Our wonderful Mikey dog passed away, way too soon from a sudden and terrible illness, on Sept. 1st, 2010. We had him in our lives for 8 months, adopting him from Peninsula Humane Society in San Mateo, California. We and the vets think he was around 7, and he was in peak physical shape when he passed. I jogged with him most evenings, and we took him on an hour walk/run on the beach every morning, and to Fort Funston most weekends – he had a strong heart. That strength gave him a fighting chance – several vets noted how strong his heart was, how they couldn’t believe he could stand and walk while so anemic. He also had a great string of emergency and specialist vets who were well versed and very experienced fighting this disease. But despite this, auto-immune hemolytic anemia (also known as IMHA or AIHA) took him from us in three short, terrible days and all the while we don’t know what caused it. We just knew he had a very bad case of it. This is the story of losing my dog, Mikey.

Mikey eyes. He passed from IMHA

Those three days were unreal, both in how stressful and unexpected they were. They still feel like this surreal nightmare. My husband and I shared our 10th anniversary the day before, and were taking Mikey on a week long vacation starting the following day – but that day he became “not quite right” (and our regular vet who saw him wasn’t yet concerned – it was that subtle). But that night, we had him at the emergency vet and we learned about his disease, his prognosis, and that he was so sick that he almost died a mere 12 hours after his initial “things are not too bad, you can still go on vacation if you want” vet exam. Thank goodness we decided to postpone our departure!

Those days while he was fighting the disease were so sad, so horrible. How unbelievable traumatic. Nightmarish. At the end of those three days were many more horrific, sad, stressful days where I felt like the wind was knocked out of me. And my chest just hurt from the stress – strong, physical pain to go with the emotional pain. Not to mention we couldn’t see him during those days, and my greatest fear was him dying alone.

But from the loss comes an understanding. I realized that I had to “do something” from the loss so it wasn’t in vain. And I want to share what I learned in case it helps others – and from that, our Mikey can leave some kind of legacy to others in addition to the strong legacy he leaves us who knew him.

It’s amazing to me that we only had him in our lives for eight months. I can go on, and on, and on about all the wonderful things he brought into our lives. All the experiences we shared. And for that, I am incredibly grateful to that ‘medium-sized senior black dog’ we adopted, who was abandoned at the shelter for many weeks until we found him on December 23rd, 2009. An incredibly terrific day in my life.

And this is what losing my dog Mikey taught me:

1) Live every day to the fullest

Dogs live for the now, we need to as well. And we shouldn’t cop out on doing activities with these dogs – we’re all winners if we go on that walk, take that trip, buy them that bully stick and the ice-cream cone too. It’s the bestest thing EVER for them, and that look on their face “you got that for ME?” is a memory you’ll carry for a long, long time.

Some of the memories that I carry with me about Mikey are small ones: the way he looked at me one day, some reaction he had to some small event, some regular outing we made where he did something special. Mikey was a shy dog, and we had to work on his confidence so he could be happier in this world. So those small steps he made each day gave me the greatest joy (his first on-leash pee after two months was SUCH a great morning! and I almost cried with relief after he pottied after holding it for 36 hours that first day…), and I also knew I had to do a LOT of things with him to help him grow that confidence.

As such, we had a lot of work to do! But that work really filled those eight months with many great outings, and I can’t say “I wish we did more” because we did so many things! All I can say is I wish we had more time to do more. More months together, because I already had plans for this fall for therapy dog training, taking a canoe trip on the Russian River, and that trip to Oregon to run on super-clean beaches we were set to leave on the day he got sick. But even though we’re missing out on those things, we honestly had a packed eight months.

Every morning we woke up at about 6:30 to spend an hour going to Ocean Beach in San Francisco, so Mikey could run and see other dogs. We saw Frodo and Jasmina (and new pup Jasper that last morning), saw Lexi most mornings in passing, Billy a few times, and his most favorite schanuzer-mix nearly every morning but for some reason don’t know his name. But we were there, day in and day out. Rain, shine, fog. The only days we missed a walk was when there was a full-blown storm (and even those days we sometimes took a short 20 minute walk to the bottom of the street until we both realized how ridiculous it was). But we walked through thunder and lightening: Mikey didn’t care, so out we went anyway. He was all about going for a walk, and getting to smell those SMELLS. Life was all about getting to the next smell and then peeing on it.

Every evening we would go out again as soon as I got home from work, although we varied these walks depending on the amount of daylight and how tired I was!  Sometimes it was a jog, sometimes a brisk walk, sometimes out on the avenues, sometimes around Lands End trails. But it was always relaxing, nearly an hour, and I was so happy to be with my guy. Afterwards, every night we would eat dinner together and then relax on the couch, him splayed out between my knees or right across my body – lounging. Nothing better than ending a day like that.

But the best part of the day, every day, was getting home to see my dude… hearing that thump as the recliner hit the wall as he jumped out of it to come to the door as I was opening it and calling to him “Duuuuuuude!!!!”… his tail wagging and usually a little pine from his throat.

On weekends we would take him on other outings, farther away from the city or to Fort Funston since it was his favorite place in the world due to sand dunes. He adored running up and down the dunes.

We also took him to several open areas in North Bay for off-leash hikes (such as under Mt Tam), to East Bay to hike off leash on the hills around the cows and he could roll in cow pies (not to our delight, but he was immensely happy), and to various areas down the peninsula and Santa Cruz. We took him to eat lunch multiple times at Pasta Moon in Half Moon Bay, where they’d give him a bowl of water, kids would marvel at the weird people sitting in the hallway outside the restaurant, and he would make a wide berth around the odd-sounding heater they have in the lobby. And we took him on an adventure to Utah, via Yosemite. It was our first and last vacation, but he did wonderfully in the car, hotels, and rental unit.

It was only 8 months, but every day we spent all of our free time together, growing together. Me learning to de-stress and relax, him growing in confidence. We trusted each other, and learned boatloads in the meantime.

2) Remember the small things

I seem to remember small moments more than the overall “large picture”, and I’m not sure if that’s because we had Mikey for such a short period of time comparatively speaking. But so many things between us were so striking. I remember that first moment seeing him in his dark kennel at the shelter, walking up to the gate with that look in his eyes. I remember watching him for ages, and him probably wondering about that crazy woman at the other side of the gate. I remember frantically rushing back to adopt him, hoping no one had beat us (despite him being there for nearly 2 months!) Then we had to goto Pet Food Express and Costco, picking up “dog supplies” (we had no clue what size of dog we were getting… so now that we knew, we had to go pick that stuff up). He was so scared, so we hung around the grass outside as the smells relaxed him. That car was packed to the gills, but he was totally happy to squish in between it all with me!

But above all, I remember that moment of nervousness the second that leash was handed to me at the shelter – “oh my gosh, I’m a dog parent!” That was soon remedied with this feeling of joy, as Mikey ran into our living room after the stress of Costco and Pet Food Express — and he wagged his tail for the first time. He knew he was home. Then went over to my husbands floor-cushion, and turned it into a dog bed. So long ago, but I can feel those moments like they were yesterday.

The life-changing moment came weeks later, as Mikey lay between my legs on the bed as I read a book, and gazed up at me with a look of “I trust you now, you are my person”. I couldn’t believe he didn’t have a family. At that moment I knew I had to do more for dogs like him, and that’s when I knew I had to volunteer and do something better with my life. Dogs like him die in droves – older, black, larger, shelter dogs. And dogs like him are way too life-changing-awesome to die in the numbers they do. Listening to that small moment was important, that I learned.

A close up of Mikey the dog, who passed from AIHA

But there are so many small, happy moments on a day-to-day basis. The sun on their face, a happy dog smile, a hop in their step, a wag of their tail when you call their name (this especially for the rehab shy dogs, at least!). The happiest memory came from our vacation together to Utah. We took Mikey out for ice-cream on a wonderful, warm summer night. We had never given him ice cream, or human food from a table for that matter. Peter bought us a cone to share, and on a whim I passed it down to Mikey. He looked at me as in “you made a mistake, you never give me people food”, but took a lick. And then another. And then started gulping down the ice cream as fast as his tongue would allow. I passed it back to Peter, then me, and then I glanced down at Mikey… he was standing there with the biggest sloppy dog grin I had EVER seen on his face, his tail wagging like crazy “My turn!!!”  We repeated passing it between the three of us until the ice cream was gone, and he was the happiest dog in Kanab that night I’m sure.  Eating that ice cream was possibly the happiest I had ever seen him, and that memory is etched into my head forever.

3) Take pictures (and video!)

I only have one video of Mikey on the dunes in Fort Funston, but I am forever glad that I took it. I also have a video of what he was like when I arrived home each day (or an approximation – he was a bit shocked to see the camera in front of my face that day!)  And tons of photos. But I wish I took more, in hindsight, being the sentimental sap that I am.

(I just made this one public… our house was such a mess!  But my gosh did I just bawl watching this…)

I think the biggest “mistake” I made was never taking photos of the two of us, until the bitter end. Sure we had a couple at a distance, but none of the photos were of the two of us looking at the camera. So the only such photo I have like that is when we took him from the emergency vets to the specialists. And it’s sad! I know it was the last time I held him, walked him, the final car ride. But… I’m so thankful I even thought to take the camera and get that photo at all, or I wouldn’t have had any.

Taking a photo of Mikey and I right before he passed from IMHA

So I have now learned to take lots and lots of photos to capture the good times.

4) Think about what they’ve inspired you to do, or can inspire you to do

As mentioned in section 2, Mikey inspired me to volunteer with dogs and promote adopting dogs in general. Mikey also inspired me to make some changes in my life after his death, highlighting what’s important in life (family, friends, some form of real support). And also that time is important, just not to waste time. Life is very short.

I’m also amazed at the wonderful effect Mikey had on kids. It was wonderful how patient and gentle he was with kids (and also how their parents just let their kids run up to him and touch him while at off-leash parks without asking if he was OK with children – thankfully we were responsible owners and he was a gentle dog!) Mikey would stand there and just let kids pet him, he would sit down if they sort of “kid-handled” him. One toddler slapped him on the back, and he just sat down and stayed there for a good five minutes. The most he would do is lick their hands or face (I always had to warn parents “He might give kisses!!”) He was such a testament to patience, he was a born therapy dog for children. He was naturally a shy dog, not really born to be a therapy dog for the elderly (he didn’t have that “happy to greet everyone” personality), but he had this quiet, zen patience that seemed to be a magnet for children. And be perfect for children who were nervous about dogs – and he wasn’t a small dog, either!  If you ever have a dog like this, consider therapy work. I’m crossing my fingers our recent adoptee may be like this. To teach children how to properly interact with dogs is one of the most important lessons you can teach, knowing the percentage of dog bites that involve children due to a lack of education.

So thinking about what he inspired during his lifetime, to volunteer and inspire future therapy work, and motivating me to spend more time with friends and family, is something that will change my life forever. Mikey’s lessons will be with me until the day I die, and I will forever thank him for that.

5) Remember what did they bring into your life, and you to theirs

Knowing the vast amount of positive change that Mikey brought into our life, in itself, made his passing not be in vain. Mikey gave me life, a life that was worth so much more than it did previous to having him. It gave me a clear sense of meaning and purpose, to look after this dog, and to help other dogs that are presently less fortunate than he is (now having a family).

We adopted Mikey because I had desperately wanted a dog for so long, and I was going through a sort of health crisis that left me feeling desperate for change. I also had a lot of work stress, and felt the urgent need for change. So we got our life in order, fixed our work-life balance, and were ready for a dog. So we searched Petfinder (after being rejected for an elderly greyound because our fence was too short), and made a shortlist of dogs to go visit.

Not long after Mikey entered our life, I found a new sense of calm and the stress just melted away. Not only did I notice, but others made random comments at the office about the change, without knowing it was because of a dog. Even my mom noticed. Yes, dogs can be miracles, and fix so much. You don’t just give them a chance at life, they give you a chance at life too.

But even when you do succumb to the stresses of life, Mikey was there to help. I remember one day that was simply horrible. I was angry for whatever reason, and just had to ‘leave’. I put Mikey on a leash, and we stormed into a grey, rainy, horrible day. We sat at the bottom of the block, him quietly at my side as I sat there steaming mad at whatever it was. It quickly lost all importance. We continued on a walk, and he slowly cheered me up. He fixed that day, just like he fixed my life.

But as much as he brought to my life, I do also accept that I brought some quality to his. Mikey was in the shelter for a long time before we adopted him – partly because he did fit a profile of a less-adoptable dog. He was shy too, and barely paid us any attention during our adoption counsel. But we took a chance, betting on him. We put some elbow grease into his rehabilitation – making him more confident, giving him a bunch of experiences. And together we all won.

A photo of Mikey the dog, covered in cow pie

(And by the way, in the above photo he is COVERED in cow pie. I think he thought he was sooooo clever to bring us that smell…)

6) Remember what they make you realize when they pass

Because Mikey got so sick, so fast, “time” was what I thought about the most, and still think about. We only had eight months together, which made every moment that much more precious. It also meant that I quickly realized how fleeting time is – how short our time can be together. And how we just can’t delay doing things.

I lost my “childhood” dog only 3 weeks before Mikey died, and I had been putting off going to see him. I meant to, but I kept delaying the trip. And then it was too late. Fate took my own dog only 3 weeks later, and very unexpectedly. I barely got to take a photo of us together, and I only had 8 months with my soul dog. Thus, time was the biggest take-away from losing both of them, and I began applying this to other areas of my life.

I also realized the importance of being close to good vets, emergency facilities, and specialists can also be very important.

Knowing your dog, and what is abnormal for them (breath rate, energy level, appetite) is incredibly important. And knowing to check their gums whenever something seems not-quite-right, and get their blood checked with immediate results, is of the utmost importance. Do not accept any compromises if you encounter lethargy (even the slightest) combined with anorexia (loss of appetite) and pale gums. Please please please get someone familiar with AIHA to check your dogs blood test results. But long story short: know your dog, and if something seems wrong, listen to your gut and have everything checked out if something seems wrong. Don’t worry that you’re overreacting.

Research everything. There is a lot of information online, so research what you can and take it up with your vet. Don’t necessarily be that “patient who googles”, but instead be the patient who researches so you can ask the right questions, and interpret the information your vet tells you. And if you aren’t happy with your vet, change offices or get a second opinion! Don’t settle – you pay a lot of money to visit the vet, and your companion is too valuable for settling.

Question drugs. Knowing what I do now about the horrible toxins we subject our animals to, I will never apply another dose of flea medication even if it is recommended. I gave a few doses to Mikey at the advice of a vet after he suddenly began scratching incessantly and the “most likely culprit” was flea dermatitis (even though he had no evidence of fleas).  I don’t know if the Frontline killed him, but knowing how many dogs it does kill, and that it probably causes AIHA in some, my dogs will never get another dose of those horrible toxins again. It doesn’t make sense to apply medications that I am not supposed to get onto my skin – that is simply way too frightening, given there are so many safer alternatives.

The same will go for other overly prescribed medications (steroids, worming medications, and so on) and vaccinations, and we are now going with holistic vets, titers, and home-cooked meals for our animals. The thing that angers me the most is I knew this long ago with my cat, and somehow lost my way. Mikey helped us get back on track – we are (again) considering everything that goes on or into our companions.

But most of all, Mikey’s passing taught us to take the difficulties of our lives and instead of letting it get us down, to let it propel us to something positive. I am taking what he gave me, and putting it to good use: improving the way I care for myself and for my companion animals.

7) Consider adoption, including needy dogs who need an extra helping hand.

As noted earlier, Mikey was a “less adoptable” dog – and proved to be the best possible dog-friend in the world. I couldn’t imagine not adopting, being as I am in the shelters on a regular basis and meeting so many wonderful dogs I want to take home with me. But it has made me only want to adopt dogs who need an extra helping hand, either “less perfect” temperaments or discriminated breeds. I tend to gravitate towards the shy dogs, which is why our current companion caught our eye (she had the “Mikey look” in more than one photo – but is actually much shier than he ever was and failed her temp test poor thing).

The Mikey look

I don’t think this, by any means, should be “try to adopt the least desirable dog” or someone with major issues. Definitely not – it’s terribly tragic that healthy, adoptable, friendly dogs are put to death every day, there are many dogs in terrific shape who desperately need homes. And many dogs may simply be too much to handle unless you’re a trained professional (I’m certainly not by any means!) I simply feel that Mikey inspired us to look at dogs who are terrific that still get passed over on first inspection – such as “big black dogs”, older dogs, shyer dogs, some dog who isn’t quite as “cute” as the others. These guys make terrific pets, have many quality years (typically!), and shy dogs often just need a bit of patience and proper handling to turn into soulful, wonderful, loyal, and eternally grateful companions.

8) Love them every day like it may be their last.

The one thing you learn so quickly about AIHA is that it strikes swift and hard. The symptoms are so subtle that they’re easy to miss, and it can almost be “too late” when you finally pick up on something being wrong. There’s a chance you can be too late, with this and every other sudden form of death. And from that I learned to make the most of everything that you have, every day, with your loved ones both two-legged and four-legged.

Now go kiss your dog, and give them the best walk ever.

Go take your dog for a great walk. Mikey was such a happy dog!

About Author

Jen deHaan is graphic designer, small business owner, and dog person living in Bay Area, California. Jen enjoys learning about dog training and behavior, and has taken several courses and seminars since 2010. She also contributes articles to leading websites, such as Victoria Stilwell's Positively . It all started with a great dog called Mikey (aka "dude"), loved and lost but remembered forever. Jen also runs a freelance business focusing on graphic, web, and UI design at FoundPixel, and a small business creating hand crafted dog products at Stylish Canine.

  • koosk

    nice dog and a good dog and he make a fast run in the dunes haha
    greetings from holland europa

  • such a beautiful post. i wish you all the best getting through this most difficult time. Your dog was lucky to have you.

  • Julie

    Such a beautiful tribute. I lost my Scruffy to IMHA at 9 months of age. You have said it all.

  • Heidi

    Dear Jen,
    Thank you for this. I am so sorry for your loss. Our dogs are so special to us, they give us such immense amounts of love. I love the pictures. I am sorry Mikey is gone.

  • I’m so sorry for your loss. That video of Mikey and your cat was so sweet. Thanks for writing this. I think we all know that these things are true, but need a gentle reminder to follow through with them…

  • A beautiful story of unconditional love. Thank you for reminding me to live in the moment, treasure the beauty in the animal species and to respect the time we have on this planet.

  • Lauren

    I find it very admirable that in your time of grief, you are able to share Mikey’s amazing story and legacy with the world. I am so sorry for your loss. Several years ago I adopted a 12 year-old dog who ended up blessing us with his beautiful spirit for two years before he died suddenly in my arms on a walk. Chester still visits me from time to time in my dreams. I hope that you still feel Mikey’s presence with you.

    • Ddhilljl

      i too share my dreams with macey who i was blessed to share her life as her pet mom. i was blessed to have her for 21 1/2 years… thought i would die when i lost macey… but reading cold noses at the pear;y gates i know she is waiting for me and my husband at the bridge. my little chihuahua is now fighting IMHA when i saw her it was love at first sight… i got her from a no kill shelter she had been so abused and onl 7 months old.i have been blessed with 7 wonderful years as her pet mom and i will be ther to the end of this disease. from march the 9th until just yesterday she is running and playing being herself. i will take one day at a time and feel honored to have just one day more and be thankful.i know she knows she is loved and that is so important to me and i feel her sweet love for me and my husband she is our little sweet girl. i do know about feeling macey so close and dreams that are so real.macey was one of a kind as each are. and i hold the dreams so dear. i understand .

  • Jen, I am so sorry for your loss – Mikey was quite a guy! I sit here just crippled with grief as we lost our 10 year journey with our Herman today. I ‘googled’ “knowing a dog and losing a dog” and your blog entry surfaced to the top. Sharing what Mikey taught you, helped me start the process of putting a perspective on our loss. We live in a very rural/farm area..where you live is what you get for vet services. By the time we were able to get him there, it was a little too late. We were with him in the end though and I wouldn’t trade that moment of togetherness for anything. Thanks for your dear post. I hope to sort this out someday soon and you have shown me one can.

  • Jen

    @Pattie: I am so sorry for your loss of Herman. I read your post on your blog, and both your words and photos are a beautiful tribute. What you said about how important it was to be there at the end rang so true for me – that\’s all I could think about for the three days of Mikey\’s illness, would I be there if it happened (amazingly, I woke up with a jolt when he started having his final strokes, right before the vet called to get to the hospital). While so important to be there, it\’s so emotional at the time and remembering it afterward – but I really believe they know you are present and they\’re not alone. This journey, losing a dog, is so difficult. I know it doesn\’t feel like the sadness can end when the wounds are so fresh and deep, but you will sort it out like you say. Hugs to you, and vibes to sweet Herman.@Everyone: Thank you so so much for your kind words – it means so much.

  • James

    Any physician’s distress at losing a patient must be ackknowledged, but I find it difficult to equate this with that of a veterinarian at such a loss.

  • Sue

    Thank you for this great site. We just lost our 10-year-old German Shepherd, Wilson, to this awful disease. He was diagnosed in early December, was put on the medication and we thought he was improving… he went downhill suddenly this past Saturday and by Sunday morning we had to make a heart-wrenching decision (for us but the best decision for him). Everything you said here is so true — from the living every day with them as if it’s their last, to enjoying every little “thump” sound they make because it will pull you through the tough times. I was able to look out at our deck and see his footprints until the snow covered them this morning — another tug at my tears. I will miss Wilson forever, he was my best friend and the pain is still so deep that my heart still hurts. I know it takes time… and we’ll get through it, too.

    My recommendation to anyone reading this whose dog has contracted AIHA/IMHA… research everything! Challenge the medication and/or go straight to a holistic vet after visiting your regular vet. Ours did everything they could to care for Wilson and I’m grateful. I just wish I would have had more information about the effects of the medications beforehand. I can only hope that experiences like ours, and sites like these, will provide the knowledge to those facing this dangerous disease early enough to save their beloved pet.

  • jake

    You captured some great photos of detail of your best friend. I didint because mine were just iphone, so the detail isnt there and there are certainly some looks from my dog I would have loved to have preserved that way.

    In my so many years I have not felt such a grief. I lost a dear human childhood friend 5 years ago and I did not stop crying for almost 8 months. But this with my dog is a different grief. It has been three months now and often my legs lose their physical strength under me, the lessness of walking.

  • I am so glad I subscribed to notice of future comments here, thanks Jen for allowing us to use your blog as a sounding board. Jake and Sue, I also feel your pain. It has been 4 long winter months now, since our beloved Herman passed and it isn’t any easier. Sometimes I put a photo of him on my computer desktop only to have to remove it as it is too sad to look at. With the season’s change and each activity that belongs to the new year without him is always a downer at the beginning. We try to keep telling each other that it will get easier and how lucky we were to have him and him us…but the pain is still larger than life at times. My mind often goes to those last few months he was alive and how alive he was and how happy we were. This grief has different layers…it does lessen with time, I truly believe that. I have to push myself to look on the happy side of his life..he was such a character! Remembering and laughing is much better than remembering and breaking down. Each needs to be visited…and felt ~ to ride out the process. Bless you as you go forward in this time.

  • Libby

    I lost my best friend Charlie Brown this past Tuesday to IMHA. I am so devastated. He was a little rescue pup who almost made it to three years old. He was diagnosed on a Tuesday, and put down the following Tuesday. Not even a week before this horrible disease took down my puppy. We tried three blood transfusions, a ton of pred, and cyclosporene. I am a single female who lives alone, so Charlie was my everything. I am not sure why, or what made this happen, but the grief is fierce. It has been comforting to read your stories and to share mine. I only wish mother nature would have given me a bit longer with my rescue friend who rescued me.

    • Veronica

      I love your quote “my rescue friend who rescued me”.

  • Sally

    I just lost my beautiful dog taisha to aiha on fri 13 may we only noticed serving was wrong on the wednesday and I can’t believe how suddenly it happened. I agree get your dog checked out asap if some thing seems wrong

  • Veronica

    What a beautiful story! My dog was diagnosed with IMHA last summer. She is in remission and everyday I live in fear that it might be her last day. Your story has given strength to continue this battle. To all other pet owners going fighting IMHA keep your head up.

  • Pam

    I have just lost my precious Maggie to IMHA three days ago. What a shock! She had been my loyal friend for the last 15 years. I was never much of an animal person but she wiggled her way into my life. After my kids grew up and moved on, it had just been Maggie and me. We walked together every night and she was the darling of the neighbor hood. My neighbor helped my daughter and I bury her in the garden after leaving the vets, and we all stood there and sobbed. The grief is overwhelming. I miss her.

  • Duncan

    I lost my Little Girl to IMHA last Thursday. She lasted a week and seemed to be getting better but in the end was so weak. I left her in the morning all rugged up to keep her warm and returned an hour later to check on her. She was gone.

    My partner came over and helped me bury her in a nice sunny spot in the garden. We planted a Kangaroo Paw over the top of her. I will miss our afternoon walks together.

    She was 12.

  • Jeannie

    Thank you for writing your story. We lost our happy, loving golden cocker, Sandy, age 4 years, on July 3 in a manner very like your Mikey. She didn’t seem right Friday morning – didn’t want to wake up, refused a treat…We called and the Vet gave us the last appointment before they closed for the Holiday weekend. When I put Sandy in the car I noticed some blood on my hand. By the time the Vet got to see her she was acting fairly normal – They couldn’t get a urine sample but she felt it was a bladder infection but didn’t want to start treatment without a test. She felt it was safe to wait until Tuesday and based on how Sandy was acting we weren’t to concerned. My one regret is when she asked if they should run the blood work anyway (she didn’t seem to think it was needed anymore) I said no. By Saturday afternoon we were at the emergency vet being told she had less than a 30% chance of survival. She held her own until early Sunday morning than quietly passed. The ER Vet has said the short time laspe made no difference except Sandy got to enjoy her final “with it” hours at home. It is still hard to believe how fast this can take a healthy dog. Again, Thanks for sharing, it helps to know that Sandy wasn’t unusual in the way it moved.

  • Kris

    Thank you so much for writing this story, I only wish that I had seen it before. I lost my beautiful german shepherd Indigo on June 18th to IMHA, not quite 3 weeks after she was diagnosed. On May 29 she just didn’t seem herself, she was a search and rescue dog and had energy and drive enough for 10 dogs, ready to come inside instead of playing and not wanting to eat. She had been diagnosed with IBD as a puppy so I attributed the not eating to that. By Monday morning she still wouldn’t eat so I took her to an er vet (we were on vacation so I was 5 hours from home). They told me she had IMHA and a PCV of 13% and her outlook was bleak. I asked them to help me just get her home and they treated her. She spent 8 days in ICU at the er vet near my home. She was on prednisone and azathioprine (she couldn’t stomach the cyclosporine), had 3 transfusions, since she was clotting like crazy she also had a stroke. Through all this she fought to live. I had her at home for a week and took her back in for a blood check that went up to 34%. Then she starting throwing up that night and within 2 hours she passed away. Everything you said you learned from Mikey I learned from Indigo. I also have very few pictures of us together. I miss her so much, it’s been 3 weeks and I still can’t believe she’s gone and how fast she went. I had never even heard of IMHA until her diagnosis.

  • Laura

    What a beautiful story and tribute for your beloved pet. My sweet little Dakota (a miniature poodle) got sick suddenly on June 23 (he was fine when I left for work that morning and was sick at 5:00 pm). I rushed him to my vet that night and they referred me to the emergency hospital. Dakota never came home again. I had to make that heart-wrenching decision on June 25 to end his suffering. He was the light of my life, my child, my heart. I miss him greeting me as I come home from work, playing catch, sleeping in my lap, and just being part of my daily life.

    As with others that have posted, I had never heard of IMHA or Evans Disease. I questioned all of the vets we saw as to what I did wrong. They assured me it was nothing I did…it just happened. Dakota had not taken any medicine or had any vaccinations. They were due, but I hadn’t made the appointment.

    I got a call from the clinic today. They made a print of his paw for me in clay. I am going to pick it up tomorrow.

    Making the decision that morning when the doctor called was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. I know it was the best, but my heart is still hurting and breaking. All for a disease I’d never heard of before.

  • Sam

    Thank you for sharing your story about your best friend. My little girl died suddenly on 18 July. She had acute pancreatitis, the day before we walked in Rock Creek Park, the next day she was sick and diagnosed with this disease. I had her for 13 years and because she got sick so fast, she then suffered a stroke on that Monday. I love her with all my heart, she means everything to me – everybody who met me, knew within a couple of minutes who Sam was too. She was always on my mind and I loved walking her and spending time with her as much as I could. She smelled of cookies and I used to nuzzle my face in her fur and tell her that. My little girl – I love you.

  • Loretta

    Your story is wonderful. I laughed and I cried right along with ( I’m sure ) everyone else that read Mikey’s story.
    Thank you for sharing.
    My dogs have taught me to love unconditionally, and I always imagine that God must love us like a dog does. No matter what we do wrong, they always forgive us.

    Many Blessings to you.


  • Steve

    That was a very touching and beautifully written story. I am truly sorry for your loss. You blessed him with a wonderful end of life! Eight days ago, we had our 8 1/2 year old Pekingese “Pepper” euthanized during emergency surgery for abdominal complications. Only a few days before, she and I were on our daily walks around the neighborhood doing all the dogs things she loved. If I didn’t tell someone, nobody would have thought 3 years before that she was paralyzed in her back end from a herniated slipped disc. Although we are not rich, we were able to provide for her major surgery to fix her back and God gave her the ability to walk again, and did Pepper and I put the miles on these past 3 years!! What I thought was a stomach bug going through her, was very serious and needed immediate surgery. The surgeons called us at 12:45am to confirm that her intestines would need to be shortened, resulting in chronic lifetime diaherra and the inability to get all the nutrients from her food she would need. My loving wife knew what was the right thing to do and put her in eternal peace. I was so upset and cried until there were no more tears to cry. She lived very well right up to the end and that was what I did not see through my tears. I miss and love you forever Pepper! God bless you too Mikey!! Peace be with your family……..Steve

  • Jen

    @Steve – such a touching story! It is the most agonizing decision to make, but I do believe our heart always helps us make the right one. Thank you for such a thoughtful post and touching words.
    Take care, and many kisses and tail wags sent from us to sweet Pepper.


  • Mc

    My precious golden retriever was diagnosed with autoimmune hemolytic anemia this past Monday, after treatment for what we thought was Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever was not helping his condition. (We do not know if he was initially misdiagnosed with the fever or if the fever caused the AIHA.) This has been an incredibly heartbreaking and emotional week for me and my husband, as we thought on Monday we were simply going to change medication for the Rocky Mountain Fever. ChancyBear is still with us right now, and his red blood cell count has stabilized at 19% for a second day now (down from 32% after a blood transfusion), but our vet has prepared us for the worst.

    I am struggling with the idea of letting him go with dignity or in such misery and despair as this disease has caused him. I do not want him to die a painful death at home with us, as I would rather him go in as peaceful a manner as possible given all that he has gone through in the past week. My husband is encouraged that he has “stabilized”; however, because of what I have read and heard from our vet, I am not as positive. At what point are you keeping your sweet sweet sweet loved one alive in vain? I anticipate losing a lot more sleep and shedding many more tears because of AIHA.

    Thank you for Mikey’s story–it helped me think about all of the wonderful times we had with him and for a moment, not dwell on what is currently happening to him.

  • Vikki

    I’m sitting here reading these stories, and crying…. My girl Gemma (a moodle) is suffering her 2nd bout of IMHA; she is nearly 5 (having her first episode when she was 2). She is at the point where we will begin to reduce her Prednisone, keep her on Imuran, and have just introduced Cyclosporine. She has had internal scans (which showed up with nothing). At this point, I am hoping & praying that we will get many more years with her. BUT I have learnt from this horrible ‘random’ disease to LOVE and enjoy her each day and know that each day could be her last. This really is a LIFE lesson. Thank you everyone here for sharing their knowledge and for just ‘sharing’….

  • Mike

    Thank you for sharing your story, it was touching and inspirational. We just said goodbye to our Sammie. Sammie was an amazing West Highland Terrier who we were fortunate to have in our lives for almost 15 years. The whole family is going through pain right now, but I feel so fortunate to have had her in our lives. The unconditional love she provided every day to us was amazing and I am glad people like you share your stories about your loving pets. I always thought about how hard it would be without her, but I had no idea! I charish the memories she gave us and she taught me alot about how I should live my life!

    Thank you so much.

  • Gene

    Less thank 24 hours ago I held my little man Zeus in my arms while he was put to sleep. He was the most amazing mini fox terrier cross. I had this brave little man since the week before my wedding and after only 2 and a half years he is gone. Last Tuesday I noticed he wasn’t feeling himself so I rushed him to my vet and after a horrible day of waiting he was diagnosed with IMHA (as we call it in Australia). He had had 6 days battling this disease. His levels got to as low as 10% at one point and after a blood transfusion his levels had risen back to 35%. Unfortunately the couple of days afterward saw the levels drop rapidly back to 17%. Everyone at the vet surgery thought he was going to pull through because as early as yesterday morning he was back eating on his own again. But the vet showed me his levels again and showed me how badly his liver was failing and I made the agonizing decision to let my little man be at peace.
    The vet told me I could take him home for a while if I wanted to, so i could say goodbye.
    I sat in our favourite spot in the lounge with him on my lap and my arms around him while he seemed to sleep. I told him I loved him and then I carried him around the backyard one last time to smells all his favourite things. I let his girlfriend Zena (our other gorgeous mini fox terrier and mother of his pups) say good bye with a few sniffs each then I took him back to the vet for the last time.
    I sat there in the waiting room with him and doubting what i was bout to do, to maybe wait one more day and see if he would turn that corner. the nurses cme out and saw us and told me that this was the happiest she had seen him since he had been brought in, just sitting there with me, his owner. It was then that I knew it was time. I wasn’t going to let my little man spend another lonely night in a kennel suffering away in silence as mini foxies do.
    It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I had him on my lap kissing him and telling him I would always remember him as he was put to sleep. The vet checked his heart, took his pulse and quietly whispered “Zeus has gone”.
    I have never cried so hard in all my life.
    A day later I am still a wreck, even as I sit at work and write this (sorry boss!).
    After I got home yesterday, after it had been done. I carved away a chunk of bark and tree flesh from the huge gum tree in my backyard. We had only the last week bough all of our animals some letters that spelt their names, I was intending to mount Zena and Zeus on their kennel. Instead I have mounted Zeus into the carved section of the tree.
    Zena and Zeus were my first ever dogs. We only ever had cats as kids, I never knew the level of love a dog could give. I do have regrets that maybe I wasn’t the perfect owner and could’ve spent more time with them both, but regretting things isn’t making this any easier. Instead I like to remember how they both used to try and push their heads through the cat flap in our back door (both at the same time) to see if we were going to invite them in to sit on our laps while we watched T.V. And then watching them both try to scramble through the cat flap when I said “come on then”. And also how Zeus liked to terrorise the neighbours dog behind our back fence. I’d often hear him barking and then see his little bum pocking way up in the air and his little tail wagging frantically like a glow stick.
    I only have my baby girl Zena left now, my last promise to Zeus was that I’d be a better parent to Zena and spend bundles of time with her. I know she is going to miss him just as much as my wife and I do.
    You are gone but always remembered my brave little man, i will see you again one day and please try not to piss all over the leg of Gods favourite chair.
    Rest easy my friend, be at peace.
    Love always, mum and dad

  • pugglebear

    I lost my almost 3 year old puggle, Lilly, on 11/21/2011 to IMHA. The disease struck fast and hard with her only symptoms being weakness and anorexia on Sunday night and by Monday morning I was making the decision to euthanize her. Her PCV upon arrival at the vet’s was 6% and her core body temp was down to 95 deg (typical for a puggle is 102 degrees). She was literally dying before my eyes. While we could have pursued aggressive treatment, the vet was not optimistic and given how bad off she was her prognosis was grim.

    The grief I have experienced is unreal and unexpected. While I knew I was attached to her, I never fully realized how integral she was to my everyday life. She was supposed to be the “kids’ dog,” but she quickly became “mom’s dog.” I am heartbroken. I feel guilt and anger and despair almost all the time. I just want her back. We have over 500 pictures of her (thanks to my photophilic daughter) and I’m fortunate to have several with her, but pictures are a poor substitute for her soft fur and wrinkled face.

    I appreciate all the comments here. I hope all of us get relief soon.

  • Hi all. I have had these comments sent to my email over the last year and am sad that so many have lost their beloved pets in such sudden ways. It has been over a year since we lost our Herman, and the pain is still so strong. I well up every time I see a photo of him, or we talk about all the good things Herman was. My heart goes out to each and every one of you.

    • Jen

      Definitely agree. Each one brings tears to my eyes – sometimes it takes me a bit to reply because of this! But it is so meaningful to read all the love out there people have for their wonderful canine companions.

  • Margaret

    Good afternoon,
    I lost my beautiful soul mate – Ricky my 8.5 year old Chihuahua on Saturday to this awful disease. It came out of nowhere. The week before I noticed he was 20% not himself but I thought maybe it was some sort of cold. On Monday he didn’t want to eat anything, and then Tuesday he also didn’t’ want to eat anything – and I also noticed that his urine was a dark orange(Brown). So I made a quick appt for my husband to take him to the vet on Wed. All the blood work was done but unfortunately you have to wait 24 hours for blood work. On Thursday afternoon, I called my vet and it seemed like Ricky’s Red Blood Count (BillyReuben) level was way off. So the vet asked that I rush him to the vet, I left work immediately took Ricky to the vet with my husband. The vet told us that Ricky was diagnose IMHA. She asked that we leave him in the animal hospital so he can get proper treatment, Steroids, IV, and some sort of antibiotic since he was running a small fever 40c.

    On Wed his red blood cells where in his 30s. However on Thursday since since she was giving him IV, they dropped down to 18. But she expected that since she was flushing his body out with IVs. She said that the steroids wont’ start working for a couple days but Ricky is stable and has a great outcome. Ricky was lethargic, he didn’t’ want to eat or drink, but he was fully alert and soo happy to see us.

    We went and visited him for 2 hours on Thursday afternoon/evening. Little did I know that was going to be the last day I see my precious angel.
    We cuddled and held him as he was hooked up to his IV. He was so happy to see us as he was panting and giving us small kisses.
    He just wanted to sleep with us.
    After 2 hours, I gave him a kiss goodbye and said “see you in the morning” He had these beautiful brown eyes and was like “mommy where you going, dont’ leave me”

    On Saturday morning, my husband and I woke up and started getting ready to go visit my sweet baby where we got that awful call. The vet said “I have some bad news, Ricky passed at night time – he probably had a thromboembolism (Blood clot) which is a huge risk during IMHA. Apparently when the vet came in the morning, he had his blanket still on top of him, so he died peacefully in his sleep. My husband and I are so grief striken and so upset by this. We dont’ understand how God could have taken our amazing angel away from us. We loved him so much and treated him like our precious baby – which he is.

    I have so many “What ifs” such as :
    – What if I took him to an 24 hour hospital where they had night care, could they have saved him. My vet says “probably No” Because a blood clot is impossible to cure when it happens.

    – What if I done something wrong? What if I gave my cold to my dog? And thats’ how he got this immune disease?

    – What if we got a blood transfusion. Which the vet thought Ricky was stable and didn’t’ require at the time.

    His little brother (Baily also a chihuahua) is so sad and deeply missing his brother.

    Our lives have turned upside down without our little angel.

    The only thing that is slowly letting me live, is that a lot of people say that when dogs die – they go to heaven because their souls are so pure and that they can see us and hear us, and they are happy and not sad.

    Does anyone know if there is a legit organization that is currently trying to cure IMHA? I would like to make a donation on behalf of my sweet angel Ricky.

    • Margaret, I am so so sorry to hear about Ricky. It sounds so similar to what I went through, and sounds like our soul mates were around the same age. What a painful experience, but do know that Ricky most likely was not in pain, and knew the love you had for him. I too always have “what ifs”, but don’t beat yourself up over them. For example, I went to a 24 hour hospital as soon as I knew something was really wrong, and they could not save him. And we never knew what might have caused it (my “what if” is what if it was something on the beach we took him to — but then, that was his great joy in life….)

      I am sure your love for your soul mate gave him the best possible life- and that’s what matters to them. They live for the now, so however much time they have, if it’s good that’s all that matters. They don’t think about longevity like we do.

      There is a terrific fund at Morris Animal Foundation that is searching for a cure – I in fact sponsored a study for this year at Morris Animal Foundation (a large very legit organization that does a ton of work towards ending canine diseases including cancer). 100% of the donation to Meisha’s Fund goes towards research, not overhead. Please see this page for information about Meisha’s Fund: http://www.cloudnet.com/~jdickson/newhope.htm. You can also donate in the memory of Ricky.

      Hugs, Jen.

  • Cindy

    Thank you for such an amazing adventure that you shared. I just lost my dear Tashia on Dec 14th 2011. She was a black lab that was born the week after tropical storm Allison in Houston Tx. Her mother was a stray that lost her way and a co worker took her in because she was pregnant. Then the momma dog was killed by a car two weeks later. I went and picked Tashia out (she was the runt) and brought her home at 2 weeks old. I loved her so much from the get go. Unfortunately, we had noticed her hips were square and the vet told us she had severe hip dysplasia in both hips. By age 1 she had a hip surgery and by age 2 had the other hip done. To make a long story shorter, she was a mess with her health her whole life. Her immune system kept her sick all the time with one infection after another just to find out it was a thryoid issue. She was on medication it seemed like her whole life. She became my life in so many ways. She was then diagnosed with arthritis of the back. Last year they discovered that she had laryngle paralysis. I knew it was just a matter of time that I would have to let her go but was doing all I could to keep her with me but with quality of life. But on the evening of Dec 14th she was acting normal and all was good. She got up and went to lie down in her favorite spot and I went to do some work on my computer. All of a sudden she made a loud whining noise and I jumped up to see what was wrong and she was already gone. I was devastated. I am still to this day grieving for my loss but am thankful that I had her in my life for over 10 yrs. I never knew I could have a bond with her like I did. I miss her so much every day but I know in my heart that she feels that love. I would do anything to have her back but as we know, we can only keep them alive in our hearts. I have two other dogs to keep happy now. They keep me going and I will love them until the end as well. Here is a link to a slide show my husband made after my Tashia left us. Enjoy it!


    Thank you for letting me share!

    • Jen

      Cindy, thank you so much for sharing your story. I absolutely love the slideshow – Tashia is absolutely beautiful, and you can tell how much love there is between you in those photos. I notice all the photos where you are hugging her she has a giant smile on her face – what a wonderful life and family bond she had. I smiled so much watching your photos, and tears at the end. Thank you again for sharing, I truly enjoyed it. Also, she looks a little like Mikey – their faces are so similar :)Jen.

  • Charlie

    My dog was diagnosed with IMHA on Monday, I took her to the vet since sunday since she started peeing blood, she has been stable for these days, but it seems she is not getting better she is just hanging on, I am really sad because I have only spent 6 months with her, she slept with me and I took her everywhere I go, I have never loved any dog like I love her and it is breaking me that there is nothing I can do…

    • Hi Charlie,
      Our thoughts are with you and your dog. I hope that she can beat this terrible disease. I understand what you mean by such a short time – we only had Mikey for 8 short months, it is simply amazing how quickly one can bond with that special dog. This site is a tremendous resource on IMHA: http://www.cloudnet.com/~jdickson/

  • Hi Jen,

    Thanks for sharing your story. I got my beloved Roxie from a shelter and she was the light of my life for five years. Last valentines day, my neighbors in retaliation for my efforts to clean up my crime ridden street damaged my fence and stabbed her. Usually, she went everywhere with me, but that night my husband insisted that we go to dinner just the two of us. I didnt make it too long -after twenty minutes I wanted to go home, only to find her lying -dying in a pool of her blood. She died in my arms on the way to the vet.

    Your advice and story of Mikey are so helpful a year later. Im still so sad. There are very few pictures of us together but I have many videos (some of which I still have not seen, I cant bring myself to watch them) . Someday, I know I will be able to laugh seeing them instead of sobbing. Until then, they are like gifts, unopened.

    After six months we took in Lucky who was about to be put down at our high kill shelter in South Los Angeles, She has been a god send trying to cheer me up but my heart is broken. We got her after a perfectly healthy dog who turned up at our doorstep looking for food and water. I stupidly took him to the shelter where he immediately got sick and had to be put down before the holding period for the “owner” had passed. Lucky literally had twenty minutes to live when we took her home.

    My faith in humanity shaken. Yet life goes on. I try to think that now Roxie is free of being a staffie (OMG shes a pitbull RUN!! some comments of others) she is free of her bad leg. There is not a day that I dont think of her, my heart has a huge whole left by her passing. I try to think positive and perhaps her soul is now in the body of a small girl whose family is so grateful for their valentine miracle. its the only way I can go on.

    Thanks again for your words of wisdom, some of us really them. The picture of you and Mikey is so so sweet. God Bless you for taking in and helping senior dogs.

  • Ddhilljl

    i came home my little chihua wasn’t acting right she didn’t come to welcome me home.she jusy layed there i picked her up and i don’t know why i looked at her gums but i did they were white. i called her vet took her in and was told she had imha after many tests. and the vet had us to transport my hayley to theu00a0emergency clinic. where they started a transfusion. she is holding her own but so very hard with hayley at the hospital and me here at home . i had a call saying i can come to see her at midnight after the transfusion which lasts 4 hours… and, i am told she can still pass away. i am so scared because this is a never ending ordeal i have been told.she is so little most likely due to her last shots she had such a reaction.that we nearly lost her. i do not like shots the same size a 130 lb fur baby gets for my little 5 lb baby and i have a 2 lb baby that had a reaction. the list goes on and of people i know friends and family that their dog has had reactions after the shots.but i am new to this very awful ordeal of a diease for the dogs and cats that have this.as it has just happend and my little hayley is still having the transfuion as i type.the shock has hit i am just trying to find out everything i can when i found this sight.i only know this sweet little chihuahua that i adopted that had been so abused as a 7 month old puppy is now 8 years into my heart and thought i was doing right by her yearly shots only to hear this is what has given her this terrible diease.if i had known…. but i didn’t and never heard of imha until today.i feel i have let her down and i promised her i would never let another person or thing hurt her tiny little body again. i have let her down and my heart is hurting as i loved her at first sight…. for the wonderful short 8 years. as her fate is in the hands of her vet…i have no way but trust that she will have more years to be that funny silly little girl that i love. this is so very scarry.my whole world is so up side down. wish each and all best wishes. i am too new to this to add or say anything only hours into this.

    • jen_dehaan

      Please know that I am thinking of your little chi, and hope that she hangs on and survives this terrible disease. There are many success stories. Please know that you did not let her down – you love her, and you are fighting for her. This is simply a terrible disease where the actual cause is unknown. We do things like shots and medications where we give them with the intention of helping, so please don’t beat yourself up about that — *if* that was the cause, you could never have known. You have given that formerly abused puppy a wonderful life, and that is the important thing, and what counts. I am sending all my positive vibes for strength to your chi.nJen.u00a0

  • LeslieDGandy

    Thank you for this!! I’m in the middle of Sophie’s 2nd AIHA relapse and am having a very tough time dealing with the road I know lies ahead. May 3rd will be her 3rd birthday, and the one year anniversary of this nightmare’s beginning. I needed this reminder to not waste this time I have, because its very unpredictable!! Thank you again!!

    • My heart is with you and Sophie! I am sending you every last bit of strength to see you though this next ordeal. Sophie made it though with your love and strength before, she knows you’re there on her side!  And I want to thank you too – I haven’t read this post end to end, and your comment helped me read it through and rethink these lessons again! Sure needed it.  A few tears in my eyes. Again, many hugs to you both. xxoo to Sophie.

  • Heather Meroni

    Thank you for your story Jen. We had our dog put to sleep 2 days ago and it was the hardest thing either of us has to do. Partly because he was only 5 yrs old and he was our best friend. We adopted him when he was only 1.5 and only got about 3 yrs with him and it wasnt enough time. He started getting really sick about 2 yrs ago and we have taken him into the vet every 3-4 months for more work that would “solve his problem” well nothing worked. Each time he was getting worst and not himself so this last surgery he wasnt making it through the surgery and we had to put him down. It was the hardest thing ever!! We are so sadden that he was taken from us too soon. Reading your story makes me feel like there is an end to this sadness.  Im so sorry for your lost. Thank you for your story and strength.

  • Julie Hume

    I came over to read this from Quora. I had not heard of AIHA before. It sounds truly horrific to have Mikey so heart-strong and seemingly healthy struck down so quickly. Your article about him is very moving and both passes on knowledge of AIHA and encourages people to adopt -the less adoptable.  It also is a great remeinder to us all to appreciate every moment we have with those we love – no matter how many legs they have.

    I lost my dog just before Christmas. I had about three weeks where I knew the end was inevitable and I am so grateful for that time.

  • Andrew

    Thank you so much for writing this.  I found out a few weeks ago that my best buddy was in advanced renal failure.  By the time I caught the symptoms, it was too late.  We tried treatment but it only helped for a few days.  I watched him slowly starve and lose his ability to get around and knew this isn’t how my 6 year old wonder-mutt wanted to live.  With a heavy heart and lots of tears I made the decision to set him free this morning.
    Your story hits home.  Dogs will hide any pain and illness they can to be strong for you for as long as they can.  Love them everyday like it’s their last: because eventually you will have to say goodbye.

  • Paul

    We have just today lost our beloved English Springer Spaniel to her 1st relapse of AIHA – she was at a veterinary university since Monday, so she lasted fours days, and had all of the usual drugs plus transfusions and human immunoglobulins, she responded to treatment but was too old and weak to fight any more – only 10 days ago I was playing ball with her and she was like a dog half her age.  This condition is awful.  She was 13, so had a good long life but it doesn’t make it any easier.  Thanks for your post.

  • steph

    I came across this website looking for answers as we just lost our 6 year old Chipoo C.C. to AIHA 2 days ago. It was very sudden and we had no idea that anything was wrong with her. She just started to go downhill over a period of 3 days and I even called her vet and he told me it didn’t sound serious so I waited to take her in. I wish I had not. My Husband took her to the vet and then called me to come up there. The vet said she had less than 32 hours and then we had to make a choice to put her to sleep or let her live the last day. The vet said because of her condition she would likely have a bad seizure and I couldn’t make her go through that scared and confused. We decided to put her to sleep. She had just gotten a check up and blood work done a few weeks before due to seizures. I still don’t understand how the vet missed this. I don’t blame them but I just don’t understand. I do miss my little girl so much. 

  • JenA

    Hi Jen. I lost my beloved best friend almost a year ago to IMHA. She was a golden retriever, only 4 and her symptoms presented very fast. She displayed pale gums and rapid breathing, more panting and I rushed her to our local vet hospital. They gave her amazing care, blood transfusions but after 3 days, we were told her anemia was very severe and very little could be done. She died 3 days after symptoms presented in my arms. I miss her every minute of every day. We adopted a new dog from the humane society last spring and over the summer a new golden puppy joined our family. I adore both of our dogs but cry for Sandy often. I loved her like I love my children and my grief is overwhelming at times. Our new dogs help me so much but I still wish there was more I could have done for my Sandy. I will never forget her…she is and always will be a part of me. I am so sorry for your loss of Mikey. 8 months is way too soon to lose such a perfect, amazing dog. My heart goes out to you. I hope with research someday there will be a cure for these horrible diseases. Sandy taught my vet so much from her disease and my hope is that through her legacy other pups and dogs will be treated as early as possible to help them overcome the grim future we often have to face without them in our lives. My best to you and thank you for posting your story…

    • JenA, thank you so much for posting about your Sandy, and I am so sorry to hear about losing her (in what sounds like a very similar way to Mikey dude). It sounds like Sandy will help future dogs who will fight this at your vets, who will have a better chance at remission because of her. Thanks again for sharing your story!

  • Tim

    Thank you. Just had to put down my Bailey yesterday from AIHA. Three days ago, she was running, playing, normal. Now she’s gone. And we were not prepared.

    • Tim, I am so sorry to hear about your Bailey – this is such an abrupt and intense way to lose a dog that I\’m not sure is possible to prepare for, no matter what we might try. My thoughts are with you and your family at this time.

  • addie

    On August 3, my dachshund died of AIHA. He was only 10 and it set in silent and deadly. He was eating and drinking but I noticed that his breathing wasn’t right and his heart was racing so into the vet we go on July 31.. The vet mentioned AIHA and we checked his gums and eyes and they were white so he was put on prednisone and seemed to be improving but then suddenly got so bad..swelled up and breathed like he was suffocating. He died suddenly, and I felt like I had been punched in the gut. He fought so hard, never complained or whined or cried; just kept looking at me with those big brown eyes. I didn’t want him to suffer anymore, so I leaned over and told him he could go that I would be okay and in just a few minutes he was gone. I didn’t have time to get him to the vet it was that damn fast.
    I get his ashes back tomorrow and I know that he will heal me because he was that kind of dog. My little baby boy, Daxie…I miss you so much and love you more.
    Thank you for Mikey’s story and everyone here who can relate to this dreaded disease.

  • Michael

    Thank you for sharing your life with Mikey. He sure was special; but then, aren’t they all so special !?! We lost our boy after 17 years; My Boy Harley, who was my life and soul. We had him since he was 6 weeks old. What a boy he was. Loved so very much. He was always with me; never once put him into a kennel. He shared everything; our food, our beds, sofa – everything. Old age and a final body breakdown said that it was time to let him go. And this tough man gasped a huge sob, could not breathe, and then just fell apart, as that darling boy took his last breath at the vets. I still cry, at various times, and I won’t ever get over it. But your article helped me and I saw that we have such feelings in common. I hope and pray that these good dogs do go to heaven, and that one day we will be together again. Life is too painful without love; especially the love of such an unconditional, live in the moment, extra special best friend and companion. Thank you and God bless !

  • bozobarr

    I think stopping my dog’s probiotics resulted in his death. He had been off and on probiotics for over a year. After he had been on them for two months I stopped. He was doing well for two weeks and then re-developed poor bowel movements- brown, greasy, occasionally with loads of mucous. I restarted the probiotics immediately when I saw this change. However, two weeks later my furbaby passed away at only 9.5 and after a four day battle at the emergency veterinarian where they never located the problem. I can only suspect it was his bad bacteria attacking him- all because I altered his diet for no good reason other than suspecting that his body had become able to produce it’s own good flora

  • Jack Davis

    Jen, thank you so much for sharing Mikey’s story. I can’t tell you how much it means to find this right now. My beautiful Aussie mix, Robin, died yesterday morning less than 48 hours after showing her first symptom. She was only 2 years old and–as the vet said–one of the healthiest, happiest dogs she’s ever seen.

    Robbie was her normal self on Monday morning–a spark plug, a firecracker, a ball of energy and love–woke me with a barrage of face-mushes, kisses and cuddles like every morning, bounded down the stairs barking and excited for a walk with her sister-dog at the beach, ran and chased and played for an hour, came home, danced for her food and gobbled it up, mooched some love and pets and had a nap. By Monday evening she just seemed not herself. A little lethargic, but still interacting with us and wanting affection. She even wanted to go for a walk but only made it a block before I could tell she wasn’t feeling up to it and wanted to go home. I just assumed she was sick to her stomach, as her sister had been the day before. I kept an eye on her all night and decided to take her to the vet in the morning if she still wasn’t herself.

    In the morning she was obviously weak and shaky but I coaxed her out for a morning pee before calling the vet and was absolutely horrified to see her pass dark red blood. I scooped her up and rushed her to the vet, but I think now that even then it was too late. I reluctantly left her at the vet’s while they gave her fluids and ran blood and urine test and by noon had arrived at a tentative diagnosis of AIHA and started her on prednisone. By dinner time they called to say that she was continuing to decline and that the prognosis was poor. I could’t believe it. I still can’t. I went and got her and brought her home and planned to bring her back in the morning if she improved. I stayed up with her all night and petted her and spoke to her, but by morning she was just barely hanging on. Just breathing but not really present anymore. No eye contact and reaction to my voice and then, in 5 final terrible minutes, she died while I held her and spoke into her lovely little ear.

    It’s so devastating. I can’t believe that she’s gone. She was my little light. The little dog with the lion’s heart. The safe where I kept my happiness. It’s so so sad and so hard to grasp.

    I too had never heard of AIHA and didn’t know what to look for, though the vet assures me there was nothing I could’ve done to save Robbie.

    Thank you, Jen, for sharing your love and life and lessons with Mikey. I needed to read this now. And all the heartbreaking stories in the comments too. It doesn’t dull the pain but sharing it is some consolation.

  • Jane Franco

    My dear Edna died 1/26/13, a day after her 13 th birthday. I still,think about her & miss her every day. I am retiring at the end of this year & then it will be time to get another pup. All the stories I have read bring to mind how much it hurts to lose a pet. There are many days i can’t even talk about her without choking up. But I hope there is another dog I can adopt next spring to fill the hole in my heart.

  • Such a beautiful post, and so sad :( My family’s golden retriever died from the same disease in 2005 and she was 7 years old. She suddenly went from a healthy dog to a very sick dog in about two days :( It does worry me how our pets are exposed to so many chemicals in their food, medications, vaccinations and so on. I also try to limit what I can. This post is a good reminder for me.

    This is also such a good reminder to appreciate every single moment we have with our animals.

    • I\’m so sorry to hear this is what happened to your family\’s golden retriever too :( That is such a coincidence – same age, timing, and everything. I have to return to this post to keep reminding me from time to time to keep the stress at bay and enjoy each day :) Thanks so much for your comment, bringing me back too! Hugs.

  • I lost my soul dog a few days ago – he’d had IMHA for about 18 months, but he finally succumbed to pancreatitus from the steroids that were suppressing his immune system (along with diabetes, a UTI and conunctavitus). His last few days he was so weak. I feel so weak now, I miss him so much. He was such a happy guy, we rescued him as well. We tried so hard, it was 18 months of weekly vet visits and blood tests and complications. Your article is beautiful, and I’ll probably have to re-read it a few times over the next few months I think!

    • Hi Ryan. I am so, so sorry to hear about losing your soul dog. Isn\’t it the most painful, stressful thing to go through. I can\’t imagine what 18 months would feel like of that kind of stress. I know it doesn\’t help much at all now, but it does get easier eventually.Thank you so much for stopping by, and I\’m so glad that you enjoyed the article. I\’ll be thinking of you, and I do believe all of our dogs are waiting for us on the other side to meet again.

  • maura

    My Sunny Shih tzu is in the midst of a terrible case of AIHA. She’s had 2 transfusions and she is non regenerative. I can’t bear it. It was the vaccines on June 16 that set all the symptoms into motion. I will never ever recover.

    • maura

      she is my soul dog. I am broken hearted. Only another who has gone through this terrible disease could possibly understand the anguish. WHY is this happening to dogs. They are not getting updated care.

      • It’s true – there is still so much unknown about this disease :( Luckily there are ongoing studies to try and improve treatments, through Morris Animal Foundation. I was a major donor sponsoring some of these studies a couple years back (wish I could still afford it! Hope to do it again though.) Anyway, Meisha’s Fund is a great one to support as it’s working towards learning more so we can improve treatments and success rates in surviving this terrible disease. More info can be found here: https://secure3.convio.net/maf/site/Donation2?df_id=1681&1681.donation=form1

  • Frank

    Me and my family adopted a dog much similar to your Mort about 11 years ago. She was about 3 months old and was living off the streets eating nothing but orange peels…
    Sadly she died two weeks ago in a way much similar to what this article is talking about. I don’t know if it was AIHA but it was very fast. In about 2 weeks she lost a lot of weight, lost all apetite and became very lethargic. We took her to the vet several times and when she was in a really bad shape (she almost couldn’t stand up) we took her to the vet again in a last effort, and she had to stay there to get IV fluids to try to cure the dehydration.
    Sadly she died there without us. That really hurt me, knowing that I couldn’t be there for her when she passed away. The only thing I hope for is that we gave her many good memories to outweigh those last sad memories when whe was really sick, alone and hurting.

    Anyway, all I wanted to say is thank you for this story. That last sentence brought tears to my eyes (in a good way) and it’s good to know that we can turn a bad experience into something good. We really need to keep those memories of our pet friends healthy and happy in our minds and know that they lived like the little kings they were to us

    • Hi Frank,
      I am so, so sorry to hear about your loss. It’s particularly difficult to deal with the short time span between health and being so incredibly ill. And I think that makes it even more difficult to try and be there when the time comes, because they are on such a roller coaster in this illness between getting better and declining further. Your last sentence puts a giant smile on my face – that is the complete truth. :)

  • Dina

    Thank you Jen for sharing your life of you and Mikey. What a beautiful and obviously happy dog! Loved the video! :)) We have also lost our soul dog, Logan, a 6 yo mini schnauzer, to AIHA on Oct 29, 2014. We thought we were beating this relentless disease since she made it thru 3 blood transfusions and multiple medications (dexamethasone, IVIG, mycophenolate, doxycycline, heparin, aspirin, plavix, zofran…) and was improving! The vet thought she would be discharged the next day! But unfortunately, a pulmonary emboli took her so tragically from us and we are hopelessly mourning her loss. Knowing that we are not alone during this process of grieving is comforting but the frustration of losing her to this terrible disease is overwhelming at times. We are trying to find our way into making a heartbreaking loss into a positive outcome by helping with AIHA research, updating protocols at our local vet institution, sharing Logan’s story, and reaching to God for comfort, peace, and understanding. I believe we will all see our soul dogs at Rainbow Bridge and am looking forward to it! Thank you so much again!

    • Hi Dina,

      I am so sorry to hear about your loss of Logan. That rollercoaster between getting better and deteriorating further is, I think, what makes this illness particularly devastating to live through and leaves such a terrible aftermath.

      I absolutely love how you are fighting for a better outcome! I think this is so important – to become advocates in a way for better treatment, helping people recognize those symptoms, sharing stories.

      If you (or anyone else here) would like to share your stories, please know that I would be more than happy to publish them on this blog.

      Hugs to you.

  • maria cooker

    This is my testimony about the good work of a man who helped me….My name is maria cooker … My life is back!!! After 8 years of marriage, my husband left me and left me with our three kids. I felt like my life was about to end, and was falling apart. Thanks to a spell caster called papa ork who i met online. On one faithful day, as I was browsing through the internet, I was searching for a good spell caster that can solve my problems. I came across series of testimonies about this particular spell caster. Some people testified that he brought their Ex lover back, some testified that he restores womb, some testified that he can cast a spell to stop divorce and so on. There was one particular testimony I saw, it was about a woman called grace,she testified about how papa ork brought back her Ex lover in less than 72 hours and at the end of her testimony she drop papa ork e-mail address. After reading all these,I decided to give papa a try. I contacted him via email and explained my problem to him. In just 3 days, my husband came back to me. We solved our issues, and we are even happier than before. papa ork is really a talented and gifted man and i will not to stop publishing him because he is a wonderful man…If you have a problem and you are looking for a real and genuine spell caster to solve that problem for you. Try the great papa ork today, he might be the answer to your problem. Here’s his contact: orkstarspell@gmail.com Thank you great ork. Contact him for the following:

    (1)If you want your ex back.
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  • Karen

    I came across your blog and can identify with your loss. We lost our very loved Rat Terrier,Sassy Sue to hystiocytic sarcoma last November 26 2013. She had a minor cough that Vet thought was allergies as she had it every summer. When allergy pills didn’t help, we went to Texas A & M and she was diagnosed with hystiocytic sarcoma of lung. We did tomotherapy radiation and every type of chemo with no results. She died 3 months after diagnosis. She was my husband’s best friend. She was a 4 wheeling, outdoor little girl. During her illness, we adopted a 16 yr. old Chihuahua who helped with our pain and then she died of pneumonia in July. We rescue animals and have lots of pets but these 2 losses in the last 12 months have been devastating. I agree with one of the posters who said no more vaccines. I really think vaccines are the underlying culprit in a lot of dog cancers. I know rabies is required but we won’t be allowing our pets to get any other vaccines

    • Hi Karen, I am so sorry to hear about your losses. What a terribly difficult thing to experience two losses so close together. I too am incredibly wary of vaccines, and don’t doubt that they are the cause of cancers (I have a friend who ran tests and confirmed this to be true with her dogs). Thank you so much for sharing your story.

      • Karen

        Thank you Jen. Those who have lost family fur babies can always understand the loss that others feel.

  • Santo Champion

    i am here to give testimony of how i got back my husband, we got married for more than 9 years and have gotten two kids. thing were going well with us and we are always happy. until one day my husband started to behave in a way i could not understand, i was very confused by the way he treat me and the kids. later that month he did not come home again and he called me that he want a divorce, i asked him what have i done wrong to deserve this from him, all he was saying is that he want a divorce that he hate me and do not want to see me again in his life, i was mad and also frustrated do not know what to do,i was sick for more than 2 weeks because of the divorce. i love him so much he was everything to me without him my life is incomplete. i told my sister and she told me to contact a spell caster, i never believe in all this spell casting of a thing. i just want to try if something will come out of it. i contacted supreme spell temple for the return of my husband to me, they told me that my husband have been taken by another woman, that she cast a spell on him that is why he hate me and also want us to divorce. then they told me that they have to cast a spell on him that will make him return to me and the kids, they casted the spell and after 1 week my husband called me and he told me that i should forgive him, he started to apologize on phone and said that he still live me that he did not know what happen to him that he left me. it was the spell that he supreme spell temple casted on him that make him comeback to me today,me and my family are now happy again today. thank you supreme spell temple for what you have done for me i would have been nothing today if not for your great spell. i want you my friends who are passing through all this kind of love problem of getting back their husband, wife , or ex boyfriend and girlfriend to contact supremetemple@hotmail.com and you will see that your problem will be solved without any delay.

  • Godwin Ella

    I want to share a testimony on how a spell caster (OGUN LOVE SPELL IS THE BEST) helped me in getting my EX lover back, I was married to him in 2005, ever since then I was living happily with him, but everything changed when I was unable bare him a child, so last year January I was sent out packing from his home, I went out from his house, I was in great pain, I looked worried, coz I loved him so much, I told my friend about whats going on, she introduced me to the great spell caster (ogun love spell), she gave me his email, I emailed him, he asked me to buy some items faithfully I did all he asked of me. He told me not to bother, that Im going to bear him children immediately he comes back to me, two days later my Husband came with his friends and started begging for forgiveness, and asked me to come back home, I forgive him, I went back to him, luckily I was pregnant, here I am today am now a mother, I gave birth to a set of twins, a boy and a girl, and we are living happily, DR.Ogun thank you very much, if you are passing through any hardship and you are looking for break through kindly email Dr ogun on ogunlovespelltemple@gmail.com, greatsolomonalter@outlook.com call him via +2347032286452

  • jose

    I wish I saw this post sooner my dog just pass away from aiha yesterday morning she had 4 strong fighting days but I was just glad she was right next to me when it was her time. she was my dog since her birth and was about to 6 years old I am so glad she came into my life and she has changed it forever

  • jose

    I wish I saw this post sooner my dog just pass away from aiha yesterday morning she had 4 strong fighting days but I was just glad she was right next to me when it was her time. she was my dog since her birth and was about to 6 years old I am so glad she came into my life and she has changed it forever.

  • Richard

    Hi there. I was browsing the internet, coping with the loss of my pet. I came across your blog, and I have to say, this was one I could relate to. My chihuahua mix, Armin, was lost to me immediately, after a car hit her on June 24th, 2015. Me and my girlfriend (at the time) adopted her from the local animal shelter when she was 6 weeks old. We immediately bonded with her, taking her in as one of our own. I shared the same experiences as you; the walks, the love she gave for me without any hesitation, the rolling around in mud pies. Her death was not in vain. She brought her adopted mother and I closer than ever. She taught me to live life to the fullest, never taking anything for granted. She taught me to run, not like a human, but like a free-spirited gazelle without a care in the world. She will always hold a special place in my heart. Thanks for reading.

  • brookcampbellsweet

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  • Nicki

    hi there, I am so sorry to hear of your loss, and I feel your pain. The AIHA comes suddently and without any warning. I am still wrapping my head around how we could have prevented this, but as you had mentioned, you don’t realize it until it’s too late. My beautiful baby was healthy golden retriever who turned 10 years old in October 2014 The last time we had taken him to the vet was in the summer of 2013 due to an ear infection, but that’s it. No other health issues. On December 7, He suddenly lost his appetite and had difficulty walking up the stairs. We took him to our vet right away and the next day, after running his bloodwork, they diagnosed him and gave him a 50/50 chance of survival. Desperate to save him, we tried everything. He was on medication and IV for almost a week and we brought him home with us. He had 4 of us taking care of him day and night. He seemed to get his appetite back on December 13, but the morning of December 14, he relapsed and we had to make the difficult decision of putting him down. I hated to see him in so much pain. It’s now been more than 8 months and I am still having a difficult time coping. I think part of the grief is the nagging thought that maybe there was more we could have done for him? He should have lived at least another couple of years. Also, I have a difficult time dealing with the fact that he had to suffer and go through pain. In all the years we had him, we sheltered him from any suffering so it was really difficult to watch him deal with this. AIHA is an awful illness. I thank you for writing out the meaningful lessons learned from having a dog. I learned so much from mine..above all, i learned to love unconditionally.It’s still hard to look at his pictures and even wriitng this out has me in tears. I know grief takes time andeveryday my heart hurts a little less and i am learning to laugh at the tons of photos and videos we have of him. We also brought another dog into our life a couple of months later after he passed away. Once you have a dog, it’s really diffcult to live without one and the new puppy helped with the healing process. My prayers to all who have lost their beloved pets.

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  • Elaine

    Tears are running down my face right now, such a beautiful article. Thank god you rescued Mikey and gave the best 8 months of his life.

  • rach

    Hi there..we lost our beautiful boxer, max, just a few days ago…the huge hole left behind is unbearable…he was a true fighter…having survived AIHA at the age of 4 (after his diagnosis he was prescribed prednisone. .he picked up almost instantly and then we thought we were losing him when he had a massive seizure..he lived the fit seemed to reset his system as he got better and better from that day onwards..until he was completely normal again)..he gave us another 7 fantastic years together..but became ill a couple of months ago..unfortunately he had a stroke before he could have investigative procedures to confirm the cause of his illness (although they suspected cancer) he lived on medication for a month or so after his stroke and then suddenly went downhill rapidly so we made the heartbreaking decision to put him to sleep …I hope one day I can find a place in my heart for another dog..maybe a resue (like yourself) but at the moment I can’t even begin to think about it. Xx

    • Courtney

      I know how you feel it was hard on me my dog had a tumor and was also having seizures

  • Courtney

    I lost my dog 4 weeks ago i know the pain you are going through

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  • Judy McClellan

    I lost my beloved best friend the beginning of October, 2016. She is 16, a beautiful red Chow Chow. I named her Big Red. I still say is instead of was because I still feel her presence everywhere and she will be in my heart forever or until I too make that journey that takes me from this great earth. I have a part of her in my heart and I lost a part of me when she passed away. I will forever feel sadness for she was everything to me. I am 71 now and it is too late to have another dog and I would not anyway. I loved her so much that no other dog will ever be able to take her place and it would not be fair and also the grief of losing her, well I never want to experience that again. At my age, it would be wrong to get another dog. I may pass on before and there is no one to take care of her. I do not trust anyone and all my family are getting older and have dogs of their own that they hope to outlive.
    I keep very busy everyday trying to get through this horrible grieving time. I am always thinking of her and sometimes imagine I hear her soft breathing in the night as she slept quietly beside my recliner. I imagine her footsteps following me during the night when I had to get up to visit the restroom. She always settled herself right outside the door waiting for me, watching out for me, protecting me and no matter how sleepy she may be or how I would always tell her to stay where she was and get her sleep instead of following me she would ignore my words and get up and do like she always did. She paid me no attention and got her sweet body up, much slower this year than last year. When I would come out, she would follow me back to my recliner or bed and place herself on the floor beside me, always looking and watching me with her sweet eyes. I would try to coax her onto the bed but she was up in years now and did not want to as it may have been uncomfortable for her but she had a nice bed beside my bed or recliner that she slept on. She slept soundly every night but the instant there was a strange noise she would be alert and watching.
    She enjoyed her food and I treated her with the best. She looked forward to seeing me make the same food I had and sharing with her. In her later years, I let her have some little treats. Her favorite was ground sirloin. I looked forward to sharing and eating with her, I in a kitchen chair at the table and her at my side on the floor. It has been a month and I still find myself still hearing her and looking for her, calling her name and praying to God that if there is a heaven, I hope he did not forget about animals being there as they are as important as humans to me and should be there. I imagine after dying that I will get to see her again and in like the poem Rainbow Bridge, she will hear me and know me when I arrive and turn and meet me and we will be so happy along with all the other pets that I have known throughout my life and all the people that were dear to me, my mom and dad, my sister and my brothers, my wonderful grandparents on both sides and we will be joyful and happy for all eternity. I do not think it hurts to believe this even if it may not be true. I would rather believe this and feel hopeful then feel that death is the last step and that the journey has ended. I keep very busy, trying not to think of missing her but then night falls and the silence and my thoughts always turn to her and then the sadness comes and then the tears. I cry for hours finally dropping off into a deep sleep still missing her and dreaming of her. It has been almost a month now and I am still missing her and crying trying to keep frantically busy to keep my mind off of her but then night comes and the sadness and the tears visit me once more over and over again. Every night is the same. I know it will take time for the sadness to ease up but it will probably never go away. May your spirit be alive forever my darling, and may we meet again some day.

    • Joe

      I just lost my dog 4 days ago and it has been the hardest thing I had to go through.

  • Charlene

    I lost my dog of 10 years 3 days ago. My little man was diagnosed with heart disease and was taking medication daily. I knew he was in Pain and I sometimes felt selfish for prolonging his pain. This was the most useful article yet. I appreciate you sharing this with us.. thank you

  • Rachna Kulshreshtha

    Hi there i am reading all the heart wrenching stories and feeling the pain as i lost my golden fur baby casper on 6th May last week and it was his 8th birthday yesterday .i still cant believe he is gone one moment he was playing and other moment he stopped eating and was very restless. we took him to a vet where they said he had some fluid around his heart and they had to extract it they told me he might collapse in the process but i had to give my consent as the procedure was necessary and he came out of it all successfully.i was so relieved to see him back little did i know it was for a short time i have my baby back .Next day i had to take him to a specialist to check the reason for the fluid accumulation where she took his ECG and some blood test and said his heart beat was 200 per minute so she had put him on for medication for the heart to lower and stable the heart beats .i started him on medication and he was doing fine for 4 days we took him for next ECG where his ECG showed his heart beats were down to 140 per minute and it was a good sign but yet we had to continue his medicines .AFter one day he slowly stopped eating and i took to him another vet for another review where they asked to again go for his ECG one day later and show him back to clinic in the evening . by then he was completely off food and started drinking lot of water and peed a lot .Though he was in some kind of pain but never did he peed inside the house and always did his business down in the grass . in next round of ecg his reports were normal and there was no fluid accumulation. we took him to the vet in the eve where she said something is missing as he was not eating still and heart seemed to be in good condition she took some blood tests and said he has liver jaundice and she started with some temp medication and asked us to get him back next day so they can start with his IV fluids . That night he was very restless and didnot lie down at one place he kept pacing one room to another and we were like may be he will be better next day with his IV and all so next day my daughter took him to the vet where they started with his IV fluids and medication but by 12 pm they called me saying he is critical and we went to see him. he was on hooked on IV but when he saw me and my husband he looked up and acknowledged our presence but he was breathing so heavy it was so sad to see him lying this way yet we thought he will make through it .doctor told me his fever has gone high and his WBC count is very high and they may keep him overnight for observation but as they had no overnight facilities with them they might shift him to another emergency clinic .I came out with my husband leaving my daughter with him the room and we were discussing the way to transport him to another emergency hospital as these people had no ambulance services to transport him either .meanwhile my husband just went to check him again and came out looking for doctor as my baby had stopped breathing and by the time doc went inside and did try to resuscitate him it was too late .we went in shock and then broke down completely he was such a joy and such an good gentle soul. I am not sure whom to blame here the first doctor who did not do his complete blood test along with the heart tests or the another vet who insisted in getting his third ECG done and not doing any other blood tests same day or myself for taking him for second opinion to another Vet . we are all so shattered with him gone and keep looking at his pictures and videos he was such a joy for everyone around .I cant sleep in night as i can still remember his last night of restlessness and wonder how do i come out of this grief . sorry for the long post but did anyone else faced this too ??

  • Rachna Kulshreshtha

    Hi there i am reading all the heart wrenching stories and feeling the pain as i lost my golden fur baby casper on 6th May last week and it was his 8th birthday yesterday .i still cant believe he is gone one moment he was playing and other moment he stopped eating and was very restless. we took him to a vet where they said he had some fluid around his heart and they had to extract it they told me he might collapse in the process but i had to give my consent as the procedure was necessary and he came out of it all successfully.i was so relieved to see him back little did i know it was for a short time i have my baby back .Next day i had to take him to a specialist to check the reason for the fluid accumulation where she took his ECG and some blood test and said his heart beat was 200 per minute so she had put him on for medication for the heart to lower and stable the heart beats .i started him on medication and he was doing fine for 4 days we took him for next ECG where his ECG showed his heart beats were down to 140 per minute and it was a good sign but yet we had to continue his medicines .AFter one day he slowly stopped eating and i took to him another vet for another review where they asked to again go for his ECG one day later and show him back to clinic in the evening . by then he was completely off food and started drinking lot of water and peed a lot .Though he was in some kind of pain but never did he peed inside the house and always did his business down in the grass . in next round of ecg his reports were normal and there was no fluid accumulation. we took him to the vet in the eve where she said something is missing as he was not eating still and heart seemed to be in good condition she took some blood tests and said he has liver jaundice and she started with some temp medication and asked us to get him back next day so they can start with his IV fluids . That night he was very restless and didnot lie down at one place he kept pacing one room to another and we were like may be he will be better next day with his IV and all so next day my daughter took him to the vet where they started with his IV fluids and medication but by 12 pm they called me saying he is critical and we went to see him. he was on hooked on IV but when he saw me and my husband he looked up and acknowledged our presence but he was breathing so heavy it was so sad to see him lying this way yet we thought he will make through it .doctor told me his fever has gone high and his WBC count is very high and they may keep him overnight for observation but as they had no overnight facilities with them they might shift him to another emergency clinic .I came out with my husband leaving my daughter with him the room and we were discussing the way to transport him to another emergency hospital as these people had no ambulance services to transport him either .meanwhile my husband just went to check him again and came out looking for doctor as my baby had stopped breathing and by the time doc went inside and did try to resuscitate him it was too late .we went in shock and then broke down completely he was such a joy and such an good gentle soul. I am not sure whom to blame here the first doctor who did not do his complete blood test along with the heart tests or the another vet who insisted in getting his third ECG done and not doing any other blood tests same day or myself for taking him for second opinion to another Vet . we are all so shattered with him gone and keep looking at his pictures and videos he was such a joy for everyone around .I cant sleep in night as i can still remember his last night of restlessness and wonder how do i come out of this grief

  • Lorraine

    Thank you for this beautiful post. I just lost my great furry kid Sadie tonight unexpectedly – saw the vet today – was sure it was tummy – went to buy chicken and rice for her – and checked on her a few times. Came home an hour plus after seeing her and she was gone…warm and sweet but gone. So much more I owed her to do with her …so many plans….and now no opportunity. I have many dog kids but every single one is so special and so unique. Again thanks for what you wrote.

  • Kellie Wilson

    Thank you for this amazing, heart felt story. I lost my dog suddenly to IMHA a few days ago and I am scouring the internet trying to make some sense of all of this.

    Thank you for sharing your story and for helping Mikey to have the best life possible!

  • dave

    I just read your great story about Mikey. I love the name Mikey. For today I saw all the pictures and videos of your beautiful dog.
    Today is March 12, 2018. On this day one year ago on March 12, 2017 I had put my wonderful awesome beagle hound to sleep. His name … MIKEY !!!
    I miss him SO MUCH. He was the best dog and companion one could ever have. I am a 59 year old single male and Mikey was seventeen and half years old.
    I adopted him and we rescued each other when he was one and half years old. I have only one picture of Mikey as for my phone had been stolen too many times that had all my pictures of Mike. I am a native of Florida, but have lived in Atlanta, Ga. for too many years and I absolutely hate it here. There was a time
    where I ran my own business , had a beautiful house and financial freedom and thank God MIkey was a part of the good times in the early years. But for the past five years I have lost everything , and to the point of living in my truck for the past four years. Mikey lived with me in the car and it was very hard on him and myself. As being homeless is in itself horrible and every time when I had money I tried to find a place to live and Atlanta has been horrible in accepting dogs when trying to find a room for rent. countless of times i was turned away for having a dog even though Mikey didn’t bark and was incredibly, I mean incredibly and respectfully house trained all his life. Atlanta is a very bad place. Therefore we ended up always living in the car.
    I have always been a perfectionist at heart, and caring for Mikey was always my biggest priority. Like I had mentioned earlier, my phone was stolen many times that had my pictures and videos of him. I must say that throughout the many years living in Atlanta, I have had most of all that i owned stolen . Even when Mike was a puppy he was stolen several times whereby having to get the police to get him back. For he was the most beautiful puppy. The point I am making here? The day I went into the vet to see if he was ok from not feeling good, he wasn’t sick and he didn’t have a disease ( that I knew of ) and the vet was not Mikes regular vet. I really did not have one as Mike was always incredibly healthy throughout his lifetime. I actually couldn’t afford to have as time passed to have a routine vet. The vet looked Mikey over, said there was nothing they could do and that the only thing to do was to put him down. He had eaten a hot dog and his feces was red. He did have arthritis too. They didn’t even give me the option of medication. For I was so distraught that morning. I couldn’t think. The vets lacked maturity in advice knowledge as in even offering what I could do to be able to take him with me that morning and before I knew it and woke up from the shock, Mikey was gone. They stole my dog. They should of said take him with you and think about it and question me about if I was ready to deal with losing him. That’s what I have learned over the past year of what they lacked doing for me and Mikey.
    Your video of your dog Mikey where he is running up and down on the sand dunes is terrific. He was a happy dog. You should feel wonderful about yourselves
    being able to have given him the chance to be at the beach. So free and carefree he was. My Mikey was as energetic as that earlier in his age. He too was a happy dog. He was a most beautiful beagle dog and his face was so adorable even in his old age. The day he was put down, I was so much in shock that i didn’t love and pet on him. For as much as I absolutely loved and protected him throughout all the years of being his owner and guardian, I was a mess and I didn’t sit there and comfort him and I dont’ know why for I hate myself for not doing that. When they brought him back into the room with the catheter in his leg, I got down on my knees and put my face right at his beagle nose and face and saw him pass. I was so afraid of the vets telling me to control my emotions that I did not cry but was about to bust open so I left after he passed.
    Like you had mentioned in your writing about the reason you were sharing your story was mostly for you to write it out and not for any one else. So i too am doing that here for myself too. So please bare with the long writing.
    Today it has been exactly a year since putting Mikey to sleep and I know I did it too soon. My life is and has been in shambles ever since for Atlanta is a most uncaring place and I myself can not afford to get out of here and go somewhere else for I have an old car and little finances. I am too alone and do not have a partner nor any friends left here to help. It an agonizing situation to be in and I miss my dog every day. For usually I cry that last for ever and I mean when I cry about Mikey I absolutely wail !
    Your story of your relationship with your dog MIkey is very inspirational and for the short time he was with you yau’ll did great at loving him. I am a bit jealous
    of all the nice pictures and videos of the time you had together and that’s great. For I myself have only one picture of me and Mikey together and that was when he was about nine years old and at a time where he was a super happy dog and I was pretty happy and prosperous too.
    The last I want to say is that as depressing it is to not have my best friend any more to love and care for, I continue to be homeless living in my car having lost
    all that I had worked for throughout my life. I should of moved away with Mikey and traveled out of atlanta when I could. I should of read up on euthanasia before ever going into the vet.
    I should of loved on him more the day he passed. He loved to eat as he never would eat regular dog food. He was very spoiled for he ate people food and loved steak and roast beef. I loved my dog so much. I mean i absolutely worshiped that dog but living in the car took its tole. I have no peace since that day and I understand that all that I have written here is probably jumbled up and kinda makes no sense. But I do thank you for sharing about your Mikey as I am starting to cry again ,( and Im in the library,) for I miss my Mikey so much and I hope some how he will forgive me for all the wrong mistakes I made in the type of living situation we were in while he was still with me. My heart is forever broken Mikey as its been a year today and I want you to know that you were the best beagle hound dog anyone could ever have. I love you Mike . Love Dad

  • dave

    A great love story of your dog mikey. I love the name mikey.
    Thank you mikey. For bringing so much love into our lives.