Wednesday, December 10, 2008

3 Months or So

When I started this blog, I told myself that I would make it edgy. I wanted to cross the line, step into the red, and provoke. I'm satisfied that I have done just that. I admit I occasionally spout off something cutesy, sentimental and girlie. But, fuck it! I've got a bit of that rolling around in me and it sneaks out. I know Josh gets a bit frustrated when I become benign and he always calls me to tell me.

I also told myself that I would not be overly bloggy about my dogs. TH and I don't have kids and I'm not sure if we plan too. We're dog people and our dogs are our kids. We don't go overboard, planning doggy birthday parties and such (not meant to be an insult to those that do) but we really love them and they are part of the family. When TH and I hooked up, I was already in possession of my little Lab and our Boxer can later.

I was 19 and six months before I had just moved into my first apartment. Even though I had a boyfriend, it was lonely. I had grown up with pets and there were always animals around. When asked, my landlords were kind enough to allow me to adopted a dog. I eagerly went to the pound and was overjoyed when I discovered a litter of Lab/Border Collie puppies. I picked out the most precious one with a white spot on her nose and white socks on her feet. I took her home 2 days later.

She was a terror.

The first 2 nights she cried the whole time and I was 2 seconds away from shipping her back to the pound. She was making me miserable. She was a monster to housebreak and ate everything in sight. I was miserable. But, common sense and love prevailed and I made it through that terrible 2 weeks.

12 years later she is still making me nuts. She is smarter than smart, gets into everything and can some how manage to pull food off the counter even if it is 3 feet from the edge. Not only does she sleep in our bed if we forget to close the bedroom door, but she pulls the covers down and nests in the sheets. She is the only dog I know that actually watches TV and understands what's on. She barks at the dogs or any other animal. She has a weakness for perfume and "nice" smells. If there is a magazine with perfume samples in it she will pull it on the floor and roll around on it until it's in tatters. I haven't finished a Cosmo in months. She loves to get in the shower once we're finished and rub herself against the walls, enjoying the smell of soap and shampoo. She is a wacko. She is my baby. There is nothing like the unconditional love of a dog. She greets me at the front door every night, totally enthralled with the idea that I'm home and she will be able to follow me all over the house as I do my nightly chores. Then as I settle down on the couch to watch TV shows, she bypasses her comfortable, very expensive dog bed to lie at my feet or on my feet if they happen to be on the floor. She has to be near me at all times. Sometimes it drives me up the wall. Especially if she decides to curl up at my feet like a speedbump while I'm cooking on the stove.

It was during her yearly wellness appointment, 2 days before Thanksgiving that I got the news. She has liver cancer. The vet was almost in tears (he just lost his dog last year to the same thing) as he told me she's got maybe 3 months or so. In my typical stone faced emotionless expression that hits me when I get bad news, I started peppering him with straight questions: What can I do to make her more comfortable? Is she in pain? When do I know that it's "that time"? He regarded me with curiosity as I seemingly digested this news as if I was receiving a diagnosis on a problem with my car. He seems alarmed that I wasn't crying and flailing about. I was in business mode. There was no way I was going to break down in front of him.

I was fine for the next hour as I casually went to the market, picked up the Thanksgiving turkeys and drove home. Little Lab was with me the whole time, dancing around in the backseat, thrilled to be on a car ride. It wasn't until I got home that I lost it. She had wore herself out at the vet and in the car and had settled herself down in her dog bed to rest. Still dressed in my work suit and heels, I fell to my knees in her bed, dragged her into my lap and sobbed and sobbed for what seemed like hours. She looked at me with her hazy old lady eyes that have still have eagle-eye vision and seemed confused. Why was I carrying on this way and why wasn't I running around the house doing chores so she could be under my feet?

It's been a few weeks and she's shows no sign of stopping. She's still a huge pain in my ass and gets into everything all the time. But, now instead of yelling at her, TH and I just tisk tisk and let it pass by. On Thanksgiving she ate more turkey than we did and we no longer worry about giving her too much cheese (too much dairy isn't good for dogs). Her kibble days are no longer and she will be eating homemade food from now on. She's allowed to lounge on the incredibly expensive leather couch and always overstays her welcome on the bed. She has carte blanche on everything. I know her time is short and let her do whatever she wants.

I dread the day that it all will end. Even more, I dread how my reaction will effect my guys in the office. Not one of them is "dog" person, so no one will be able to understand how on that day my whole world will fall apart and it is more than likely I will have to take the entire day off. I'm sure that "It's just a dog" will be floating around as my absence is noticed and explained. I dread the false sympathy and the curious looks.

'Cause she's not just a dog to us, she's our family.


  1. I'm so sorry! That is one of the worst feelings in the world.

  2. Oh I'm so sorry! My dad's dog that he been his baby for 15 years doesn't have much longer either. Her cancer has spread throughout her whole body. I will be taking berevment time when she passes. What a hard thing to go through. I wish you many more happy moments with your pooch!

  3. And that will be the day that you look at those guys and say "Screw you, she was my family" and you'll take your day off. And they'll have to deal with it because they won't have another choice.

    What a shitty thing man.....You won't get any "it's just a dog" comments from me. I DO have kids and I'd still be that broken up about my furbaby passing on.

  4. BadAss: Thank you sweetie. I know you had a tough day with your kitty awhile back so I knwo you feel my pain.

    Brooke: We're having as many moments as possible. Heading to the beach this weekend. It may be freezing out, but it's her favorite place in the world, regardless of the weather.

    Meg and Colin: I would love it if you could come in here on that day for me! You sound like you could really keep them in line in my absence!

  5. Oh CCG, I'm so sorry you have to go through this. She's not "just a dog", I get it. We have two and although they're pains in my ass, they're my kids too. They were here before the human kids and I love them so much. Ugh.

  6. I am in the same spot, no kids and 2 big German Shepherds that I call my "babies." We are even renting a minivan to take to Florida on vacation this year so we can take them with us. Just to see thier signs of aging is killing me. Dog people do not understand how much dogs add to our life on a daily basis. My thoughts are with you

  7. Well, you know how I feel about my babies, so you know that I'll be here for you. I've lost so many of my babies over the years, and it never gets easier.

    My Rebel sleeps pretty much with his head on my stomach every night, all night, and when I was on vacation, I had a really hard time falling asleep without him.

    It pisses me off that they can't live much longer lives, but all you can do is give them the best life while they're here. She's lucky to have such great parents!

  8. Obviously, I would hate to give you any false hope, but maybe there are things you could do to prolong her life? Giving her homemade, preservative free food is a good start. Detoxing her liver might add to her life. I know that there are some natural things people have used to help themselves when they have cancer, and in fact I recently read that the spice turmeric (sp?) is good for it. Maybe you can do some research, and see what's good for dogs? Good luck.

  9. I'm so sorry! I'm not a big dog person, but I have to confess my son's dogs have kinda grown on me. But I know how pets become family, and I'm really sorry you both have to go through all that.

    Make her days fun, and yours too! You have been lucky to have have for so long, and she no doubt knows she has been lucky to have you!

  10. It pisses me off when people say "It was just a dog" these animals are smart. You bond with them. Not to mention 12 years is a long time to have someone in your life.

    When I was 17 my dog died. We'd had her since I was in pre-school. It was very difficult. I had to work the next day and I couldn't hold myself together. I got lucky that the manager on duty was the cool understanding one. She told me that her dog passed a while ago and she took the day off of work and the other managers were smack talking about it about how "It's just a dog" and "I bet she's lying" Sometimes I hated that place. I kind of went on a mini rant there, sorry.

    Anyway, I'm sorry that you have limited time left with your pup. Is there any chance the vet could be wrong and she could beat the cancer?

  11. Casey - Thanks girl!

    Lola - She sleeps on top of my legs. I feel bad moving her so if I want to move I just suck it up and lie there

    Heather: I'd done a bit of research, but she's really far gone and it's riddled with tumors. We're just going to make everyday as happy and healthy as possible.

    Oldguy: Even if they're not yours they can grow on you. Isn't Aaron looking for a new home for Fenway? Just an idea...:)

    Sarah +2 girls: I wish he was wrong but I saw the scans myself. She's an old lady and has had a great life. I'm gonna enjoy every minute I have with her.