Sudden Death of Our 8 1/2 Yr Old GSD
I have always read the threads here, but never posted. It's sad that my first post on here after reading this site for years is about the sudden death of my little buddy Argo, who was an 8 ½ year old White German Shepherd. He weighed about 111 lbs. at death according to the Vet where he passed. He wasn’t a chubby guy, but he was definitely a large GSD. I am 6’7 tall and his paws hit my shoulders when he stood up. My wife is 5’2 and he was up to her waist when he stood next to her.
I am having a hard time with closure and I have been feeling a lot of guilt. I am hoping maybe for some answers here to help me understand what could have happened to my little guy. Maybe talking about it here with other GSD owners will help with the process of grieving. I want to only think about the good memories, but inside I am feeling so much guilt like I could have done something to save him.
My wife and I were away for a weekend trip and Argo was staying with a couple for the weekend in NYC. Sunday morning, around 9:45am, we got a text message asking if Argo ever doesn’t want to go outside for morning walks. The dogsitter was concerned because Argo is usually so energetic and excited to go outside. The dogsitter thought that Argo may just be getting depressed and miss us, which is something he has done before when we have been gone for a few days. We responded to the dogsitter that maybe he tired him out the day before from all the attention he was getting and playtime with the couple watching him.
Around 10:15 we get another text message from the dogsitter asking us to call him because he thinks something is wrong. When my wife and I call him he states that Argo had urinated himself where he laid and he wouldn’t get up still. He proceeded to say that when he pet Argo he felt that he was breathing heavy. We told the dogsitter to try offering him some peanut butter on a spoon to see if Argo would get up and move for it.
A few minutes later the dogsitter called my wife and I on FaceTime. Argo was on his side with the peanut butter by his face, but not really doing much else. My wife and I were calling for him through the FaceTime, but he still didn’t move. The dogsitter called the Vet, who luckily was located right across the street in the city and they told him to bring Argo in right away.
15 minutes later we get another FaceTime phone call from the dogsitter. They were able to get Argo to try and walk to the Vet, but Argo collapsed on the sidewalk outside of the building and urinated himself again. One of the Vet technicians thankfully came outside from the Vet and spoke to us on FaceTime and told us that they were going to carry him into the Vet.
Another few minutes went by and the Vet called us and said that she doesn’t think Argo would make it. She stated that his paws were getting cold and his heart beat was fading. She said that they were giving him Oxygen, Chest Compressions, and a shot of Epinephrine.
Another few minutes later and we received another call. By now it was about 11am. The Vet told me that they had lost Argo…
I am having such a hard time dealing with this. Argo was so playful and vibrant. We live in a house with many floors and many flights of stairs and Argo never showed struggle climbing them or going on walks daily. He loved the beach and to swim in the ocean in the summer. He still acted playful and happy like he was still 2 years old. We brought Argo for regular checkups yearly for shots, bloodwork, heartworm checks, etc and nothing was ever brought to our attention to be concerned about.
The dogsitter said that he was fine all weekend. He even sent us pictures and videos of him and his wife playing with Argo Friday and Saturday. He even mentioned that he woke up at 2am to use the bathroom and saw Argo’s head and ears pop up as he laid on the couch. Then when he woke up at 9/9:30 he found Argo on the floor.
What possibly could have caused this? It wouldn’t have been poison would it? I spoke to the Vet yesterday and she said that she strongly feels that it was Dialated Cardiomyopathy, but wouldn’t we have seen signs for this? Would this have caused such a sudden death? We are debating on having a Necropsy done at Cornell University, but my wife doesn’t really want to think about him being all cut up. I kind of want to do it for closure to know that there is nothing we could have done. I am beating myself up that I wasn’t there to hold him as he passed. I feel like he was probably wondering where I was as he was passing. Part of me is wondering if he got up to go outside hoping I would be outside on the sidewalk waiting for him… and then he gave up when I wasn’t out there for him. This is killing me right now…..