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Would dead dog viewing good/bad before cremation

  1. #1

    Would dead dog viewing good/bad before cremation

    Hi, first time I joined the forum and it's at the worst time for me. Our beloved chihuahua gumbi died at the emergency center 2 days ago in my arms. My girlfriend and I adopted him 6 years ago from the animal shelter I've been volunteering at. Although we lived at an apartment that didn't allow dogs at the time, it was love at first sight when we first saw him looking up and wagging his tail in the cage trying to get to us. We took him home that day and he's been the center of our world ever since. He always have a spot in the middle of our bed and always been with us where ever we went. He is our phone screen saver, our wifi name, and just everything.

    I got my girlfriend a surprise 10 day plane ticket to visit her family in Hawaii and one of the reason I stayed behind was because Hawaii has a strict dog policy that require a 6 month plan ahead. And I didn't want to leave him alone in kennel or friend. (In fact he has never spend time in the kennel, we have always taken him with us on our trips or have family member look after him)

    He started having problems using his hind legs a week ago, one day before my girlfriend's trip.
    We took him right away to his primary vet (who have been great in the past with thousands of positive review and taken care of gumbi and my 2 cats)
    They took X ray and other standard eye ball test and didn't see anything out of the ordinary. Gumbi was eating fine and alert so we chalked it up as a possible mild back strain or disk problem at worst. He was prescribed steroid and other anti flammory medicine. Since we thought it wasn't serious, my girlfriend left for her trip day after the first vet visit.

    have taken him into the vet 4 more times that week as he wasn't getting much better from the medicine and was developing a cough.
    Then this Sunday morning I woke up to him coughing a lot around 4 am. I held him and try to settle him down. He eventually stopped but started having heavy breathing and I can see him ribs going up and down every time he breathed. I took him to the primary vet again immediately when they opened at 9 am and they took another X Ray and saw that one of his lunge has liquid and wasn't working.

    They placed him in the oxygen chamber and the vet said he had a heart failure and give him heart medicine injection. He wanted to keep him til 4 pm to see if he reacts to the medicine but I decided I needed to take him to an emergency clinic to do further tests. So I took him to an emergency clinic and they also placed him into the oxygen chamber right away and did blood test and looked at the X Ray. They found his white blood cell very high but didn't hear any heart problem and believed he had aspiration pneumonia. They suggest a lot of other test to be done the next day (since it was already Sunday night and most specialist don't come in til Monday morning).

    The emergency vet suggested he may have myasthenia gravis which is a rare genetic muscle disease which weakens all the muscles which is why he is having trouble coughing up liquids that went down the wrong pip causing pneumonia. They give him anti Bactria injection and he was going to spend the night in the oxygen tank til further test is done to figure out what's wrong.

    I drove home (40 minutes away) and got a call about 15 minutes after getting home that they tested his oxygen level and it was only at 85% and 92% would be considered critical and he may not survive the night. That was such a shock to me since I never thought his life was in danger and drove like a mad man immediately back to the clinic. I got back and the vet said he is having trouble breathing and is in danger. She wanted to administer the medicine for myasthenia gravis without actual diagnoses just to see maybe it will help since gumbi was already in critical danger. But then realize the clinic didn't have the actual drug since it's such a rare disease. So I started calling all the emergency clinic in the area looking for the drug. (One of the clinic I called put me on hold for like 20 minutes and said they won't give any medicine unless the pet is actually there at their clinic) after being on hold she comes back and tell me they didn't have the drug.

    I was making my second call when the vet rushed out and said your dog is flat lining. They brought him back thru cpr but he was only being kept alive thru feeding oxygen directly to him. They said he is gonna die unless you put him on respirator which they didn't have and he needs to be transferred to another clinic that have the equipment. It would keep him alive but he still have a small chance to live and since his heart already stopped once, they may already have brain and organ damage. By then I started face timing with my girlfriend in Hawaii so she can at least know what's going on with our baby and we were contemplating about transferring him or not. We already spend about $4k thru the week between the vet and emergency and it would pretty much be most of our saving if we were going to pay $10k more to keep him alive over the night for a chance at miracle recovery.

    There was two vet there by then and one of them was kinda pushing that I should just let him go and he was in pain. One of the thing she said really hurt me even tho she may have just been trying to reduce gumbi's pain. She said he's is hurting and he probably don't even realize you are here at this point. To me gumbi was like my son and no one would willingly euthanize their son if there was even a small chance of his survival. After considering the circumstances and the vet looking at me like I'm crazy for not just letting gumbi go, I finally had to make the decision of euthanize injection. He died in my arms with my girlfriend watching and crying thru her phone. I feel even worse that she wasn't able to be there cause I know her connection with gumbi was even deeper and it was her First pet (the 2 cats I had before we started dating).

    I signed some paper about cremation and went home. After a sleepless night I started thinking about finding the right cremation place for gumbi. I saw online that there was a place that allow final viewing before cremation for members to say goodbye, kinda like an open casket funeral. I was planning on going to the cremation viewing too but I talked to the person on the phone and they said its not a great idea since smelling your dead pet burn is not the best final memory.
    So for now I arranged a final viewing a day after my girlfriend comes back. I will be picking up gumbi's frozen body in couple hours from the emergency clinic and dropping it off at the cremation place.

    So I wanted to ask the forum if anyone had a viewing for dead pet and is it a good idea? My girlfriend is really emotional and I don't know if seeing our baby's dead body will help or further hurt her. I just feel so bad because she wasn't able to say good bye and be there for the final week of gumbi life.

    Thanks for any suggestion and I think it feels a little better to just type out the experience instead of going over again and again in my head.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    New Hampshire
    My personal opinion is NOT to have a viewing. Its hard enough knowing he's gone and all that he and you went through. He isn't going to know you are there and it will just open the wounds in your heart all over again. I'm very sorry for your loss. We've all lost pets and this is a great support system for anyone that wants to talk to just share memories. In time you will realize you did what you could for him but there is only so much anyone can do. You will never really get over him but you will learn to live without him. You will always have your memories and he will forever live in your heart. Peace to you and your girlfriend. Take all the time you need to grieve your loss. If other people don't understand the bond we have with out pets its not your problem, its theirs. Come back any time if we can be of any help to you
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Hi crazymj,
    I indeed did view my one dog before cremation I just couldn't believe he was gone. And my Levi I kept home overnight since he was going first thing the next day , I always take my dogs myself because I needed to make sure it was my baby they had . I escorted him back with the men who owned the crematory back to the furnace and said my final goodbye. It helped me because I knew it was him I was getting back too. And I waited for him there and took him home in beautiful Urn. And is now on my end table with his picture. And he wasn't mishandled. I don't trust the vets to ship them them off to a crematorium and hope I get my dogs back. I take them.
    It is not different from viewing your human loved ones. I can just tell you it was better for me. I am so sorry for your girlfriend to have to go through all that via phone. It may do her good to see him. And let me tell you Levi and I had a very strong bond I took him everywhere, we did everything together. I still had a hard time for the longest time.
    Peace be with you

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    PA USA
    I'm so sorry for you loss...Gumbi was quite a cutie and definitely was your world. It's a heartbreak. Whenever my husband and I lost one of our cats we said our goodbyes before our vet put them to sleep but we brought their body home for burial. One time the ground was too frozen to dig a grave and we keep Stella in the coldest part of our basement for a day. I am getting emotional as I write so all I can say is I never wanted to have one last look and open the bag. I wanted to remember them before that. Keeping photos of them and talking about some funny thing they did helps the healing.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    I'm sorry for your loss, very sweet dog. I agree with Linda, I've said goodbye to some dear pets over the years at the Vet's office and was with them until the last moment. After that there was a cremation and no viewing. May your little angel rest peacefully.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Western NC
    I agree with Alpha and Linda.

    I am so very sorry, dear. I love that pic of him, though! Maybe that's how he should be remembered, as vibrant and loving, fun, and full of life. I don't know, honey.

    I do know I'm so very sorry for your loss of such a precious little guy.


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