We Lost Our Battle – Kirby

I am heartbroken to report that my little buddy Kirby has gone on to cross Rainbow Bridge. He’ll be helping me battle Big Pet Food and regulations from another place now.

Kirby began having seizures months ago. We battled the seizures in multiple ways – every step along the way helped lessen the severity. And then we found something that worked. He was seizure free for about 5 months using food as our treatment plan (ketogenic diet).

As life does to us sometimes, just when we think we have something figured out – everything gets dumped upside down. About a week ago Kirby’s seizures started again. One a day at first, but quickly they escalated to 5 in a day. And then he didn’t come out of the after seizure haze. He was in a semi-conscious state for the last day. And then I made the call – it was time to tell him good-bye. My very kind veterinarian – Dr. Joel Murphy – helped us say good-by to our little best friend.

I knew that Kirby had a heart murmur, and as it turns out the murmur had escalated severely. Dr. Murphy believed his heart disease could have been the cause of the end stage seizures. There was absolutely nothing we could do but to provide him with an easy passing.

We are blessed sometimes to have a very special dog or cat come into our lives. Kirby was one of those very special animals. He was my dog – and I was his person. He did not want to leave me. No matter his condition, he did not want to leave me. In his last day – even in his semi-conscious haze – he only raised up if I would leave the room. He wanted to be with me. That’s the thing about our pets – the ones we love so, so much – they often fight to stay with us because they love us so, so much too. That love made my decision that much harder, but I know Kirby understands I was doing the best thing for him.

My heart is more than broken – a piece of it is gone with Kirby. But I know that piece of my heart is being well cared for, Kirby is guarding it closely.


My thanks to the many people who supported me along the way with Kirby’s seizures and end of life.

Susan Thixton

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Comments 200

  1. Michelle Collie Mom says:

    So sorry, Susan. We so know how this feels. There are tears in my eyes for you and darling Kirby. Puppy hugs to you.

    • Millie says:

      My sentiments exactly. All the best to you Susan.

    • Puppy hugs <3

    • Joan says:

      Susan…….. so very sorry about Kirby. He was so very lucky to have you, and you– him. We all feel your pain, and no one understands unless they’ve been there. You took time out of your busy schedule to reply to my email in 2011 when I was struggling with the same loss. Raider was that very special boy that somehow had an indescribable connection with me. You sent me a poem that starts out “I am standing upon the seashore…” I still have it my email, and read it many, many times. It took us 2 yrs to open our hearts again, and feel we should not have waited that long. I’m sure you will open your heart sooner to some rescue just waiting for you. Thank you for all you do for the welfare of our pets. You are as special as Kirby knew you were & he’ll be in your heart forever. Joan

  2. Jorge Regueiro says:

    To Kirby’s owner I say that I know that pain because I too have lost a little friend in the past . It is a pain that is so deep you just can’t explain it to anyone, and it doesn’t seem like it’s gonna go away, but little by little it will lessen. After months of suffering my wife and I decided that we wanted, that we needed to have the love of a dog in our home again, and though no other animal can ever replace the one you lost, it brings back that joy into your life. We now have two beautiful healthy little Corgies that we adore. Maybe you too will find it possible when the time is right to bring another little one into your life.
    I wish you the best, and may God Bless you and your family.
    Sincerely, J.R

    • Dawn says:

      Oh my dear Susan. I’m so so so sorry. kirby was so lucky to have you. As you were to have little kirby. I think having to make “the decision” is probably the hardest thing one ever has to do in life. The fact that our dear little loves leave us so soon is truly one of the biggest unfairnesses of life. Peace sister.

  3. Holly Rist says:

    So sorry. I know how heartbreaking it is to lose a beloved pet. Hugs

  4. Sandra Short says:

    Oh Susan please accept my dearest, most sincere condolences. There really are no words but many tears. Kirby will be remembered. Bless you.

  5. Dee Cochrane says:

    So very sorry, susan my heart goes out to you. God bless you

  6. Martha j says:

    Hugs and tears.

  7. Penelope Tremblay-Landry says:

    My deepest condolences on the loss of your beloved family member, Kirby.

  8. Cindy says:

    Susan, I am so sorry for your loss! I’m so glad he had you as a guardian and loving provider.

  9. Jude says:

    There’s no other heartbreak quite like this, is there… It feels like losing your child, your parent, and your best friend all at once… My heart is with you, Susan.

    • Boy, you said that right Jude – I just lost my dog 2 weeks ago & the pain is great – just as losing a human… It hits me hard on & off and is so, so sad. Sorry Susan – everyone is feeling your lose and isn’t it nice to have such great friends & advice here! It seems everyone’s caring really helps.

  10. Cynthia Redmond says:

    There are no words. We have all been through this. So so sorry.

  11. Vicky Crawford says:

    So very sorry for your loss.

  12. Macy Penna says:

    Sorry to hear about your beloved Kirby. Having gone through this myself, I know you will never forget Kirby, but do as I did – Open your heart to another fur baby. It will NEVER replace Kirby, but it will help dry your tears, and I’ll bet Kirby will be happy for you. You were a great Mom to Kirby and another little fur baby out there is waiting for you.

  13. Nancylynn L says:

    I am so sorry. It was heaven there with you…

  14. Jan says:

    I too am so, so very sorry. I think of how well-cared for he was to have a mother like you. I wish we could have them for many years more. One of the hardest things is to lose a beloved pet. God’s grace and peace be with you, Susan.

  15. Duncan Ness says:

    I am so very sorry. You have done so well by him: Kirby was a fortunate little fellow.

  16. Deborah Stone says:

    So very sorry Susan-I have been where you are so many times with all my babies-He is at peace now-Although the missing part can be trying at times, remembering all the memories can help you through. With much sympathy and loving thoughts-

  17. Aimee Hodge says:

    I am so sorry for your loss, Susan. My heart is with you. Aimee

  18. Rebecca Wilson says:

    So sorry to hear this, Susan. God bless sweet Kirby, and you all too!

  19. Jacqueline Bessette says:

    so sorry for your loss. Kirby sounds like a sweet little dude. so glad you had each other.

  20. Susan says:

    My heart hurts for you. Sending you peace and hugs.

  21. Mary says:

    My heart goes out to you. I’m so sorry.
    I know you feel broken. These losses are indescribable. Huggs to you Susan.

  22. Bren says:

    I’m so terribly sorry for your loss. 🙁 Hugs from Titan, Zue, and me.

  23. Marcie says:

    So sorry, Susan.

  24. Rhea says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I know how you feel even though it doesn’t lessen the loss.

  25. Jean StJohn says:

    I’m so very sorry to read this, Susan. We’ve been in your position so many times … it never gets easier. Kirby sounds like he was a wonderful pup … he had good taste in making sure you were never far from his side … a real treasure. It also sounds like you have a wonderful vet, a practical vet, an understanding vet. We have been so blessed over the years to have a vet who understands the heartache involved with the decision to help a beloved pet, a member of the family, to the Rainbow Bridge. Deepest sympathies to you, I totally understand. Gentle hugs …

  26. kirsihepworth@hotmail.com says:

    Deeply sorry for the loss of your beloved, precious Kirby. Sending you hugs and lots of strength.

  27. Marisa Siconolfi says:

    I am so sorry for your loss Susan and you are right he will look after you for always.

  28. soozyb2013 says:

    My little girl Bea began having seizures that were brought on by liver disease, so hard on her wee body that was a mere skeleton of herself. I miss her everyday. She was my little protector, my cuddle buddy. If it wasn’t for my other dogs, I would be hurting so much still. She passed in October 2016. I am sorry you are dealing with this kind of pain, but thank goodness for photographs and sweet memories. I can smile now at her pictures, but some days…
    Kirby will always be with you. Again truly sorry for your loss.

  29. Meg says:

    Healing thoughts and prayers for you Susan, that ‘last act of love’ is so very tough. Hopefully soon those fond memories and pictures will make you smile and remember all the good times, and bring comfort knowing he is doing fabulous while waiting for you…..

  30. Debbie T. says:

    Sending sympathy and condolences for your loss.

  31. Terri Christenson Janson says:

    Aww… Susan I’m so very very sorry to hear this. I am crying typing this. I wish there were something I could say or do to help but I don’t know what that would be except to send you a hug..

  32. Carol MacPherson says:

    So so sorry for your loss. I know mere words can never heal the hurt in your heart, but at least he is seizure free now. He looked like an absolute sweetheart!

  33. DJL says:

    Dear Susan, I am so sorry you have lost your dear Kirby. There is never enough time with them.

  34. Healing prayers and thoughts for you Susan. That final ‘act of love’ is so very difficult. Hoping that peace and comfort replace the tears with smiles and fond memories knowing he is in a fabulous place while waiting for you.

  35. Cinda Lautenschlegar says:

    I’m so sorry for your tragic loss.

  36. bonnie0718 says:

    I am so deeply sorry for your loss, Susan and know how you’re feeling now. You now have an angel in your corner watching over and protecting you,

  37. Brenda Rion says:

    What you have just been through is the hardest part of a pet parent’s life, and you have my deepest sympathy. Susan. As you said, pets like Kirby fight hard to stay with us regardless of their own discomfort, but I’m convinced that when all is said and done, they are grateful that we have chosen to help them to the Rainbow Bridge and free them from bodies that no longer can support their beautiful souls. Hugs.

  38. P Ramsay says:

    SO sorry, we know what a difficult time this can be. Kirby will be helping now from the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.

  39. Debbie says:

    So very sorry to hear about Kirby, Susan. It is so heartbreaking to lose our fur babies. Have been there 3 times and it never gets easier. Sending lots of love and healing to you. (((HUGS)))

  40. Tina says:

    I am so very sorry, Susan. I’ve had to make that awful decision to say goodbye a few times, and I know how much it hurts. Thank you for sharing with us and for everything you do to help our precious pets.

  41. Elizabeth I. says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss Susan. I know it is so hard, what a lucky baby he was to have you.

  42. so sorry, my heart breaks for you

  43. Dianne Thornton says:

    Susan, I am so very sorry you lost precious Kirby. I too, read your message with tears for you both. It is uplifting to remember that you both had that special relationship that every dog dreams of.

  44. Linda Kelly says:

    So sorry Susan and your words too make my heat sad as we feel our loss as well with each and every dog family member; I wish God gave us more time with them as their life is so short but I remember reading they don’t need much time on earth as they are perfect unlike their human companions! Maybe a dog’s job is to remind us of the importance of love and devotion!

  45. Terry Meyer says:

    Susan, my father often reminds me that when we leave this life, every dog who we have ever known will be waiting for us. May time allow the wonderful memories to take the place of your grief. You are not alone in this.

  46. greyhound lover says:

    So sorry to read this, Susan. Having had several seizure dogs, I was so happy to read recently that you had the seizures under control. My sympathies for your loss.

  47. Sally Roberts says:

    Oh Susan I am so very sorry. Yes we all know how this feels and it is like a piece of your soul has left you too and will never heal. . We all are crying with you and feel your pain. I wish I could say or do something to help you but I know it just takes time, a lot of time. My thoughts and prayers are with you my friend !

  48. Sharon Liptak says:

    So sorry for you loss of your precious companion Kirby. May his fond memories of companionship and joy bring you comfort at this very sad time.

  49. Marie Chandler says:

    Many hugs for you. I feel your pain. Losing our pets is so very sad. Please find comfort in knowing that all pets DO go to heaven and await our arrival when we will once again be reunited with them forever and forever. I recently lost my sweet kitty to cancer. By the grace of God I was with him when he took his last breath here on earth and his first breath in heaven and I literally saw peace enter his body.
    I wanted to believe whole heartedly and without a doubt that my sweet Sylvester was truly in the real heaven of our Lord God. I searched for answers and found some amazing books and would encourage all pet owners to read them. There is much comfort in knowing that we will once again see our beloved pets; fully restored and strong. Here are my favorites; Cold Noses At The Pearly Gates by Gary Kurz, The Rainbow Bridge: Pet Loss Is Heaven’s Gain by Niki Behrikis Shanahan, There is Eternal Life for Animals by Niki Behrikis Shanahan, Will I See Fido in Heaven? by Mary Buddemeyer-Porter.

    Hugs and blessing to you! Thank you for all your wonderful work that do for our beloved pets!
    Sincerely, Marie

    ” In his hand is the life of every creature” Job 12:10
    ” You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.” Psalm 36:6

  50. Trish says:

    Very heartbreaking to hear this news. Hugs to you during this very difficult time. <3

  51. joan johnston says:

    He took a piece of your soul and left a piece of his soul. Please find comfort that he is with you in your heart.

  52. thomastryon says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss of Kirby. That is the one thing that we as pet parents have to do for them for they won’t leave us voluntarily. Please look for a sign that Kirby is still with you. I have always had a sign from my beloved companion animal family members that they are still with me as furry angels.

  53. Anne says:

    I am very sorry. I know how you feel about losing Kirby as a loving and dedicated animal lover myself. Know that you are not alone. Sincerely, Hugs, Anne.

  54. I have been fighting this kind of horrendous battle along with you the last few months. My almost 15-year-old boy, Marco, is battling several end-of-life medical issues, and I too, will be faced with making the dreaded decision in the near future. Opening your heart about this struggle was courageous and inspiring to me, and to all the animal lovers who follow you and your invaluable work on behalf of our pets. I applaud your decision to allow Kirby to move on peacefully knowing that he will be with you as your guardian angel through eternity. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  55. Alida says:

    I’m very sorry, Susan. It’s so terribly painful. Only your love for him could have outweighed your own heartache, and I’m sure he always knew that…

  56. Aimee says:

    I’m so sorry Susan… 🙁 You have the support of many…

  57. Diana says:

    My deepest condolences, Susan. Been there, it’s a hard thing to see them go and make that decision. Much love, comfort, and peace to you.

  58. Dyan Kirkpatrick says:

    I am so very sorry. I understand how you can be missing a piece of your heart. It is unimaginably painful. I will keep you in my prayers.

  59. I am so sorry for your loss. He’ll be watching you continue to fight the good fight from above. 🐕❤️

  60. I’m so sorry Susan for your loss. Kirby is now an angel watching over you. RIP sweet Kirby💔😇

  61. So very sorry. Kirby is free to run and play now. He will always be with you!

  62. Anne says:

    Oh Susan, my heart breaks for you. It is so hard to lose a beloved companion like Kirby. Sending you a big hug at this difficult time.

  63. Georgia says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Play hard at the Rainbow Bridge, sweet Kirby!

  64. Pat says:

    so very sorry – the love you shared will always be in your heart

  65. Debbie Perkins says:

    Susan, I just want to say how very sorry I am to hear of Kirby’s passing. I will be thinking of you.

  66. My sincere sympathy to you Susan. The pain of losing a beloved pet is like no other. One week ago today I had my dear sweet 5 year old Yorkie Idgy euthanized and the greatest difficulty was knowing she was only 5 years old. Bless you and your family and RIP sweet Kirby❤️💙❤️💙❤️💔😢😭

  67. Diane says:

    So sorry, Susan for your loss… NEVER easy.. 🙁

  68. Janice says:

    Tears and prayers– for strength and warm memories of the good times.

  69. Dianna says:

    I am SO sorry, Susan. Losing a fur child is one of the most heartbreaking of life’s experience. I just lost my third and last kitty at 17 years old. Perhaps little Kirby is romping around with my babies. You did so much for him, so I hope you will never have the “woulds,shoulda”s. I believe that animals, just as humans do, choose our death date before we incarnate here, and that for as much as we try to save them, the Bigger Picture has its own plan. I hope your heart is comforted by knowing that Kirby is very aware how much you did for him and big your love for him is. We will all keep you close during this difficult time. And thank you again for all you do for us. You are an amazing human being.

  70. Merry says:


  71. marie@lightspirit.org says:

    Susan, I am so very sorry. You and Kirby fought well. He didn’t leave you. He only left his body, and while I know how deeply that hurts you, he’s free from his seizures and will always love you. He’ll always feel your love too. You’ll feel him sleeping on your shoulder. You’ll think it’s wishful thinking, but it’s not. He really will always be with you. Love is the bridge that connects us. And Kirby is such a beautiful spirit filled with the joy that can only come when liberated from a body that’s no fun to be in anymore. God bless you both.

  72. Elyse Poppers says:

    Sending you so much love Susan. Thank you and Kirby for your immense energy and efforts on behalf of us all and all beings. It’s massively important and enlightened work that you do. Take care of yourself at this tender time. You have all the support in the world from your community here.

  73. D. Haven says:


    My deepest sympathy to you on the death of your beloved dog Kirby. It’s heartbreaking to hear what he endured for such a long time…

  74. Francine Atkins says:

    I am so sorry to hear about Kirby. I feel your pain.

  75. Suzanne says:

    I sit here in tears reading about Kirby.. So sorry for your loss. Prayers for you and your family who all loved him and will miss him greatly.

  76. Caron says:

    The heartbreak of losing a beloved fur child is unlike anything. I’m so sorry for your loss Susan. Blessings to you and Kirby. Forever United through love. ❤️

  77. Rick says:

    So sorry for your loss!

  78. Anthony Hepton. says:

    Dearest Susan, We understand your loss and share in your pain. It will gradually subside and when the time is right you will find a new baby to rescue. We will follow you closely as you mean so much to so many.

  79. Hello Susan, Although I am not vocal in the forums, I read everything via email as often as possible. I’d attempted to send you a personal email and not sure it got through so I want to make sure to say that my heart aches for you and my spirit is there with you as tears pour down my face here in Boston. I’ve been there 4 times myself and along side so many times with my customers and friend’s little families and even those friend’s I’ve never met from online groups. It never gets ‘easier’. Never. My heart hurts for you and I send you hope and love for a gentle recorvery during this time of loss. I’m having trouble seeing the screen thru tears so I end with Love from, Holly SnoopDogg & FuzzyCatt (Snoop will be 14,June7, Fuzzy turned 14 in Feb.- both street rescues). Two of my pets got very sick from that awful recall affecting 1000’s , 10 years ago.

  80. Kathi Parks says:

    Prayers to your family. So sorry for your loss.

  81. JRM says:

    My heart goes out to you in this very difficult time of the loss of your precious Kirby. Know that you did everything possible in his time of need. In time there will be another Kirby to steal your heart. My God bless you and give you peace of mind. Also know that in your work you are helping save many other Kirby’s. We all love you and appreciate what you do.

  82. judith zimbalist says:

    Breaks your heart. Sending warm thoughts.Kirby will be forever with you.

  83. Janet Pratt says:

    I know he meant the world to you and you meant the world to him. So sorry to hear of your loss.

  84. Maura Rogich says:

    Prayers for you , It never is easy… my condolences

  85. Debbie Ames says:

    Sending you all my love, I am so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for all you do to help our “Kirbies”… My heart breaks for you…

  86. Jenn Lasko says:

    I’m sorry for the loss of Kirby. Last year we lost three animals 🙁 Blackie was our cat who was at least 16.5 and had thyroid disease. Sadie was our dog who was around 10 years old and had thyroid and liver problems and then developed diabetes. And then we lost Rory, our feral cat that lived in our crawl space. She was only about 19 months old. She left her 7 week old male kitten for us. He’s a year old now. It’s always hard to let them cross the rainbow bridge 🙁 Today our dog Mike would have been 17 years old if he were still here, but sadly we lost him in June 2015.

  87. Ellen O'Connor says:

    Our prayers and blessings for you and Kirby. Thank you for letting us know, it is a grief we all suffer.

  88. Becky Rao says:

    so very sorry for your loss. RIP Kirby

  89. Darlene says:

    The loss of a beloved pet is heartbreaking, but you had enough courage and love to stop his suffering. i feel so sorry for you, I have just lost a special needs cat who was only 3 yrs last month. Tears still come and go, but as time goes on, good memories replace the loss

  90. Robin Quinlan says:

    So very sorry for your loss! My eyes filled with tears as I read your post. You are in my thoughts and prayers,

  91. MaryAnn Bomarito says:

    Dear Susan, my heart goes out to you as I read about your loss, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Only someone who has grieved for a companion like Kirby fully understands how deeply the pain is felt, it hurts your heart and soul. Many of your faithful readers are weeping with you.

  92. mykka says:

    I’m so very sorry. You do so much for all and it is that much sadder to hear this news. Please know that you are so incredibly supported by vocal and silent admirers. I found your site after discovering we were feeding our kitties food that had killed others… they survived. Sending prayers and healing energy to you and your family during this fragile time. RIP little one, your are pain free now. Your mom and your family loves you forever and will never forget you.

  93. Eileen Crosby says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about Kirby, Susan. Sending you lots of love from Arizona.

  94. Donna Breda says:

    Susan: I am so sorry for the loss of your best friend. As owners, just know, that we all feel your pain and the difficulty in making the best decision for Kirby. God Bless you and your family and all the work that you do for us!

  95. Debra says:

    Tears in my eyes for you and your loss of Kirby. We are lucky as humans to have such faithfulness and love from our dog. I experienced the same in my rescued greyhound Brandy. She hung on for me only until she was almost 14.

  96. Michelle says:

    So sorry Susan. Rest in peace little man.

  97. Herb Kaufman says:

    A loss to one is a loss to us all.

    With tears in my eyes,

    Herb Kaufman

  98. Sharon Johnson says:

    I wish there were something I could say to take away the deep loss that you feel other than I am truly very sorry for your loss. At some point in the future, hope