Thursday, July 30, 2015

Saying Goodbye...

I debated on sharing this post. At first, I couldn't find the words to write it... then after I wrote it, I couldn't find the strength to publish it, and almost deleted it. But, I've shared so much of his life with you. You've all been a support system greater than I could ever imagine. These 3 days in June changed my life forever. So, here it is... My last 3 days with Corbin....

I came home from work around 7pm on Thursday... the dogs were all in the yard, Adam was grilling up dinner.  After welcoming me home, Corb was laying on the deck, chomping on his ball.  He stood up and began to whimper.  I had never heard Corbin whimper before.  I told him to come inside.  He took one step and screamed in a pain that we couldn't control, we couldn't stop.  I quickly called the vet but could barely get words out... finally, I was able to say "Corbin, it's Corbin!" and heard a familiar voice on the other end say "Come in, come in, we'll take you when you get here."  Corbin got sick in my car, which he never does and whimpered the whole way there.  The vet available was one I wasn't a fan of... she didn't know Corbin well and the last time I saw her, I was pretty sure she thought I was insane.  Corbin acted fairly normal, but I kept saying "there is something wrong with my dog, something is not right."  She dismissed us and sent us home with some pain meds.  I tell you this part not because of the vet... but to remind everyone, no one knows your dog better than you.

We went home and I stayed up to midnight baking cupcakes because I was so annoyed over our visit.  Corbin went to his crate, his safe place when he's not feeling well.  At some point he came out to the couch and I decided to sleep there with him.  I didn't sleep much and was thankful for a friend on the west coast who listed to my rantings and concerns most of the night. At 8am, I called the vet and explained I wasn't happy with my visit the previous night.  They scheduled me in with a vet I trusted and off we went.  Corbin was so lethargic, he wouldn't get out of my car on his own... As I carried him into the vets office, tears streamed down my face as the realization that something was very wrong hit me.  Dr. Elson walked in the door to see Corbin laying flat out on the exam table... he said "oh... this is not Corbin."  I couldn't have been more relieved to see the face of someone whose opinion I trusted and valued.  I told him what the past 12 hours held in between sobs... He sat on the table with Corbin, calmly stroking his fur as he took in all the information I was spitting out.  They took him back for some xrays and did some blood work.  My mom came to wait with me because I wasn't certain what was going to happen.  Everything looked pretty normal.  He was a bit dehydrated and his white blood cell count was low.  He was diagnosed with "clostridium overgrowth causing hemorrhagic gastritis."  A very painful stomach bug.  He got some fluids and some meds and we went home.

I had also made an appointment with his chiropractor for that afternoon.  After we got home, Corbin was still extremely lethargic.  He still wasn't walking on his own by the time we arrived at Dr. Gunderson's office.  Dr. G adjusted him and did some B12 acupuncture injections.  She was very concerned with his level of lethargy.  After looking over his records from earlier that day, she encouraged us to go back to the vet hospital for more fluids and a redo of his blood work.  We went home and I tried to feed him, but he wasn't interested in anything.  We went back to our vet and saw Dr. Goden, who was also familiar with Corbin.  Again, everything looked normal on paper... some things looked better than they did that morning, but no one could figure out why Corbin was so lifeless... The B12 perked him up a bit, and he walked out of the vets office that evening, the first steps he had taken all day.  He slept all night and drank some water.

The vet called the next morning to see how he was doing.  He was pleased, and relieved, that he was drinking on his own.  We tried feeding him small amounts of baby food... mostly me smearing it on his jowls so he would lick it off, but he wasn't interested at all.  Around 1pm he started vomiting again.  I called the vet and we decided to bring him back in.  After that call, I called Dr. Mike.  He had been on vacation, but no one knew Corbin like he did and I desperately needed his opinion.  Having a wonderful vet who takes my calls at home is an amazing thing.  I told him what was going on and told him what his blood work was like.  He agreed with the diagnosis and treatment and eased my panic.  When we got back to the vet, Dr. Goden was waiting with a plan.  He took Corbin in the back for more x-rays.  While I was waiting for him, someone appeared in the door way.  Assuming it was a tech coming with an update, I looked up.  It was a tech, but not one I expected.  One of my favorite techs had left the practice a few months ago... but there she was, in the doorway.  My sheer shock was followed with a loud gasp and then sobs... she knew Corbin well.  She did his x-rays that afternoon and asked what was going on.  I gave her the short version and asked what she was doing there.  Someone wasn't able to work and the asked her to fill in. It was pure fate to have her there with me that day.

Liz left to check on Corbin and Dr. Goden came back.  Corbin's x-rays the day before on Friday were clear, you could see every bone and every organ.  The x-rays they just did were not clear... they were hazy, indicating there was fluid in his abdomen.  He asked if I could bring him back Monday for an abdominal ultrasound.  I said "Monday?  He won't make it until Monday."  Liz came back in with Corbin and got his IV started.  He got some more fluids and medication.  I told Liz what Dr. Goden had said.  I told her I was going to take him to the emergency vet when we left because he needed an ultrasound today.  She left the room for a bit.  When she came back she told me she had talked with another vet that was there who routinely does ultrasounds and he agreed to stay late so Corbin could have one.  I burst into tears and couldn't thank her enough.  Both vets stayed late, as well as a team of vet techs in case Corbin needed emergency surgery.  But, his ultrasound looked pretty normal.  They did a guided aspiration of the fluid in his system.  We finished his ultrasound and waited for the results of the fluid.  Adam and I were with Corbin when Dr. Goden came back in.  He said there was bacteria and a lot of white blood cells in the fluid, in a place in his body that should be sterile.  Corbin had gone septic.
I knew when I heard the word that there was nothing we could do to save him.  Dr. Goden gave us a surgical option, but I knew Corbin wouldn't survive a surgery.  And, even if they could find the hole where fluid was leaking out of and they fixed it... there was nothing that caused this to happen, and the odds were high that it would just happen again. Corbin's body was failing.

I promised Corbin a long time ago that I would never keep him alive for me.  That his quality of life was most important.  I talked to Dr. Mike, and he gave me comfort as we weighed our options.  Corbin picked his head up for the first time that day... and I saw my answer there in his eyes.  His fight was over and it was our time to say goodbye.

I was so thankful to have been with my vets, at a clinic Corbin was comfortable in and with people he was comfortable with. More importantly, people I was comfortable with. I knew the decision we made was the right one for Corbin. I didn't have to second guess myself or make a decision on my own. I had amazing vets that I trusted and an amazing friend in our vet tech. Had we gone to the emergency clinic, it wouldn't have been as peaceful and I wouldn't have been so sure. Corbin left us surrounded by love from everyone in that room...

Losing Corbin was a pain I had never experienced. The air left my lungs, the blood stopped flowing in my body, all of my energy left my life. My legs were weak, my head light, my face drenched with tears. Adam and I made phone calls to those most important in his life. I managed to get the words out, "we had to say goodbye to Corbin today," but the reality seemed so unreal.  Even now, 4 and a half weeks later, the idea of never feeling his soft fur again seems impossible. Corbin had been through so much... everyone always expected him to bounce back. His loss was a shock to everyone... especially to me and Adam.

Thank you for always being there for us. Our 5 years of blogging brought us to so many amazing people. Your support, love and strength have helped me through the last 3.5 years of Corbin's always changing health issues. I know he's enjoying his time on the other side of the bridge with those who went before him. What a party it must be...


  1. One thing we dog bloggers all understand is how much it hurts to lose one of our babies and it never gets any easier - but heart dogs are the ones that hurt the most and leave us breathless and confused often for many months. Thank you for not letting Corbin suffer ..we know for sure he was welcomed with open paws over the bridge.

  2. I'm not sure what to say here, but I feel like I want to let you know how much your story and Corbin's story have touched me in the time I've been reading your blog. Your great love for the Corbin is so beautiful... with all the cruelty we see from humans towards animals, your putting your feeling out there reminds me that there are good people out there who love and value animals because we can connect with them as living beings rather than just see them as something to use up or as something that has a dollar value. I know it's of little comfort right now to be told that I know what you're going through, but I do know. Your words made me relive the loss of my heart, vivid as the day it happened and I'm just so sorry you're suffering... this is the price we pay to love them so deeply... please be good to yourself now..l best wishes to you and your family from mine.

  3. I'm not sure what to say here, but I feel like I want to let you know how much your story and Corbin's story have touched me in the time I've been reading your blog. Your great love for the Corbin is so beautiful... with all the cruelty we see from humans towards animals, your putting your feeling out there reminds me that there are good people out there who love and value animals because we can connect with them as living beings rather than just see them as something to use up or as something that has a dollar value. I know it's of little comfort right now to be told that I know what you're going through, but I do know. Your words made me relive the loss of my heart, vivid as the day it happened and I'm just so sorry you're suffering... this is the price we pay to love them so deeply... please be good to yourself now..l best wishes to you and your family from mine.

  4. Blogville lost a very good furiend the day that Corbin had to say goodbye. You and Adam lost a big piece of your hearts. But his memory will always remain strong for all of us.

    Hugs and Peace to you.

  5. Still sending love and prayers to you and Adam. Would love to get together for lunch soon, when you have the time.


  6. Love you guys. Thanks for sharing this Jenn...he was a wonderful dog and he will always be with you, he's a part of so many people's hearts and lives

  7. Still thinking of both of you, and sweet Corbin, every day. Hugs and love...

    Monty and Harlow

  8. Corbin will be missed by all who knew him, and his memory will be with us always. Thank you for sharing this, as I think the message about how we, as owners, know our pets better than anyone is an extremely important thing for everyone to remember when we find ourselves in a situation like this and are faced with vets who don't seem to have the same level of experience with our pets as other vets do. *hugs*

    -Dr. Liz and family

  9. Thank you for sharing Corbin's final story. It's very clear how strong your bond was with him. This story also reminds me that, like you said, nobody knows our pets like we do and to not give up seeking answers when you know a vet is blowing you off and trying to get you out of the room.

    Sending hugs to you and your husband.


  10. I have no words that would suffice. I am still so heartbroken for you guys. I miss seeing his face and cannot imagine the huge void he left with you. We do understand the gravity of his loss..sadly most of us have been through it. Sharing with others who truly "get it" and don't just gloss over it as "a pet passing" helps. Sending much love..

  11. How scary freighting and so heartbreaking. We have lumps in our throats and tears flowing. Corbin was so special. We miss him. Hope him and my Benny boy are having a blast
    Lily & Edward

  12. Corbin had a great impact on so many people. As his main person you should be proud of that. He felt love and support until the end. I hope that the day will come sooner than later when his memories bring smiles instead of sadness.

  13. Tears in our eyes, what a wonderful momma you are ..........we are so sorry for your loss, he will always stay deep inside your heart, .........stella rose and momma

  14. I'm so sorry! What a horrible experience for you both. We will miss Corbin so much. He was the best kind of cracker doggie. A loving, patient boy who helped other dogs. Thank you for sharing his life with the world.

  15. I've follow sweet Corbin's life from the very beginning. I haven't commented that much but have been with you in your worry and grief through the whole process sending you all the good wishes that I could muster. Sometimes there just isn't any other compassionate thing to do but what you did. I'm thinking of you guys always and feeling grief for your loss, may you heal each and everyday and your memories of Corbin be only the wonderful happy ones.

  16. Tears are streaming down our mom's face. Saying good-by to our furkids is so darn gut wrenching. We miss Corbin. There will never ever be another quite like Corbin. He was one special boy. Hugs to you and Adam♥

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch, Molly and Sue

  17. I cried reading this -- I'm so sorry for your loss. You and Corbin brought so much happiness to the lives of many, and he will always be remembered. Thank you for sharing your story. Much love from Zoe and me! xo

  18. I cried throughout this post and had to stop reading it at one point. It brought back a lot of memories of my sick kitty. I too, had to contend with a vet who didn't know my kitty and told me that cats sometimes act the way he did. I knew my kitty though, and knew something was wrong. I could tell he thought I was being overdramatic, but he took a blood test to appease me and found that my kitty really was sick! When my kitty died, the vet on duty was one that I had never met. He was very kind though, and walked me out to the car afterwards. He told me I didn't have to pay, even though they typically charge to put animals down and I made him come in after hours. Afterwards, he sent me a card which no vet had ever done for me before. I've never seen that vet again. I'm getting teary eyed again. I'm just extremely grateful that Shiver and Chico are healthy. I'm so sorry for your loss. Saying good-bye never gets any easier. Corbin was one of a kind. He touched many people. While I never met him, I truly loved him as one of my own. {{{HUGS}}} I hope you'll take comfort in knowing that he'll be right there waiting when it's your time to go. I firmly believe that.

  19. Thank you for sharing your last days with Corbin. Some people don't like the word "closure", but as a follower who has loved you both for so long, I thank you for giving me that as I have *worried* often what happened.
    Your story is another good reminder, as you mention, what a gift it is to have a vet that you know and trust AND who trusts what you know about your animal. I hope it inspires anyone in a similar situation to listen to their mommy voice and not settle for less. I am happy to have a good relationship with such a vet, I wish I had the same with the others in his practice.
    Bless you for still sharing your life and Amelia and Diamond with us, you have a gift for writing and sharing that makes us all feel good. Not to mention your wonderful pictures.
    Love and hugs, Kerin

  20. Your story, while very painful, is one with a very important reminder to anyone with a pet... no one knows your pet better than you and if you feel something is wrong you fight to get them exactly what they need. I'm so incredibly sorry for your loss and will miss seeing that sweet face of Corbin.

  21. O.M.P.
    I love you more now that you shared Corbin's final days because I could just feel all your love for him washing over me as I TEARFULLY read every word. He was the light of Blogville and I know for me the light of my day as I read his blog. He will always be the first name out of my mouth when I speak of great pitties and foster bros. I know the new star in the night sky is Corbin shining down on us all.
    I am most grateful that YOU being CORBIN'S Mom and Dad meant I had a chance to know (albeit virtually) such a fantastic DOG.
    Love Noodles

  22. We miss Corbin so much. We hope he is running, pain free, with Gizmo and Bart and the Bridge. Hugs and rottie kisses...

    Ruby, Otto and Lisa

  23. I am so sorry about sweet Corbin. He was very special he will be missed. I recently lost my Sasha so I understand how you feel. It takes time to let go.

    Anne and Ziggy

  24. Darling Corbin! all of us who knew him, even though we didn't get to meet him, we will miss him. The handsomest boy, the best foster brother, sweet doggy we will remember you always.

  25. Oh my pal...dat do haz gib my staff leeky eyes....i do let yoo kno dat Corbin iz doin fine ere OTRB and we runnin free of pane an trubbles...he do ave fanks in his eyes fur wot yoo dun...we all do...time iz come wen it come and we ope dat dere do be a luvin pawson dere to do wot rite...*soft paw*

  26. I am so very sorry for your loss of sweet Corbin. I know how hard it is to lose a furkid. He is forever in the hearts of us all, and you should be proud to have told his story with such love and grace. I hope you keep us updated on Corbin's House, and all the fosters he has inspired.
    Ruby ♥

  27. Thank you for sharing with us this post. It really is very difficult to go through such pain and we send you and Adam our hugs and prayers. Corbin was really so sweet and special and we can really say that it was a blessing for you to have found each other. He is always going to be remembered and we are grateful for having this blog as we can always look back to the fun memories. We would always be here for you same way as we find inspiration and support from our friends here in blogville.
    Piappies Fudgie, Princess, Frappie, Mocha, Sugar, Wai-Max, Wai-Pai, Forgie and Piappies Mom Ria

  28. Thanks so much for sharing -

    I've always found writing to be such a cathartic release -

    In fact, having Khyra write a note to Her Doggy Nanny to put in her urn along with her ashes helped make her interment less sad - I shed so many tears as we wrote it that Sunday night that I was all cried out once Monday afternoon arrived -

    We appreciate your sharing - for one day some of 'us' may encounter something similar - and we'll have Angel Corbin's Legacy for guidance and support -

    Khyra's Mom (and Khyra and Holly too)

  29. Thank you for sharing. I know that feeling that you described after saying goodbye. It seems impossible... but it has happened. It must be even worse when it's so sudden. I cannot imagine how hard these weeks have been but please know that many of us out here in Blogville have been thinking of you. We send you, Adam, and Amelia love and strength during this very tough time.

  30. Where very sorry to hear about the loss of your beautiful Corbin. Sending gentle labrador kisses. Milo & Jet

  31. I have no words. I am so unspeakably sorry to hear of your loss. Thinking of you and missing your beautiful boy...

  32. I know this is very late - I've been out of Blogville for a while and I just heard.

    I read your posts in tears - such a sudden turn and loss. Losing them suddenly is worse than anything, especially when there really isn't anything you can do.

    I loved Corbin. I loved everything about him. He knew Amelia was your family before you did. He was a foster wonder. I wish I had known sooner. I can't say anymore other than I'm so sorry and I miss him.

    with love,