It’s been a while since I’ve been here. I’m back now…
*waits for applause to die down*
I know, I’ve missed you too. Thank you, thank you very much.
There have been so many changes in my life since I last posted here. I am not sure where to begin, but I know I have procrastinated long enough. I have plenty of things to say, a plethora of questions (yes, I’ll be raising my hand!) and thoughts I’d like to share. I’m on the fence about deleting a post or two because I want this to be an anger free zone. There is far too much angry on the interwebs I really don’t want to be adding to it.
I guess I’ll begin by letting you know that Rescue dog is no longer with us. We lost him last December to Lymphoma. Our hearts broke – but I’d like to share our experience.
As you know, rescue dog was amazingly loving and loyal, learning his way to being more open and playful. Well, let me tell you, he learned to catch! He learned to FETCH! He would only do it a few times, but hey, he did it. He loved to swim! For the purpose of clarity here, he loved to swim in heated swimming pools, but it was long runs on the beach. The ocean was too cold and the surf to strong for his liking. He adored the dog park…
We moved (you’ll get details on that later) to a beach city so he got to go the beach regularly. His sister played in the water, he ran up and down the beach for all he was worth. He ran and ran and ran. As we were packing up to move, he seemed to get depressed and nervous. We realized he was unsure of his future. The last move he witnessed left him without a home, or better stated, in a new home (ours) but as things progressed and he realize he was staying with us, he was fine. We stayed in temporary housing for three (LONG) weeks as our house was getting new floors and being painted. The dogs went to the dog park three times a day! Wahoo! They had a blast. They Loved the new house. Rescue dog was SO happy. The new house is across the street from a park and he was now the self-appointed park police. He got to decide when it was okay to walk by, which dogs were good boys/girls, what activities where acceptable and which were not. Let me tell you, trying to convince him that this wasn’t his job became my full-time job. Plus, there was always the chance there were zombies. (Both he and his sister watched far too much television. They loved anything with dogs, cats and any/other animals and zombies. Well rescue dog loved/hated zombies, his sister could not have cared less.
So, we live on a corner across from a park – a lot of zombie potential. He was always on alert. Always.
Last October rescue dog just wasn’t himself. I could not put my finger on an exact thing, but I told my husband that SOMETHING was wrong. We made an appointment to see his veterinarian. The staff there all loved him because we went in regularly for… uh… personal reasons, and pedicures (nail trims). Rescue dog LOVED going to the Vet’s office. No, seriously. He would greet the staff, tail wagging, trot to the back like he was going to a steak house to get a t-bone. (Weirdo, right? Best part of that was he taught his sister there was no reason to be afraid of going to the Vet!) So, we went in to see his Doctor and she listened, looked, and did all the normal things – poked and prodded. Because she knew us, because she knew we knew our dogs, she ran a multitude of tests. A couple came back with abnormalities. That led to more tests, x rays, ultrasounds – discovery of very aggressive lymphoma, chemotherapy…. Chemo that didn’t even phase this lymphoma. After the second treatment, the ultrasound showed that a segment of his intestine had begun to dissolve.
His internist, a wonderful woman, who took over for us when his oncologist could do nothing more for us, told us to take him home and enjoy what time we had left with him. He was still walking, still eating, (not a lot, but some) and still loving us. He was still on guard duty as much as he could be.
My deepest concern for him, knowing how deeply we loved him, was that I would not know when it was time to take him in for his last visit. We tend to hold on to those we love far longer than we should for our sake, for selfish reasons. I made that mistake with my beloved Akita and vowed never to do it again, but wasn’t sure I’d know when.
His internist told us “Choose his top three favorite things and when he no longer has any interest in those things, it’s time.” She told us she’d learned it from another vet, but it was the best advice she could give. I’ll never forget it and it made perfect sense. Rescue Dog declined rapidly. He lost interest in walks, not even a second glance at his leash. Sliced cheese wrappers didn’t get his attention, and if they did, he didn’t care (he also didn’t want the cheese). And when he no longer sang to his beloved insurance commercials, we knew it was time.
Saying goodbye is never, ever easy. This goodbye was no different. The card we got from our vet’s office a few days later was filled with personal notes, small stories of interactions, and warm condolences. Our home was broken. Our other dog was inconsolable. It was difficult to even get her to eat some days. She rarely moved from her favorite bed. She’d never known a life without her brother. I had not planned on bringing in another dog for a while, but after two weeks of that I had to do something. We found a Golden Mix that needed rescuing (Now I may need rescuing — she’s a handful!) and we went and got her. After about three days our Mastiff began to pull herself out of her depression, soon thereafter she stopped growling at the Golden, and now they’re best pals.
Kids. *rolls eyes*
We had Rescue Dog aquamated and plan on putting the remains in with the roots of a young tree which we’ll plant in the foothills. We’ve lost a lot in our area to wildfires and this will be a way to give back to the land and honor him in the best way possible.
Our Rescue Dog is missed so much more than he or anyone would have ever thought.
And now? Now we have no one on zombie watch.