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Hi Everyone,

My name is Kevin and I am a new member here at DobermanTalk. Some of you may have seen my posts in other threads about my family and I losing our beloved Doberman, Alpha, just three weeks ago. Through the encouragement of DobermanTalk member, Hilary, we decided to share our experience.

Alpha was 3 years and 7.5 months old at his passing. As seen in his Instagram account below, he was always such a happy boy. I always joke with other people that Alpha didn’t know he was a Doberman. He loved playing keep away and like most dogs, he had a love for sticks / grass when we were on our walks outside. We live in a greenbelt area so every day (rain, snow or shine), we would take Alpha out and about and we would go on our walks / hikes around the neighborhood.

IG: https://www.instagram.com/alphathedoberman/

Because of Alpha’s love of sticks and grass, every once in a while, he would puke the sticks and grass back up. It’s nothing unusual and it has happened a few times. We ran this by the vet previously and it’s not a huge concern. Since he was young, his stomach was always on the sensitive side and we have researched this to be pretty common among Dobermans. So when Alpha was not feeling well, we figured it was an upset stomach again and he would puke it back out and he would be fine. However, one thing was different and it was that he was drinking a lot more water than usual. We were watching him like a hawk because of this but there were also no apparent signs that something was very wrong. He was picky with his food so we couldn’t tell if it was a loss of appetite and he didn’t have diarrhea either.

It was the next day that he threw up a bunch of sticks and we figured he’ll be fine after that. We went on our usual walk / hike and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. The following day was also normal but he puked very late at night again. This was when we pressed firmly in his chest, stomach and all over his body to see if something was wrong. Alpha didn’t show any signs of pain whatsoever. By now, we’re super worried and we made a vet appointment for 2:30pm in the afternoon on the next day. But the next morning, Alpha passed away very suddenly. He didn’t even give us a chance to save him or say goodbye.

Our entire family is devastated and incredibly heartbroken as Alpha has become a huge part of our family. He was so young and this happened out of nowhere. The past 3 weeks have been extremely tough as we find this reality difficult to process. We have all been grieving and will probably do so for the rest of our lives. Our vet eventually determined peritonitis as the cause but it was only during a necropsy that he found out what it was. It was not bloat and he had no blockages or history of blockages. X-Rays also showed no foreign objects in his body and we have no idea what could’ve caused Alpha to get so sick.

Our vet told us it could’ve been a thousand of reasons and it was just simply bad luck. It also happened so quickly that the vet told us that there was really nothing we could’ve done to prevent it or perhaps alter the outcome. We find that impossible to accept and I feel personally responsible as I am Alpha’s primary handler. Regardless, I feel I have failed Alpha and I have failed our breeder. The vet told us that even if we brought Alpha in on the first day, by the time he went through all the tests to get the diagnosis, we might’ve arrived at the same point. And even if we were able to diagnose Alpha in time, the process of treating him would be painful and the chances of survival would be 50/50, maybe 60/40. Words cannot describe the excruciating pain we all have in our hearts. I keep asking why and what I could’ve done differently to save Alpha. Maybe I should’ve kept him on a leash instead of going on our walks and hikes off leash. Not knowing the cause will haunt me for the rest of my life. Everyone has told me that it’s not my fault and logically, I understand but I just can’t help but feel that there must’ve been something I could’ve done to change the outcome.

We all have mixed emotions right now, especially me. I am angry and bitter that Alpha was ripped away from us so young and so suddenly. At the same time, I feel guilty and remorse that I didn’t take care of Alpha better. We are all devastated and the pain has been unbearable. We all know Dobermans are Velcro dogs and he was my shadow. I miss hearing his footsteps around the house and just our daily routines. It’s been such a huge void in our lives. It took me a few days to eat again but I have not been sleeping well at all. I had all these visualizations of Alpha being a huge part of our family, meeting my future niece or nephew, or being one of my groomsman at my wedding if I ever get married. But that dream has been shattered and I can’t even cry anymore because I’m all cried out.

We miss him so very much and we’re unsure what we’re going to do in the future in terms of welcoming another dog into our home. I can’t really imagine going through the rest of my life without another dog or Doberman but at the same time, we don’t want to feel like we’re replacing Alpha. Also, the thought of going through this heartbreak and pain again scares all of us. Having said that, we have tracked down Alpha’s siblings and maybe in the future, we would be able to open our hearts again to welcome his niece or nephew into our home. See what I mean by mixed emotions?

We are sure that all dog owners understand what we’re going through. I have written an essay but I want to thank you all for being an outlet for our grief. Hopefully, we will all feel better soon but right now, this pain feels like it’ll never subside. I can’t wait to see Alpha again when we can cross the Rainbow Bridge together….

-Kevin
 

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I'm so sorry.

My last girl went through something like that.

She too had eaten a stick...just a small flexible twig really; the vet said under ordinary circumstances it probably would have passed without much trouble. But somehow it jammed up against the valve between the small and large intestine, and she ended up with perforated intestines in several places. She became ill very quickly--almost overnight like what you describe. She had to have two surgeries for that alone--they removed some of her gut each time. She also had peritonitis due to the perforations, and it was very touch and go for a number of weeks. Peritonitis is deadly for dogs (fatality rate 50-70%); a lot of them don't make it through.

But because of the scarring caused by the perforations, the infection and the surgeries, she was extra prone to obstructions. We kept her muzzled outside, but in spite of that, she still had two more obstructions. She had surgery for the second one (no perforation). When she obstructed again somehow, we think probably with a wad of grass which would not ordinarily have created a problem for a normal dog, we decided it was time to let her go. Scar tissue had narrowed her intestines in places so much that it was hard even for ordinary food to get through and her complete recovery was unlikely. More surgery to try to remove the adhesions would likely have led to even more scarring, continued to be painful and caused even more obstruction problems.

All this to say...peritonitis often causes problems that linger. Even if he had pulled through this incident, he may have faced obstructions and more intestinal problems in the future. He probably should have been muzzled, when outside at least, since you knew about his penchant for eating non-food items, but even a muzzle is not fail-safe.

I don't know if that will make you feel any better or not, but at least know that some of us have been through the same thing. You're not alone.

And again, I'm so sorry. The pain of your grief will fade a bit eventually and you'll be able to remember the fun times with a smile, but I know that doesn't help much right now. Dobes sink into your heart and stay there; it is hard to let them go under any circumstances.

One day you may be ready for another dog, but take whatever time you need to grieve. In any case, you won't really be "replacing" Alpha; every dog has a different personality and something unique and special about him to cherish. If anything, having had a dog so precious to you as Alpha has opened your heart; you've learned what it is like to share love with a dog, and you will be able to do so again. In time; don't rush things.
 

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What a beautiful Doberman Alpha was. Thank you for sharing all those photos of him. Your love for him shows through those pictures and it made me love him, too. I can tell he had the best of homes.

When you said the vet could find no infection, or foreign objects in his stomach, makes me wonder if it could have been his heart?

I feel so sorry for your loss.
 

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You are being reflective in what i think is in a good manor. Replaying your times together and looking for any possible shortcomings on your part as a pet owner that you could apply to providing a safer environment for your next companion.
I have had a loss that i could have prevented and others that are issues that are inherent in dobermans. I try to minimize as best i can through nutrition and avoid as much unnecessary exposure to chemicals.
A simple story that a breeder told me of a incident while traveling with some pups. They had stopped at a rest stop to relieve the dogs and had set up a pen in the grass for the pups , the grass was recently sprayed with a insecticide that ended the life of the pups. Stuff happens!
I believe that when one is ready for the next pup , you solve as many adult issues you had with a previous when they are pups.
What i like about this site is it is almost exclusive dobes and someone has dealt with a issue no matter how obscure and is willing to share , we all benefit!
Sorry for your loss.
 

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Wow, Alan, your post gave me a start because I have done just that with a litter of Crested puppies....stopped at a rest area, set up an xpen for puppies to stretch and play. Yikes, I will never do that again. Never even thought of that possibility, but of course they would treat their grass. Just another reason why this forum is so great.
 

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What a beautiful Doberman Alpha was. Thank you for sharing all those photos of him. Your love for him shows through those pictures and it made me love him, too. I can tell he had the best of homes.

When you said the vet could find no infection, or foreign objects in his stomach, makes me wonder if it could have been his heart?

I feel so sorry for your loss.

Thank you so much for your kind words, everyone.

The vet found an infection in the necropsy because he was baffled by what could've caused Alpha's death so suddenly. There were absolutely no signs of anything else, not even from the X-Rays. Because there were no foreign objects or blockages in his body, we can only assume that it was sticks that eventually caused the peritonitis. We can't tell for sure and like I mentioned, it's something that will haunt me for the rest of my life. There was no history of this whatsoever. If there was, we would've taken all the precautions possible. In time, I hope we'll be able to think only of our happy times and all the adventures we took together. But right now, my mind wanders because of all our mixed emotions. It just hurts so much.
 

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I'm so glad you made this thread, Kevin.

I know you read my thread on the loss of my first dobe to intestinal adhesions. It mirrors melbrod's almost identically, and definitely has similarities to your story. So, it happens. It just does. And no matter what you do or don't do, hindsight can be cruel and cause us to ruminate over our choices. It's torturous. These first weeks/months are the worst.

What I can tell from your IG photos - Alpha was a beautiful boy with a loving owner. It's obvious you gave him a fantastic 3.5 years and he loved you. What adventures he had! It would be a shame to deprive another deserving pup of such a great family, but you should only consider it when you are ready.

My family went thru the EXACT second-guessing you described, about whether or not another dobe was right for us. We were not on the same page, and probably didn't all agree until the moment the last human member of the family met the new boy. Then the stars aligned, the clouds parted, the music played - all things were right in the world again when we welcomed him into our home. He is not Remy. He will never be her, and I'm glad of that. She is cemented into our family story, just as he will be. All our fears about the idea of "replacing her" quickly vanished. He's his own man and we love him for it.

But I am for sure taking all the lessons I learned the hard way with her into my routine with him. I am a helicopter mom with him and watch everything he does, eats and shows interest in. Heck, it could all still happen to me again, but all I can do is try to be better.

My heart is with you and I'm so sorry for the agony you're in. It will get better and please use this forum as a sounding board when you're down.
 

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I'm so glad you made this thread, Kevin.

I know you read my thread on the loss of my first dobe to intestinal adhesions. It mirrors melbrod's almost identically, and definitely has similarities to your story. So, it happens. It just does. And no matter what you do or don't do, hindsight can be cruel and cause us to ruminate over our choices. It's torturous. These first weeks/months are the worst.

What I can tell from your IG photos - Alpha was a beautiful boy with a loving owner. It's obvious you gave him a fantastic 3.5 years and he loved you. What adventures he had! It would be a shame to deprive another deserving pup of such a great family, but you should only consider it when you are ready.

My family went thru the EXACT second-guessing you described, about whether or not another dobe was right for us. We were not on the same page, and probably didn't all agree until the moment the last human member of the family met the new boy. Then the stars aligned, the clouds parted, the music played - all things were right in the world again when we welcomed him into our home. He is not Remy. He will never be her, and I'm glad of that. She is cemented into our family story, just as he will be. All our fears about the idea of "replacing her" quickly vanished. He's his own man and we love him for it.

But I am for sure taking all the lessons I learned the hard way with her into my routine with him. I am a helicopter mom with him and watch everything he does, eats and shows interest in. Heck, it could all still happen to me again, but all I can do is try to be better.

My heart is with you and I'm so sorry for the agony you're in. It will get better and please use this forum as a sounding board when you're down.

Thank you so much, Hilary. I am usually a pretty private person but after sharing our story and hearing everyone's words of comfort, it really means a lot to us. The thought of "depriving another pup" of our family or "learning to share a love with a dog" haven't even occurred to us. These words certainly bring a different perspective and in time, we may be ready to welcome another pup into our family.

I read a quote where it says "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." I definitely feel like a part of me is missing without Alpha. The silence around the house is deafening without his footsteps, his sighing, snoring or the cute sounds he makes when he was dreaming.

I just don't know what we could've done to alter the outcome. Dogs and sticks are synonymous with each other? Assuming it was a stick that was the culprit, were we supposed to ban Alpha from playing with anything but his toys? It really is torture looking at the "what ifs" and I know I should probably stop. But right now, I am thinking in circles, from our happy times together to when Alpha left us.


-Kevin
 

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I lost my Mafia a little over 3 years ago. He died suddenly while sleeping under his favorite oak tree.
Oh man I missed him and I still do.
After his loss I still walked everyday with his leash around my neck. Then I borrowed a dog from down the street and walked him everyday. Still no help with my pain. I was sad.....then I got mad ....nothing could make it better .....all I wanted was my Mafia back and I knew that was not going to happen ..thats when I got mad.......pissy to all around me including my husband.
It was about 4 months and I realized that owning a dog was my hobby. I was empty without a dog to mess with everyday.
Then my husband and I had a big talk.....he felt he could not go thru the pain again of losing a dog you become so attached to ......then I told him if we do not take the chance of experiencing pain....then we will never get to experience the joy...that our Dobermans bring to us.......
So off we went to locate another pup. Totally different dogs but with my second Dobie I found I was smarter .....I had learned so much from raising the first one........so do not be so hard on yourself . You just need to allow yourself to have your emotions. Time is the only thing that will ever make this easier.....hell the pain never goes away.....I am crying now.....but in time it gets easier. After my Mafia passed that was the day I decided to dedicate myself to this breed ....I was mad but I promised him I would do everything I could to help his kind......so now I have Hoss he turns three in a few days........we just love him so much........and we also love all of ours past dogs so much. We still tell stories of each dog regularly. Stay will us ....continue to write to us ........allow us to be your friends now. We understand better than anyone what you are experiencing. Love Di
 

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I'm very sorry for your loss.
 
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Kevin - I'm so sorry for your lose ! We understand it here . I will tell a story on myself - one I have never posted as it was my fault and it not only still hurts but am ashamed to tell it - It was back in the early 80's - we had a beautiful black and tan boy - He was Dads boy ! He would follow me everywhere - like they say on here - he was my shadow - but I need to start at the beginning - sorry


We farm here in East Central IN - Right after college - I had a job at a fertilizer plant - In that job - you meet other farmers all around us + many turned into great friends - I will never forget one young couple that lived north of us in Hancock County - They were so cool - I loved when I went to there farm - For what ever reason - they could not have kids and adopted 2 young children - a boy and girl , those kids could have never got better parents . As our own farm was getting bigger , I quit that job - Just could not do both any more . It was in the fall when I got a call one night from one of the guys I used to work with at Soil Service - He asked me if I had heard about that family ? As he knew how much I had though of them - I said no ! What happened ????? He said that the woman had backed over the little girl with a tractor and she did not make it , As I type this - It still brings tears to my eyes . It was devastating and the young farmers quit and moved away .


Now my story - It was a few years after that accident - I had to change out the batteries in one of my tractors - it was hot that day - I had pulled my pickup across the front of the tractor - to be closer to unload the batteries and to listen to the radio - My little buddy was right there with dad - it took awhile to do that job , I was ready to fire up the tractor and head to the field - I yelled for the dog a couple of times and he didn't come ??? I walked around looking for him - I thought well - he must have went back to the house to lay under this favorite shade tree - I started the tractor and though - damnit - I forgot to move the pickup out of the way - I looked back and though then - heck I will just back out - As I started to roll back I ran over something - I though what could have been ?? I jumped out to have a look and I had backed over the Dobie - He had feel asleep behind the rear tire - He died in my arms in a shower of tears - How could have Ken did this I asked - I could not let it go as I cried and cried - I had killed my little boy - and it was all my fault ! Why didn't I just move the pickup ? Why didn't I see him ? I looked ? Why ? It was that evening I though about my friends and the wife that ran over her little girl - The pain she must have gone threw .


I will never forget that day - And I don't want to - it's a reminder that I can not be to safe with our dogs - Some would say that we are so over protective of our Dobermans - but I can not be to safe when you do something like I did .


I write you this - as I understand the second guess - you do the best you can - love them with all your heat - but for a reason that I will never understand - thing just happens - We moved on and got another Dobie and the rest is history - One more thing - well lost a great female in 1991 -She was 10 - that just broke out hearts - it was almost 10 years before we got another Great female in 2000 - the next day after we had her home - my wife asked me - Ken - What were we thinking for waiting this long to get a new Dobie ?? We both knew that answer - and she was right - why did we - really ??? Not wanting to go threw when that day comes Is my answer and it is a pizz poor excuse ! Some one wrote on here that when we lose a Doberman - they take part of our hearts with them - But when you bring home that new puppy - it makes your heart whole again - that my friend is a true statement !

Sorry for the long winded reply here - But just wanted for you to know - things happen - things we will never understand - It's OK to cry a river - I still do after Kasia went to the bridge - yet we have two great Dobermans with us today - matter of fact - one laying on each side of me as I type this : )


Wishing you the best Kevin and look forward to that day - when you post with much joy - that Kevin has a new puppy -- Pictures coming :wink2::2smile:

Doc
 

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Ken, sharing something from your heart so personal and so painful would be incredibly difficult. Thank you for doing so. It just tore me up.
I'm hoping this can help someone else going through the same grief.
 

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Thank you Ken and Di for sharing your personal stories. I know it must be very difficult to relive those painful moments as I am reliving it myself everyday for the past 3 weeks. Words cannot describe my appreciation for the support that this community has provided for my family and I.

I walked around our neighborhood once after Alpha left us and I just couldn't do it anymore. Maybe in time but it was such an empty feeling. No matter how tough my day was, walking around in nature with Alpha would make everything better. I have also found it hard to go back to my regular routine, such as hitting the gym. It's also very tough to put on a fake smile at work. My colleagues have been great and understanding as they know how much Alpha meant to me. I'm trying my best not to have my negative energy affect others around me but it's such a heavy weight on my shoulders and I just want to go home and do nothing. But this has been a great outlet for us and the support has been amazing. Thank you, everyone!
 

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It's tough. It seems like many of those without pets just don't get it, even when they try. Emptiness and guilt--with my Capri, the dog I mentioned above, I still wonder "what if"...

That doesn't entirely go away, but now I can smile with the good memories too; I can tell stories about her little quirks and laugh about the experiences we had together.

Alpha had a good life with you; he knew you loved him. Your time together was too short--they're never with us long enough--but he's up there somewhere and he knows you love him still.
 

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AlphaDobie well you just stay in touch with us and we will help you through some moments.
I will tell you another secret ....after Mafia passed .....i kept his toys and blankets so I could have access to his scent .
It took 2 years before I let those toys and blankets go.....I know ...sounds kinda crazy.....but yep ...I did that........anyone else got crazy secrets like this....
 

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Thanks Hilary for the kind words - Yet - everybody on this site are good ones ! Lots and lots of experience on here and there here for idea's - thought's and advice !

Lady Di - Mel had great real life stories .

Alpha : One thing I will add is after we lost Kasia 3 years ago - she was just short of 15 - We got a tip on Mr. Business's litter coming - it was only 3 months after Kasia went to the bridge - My wife asked if I was rushing it - I wondered that to - But Mr. B was not a replacement for our girl - he will write his own book - Looking back - No - I was not rushing it - he helped in the heart break as only a Doberman can .

Di : Will still have Kasia's blankets - well all but the one we covered her with and her toys she liked best . The Mrs. did bring one out the other day for Mr. Business - Kasia would want him to use it .

The bad thing - is - this is just something everybody has to work out on there own , and it's so hard - You never forget the memories - and in bad days - they will make you smile - the times the dobershark got you - the pillow chewed up - the accident on the bed - all of them : )


Like Di said - Keep in touch here !


Doc
 
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