us.  It's so obvious from your post how much you loved and cared for Phoebe Rose.  I hope it helps to know we understand what you feel, and that time does lessen the awful emptiness and pain, but never lessens the wonderful memories.   
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« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2010, 03:38:03 PM »

JJoy, by the time I finished your post, I had tears rolling down my face.  I am so sorry to hear about the loss of Phoebe Rose.  Like so many others here, I have experienced the kind of pain you are feeling and pray for peace and comfort to be with you. 

It is so easy to feel your love for Phoebe Rose through your post.  She sounded like an wonderful girl.

I discovered Itchmo Forums after my kitty of 13 years was diagnosised with cancer.  Although I read the posts here for a couple of weeks, it was not until the day I lost him did I share my first post and his story.  I am thankful I did as I found a wonderful group of people here.  I consider them my Itchmo family since they have been there for me during some of the lowest times in my life and some of the happiest.  I hope you find the same support as I did.


Full Member
Posts: 166

« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2010, 03:51:50 PM »

Oh, JJoy. I'm writing this with tears on my face. I know how much it hurts. I know you'll think of beautiful Phoebe Rose every day. Right now you can't help but think of the pain and sorrow of the end, but I know that as time goes on you'll think of the whole wonderful, amazing rest of her life as well. And when you can smile and laugh, she'll be giving you that big puppy-dog grin.
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« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2010, 04:20:09 PM »

I  am so very glad to see you post here JJOY..a  great place to be  to help heal a broken heart... Cry Kiss

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead

United we stand     Divided we fall....
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Posts: 454

« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2010, 04:20:45 PM »


I'm so sorry for your loss.  Thank you for sharing Phoebe Rose's story, and may time heal your heart.

Here's a poem for your sweet Phoebe.

Furry hugs,



The Lord saw you getting tired
And a cure was not to be,
So He put his arms around you
And whispered, "Come with me."

With tearful eyes, we watched you suffer
And saw you fade away,
Although we loved you dearly,
We could not make you stay.

A golden heart stopped beating,
A beautiful smile at rest,
God broke our hearts to prove
He only takes the best.

It's lonesome here without you
We miss you so each day,
Our lives aren't the same
Since you went away.

When days are sad and lonely,
And everything goes wrong,
We seem to hear you whisper,
"Cheer up and carry on."

Each time we see your picture,
You seem to smile and say,
"Don't cry, I'm in God's keeping,
We'll meet again someday."

Rhonda Braswell

What is man without the beasts? If the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected - - - Chief Seattle

We are the caretakers of our creatures . . . the peacekeepers of our planet
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Posts: 5606

« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2010, 04:39:08 PM »

I am so very sorry for your loss of beautiful Phoebe Rose.   Cry  Thank you for sharing her story.  It touched my heart deeply, and your great love for her and hers for you and DH are so very evident in your words.  I truly hope that you will eventually find some comfort and peace in your heart as you remember all the happy times you shared for the past 12 1/2 years.  No one can ever take those memories from your heart and mind. 

    "Pets touch our lives in their own special ways and remain forever in the warmest corners of our hearts."

Rest in peace, sweet Angel Phoebe Rose.   Cry  {{Hugs}} for you, JJoy.
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Posts: 11105

Trooper,Remy & Fragile

« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2010, 07:04:11 PM »

JJoy I am so sorry for your loss. Phoebe Rose sounds like a wonderful dog and I can tell how much you loved her, and how much you miss her. I truly believe she is young and healthy again, running and playing with all of our angels at the Rainbow Bridge. I hope time will help heal the hole in your hearts and memories of her will bring you smiles.

"the world's most inept extortionist"
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