My heart is so sad. On Tuesday, my husband and I had to say goodbye to our precious pound puppy, Buddy. He's been a part of our family for 15+ years. My husband and I adopted him from the pound when we'd been married for just 5 months. I remember thinking "We should've just had a baby". Buddy loved to sleep right between us, had to have his head on my pillow and was afraid of the dark. When we tried to get him to sleep in his own bed in our room, as soon as he heard Cliff start to snore I would feel one paw on the bed, then another, wait a few minutes, then the third paw. If we stirred he'd wait then the whole Buddy was up on the bed slithering up in between us. I remember bringing him home like it happened yesterday. He was named "Buddy" by accident. While trying to think of a name we'd say things like "hey buddy" "our little buddy" "come here bud". Eventually, that's all he would answer to, so Buddy he became. He chewed everything. Well, that's not true...he skipped the traditional shoe chewing and went straight for the couch. I'll never forget patrolling the house for anything he might try to chew up while I was at work. The only things left out were his toys and his bed. I came home from work to find my house covered in what looked like manna from heaven. It was his bed...in iiiiiiiitty bitty pieces alllllllll over the house. He loved to pester my cat, Sasha. They would take turns chasing each other all over the house.
He was such a sweet dog. I remember one time I was home with a migraine and Buddy brought me his rawhide and put it in my lap. Thinking he wanted to play I tossed it to the floor and told him that I didn't feel like playing. He picked it up again, placed it on my leg, nosed it up into my lap and gave me a look that said "take it. It makes me feel better". When I think about how he was a part of our lives for 15 years, I think about all the things we've been thru...all of the July 4th's where we had to medicate him to keep him somewhat sane during the fireworks, the illnesses, the surgeries (his and ours). When he was happy to see you, it wasn't just his tail that wagged. His whole body did. I think fondly of the times our friend Shaun would come over and shout "BUDDYYYYYYYY!!!!" and Buddy would get so excited he'd pee all over the floor. I think it was Shaun's personal goal to get him to pee ;)
I loved how whether we were gone all day at work or if we just went out to get the mail, Buddy would greet us as if we'd been gone for years! He was a horrible attack dog unless it's possible to lick someone to death. He was a great protector tho. Any time Cliff was gone on a business trip, Buddy would go on "high alert" and was faithful to stay by my side until Cliff got home and he was "off duty".
In recent months, Cliff and I began noticing a bit of a decline in Buddy's health. We attributed it to his age. As far as we were concerned, after him making it thru bladder surgery a few years ago, we figured every day he was alive was just an extra bonus. I was just talking about it with my sister in law on Tuesday. After she left with my niece, Buddy began coughing as if he was going to vomit. I put the dogs outside so he could do it out there. He staggered around the yard for a minute or less then collapsed by the back door. I watched to see if he would get up and when he didn't even raise his head I called Cliff at work. I knew this was bad. I called the vet to let them know we were coming in. Cliff got home and we loaded Buddy into the truck. We got to the vet's office and Cliff carried Buddy inside. One of the techs did a quick triage and informed the doctor. The doctor came in and said "it's probably not as bad as it seems" and he looked at me as I was bawling my eyes out. After more questions and an exam of Buddy the doctor said he suspected a certain type of cancer. Hemangiosarcoma...basically a cancer that grows on a blood vessel. As the tumor grows, the part that is not right next to the vessel/blood supply begins to decay and can rupture leading to internal bleeding. They did an xray and blood test. The blood test indicated Buddy was very anemic (indicating internal bleeding) and the xray showed that he had so much fluid (blood) in his abdomen that the doc couldn't tell if a tumor was present. The doctor said they could do further testing, exploratory surgery to verify that's what it was but he was pretty confident. We knew Buddy would likely not survive a surgery at his age. The doctor said that in these situations, the animal can reabsorb the blood and recover...until the rupture happens again. He said that IF Buddy recovered from this episode, the next would likely be fatal. It could happen in a few months, weeks or even days. We asked THE question...is it more reasonable/responsible/kind to euthanize him? The doctor said that yes, it was VERY reasonable to do that. I would like to think that if he thought Buddy had a chance of meaningful recovery that he would've told us that we should try the treatment options. I think he thought that was what should happen as soon as he examined Buddy. He was just afraid to jump right to that. The people at the office were very nice. They gave us time with him before the doctor came back in. Since I've never been thru this he explained what would/could happen. I'm grateful it happened so fast. Buddy didn't even react to being poked. He simply just stopped breathing. The doctor listened as his heartbeat faded and let us know when it was over. The doctor had told us we could stay with him as long as we wanted but we'd already said our goodbyes. I had told him he was a good dog and we loved him and would miss him. We cried, regained our composure and then left. I cried this morning as I walked past his empty food dishes. It breaks my heart to think that the dog that was with me nearly every day for 15 years is now gone. I know he'll always be in my heart and is waiting for me at the Rainbow Bridge. (i know, i know...that's not theological but I kinda like the idea of it)