Life Is So Unfair.

January 17, 2010

I’m not yet ready to talk, but people keep asking what happened. This will be brief and then when I’m able to, I’ll speak about it more.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a change in Barney’s breathing. It seemed slightly faster but laboured, somewhat. I took him straight to the vet who checked him over and said he seemed fine. He checked him well and I was happier when I left.

4 days later, (4th January), Barney was sick after eating so we took him to the vet again, although by this time, I was convinced something really wasn’t right and had to ask Matt to go in with him whilst I waited in the car because I just couldn’t handle it. I was feeling so worried. The vet he saw was our usual vet, the one who found his melanoma in May and he gave him a really good check over. He checked his heart rate, his breathing, his lungs, counted his resps and told Matt what to look out for and if we were still worried, that we’d see about a chest X-Ray for peace of mind. He left with an anti-sickness tablet and some to settle his stomach.

Barney continued to seem a little odd to me. I thought perhaps I was paranoid, but I guess it was mothers intuition. His breathing still wasn’t right so on 7th January, we went back and the vet decided to take blood and then referred us to a cardiologist. We had to go back the following week to another vet as that’s where the cardio worked from. We also had to book in with our usual vet a couple of days before the cardiologist appointment for him to have an ECG so they could send that off.

Barney continued to be sick, although it was very sporadic and happened only a couple of times. He started refusing his usual food, but whenever we gave him cooked chicken and rice, he couldn’t lick the bowl clean enough. We hoped he was just playing us a little and being his usual naughty self.

The ECG was done on 12th January and the outcome wasn’t great. Although the trace wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t as it should be and when our vet called the cardiologist, he said it was possible that there was a mass or fluid around the heart.

We prayed for 2 days that it would be fluid as that could be treated to some extent.

We got ready on Thursday morning, (14th January) and we left the house in a rather somber mood. We did stop to take some pictures that morning, just for the sake of it. Little did we know that they would be the last pictures of our beautiful boy. 😦

We expected to drop Barney off and collect him when his ultrasound and X-Rays (if required) had been completed. He pulled me across the icy car park as he usually did, full of strength. When we arrived, the cardiologist pulled us into the room, shaved Barney under his leg and started scanning him.

He found that Barney’s poor little heart was surrounded by a tumour. Then he told us that the prognosis was very poor. His words were “his heart is still beating at the moment”. He said there was little point in doing an X-Ray but Matt wasn’t accepting it on a scan and requested he did. I could barely breathe by this point and couldn’t speak.

The vet and a nurse went to prepare the X-Ray whilst we waited. The only words that were spoken were me saying “he’s going to say to put him to sleep”. I knew it. But never did I think it would be there and then.

The X-Ray was done a few minutes later and the vet came out and asked us to follow him. He told us to be quiet as Barney was sedated but could still hear us. I could see his eyes flicker when he heard us walk into the room.

There was an X-Ray on the lightbox and he pointed out that he couldn’t even see my baby’s heart because there was so much fluid everywhere. His poor lungs were drowning. Further horror showed that he was riddled with tumours in his chest and he also told us that he had a massive tumour in his spleen.

At that point he told us it would be kinder to let him go whilst he was calm and feeling no pain. Matt asked how long he would have and he basically said “anytime”.


I can’t tell you the rest. This is hard enough, but we were there with him the whole time, stroking and whispering and kissing him.

Barney was put to sleep on Thursday 14th January 2010, at 10.15am.

Our world has collapsed. We miss him more than I could ever express here.

This is the last picture of our strong, brave, gorgeous puppy. He was 11 years, 2 months and 3 weeks young.

Barney Last Picture :(

Thank you all for your kind texts, messages on Facebook etc, they’re much appreciated but for now I can’t reply to any individually.


17 Responses to “Life Is So Unfair.”

  1. Sarah said

    Debbie & Matt, I know nothing I can say will make this any easier for you right now, there are no words to express the pain you are feeling. Just know that your friends are where you need them, standing beside you, giving you strength. Although we may not be there in person we’re there none the less.

    My love and thoughts are with you.

    R.I.P Barney you will be missed greatly.

  2. lisa maria said

    Debbie & Matt im sitting here with tears rolling down my face. it brings back so many memories of my dog Rocky. i still feel the pain in my heart from the day that i had to say goodbye. He had a tumour in his throat and he like Barney started to eat the night before and right up to the last minute i never gave up hope that they would say that they got it wrong. Its so hard to explain the feeling until you go through it, and when you do its hurts so much that you think you won’t get through it. as hard as it seems now- you won’t ever forget him but be proud and comforted by the wonderful life that you shared and that you gave your baby. May his rest in peace and i bet he is up there now fighting over a toy or a bone with my baby. All my

  3. Diana said

    Thank you for explaining, I know it must be hard, but we had got to know barney through yourself and matt and feel like we knew him too, you brought him into our lives..

    I am sat here crying my eyes out and just want to hug you!! I am so sorry it ended like this..
    but you gave him a wonderful life and all the love in the world.. RIP Barney xx

  4. sarah x said

    Thinking of you all at this very sad time.

    You are in our prayers x all of you x

  5. Jaimee Butterfield said

    I’m still in shock, From what you said he seemed to be his usual cheeky gorgeous self right up until the end, but that’s Barney! Nothing ever seemed to get him down, he was a very very special boy & here I am crying for the milionth time, One things for sure Barney will stay in the hearts of many people for ever more xxxxx

  6. Fliss said

    Debbie, Matt and Luke.

    My heart goes out to you. It really really does. I have been crying my eyes out whilst reading this. I had almost the exact same experience with my baby Myf in June last year. She had Lymphoma and her breathing was becoming restrictive because her glands were pressing on her airways. Like you, I had an inkling for a while that something just wasn’t ‘right’. The Mother insinct is so powerful.

    But, darling, we have to realise that it’s the kindest thing we can ever ever do. I know it doesn’t make it any easier, but we have to think we gave them such beautiful lives with us. They were so happy. I’m just grateful this option is there. Painful as it is, the alternative would be more painful for both our dogs and us. As painful as this is, it’s quick and peaceful.

    I know just what you are going through, and wish I could just give you all a BIG HUG……….

    Barney will never leave you, he’ll always be with you, I know Myf is here for me. I just feel her. I know you’ll be the same with Barney.

    I’ll ask my darling Myf to look after Barney for you. Iknow she will.

    Sending you all the love in the world. I’m always here for you xx

    Fliss xoxo.

  7. Tracey aka Pommie said

    Debbie, Matt & Luke

    I am in tears reading your story about barneys struggle and fight to the end. I know how you feel as it is losing a member of your family. Be strong and know that Barney had a fabulous life and you did everything possible for him to make his life happy. In time, the pain will ease and you will feel better but please dont beat yourself up about making the hardest decision that you had to as Barney is now free of pain and looking down on you thanking you for being in his life and making him part of your loving family.

    Sending you all the love in the world….

    tracey xx

  8. Philly said

    Dear Debbie, Matt,Luke

    My thoughts are with you all at this very sad time you gave Barney a wonderful life and was the best mummy and daddy to him. Im so very sad and sorry at your loss i know words can not heal your pain and its a very hard time for you. Sending you my love and hugs xxxx

  9. Carolyn said

    I’m so sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Barney was so wonderful, and I know he’ll live in your hearts forever. He was a lucky dog having you as his humans. You gave him a great life, and the love you shared will always make you smile. Thank you for sharing this beautiful boy with all of us.


  10. Debbie said

    I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. Thank you so much for documenting your journey. I’m doing the same as my dog has recently been diagnosed with Nail bed Melanoma. My heart goes out to you.

  11. Sherry said

    Debbie, Matt and Luke. So sorry for your loss saying goodbye to Barney.

    Never an easy decision to make I am sure you would have his thanks for letting him go with dignity and no suffering. And that he would thank you for your love and companionship all these years. He knew he was loved.

    It took me many months, maybe even a year or so to be able to stop crying at the loss of my two dogs a couple of years ago. But time is a great healer. Now I can think of them with a smile, still much missed but I remember the good times and see their happy faces in pictures and know they are at peace. I’m sure one day, when you are ready, you will be able to do the same and think of him with a smile and the tears will no longer fall as they do now.


  12. sarah said

    I am so sorry to heat about the death of Barney! I myself lost my 14yr old black labradour and i really feel for you at this sad time. You gave him a wonderful life and remember that Barney is not gone but has stepped in to another room until you meet again x

  13. Vic said


    I just wanted to say that I stumbled across your blog for the first time today and, after reading of your loss, I wanted to send my condolences.

    I know how you must be feeling, as I lost my beautiful boy last year after a short illness.

    You’re right about time not really being a healer, but I must say that what helped me was going to a dogs’ home and returning with a new companion. Not to replace, because that could never happen and I wouldn’t want it to, but to keep me going and to channel something negative into something positive; I couldn’t spend my days and nights crying because I had a lovely new dog that needed me, who was unsure of his new surroundings and was hoping for the love and security that, for whatever reason, his previous ‘owners’ had not been able to provide. Of course I could give him that and he, in return, gives me much.

    He has helped with the grieving process enormously.

    I still mourn my loss (I’m crying now), still wish I could give my beautiful, brave boy a kiss and a cuddle, still speak to him sometimes, still can’t bring myself to say out loud the silly words/terms of endearment that were unique to him. But more and more I can look at his photo and smile, knowing that he had a wonderful life and that nobody could have loved him more – which I’m sure is also true for you and Barney.

    Maybe you could, in time, find it in your heart to take a dog from a dogs’ home and give him a proper home and family. I’m sure you would all benefit greatly. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that I’ve given a dog a better life (the type of life that my beautiful boy had), and it’s something that from personal experience I’d recommend.

    I can’t stress enough that my new dog hasn’t replaced anyone, but he’s definitely helped fill a huge void and gives me a purpose.

    Bless you and bless Barney.

  14. noknok said

    I have been aware of the feeling that you have to Barney.This is no different with me to get a feel hurt like you.
    While I was searching to decide to have surgery that cuttle. I have found stories to barney.
    It makes tears roll down my face.
    And I do not want a life I love most have to suffer with a tumor in her mouth. The city where I live that has no equipment and medical equipment to suit their dogs.

  15. How sad to hear about your Barney. I also had a Barney, a lab/chow mix, who died August 27, 2010, a victim of Canine Oral Melanoma. I created an awareness page of Facebook, Canine Oral Melanoma Awareness. I hope you will follow it and continue to spread the word about vigilence.

    • canineoralmelanoma said

      So sorry to hear about your Barney too. I have joined your page. Perhaps you could link up my Blog to it too for further awareness?

  16. Sharon Tyler said

    I came across ur blog by looking up oral cancer in dogs has my Golden Retriever has been diagnosed in January. We unfortunately lost Oscar another Retriever on 25th of January with prostrate cancer and had a few days earlier noticed a small lump on Codys mouth so a few days after saying goodbye to Oscar took Cody to the vets and once the lump was removed we took him home and a few days later was told by the vet the bad news we were given the option to have his lower jaw removed etc but decided against surgery and to let him carry on as normal,and u can imagine the cancer has come back and the lump is large but apart from this he is still the same he eats loves his walks and due to his his age 13 and having this horrid cancer he has slowed up. I do have another dog Honey a Golden retiever and I know when the time comes she like us will be devasted. You can never get over losing your pet and the love you get from them is unconditional we all have happy memories and know that we loved and loved themxxxxxxxxxx

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