Goodnight Sweet Prince
I started writing this the day after we put Pappy down, but couldn’t finish it until now. His passing was actually on October 25th.
Monday night we changed Pappy’s bandages and found that his tumor had ruptured. It was dripping blood and his leg was completely swollen. His paw was turning to the side, almost like it was numb. It rattled us to the core. We decided to bring him in to the vet the next morning when they opened with no appointment.
This morning we called at 7:30 and they said to bring him in at 8:45 as an emergency visit. A few minutes later the doc called back and asked if we could wait until 9:00 because someone had just cancelled and therefore it wouldn’t be an emergency visit, saving us a hundred bucks. Whatever, we said yes.
At that point the dogs were already loaded in the back of the car and Pappy didn’t want to come out. He hadn’t been very mobile lately, so I went out to him and spent about a half an hour talking to him and making my peace. Rob and I pretty much knew where the day was heading. We were hoping for the best but prepared for the worst. Pappy and I had a good long talk about how I knew he was tired and in pain and I was just being selfish and it wasn’t fair.
Finally the time came and we headed to the vet. They got us in right away and the doc was in agreement with everything we were telling him. The tumor was huge and it wasn’t going to go back down. He said the leg was swollen due to the tumor cutting off the circulation and that wasn’t going to get better. The bleeding from the tumor was not going to stop because the skin was torn and would not grow back. When we told him the blood had started to stink that morning, it was as if the doc felt that was a key fact. And when I told him Pappy seemed to have no real joy any longer other than the false hunger from the steroid, we all knew what we had to do.
We asked if the shot could take place in the back of the van, much like we did Romie’s all those years ago. They said no problem and we all went outside.
I gave him a kiss and told him I loved him several times and then I turned my back. Rob held him while they gave him the shot and he passed away. I couldn’t watch. I couldn’t with Romie and I couldn’t with Pappy. I have been told that sometimes the dogs will have seizures or other types of things and I know that I couldn’t handle that.
Rob and I said our goodbyes and then took Pappy to Rob’s parents house to bury him next to his brother Romie.
It was a quiet ride to Salinas, punctuated with my sniffles and outright sobs.
When we got there Rob told me to take Shilo in to see his mom while he and his dad did the digging.
I did so, and while Shilo proved an interesting distraction, I was still a wreck.
Finally, Rob poked his head in and said: “Let’s boogie.”
We headed outside and he got Pappy from where he was wrapped in a blanket in the back of the van and we headed out to the gravesite. Rob placed him down in the grave and we both shoveled some dirt onto him. Rob finished as I commented on how Romie was probably rolling in his grave about how he thought he was finally rid of the little brat and now had to spend eternity next to him. Heh.
We said our goodbyes and headed home. I went from numb to wracking sobs to numb again. It was a very rough day.
Wednesday I was still pretty much a wreck but I went in to work. It was very hard to face all the hugs and people telling me they were sorry. I know that they only meant the best, but it just made me cry harder every time. I left early that day.
Thursday I managed to go most of the day without bursting into tears.
Now three weeks later I can say that I still miss him terribly and I tear up every time I think of him and what we had to do, but I feel a sort of peace. There had been over two years of fear and impending death since his cancer diagnosis. So much anxiety over surgeries and treatment options. As horrible as it is to say, I feel that a weight was lifted. The two years of dread had finally come to an end and he was no longer in pain.
It isn’t that easy of course. I think about him daily and miss him with every fiber in my being, but I feel that we made the right decision.
According to the vet and the interwebs, Pappy should have never lived as long as he did with the type of cancer he had. The web says something like 6 months, and our vet said she would have predicted him gone over a year ago. That was very reassuring. I don’t regret a single thing. I am glad we chose no chemo or radiation as I have heard from many personal sources since, that it just makes the dogs miserable no matter what the “experts” say to the contrary.
Pappy was my love and my light and I am so glad he came into my life almost ten years ago.
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