We will return to our regularly scheduled blogs next week, but with the unexpected and sudden loss of one of our dear pets, I have a need to take a bit of a detour and use my blog as a mechanism toward healing.
One June 11th, at around 8am or so, we were forced to put down our precious Bowie, to free him from the pain that he was already in and would have progressed. It happened suddenly on the previous day. He had been acting normally until around lunch time when he had an accident in the living room. My first reaction was to scold him for pooping in the living room, but as he trotted into the bedroom, I knew instinctively, something was wrong. He plopped himself onto the carpet and just looked ill. Initially, I was concerned, but panic had not set in yet. I thought his adventures in the cat tray and eating that, had gotten him sick. But apparently, cat poop is a delicacy to dogs and they do not get sick from eating it, just the litter. What happened next was fast.
After an hour or so he vomited on the ground where he lay and did not even stir. If you have a pet, you understand that generally speaking, they don’t like laying in their mess. That was the first alarm bell. Promptly after this, he began to experience diarrhea. What was different about this, as opposed to just a case of upset stomach, was that his gums were pale and he was cool to the touch and there was an instance where it felt like he was slightly disoriented. I am lucky that I have my daughter, Megan, who is studying to be a Vet Tech, or I might not have known and Bowie would have died fearful and in pain. The other indication something was wrong was his lethargy. Bowie was a high energy dog and there was little that dampened his energy or spirits. He lay there, allowing us to look him over and fuss, and didn’t even wriggle. I made the decision right then, to take him to the ER, where he further deteriorated, and rapidly.
BluePearl Animal Hospital was amazing in their treatment of both Bowie and our family. The doctors, Villanueva and Ying, were empathetic and kind and took care to explain to me everything that they were discovering through their examination and how dangerous it was to him. The technician there, Katherine (I am hoping that is her name), was also kind-hearted and skilled and treated our Bowie like he was her dog. From the moment we arrived, in a panic, with a very sick dog, to the end and giving us time to be with Bowie before and during the procedure and afterwards, they were absolutely stellar. I believe some places will treat your pet like he is a patient and may provide very good care indeed, but these doctors and technicians treat the animal as family, which they are.
Sadly, it seems that Bowie fell victim to a very, aggressive cancer that caused all these symptoms. There was no real way to find out what kind of cancer without a plethora of tests that, in the end I did not need. I chose to do the test to measure the fluid that was building up around his heart. The best case scenario that would have bought him some time, would have been clear fluid around the heart that was slow to build up. Instead, the fluid was blood and began to refill almost immediately after it was removed, which was ultimately what my decision for euthanasia hinged on. The doctor explained that this was indicative of a very aggressive form of cancer, and that he’d been living with it for a while, and there was little hope that he could get better. Once I was armed with this information, I knew with no uncertainty, that the decision to make Bowie as comfortable as possible and show him mercy, was the best course of action. It doesn’t make saying good-bye easier but assuages the guilty feelings that you are taking a life.
I believe our Bowie chose us. That he ended up on our door step that hot, June, day for a purpose. That purpose: to teach us about love – unconditional love- and unfettered joy and laughter. He was a warrior from the day we laid eyes on him with a badly broken hip and lacerations, on our front door step. I used to kid around that Gandalf must have carved into my door a sigil for wayward Pitties, as that month we’d found several. But it was him that we kept. His body bore the scars of a difficult life, both literally and figuratively. I hope he loved every minute of his life with us, the way we loved it with him.
You can rest your head now Bowie.
You gave all your love without reserve.
Brought us immeasurable joy and happiness in the form of toothy grins and floppy ears.
Run with joy. Find your pack. Wait for us over the Rainbow Bridge; we’ll be looking for you when it’s our time.
We always thought we saved you, but through the love of a dog, you saved us.
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