My next post will be all my favorite pictures, but before I get that organized, I thought I’d share the rest of our story. It’s not a pretty story so feel free to skip this one if you’d rather just wait for happy running puppy pictures.
It’s been a week since we lost Abby. She would have been 19 months old yesterday. She was here such a short time, but every single person who met her fell in love with her. I just loved her 100 times more – and she loved me back that much.
We only had 12 days with her after the vet found lung mets. We weren’t even planning X-rays since she’s just had them 4 weeks earlier, but a suspicious lump on her shoulder led to broad X-rays and the discovery.
Abby had been fatigued the day before the diagnosis and that continued. She would get up to go to the bathroom but then just lay down on the ground as soon as she was done. She was happy to rest on a couch or bed and wanted constant affection.
Her breathing was never horrible, but there was a constant wheeze. She tolerated a week of dasatsnib (a tyrosine kinase inhibitor) and then she was done. She couldn’t keep it down, lost interest in most food, and occasionally lost control of her bodily functions. She started retreating to her kennel which she had never done. At night, she would lay on the bed with my son, but was always awake when I checked on her. Our vet had warned us she would resist sleep because it made breathing harder. She slept a little during the day and always looked like she was REM-crashing into another 4-legged running dream.
Because her decline progressed so quickly over the weekend, we never got all of our medical questions answered, but it became clear she was dying. It didn’t make sense to push for answers when there was really only one. The tumor on her shoulder doubled in size, she was rapidly losing weight, there were signs of internal bleeding, and the scent of her body changed.
One of our goals all along had been to get Abby back to our house after being away for a 6 month remodel. In my mind, all the pain of carrying her up the stairs of our apartment would be rewarded when we were all back home together. I had to let that dream go and realize that home for Abby was wherever her people were. We move in to the house today and it will be hard not to have her with us. It was hard just checking out of our hotel this morning (we finally found a place with an elevator!) as we shared her last days there together.
On her last day, we took her to the house and let her lie in the grass. She was at peace, but wasn’t able to play. At the end of the day, we took her back to her original vet who first found the cancer. As tired as Abby was, she still managed to get up and give puppy kisses to the vet when she entered the room. We each said goodbye and Abby kissed our tears away–loving to the very end. She passed quickly and peacefully – 2 last wheezes with her head on my lap and then she was gone. She looked so small laying there – she’d lost so much of her size in the last few weeks.
I still cry every day, but it’s easier than it was a week ago when it felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest. I actually slept better the first night she was gone than the several before because the constant worry is gone, but it still feels like she should be here–like there should have been a way to win this battle and keep her for years longer.
Cancer will always suck, but the one thing I’ll never regret is the amputation. Abby lived a full life as a tripawd. She had just over 3 months, but there were very few down days in there. She still needed our love and we needed hers.