The rest of the story…

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.

8 thoughts on “The rest of the story…”

  1. The depth of love you have shown for Abby a d her @ove for you comes shining through with every heartfelt word. Every single thing you did was for Abby’s well being. You ALWAYS had her as the #1 priority and she knew that.

    I KNOW you will be reliving those days before transition for a long time…over and over…making sure in yiur head you did everything possible. Let me assure you, you did EVERYTHING POSSIBLE!!
    Know that ro be true a d let that give you peace and comfort. Abby would like that.
    From those of us who’ve been there, we can tell you the happier memories do start to push tne sadness to the side. No, it never goes away, it just starts to be balanced out with the glorious joyful days she had with you!

    I want to thank you from my heart to yours. for having the courage to write this today. By sharing this lart of the journey, you never know when you nave reached out and helped someone else. Today Abby helped me be more at peace with my Happy Hannah’s transition almost twenty months ago. Told ya’ it stays with you a long time!

    Her attitude was still good and she was still eating /always eating any chance she got!), but she was exhausted with just going out to pee. Too tired to do much of anything but still enjoying the loving and spoiling. But the main reason I made the decision for her transition was because she just didnt seem to sleep much at all those several days. She may be “resting” but always awake.

    I’ll try and get to the point. We ALL struggle with doing “it” too soon or “it” too late. She still wagged, she still ate…but, becauxe of you, I am now more certain than ever that not sleeping was HER sign.

    I’m trying to convey to you how Abby is STILL making a difference!! How she is STILL touching lives!! Her legacy still loves through you in soooo many ways!! I hope I’m making sense.

    So with all my heart, thank you for sharing this with us today.

    With love and surrounding you with Abby’s grace,

    Sally and My Chunky Spiritual Being Happy Hannah

    1. Thank you so much Sally for your comments which helped every single time. I’m glad to know Abby’s story helped you with Hannah – even all this time later.

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I know how hard it was. I didn’t make it through it without shedding tears. I was cheering for her so hard.
    Sally always has the best comments and she is so right when she says “the depth of love you have shown for Abby a d her @ove for you comes shining through with every heartfelt word. Every single thing you did was for Abby’s well being. You ALWAYS had her as the #1 priority and she knew that.”

    Abby loved you guys and will continue to love you from the Bridge. Watch for the signs she will show you. The decision we make is always the hardest.
    You knew her signs you made the correct decision and you gave all the treatments as an option no regrets.
    She did awesome as a Tripawd and will live on forever here. Abby will not be forgotten.

    Michelle & Angel Sassy

    1. Thanks Michelle for cheering us all the way. I loved reading about Sassy’s life and hearing from a fellow Rottie lover.

  3. It is so so sad to lose her so young. It must just break your heart. But you loved her to the end and you did the best thing for her. She felt that love I’m sure.

    1. Thank you. I know she felt the love which is what allowed me to go through with the end. As painful as it was, letting her go was the right choice.

  4. I know this wasn’t easy for you to write, but we thank you for finding the courage to do so. As painful as your experience was, somewhere, someone will find comfort knowing that someone else can relate to their feelings, their heartache and their experience.

    We are so very, very sorry guys. May Abby’s spirit shine down on her people forever, she is so proud of your strength. {{{hugs}}}

    1. Thank you Jerry. You were an inspiration to us. I do take comfort in knowing Abby’s life could help comfort another.

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