Skip to main content

We lost our precious Daphne last week.

Daphne's Favorite PositionWe took Niles and Daphne to the groomer last Wednesday because Noel’s family was coming to visit. We always give Niles and Daphne a “Buff & Fluff” when we have visitors…being real proud of the little critters.

The groomer called us a couple of hours after dropping them off to alert us that Daphne was having seizures.

We stopped everything and bolted to the groomer while calling our Veterinarian, Dr. Mark Alsager’s Animal Care Center, for advice.

Daphne and Niles at two years old

When we got there poor little Daphne was having severe seizures and just barely responded to anything. Noel immediately took her onto her arms and we rushed her to the vets’ clinic.

 Both Niles and Daphne had had their issues lately. Niles protracted an immune deficiency disease about 2 years ago and had been almost totally crippled at one point. After many visits to the specialists at Oakland Veterinary Clinic, exploratory surgery, and dozens of drug treatments we still can’t figure out what exactly is going on with him but he seems to be getting around okay.

Daphne was always the spunky, healthy looking one though. They were perfect playmates. Whenever I took them for a walk I had them leashed with a double leash and Daphne was always several steps ahead of Niles and pulled him along. Her little head darting back and forth…she didn’t miss a thing, jumping at every little  animal, insect, or just a blowing leaf. She was the picture of health while poor little Niles was getting fatter from the drugs and seemed to have a hard time getting completely better.

 Niles and Daphne warm up in clothes basketLast year we took them in for a teeth cleaning and Dr. Alsager informed us that he could not treat Daphne because they discovered her liver enzyme levels were extremely high. 

Treatments began immediately to bring her levels down but to no avail. So it was off to the specialist at Oakland Clinic again but this time for Daphne. Now we had two little sick dogs on our hands but Daphne never showed any outward signs of illness. She remained spunky as ever. We were almost in disbelief that there was anything wrong with her. But, each examination brought disappointing results however and no matter what we tried, her liver levels stayed stubbornly at their dangerously high levels.

Daphne Bittinger sits behind Noel

Then about the beginning of May we noticed Daphne started to really lose weight. She always had a hearty appetite but it seemed everything she ate just came right out  We knew she was in trouble.
We tried everything. Her little body got so frail and bony I was almost afraid her little bones would break. By Memorial Day weekend she seemed real weak. She started to wander around the house without any real direction and seemed to be in a daze, sometimes not even responding to us when calling her name.  Taking her for a walk she would tire quickly. We knew we were losing our little girl slowly but surely. It was devastating to think we could not help her. When we took her to the groomer last Wednesday she seemed to be almost her old self for a bit. The groomers took real good care of her and made extra sure they handled her with kid gloves.
Then it happened. The convulsions were a total surprise to us.  Noel was feeling so guilty about taking little Daphne to the groomer.  She feels that stressed Daphne out too much and she should not have taken her in that weakened condition. Of course, she did not know that would be the end for Daphne. Dr Alsager was out of his office for a bit but his staff members went right into action. They took emergency steps to get Daphne stabilized. Her temperature was 91 degrees which is dangerously low for a dog. They started to warm her up immediately and had fluids pumping into her tiny little body in what seemed seconds and gave her a shot of Valium to calm her muscles.
Within a few minutes Daphne quit convulsing but she was really out of it. Her temperature started to rise and she started to at least open her eyes after an hour or so of this treatment.  
 Noel and Daphne are Buddies Forever
As soon as Dr Mark Alsager returned to the office he administered his expert treatment to get little Daphne back to health. We left her there in a recovery unit with the hot water and air and fluids. The plan was to monitor her recovery until night time when we thought we could take her home. We were hoping she would pull out of it, but Dr. Alsager knew better.
She was much better than in the afternoon but not fully recovered. Her eyes were open and she responded to our voices but ever so slightly. We stroked her and kissed her and tried to coax her back from her darkness but it did not seem to help. Her sickness had gone too far and she was finally succumbing to it. Her little belly was yellow with jaundice and her gums were pale. We didn’t want to believe it but knew there was no way out for our little precious Daphne.
We thought about moving her to Oakland to see what they could do but Dr. Alsager advised not to. The dreaded decision we both knew would come was next.

Dr. Alsager prepared the serum and Noel just lost control.  I am a bit less emotional but I could not hold back the dreadful feeling knowing this was the end. We said our final goodbyes to Daphne as the serum was administered. She seemed to just stare at us as if to say goodbye and thanks for everything you have done for me.

Daphne and Niles about a month ago

It took less than a minute and our little baby was gone.  Our Daphne left us while we held her little head and stroked her face. The sinking feeling I had was incredibly severe. I have had many pets before but Daphne held a special place in my heart that I feel can never be filled. Noel never had a pet before.  Noel was out of control the rest of the night.  The next day was terrible not having Daphne around running from window to window and barking at everything in sight.  Noel went for a very tearful run the next morning. She totally broke down crying like a baby as she approached the front porch knowing her little baby would not be there to greet her at the door.  During Noel’s post-run stretches Daphne would lick the sweat off her face so very happy to see her Mama come home.  Noel said she ran extra hard that morning as if to compensate for any suffering that she felt Daphne went through.  Noel always told Daphne that she was the little girl she never had. There are so many "firsts" without her and so many reminders of her everywhere.  How do you make the pain go away?  

Thank you, Dr Alsager and staff for all that you have done for her and the precious paw print memento you made for us.  Noel keeps it on her night stand and kisses every night.

A Dog’s Prayer
By Beth Norman Harris
Treat me kindly, my beloved master, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of me.
Do not break my spirit with a stick, for though I should lick your hand between the blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me do.
Speak to me often, for your voice is the world’s sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when your footstep falls upon my waiting ear.
When it is cold and wet, please take me inside for I am now a domesticated animal, no longer used to bitter elements and I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth. Though had you no home, I would rather follow you through ice and snow than rest upon the softest pillow in the warmest home in all the land for you are my god and I am your devoted worshiper.
Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for although I should not reproach you were it dry, I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst. Feed me clean food, that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side, and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life, should your life be in danger.
And, beloved master, should the Great Master see fit to deprive me of my health or sight, do not turn me away from you. Rather hold me gently in your arms as skilled hands grant me the merciful boon of eternal rest . . . and I will leave you knowing with the last breath I drew, my fate was ever safest in your hands.

16 thoughts on “We lost our precious Daphne last week.

  1. Lee and Noel,

    I heard about your loss from Bob and Connie. I know exactly what you are going through. When our Biscuit got run over last fall Brenda and I were depressed for weeks. We still remember all the things she did to make us laugh. Something you might want to do is make a shadow box of some of Daphnes things. It sure helps us remember Biscuit

  2. Lee and Noel,
    You can see everything around our home was my angel, Tashi. The absolute hardest thing I have ever done was saying goodbye to her. In October, we left the emergency vet and I was screaming. Mike and I went to Hines park and cried together. She was our girl – our only daughter. There will never be another Tashi. The thing is that there will never be another Daphne and that is special. She was a very special girl. You need to focus on Niles. He will be so lonely without her. He will need you more now than ever. In time you will be able to remember her healthy and happy times. I do remember the end, but the happiest days with her are overwhelmingly more memorable. Allow yourselves to mourn her. Please take care of yourselves and each other!

  3. Lee and Noel,
    I just heard of your loss of Daphne. Thank you for sharing your story and your grief. Daphne was your daughter and the very depth of the love and loss that you both feel for her comes shining through. What a lucky girl she was to have you in her life and you were blessed to experience her. Word cannot express….
    Hugs, Hugs, Hugs,

  4. So sorry for your loss, Noel. My kids (adults now) still are sorrowful and often talk about their golden retriever, Cookie, they loved so much growing up. You just get so attached to them.

  5. I am so sorry to hear about Daphne. My husband and I do not have children, therefore our dog is our baby and I understand how much you can grow to love them, so it breaks my heart to hear about Daphne. My thoughts are with you. Again, I am so sorry for your loss.

  6. Noel, I am SO terribly sorry, that is such a difficult thing t o do. I have been through it myself. These little creatures in our lives take on such a personality and are a part of our family. She was well loved and always had you and Lee plus her buddy at her side. Your blog is awesome that is a great way to let it out. When our dog K-Cee died I did several scrapbook pages. It all helps. My thoughts are with you…….

  7. Oh Noel, I am so sorry to hear about Daphne. We were a wreck when we had to put our kitty down 3 years ago. It leaves such an emptiness in your heart. My thoughts are prayers are with you right now. It will get easier, give it time.

  8. Noel, So sorry to hear about Daphne. I grew up with Maltese dogs, they are so wonderful. A few years ago I lost mine, she was such a great dog. I know how hard it is, as time passes it will get easier. Im so sorry.

  9. So sorry to hear about your loss Noel. Our first dog, prior to having children, was our baby. She got cancer when she was 6 and we had to put her down. The hardest part was always coming home and them not being there.
    I think one of the biggest mistakes we made was to get another dog not long after our first passed. I think we thought we were missing having a dog when what we were really missing was the dog that we lost.
    If you are thinking of getting another dog, just take your time. You know people sometimes think it is funny when people refer to their animals as their “babies”, but they really can be.
    I really feel for you Noel and assure you that it will get easier, but it will take quite some time. My 9 year old still cries everytime we mention our first dog’s name, and he was only 2 and 1/2 when we put her down.

  10. I’m really sorry about your loss. You probably remember that we just lost our Odie, a couple of months back, and I know how you feel.
    Just remember that Daphne had a very good life and she was in a home where she was loved all the time.

    “There is a bridge connecting Heaven and Earth. It is called the Rainbow Bridge because of its many colors. Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge, there is a land of meadows, hills and valleys with lush green grass.
    When a beloved pet dies, the pet goes to this place. There is always food and water, and warm spring weather. The old and frail animals are young again. Those who have been maimed are made whole again. They play all day with each other.

    But there is only one thing missing. They are not with their special person who loved them on Earth. So each day they run and play until the day comes when one suddenly stops playing and looks up. The nose twitches! The ears are up! The eyes are staring! And this one suddenly runs from the group!

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. Your face is kissed again and again and again, and you look once more into the eyes of your trusting pet.
    Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together, never again to be separated.


    The Brogren Family

  11. I’m so sorry about the loss of your baby, Daphne. I know the pain that you’re going through. I’m sitting here at work crying and remembering my Brandy. I’m not going to trivialize it and tell you that it will get better in time. You have to grieve in your own way. And you’ll always have your wonderful memories of her. Some people don’t believe that our pets go to heaven, but I do. When we had to put our Brandy down 11 years ago, I told my girlfriend that I’d see her when I get to heaven. And I know you’ll see Daphne.

  12. We’re so very very sorry for your loss. We, too, love our dogs. We have had to go through the same thing you are now and it’s heart wrenching, to say the least. I’m glad Daphne brought so much joy to you – this is something you’ll always be thankful for. Please, don’t for a moment blame yourself for taking her to the groomer. She was obviously very ill and no matter what you did or didn’t do, wouldn’t have made a difference. She was a very lucky dog to have such a loving mama. One day, and hopefully in the not too distant future, you’ll be able to give another puppy such a wonderful home. I’m sure you’re little guy there is suffering from the loss too … and he’s just unable to communicate that with you.
    We continue to get dogs, never to replace the ones we lost, as we know that will never happen. Each of our dogs bring something a bit different to our lives and we will be surrounded by so much love when we go to heaven as I know you will.
    Once again, we are so very sorry for you.

  13. We are saddened to hear your loss. A pet is an invaluable part of any family and we are sorry that you are hurting. I just went through this with my mom who lost her little companion about a month ago. She said to me that she’s had him longer than she’s had her grandchildren, what would she do without him. The routine you had will be the hardest to overcome (or at least it has been for her). In time we hope your pain eases. Pour your love into Niles, remember he is hurting too, missing his furry companion as well.

  14. I’m so very sorry you about your loss. I have a Westie named Reilly who is 9 years old. We’ve had him since he was a puppy and two years after we got him he developed Attison’s disease. This is a disease that our former late president Kennedy had. It robs the body of salt which comes out through urination (frequent). He has been on medication twice a day before meals for the rest of his days, after extensive bloodwork determined his condition. He does very well, though the meds are expensive. We get them on line from the Bahamas, so they’re somewhat cheaper. Anyway, once in a while he gets sick and I think how badly I’d miss him if/when it happens. Yes, I can sympathize with you and will pray for you at this sad time.

  15. I am sorry to hear about the loss of your pet. You can get very attached to a pet. There are indeed family. I have known people who put off the decision too long and allowed a tired, sick pet to suffer. You did the right thing.

  16. My heart goes out to you. I have lost three grand-dogs this past year, the latest one just this a.m., and one more great big beautiful boy is in his final days. They give so much love and comfort and truly become our masters. I am so sorry for your loss. I know you are in pain now, but time does heal.

Comments are closed.