Not About Food

10 Days Ago

sun gets in your eyes | dailywaffle

Ten days ago, our old girl H was trotting on the beach with me and Wolf in Tofino and today she’s back home after a day and a half at the emergency vet. It doesn’t look good. It started with a lack of interest in her kibble, she was wheezy and her breathing was somewhat labored. She coughed a few times and by the end of the trip, she just wasn’t all that interested in going very far for a walk.  We got home late and went to the vet the next day.

It’s been a rough week. She was scanned and poked and prodded as the specialists tried to identify what was causing her symptoms. Fungal pneumonia possibly, or the more likely cause: cancer. She has cotton ball like nodules in her lungs and a very small nodule in her spleen. It’s not entirely clear it’s cancer, but it’s extremely likely. Late yesterday, we decided we were at the end of the time for poking and prodding.

She’s almost 13. She’s been my podmate and walking buddy for several years. She’s the only co-worker who doesn’t complain about tuna sandwiches in the office. She’s down for popcorn and string cheese in the afternoon. She’s my grrrrr.

Bearing witness to her decline this week is one of the hardest things I’ve been through. We lost her brother a few years ago, also to cancer, but with him, we had a shot at beating it back with chemo before the tumors spread to his spine and took the use of his back legs. With H, this has all been too fast.

Her breathing is still labored, and she’s tired, but she’s home. Though we may only have days, there are glimmers of her old self there. She wolfed down poached chicken for dinner. She gave a delivery truck the whatfor. Today, when I got back from the dentist, she had moved upstairs on her own and we spent the rest of the day in my office, like always.

It never gets easier. H is part of our pack, she’s been with me and Wolf since before we were even engaged. And it’s no easier to say goodbye to her than a two-legged member of the family. But I’m glad we’re getting the chance.  To spoil her with chicken, salami, greenies, pizza crusts and whatever else she wants. To tell her what a good friend she’s been, how much we love her and that she’s my best girl.

She’s lying on her bed just across from me as I type this and we watch some TV. It was a lucky day when we rescued her and her brother from a shelter in Chatsworth.  She’s had a good, long life of adventures chasing rabbits in her own backyard, tromping around on beaches in Mendocino and Tofino and stealing turkey breasts off kitchen counters. Yes, she’s had a good, long life. I know this. And I know there will be a huge hole in our hearts and in our pack when the time comes.

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  • Cheryl Guerrero
    August 24, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    I will be praying for your furbaby & for you!!! 2 monthes ago we lost our 16 1/2 fawn pug!!! Miss Wiggles so very, very much!!!

  • miss mochi
    August 23, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear this. Even thinking about doggie hospice is hard. As a vet tech, I always cheer for the good days and fear the bad days. There will be both, but I know you will cherish every day you do have left.

    I’m hoping for months, years, personally.

    You might also talk to your vet about anything you can do to make her breathing more comfortable, perhaps a humidifier?

    It doesn’t matter how good a life they have led, how long they have lived; it never gets any easier to contemplate saying goodbye. My heart goes out to you during this time.

    • Michelle
      August 24, 2013 at 8:44 am

      Thanks, Miss Mochi. She’s been on prednizone since Wednesday night and it seems to be helping. Breathing is a little less labored, she seems to have a little more energy. Fingers crossed for more good days than bad, because the bad ones this week just…UGH.

  • Vicki
    August 23, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    She knows she is loved….and so do you. That is all anyone can ask for. Take care.

  • Hannah
    August 23, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    I’m thinking of you, Michelle, and glad you have on this time with your sweet pup. Big hugs to you. xx

  • Beth (OMG! Yummy)
    August 23, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Huge hugs Michelle – our friends just went through this – their dog took its last breath this past Monday. Glad you’ll have this time to say goodbye.

    • Michelle
      August 23, 2013 at 12:57 pm

      Thanks, Beth. It’s a rough one. Trying to keep my chin up. The good news is, she seems a little perkier today. Take your victories where you can get them, I guess!

  • Lara
    August 23, 2013 at 7:48 am

    Hugs xo

  • carrie
    August 23, 2013 at 7:12 am

    I’m so sorry. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever been through when we lost our girl in January. Choked up just writing this. But I had to send some love through the internet. Our lives are so much better with them; we are pretty sure they feel the same way.

    • Michelle
      August 23, 2013 at 8:17 am

      Thanks, Carrie – I’m so sorry to hear about your girl, too. I’m trying to be tough and still enjoy the time we still have with her, but it is so hard. Thanks again for reaching out, I really appreciate it.

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