I haven’t posted on here in over a year. This post is really more to help myself grieve than anything, to anyone who sticks with reading the whole thing, thank you for your kindness.
The past year with Milhouse was amazing. I think 14 of his 16 months as a Tripawd were some of the best months of his life. He was pain free and was dogging like a champ- playing with his brother and keeping our yard safe from salespeople and neighbor dogs. 🙂 We celebrated a year post cancer diagnosis in June 2018. In August, we were given the all clear from the oncologist and told that we could come back less often. Lung scans had been clear through the entire past 14 months, with no evidence of metastasis. We had actually beaten cancer!!
One morning the beginning of September, Milhouse was having a normal morning. After breakfast he had begun yelping in pain if anything touched his abdomen. We took him to the pet emergency room, as it was Labor Day weekend. They initially wanted to give him antibiotics and pain meds and send him home with a follow up appointment scheduled. I asked for an ultrasound. I’m so glad that I asked for it and didn’t just take him home. After a long weekend stay in the ER, our oncologist called that Tuesday to say that the ultrasound revealed both a large mass and a small mass in Milhouse’s liver. Two different types of cancer in one organ. He apologized so many times, as we had been diligent in scanning Milhouse’s lungs for over a year. When osteosarcoma (Mo’s original diagnosis) spreads, 9 times out of 10 it metastasizes in the lungs. Sometimes, it spreads to another bone. This was a totally unrelated to his original cancer. This felt like such a punch in the gut after being so on top of regular x-rays and bloodwork. We just were never looking in his liver…and we had no reason to be. Our oncologist was absolutely amazing and I feel like I owe every bit of the last 16 months to him.
Surgery was not really an option. Removing the large (not as concerning) mass could disturb and spread the smaller, much more concerning mass. It could also spread any lurking osteosarcoma. I decided to take my baby home and enjoy the time that we had left. When we got home, we had professional photos done by a family friend. I am so grateful for them and will always hold them close to my heart. They are some of my final memories of my boy looking healthy.
Through the rest of September and October, Milhouse began to slowly decline. We had an awesome regimen of prescriptions to help keep him comfortable, and I believe that we were able to do that until his last day. Getting him to eat became a daily struggle, and he lost so much weight. As much as we could, we did all the things he loved. We went on walks and sniffed all the things. We went to the lake and watched geese. We went and dipped our toes in the creek behind my mom’s house. We got hamburgers, and steaks, and all the junk his vegan mom didn’t let him eat all those years. We snuggled and napped. I cannot thank Will enough for all of the extra time and care and help he gave to keep Mo happy and comfortable. He has been my rock through this insanely hard time. My mom has also been extremely supportive and I so appreciate her as well.
A week ago yesterday, when I knew it was time to say goodbye, I wanted to save my buddy the stress of a car ride to the vet (they always stressed him out). Lap of Love is absolutely amazing and I would recommend them to anyone. Milhouse’s last day consisted of him snuggling with me, going on a walk with Will and me, napping, visiting with my mom, going on another walk with Will, Mom, and me (where he got to eat a Snickers) and then laying down for a nap in my lap in the yard. The three of us prayed over him that his passing would be peaceful and pain free. It was a warm, beautiful day, and I thank God for such a perfect peaceful day. Dr. Regan from Lap of Love was so compassionate through the euthanasia process, and Milhouse had the most peaceful passing I could have asked for.
The past week without Milhouse has been so tough. I have heard others on this site talk about their “heart dog” before, which is defined as your “canine soulmate”. I cannot describe the bond that we had and I don’t know that I will ever be able to put it into words. The past week has felt a year long. I feel lost and I’m trying to keep doing all the things I normally do: work, church, friends, etc., but I am wrecked. I know it will get easier, and I know it will get better, but right now I just want my dog.
To my beautiful boy: Mama loves you and misses you so much. Thank you for (3 weeks shy of) 14 years of being my little spoon, tennis-ball fiend, nap buddy, car-ride loving, water splashing, bottomless treat-eating, brown speckly-nosed, cuddle-avoiding but eventually welcoming, wallowing, stuffed toy de-fluffing, Charlie’s tolerating but actually loving, beautifully singing, best friend. You were such a bright spot in every single day. I will forever be grateful for the day your little puppy self came to live with me. I will miss you always. I love you.
To remove ads from your site and others, upgrade to a Tripawds Supporter blog!