My baby has cancer. And by baby, I mean my beloved four-legged fur ball, Max.
I’d noticed some swelling near his throat in the last week or so and he’s been having trouble eating. My vet had recently made some changes and I put off calling because I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back there. Max has had several vets over the years and sometimes I’ve felt like they just didn’t care. So I tend to wait it out before I make a rash phone call. But then Max started to eat less and it was harder and harder to get food in him. (He’s lost about five pounds now.) I worried it was because of the lumps. I worried it was because he couldn’t swallow.
I can tell you I put it off due to the vet issue – I just DID tell you that, in fact – but, truly, it was because I was worried. I was worried it was cancer. I was worried it was the end. But when a friend suggested another vet who had treated her pets with the utmost care, I decided it was time.
When the new vet said the “C” word, I fought back tears. When she told me about tests and prognosis (less than a year), I swallowed hard. When she left the room, I wept. My fears had been confirmed. My baby was dying.
I’ve had Max for thirteen years. When I bought my first house, the first thing I wanted to do was get a dog. No home, in my opinion, is complete without a dog. I’ve been in love with him from the moment I laid eyes on him and he’s been my baby ever since.
When I cry, he comes and nudges my leg.
When I’m sick, he snuggles with me and keeps me warm.
When I was lonely in my house, he would lay next to me on the couch, hogging his spot and reminding me I was not alone.
When I met my soon-to-be husband, he pretended to like him. (The treat helped.)
When I moved my pooch into a new house, he quickly claimed the yard, the living room, the kitchen and the couch pillows. (A habit we’ve since put an end to.)
He barks fiercely at Amish buggys, neighbor dogs, people on bicycles, motorcycles and stray leaves. He doesn’t see or hear well anymore. He has a multitude of other issues that we’ve been on numerous medications, ointments and drops to fix and maintain. But this cannot be maintained or stopped. This cannot be fixed. This will kill my baby.
So now I’ll be taking more time for snuggles. I’ll be posting a lot more pics on my social media pages of my little fur ball. I’ll be probably making a few videos, too. And now Max will be able to eat pretty much whatever his heart desires.
The only true way I know to cope with the upcoming moments in my life is to write them down. So that’s what I’ve done here. I cannot explain how much my dog means to me. If you’re a pet owner, you get it. If you’re not…you’re missing out. Because although the loss of a pet is one of life’s greatest heartbreaks, knowing their unconditional love is one of life’s greatest joys.
You’ll never understand how great the hurt
or what you meant to me.
But, in the end, you spread a love so deep and wide,
that’s all I needed it to be.