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Milhouse's 3-legged adventures!

Goodbye, Sweet Boy

November 14th, 2018 · 21 Comments · Uncategorized

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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.


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21 Comments so far ↓

  • paws120

    I am so very sorry for your loss. You gave your pup an awesome life and took just the best care of him. Sending hugs to you and your family.
    Jackie and Huckleberry

  • dawn3g

    What a beautiful tribute to a very lucky boy. To have found his Heart Mama, someone who loves him unconditionally, wanting nothing for the best for him–so many dogs do not have that privilege. Making his remaining time his and yours, making his happiness a priority, what a gift to your perfect boy!

    My heart hurts for you, I know this is not an easy time. The strong bond and special love you shared shows so clearly in the picture you posted. I can say he’ll always be in your heart–and he will, but it doesn’t take away the searing pain now.

    Sending hugs…

    • Milhouse

      Thank you so much. Everyone’s kind words mean so much to me. I ordered a book called “Heart Dog” about grieving the loss. I’m hoping it will bring some comfort.

  • Michelle

    I am sorry for your loss. Run free Milhouse until you see your Mama again.
    Watch for his signs he will give you some that he is ok.

    hugs
    Michelle & Angel Sassy

  • hester

    Deeply sorry you had to say farewell to your beautiful, wonderful boy. I know exactly what you mean about the first week without him feeling like a year – it is just such a jarring difference to be without them. His story is so inspiring though and will be for others to come. Wishing you comfort in your memories.

    Lisa

    • Milhouse

      I have read some of your posts and I am so deeply sorry for your loss as well. What a beautiful boy yours is. I am glad that you still write from time to time. I feel like I have more to say but didn’t know if I should keep writing now that he is gone.

  • Kathy Salley

    Such a beautifully written tribute to a much loved family member. I am so, so sorry for your loss. I know the ache too well.
    Tonight the Salley pack will light a candle in the window for sweet Milhouse. And lift our voices in a Moonhowl at midnight. It is how we recognize the passing of a great soul,

  • Ken Miller

    I know both the joy and pain of pets all too well. When I read these stories my heart breaks all over again and again for you and your pet. It brings back so many memories of my dogs and cats that have gone and the ones still here with me running around making life crazy . They work their way into our hearts and never leave . I pray for you and hope you will find peace in the knowledge that Milhouse is now in peace and pain free and is waiting for you somewhere . When we all pass we hopefully reunite with all out loved ones and again run and play together .

    • Milhouse

      Thank you so much for your sweet words. I miss him terribly, but am glad that he’s free from pain.

  • Bonnie Hoskins

    Lindsey, continuing to pray for your broken heart. Love you!

  • midnighter94

    I know your heart is broken…I also felt it was so unfair that Murphy had survived so long to be taken by hemangiosarcoma. It’s just not fair for a second cancer to come along!!!
    I’m so sorry. Milhouse knew how very much you loved him, and he obviously loved you back.
    Hugs to you,
    Donna

    • Milhouse

      It really doesn’t feel fair. He fought so hard against the osteosarcoma. I’m so sorry for your loss as well. I’m very grateful for this community.

  • jerry

    Ohhhhh no! We are so very, very sorry to read this, and thank you for your courage to share the sad news with us.

    I know your heart is aching and broken, and life feels black and white. It takes time, lots of it, to come to grips with your own new normal. As you figure it out, know that we are all here for you.

    And in the meantime, never forget that Milhouse’s story will remain here forever, always there to inspire and bring hope to people who feel despair, people who think that a cancer diagnosis is the end of the road for their heart dog. Milhouse proved it was not, and he showed the world how to live large even in the face of cancer twice over.

    Please reach out to us if we can help in any way. We are deeply sorry and send all our condolences and love your way.

    • Milhouse

      Thank you for all you do to keep all of us walking this road together connected. I am so grateful for this community.

  • jerry

    P.S. Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos with us. Milhouse had a look in his eyes that beautifully expressed the love he had for you. Truly unforgettable.

  • benny55

    So very, very sorry to hear your sweet boy had to head to the Bridge. Through my tears, I read your heartfelt tribute to your handsome Milhouse. You made Mo so proud with your exquisite words that poured out so purely from uour Soul.

    I realized I had missed some of your blogs, so I took a moment to go back and travel with Milhouse on his journey. And his pictures were such a treat to see! I love the one of he and Charlie “reunited ” as they joyfully chew their bones side by side.

    Make no mistake about it, you made EVERY day with Mo THE BEST DAY EVER!!!! And you especially did a splendid job of giving him a send off that celebrated who he is and all the wonderful times you shared!

    Thank you so very uch fot sharing Milhouse’s journey with us… all of it. And we still hope to hear more about his adventures with you and some more adorable pictures.

    You have some rough times ahead as you work through rhe void and the change of routine. Just know we understand like no others can and know we are here with you and for you, okay?

    And also know that Mo WILL send you signs he is still present with you in energy form. Right now though, he’s having such a great time running arou d healthy and whole at the ridge, it may take him a while to connect. Plus, after eating unlimited cheeseburgers and ice cream everyday, he takes long naps and burps loudly in his sleep!

    Surrounding you with our love…..and give Charlie an extra smooch for us.

    Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

    • Milhouse

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I have felt so much comfort in this community with those who have walked this same walk. I appreciate everyone’s empathy and compassion.

  • Berta

    I just finished reading and am praying for God to comfort your heart and heal it as only He can. Still, how wonderful to have had this most special relationship–to know that kind of companionship and love. When we lose something we love, our grief is a testimony to the reality and beauty of the relationship. The saddest is when someone passes and there is no grief at all. I think that is real tragedy. To have loved is always wonderful, and your grief only testifies to the depth of the relationship. Milhouse lived and changed the world with his life. Will be praying hard for you!

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