It’s taken me awhile to be able to write this. I’ve been wanting to for about a week, but haven’t been able to muster up the courage to face the emotions that are inside. I also wanted to wait until I was absolutely sure of what is going to happen before I jump the gun. Now that we know what’s going to happen, I finally feel that I can lay it all on the table. It’s easier for me to write about something like this once, and refer people to it, rather than go through the pain of reliving these feelings every day for the next month when people who aren’t aware ask me about it.
A few weeks ago, my wife and I received some very bad news. We found out that one of our dogs, Sully (the man), has lymphoma. We have gone down this path before with Cosmo, our old beagle corgi mix, and the treatment was incredibly expensive. We couldn’t afford that kind of expense this time around, and thankfully our vet worked with us to make it affordable. We started Sully on the treatment, and he started responding wonderfully. The tumors shrunk, and he was able to breathe again without issue. He was also acting just like his old self again. Last Wednesday was his first actual dose of chemo, and that is when it all went to shit.
He came home and wasn’t interested in eating his dinner. He was also very lethargic. We’ve seen this before with Cosmo, so we weren’t all that worried, but we were shocked that he didn’t want any food. We figured he’d feel better by the next day, like Cosmo did, and all would be well. Next day came, still no eating. This happened for a few days. On Saturday, he started vomiting. He’d drink water, and just throw it back up. We took him in, he got anti-nausea and anti-vomiting drugs, and we took him home. Though he did stop vomiting that day, he still wouldn’t eat. The next day, the vomiting came back, and I brought him to the vet again. They admitted him so they could hydrate him and work on the nausea. On Tuesday, he finally was able to eat something. We visited him separately, since I had to work, and both noticed that he wasn’t himself at all. Still, eating was a good sign. I took him for a walk outside, and when he went to take a #2, I saw blood coming out. I told the vet techs, and they said they’ll look into it and follow up tomorrow. I knew this wasn’t a good sign.
Today, Wednesday, we were told good and bad news. The good news is that he’s coming home. My wife picked him up, and said he’s back to acting like himself again. The bad news is that we’re just taking him home for an extended goodbye. We had already agreed that we weren’t going to give him anymore chemo, and figured we’d just let him take the prednisone (which shrunk the tumors) to keep him comfortable and going longer, until the inevitable happened. What we didn’t know, was that the prednisone is what was causing the bleeding, and he has to be off all of it. Now he is on anti-nausea meds only. This basically means that our time with him is very limited.
I can’t even begin to describe the feelings washing over me right now, as if I was drowning in a black sea of sadness and anger, only barely keeping my head above water. The untargeted anger that he was afflicted, the frustration of being powerless to do anything about it, and the sadness and pain that we’re going to lose such a beautiful soul. He’s the youngest of our 3 dogs, and he’s the most affectionate. A complete mush who just wants to curl up and get some love, or just run outside and play. My irrational mind searches for a reason why this would happen to such a beautiful and loving creature, even though I know that such thoughts are futile.
Sully came to us initially as a foster. We were only holding on to him until someone could adopt him. He was supposed to be euthanized the night we picked him up, due to overcrowding, and we drove out to Harlem to get him. Once we saw how loving and wonderful he is, though, we couldn’t let him go. He curled up in our laps and showed such love and affection, that we couldn’t say goodbye to him. Now, we’re having the same problem. Still, I’m glad that we will have this time to pamper him, love him, and take our time saying goodbye. He will at least get to live out his remaining time in a place of love and comfort, rather than a crate in an animal hospital. Though I’m overflowing with sadness and pain, I do see that there is an upside to this whole thing. He’ll be home. He’ll be loved. Most of all, he’ll be with his people (family), so when the time comes, he won’t be alone. That’s the best any of us could ever hope for. We love you Sully, we always will, and we’re so thankful you shared your love with us. It will never be forgotten.