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I still keep wondering if he was ready.


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I still keep wondering if he was ready.

Why do we keep beating ourselves up over those last few days or those last few moments? I had 14 years with my baby boy, Sonny, and they were amazing. He was amazing. He came into my life when he was about a year old. He was a rescue dog, so I don’t know when he was born or what kind of mix he was. He looked part yellow lab and beagle, and acted part jack russell terrier. And he truly exuded the energy and spunkiness that was his own until his final day here with me.

I wanted him to live forever.

The vet techs used to call him the energizer bunny. He had heartworms when I adopted him. He had cancer four times, cushing’s disease, terrible tartar on his teeth even though he loved his nighttime brushing, radiation treatment which led to spinal myelopathy, which lead to incontinence, bladder retention, multiple UTI’s and kidney disease. Then he had cancer again, this time untreatable. In the last few months, he didn’t want to cuddle much or play, and he’d had an extremely reduced appetite, which was hard for me to watch because I think he lived for food. I also think he lived for me.

The pandemic and work from home order was a blessing in disguise. I got to spend every day at home with him for the last six months of his life. But now it is a curse because I have to spend every day at home without him. I never felt silence before; his absence is physically painful. I see him in every inch of every room. He is a part of every big and little thing I do, all day long, from the time I wake up until I go to bed. My life revolved around him for the last two years. Every decision I made was based on his needs. I put him first and I put myself last. He needed me and I would, and did, do anything for him.

I needed him too. And I still need him. I don’t know how to live without him. My heart is broken into a thousand pieces.

I miss kissing his nose. I miss petting his soft ears. I miss burying my face in his thick, soft furry neck. I miss his frito-smelling paws. I miss his head on my pillow. I miss his big, brown beautiful eyes. I miss hearing his tags jingle. I miss him following me from room to room. I miss him licking my leg while he waited for me to finish brushing my teeth so I could brush his. I miss him laying on my yoga mat while I was trying to work out. I miss his snoring while I’m working on the computer. I miss sitting on the front porch with him during lovely fall weather. I miss having morning coffee in the backyard while he wandered and barked at other dogs in the park, or just sat and people watched. I miss taking him for daily walks and visiting each of the other neighborhood dogs. I miss bringing him to my parent’s house so he could hang out and play with their dog. I miss stepping over him with the laundry basket because he always laid in the doorway. I miss seeing him on the bench by the big dining room window where he would look out for hours. I miss cupping his face with my hands and putting my forehead against his. I miss his eager face when I took carrots out of the fridge for his daily veggie snack. I miss petting his belly while he rolled around in the grass. I miss him laying halfway on my lap on the couch. I miss his head on my legs while we slept. I miss him licking my face, especially when I cried because I need that now more than ever. I miss hearing him breathe.

I especially miss him when I come home after being gone and he was so happy to see me, greeting me with his barks and excited tail wags, spinning around with joy. I miss it so much that I cry every time I drive home because I know he’s not going to be there when I arrive.

My family and friends loved him, and he loved them. He was always so happy when I had people over, as if they were there to see him. In the last few months, they did come over just to see him. Even the day before he passed away, we spent the day with family and fed him food he’d never had before. Gave him his final chances to lick our legs for as long as he wanted to.

I tried to give him the best last days ever. I keep wishing I could go back and do more, did I do enough? Did I give him enough pets, hugs, kisses, love? Did I say everything I wanted to? Should I have waited one more day, or just a few more hours so I could hug and kiss him some more? Did he know how much I loved him, that I was doing what was best for him? Was he scared in those last few moments? Could I have done something sooner about the infection that took over his body at the end? Why didn’t I sleep on the floor with him that last night?

I go through the motions of each day, even though I don’t want to. I don’t want to do any of this without him. I don’t want to be in this house without him, he has lived here with me since the day I moved into it. I don’t care about anything. Everything seems so insignificant and pointless.

I can’t believe he’s not here anymore. He was my reason for living and now I have to find a way to continue without him. I tell myself that he did not save my life so that I could turn around and fall apart after he was gone. But that does not stop the sadness of his loss or pain of his absence.

This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.

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Thank you 💙  It took me two weeks to the day to pull myself together enough to do this. It made me feel a little better so I am glad I did. Thanks for reading and caring. It's very hard being alone. 

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Sorry for your loss. Your dog was very cute and sounded like he was a great boy. I think most of us can definitely relate to what you wrote. About all the special things you'll miss and about wanting him to live forever. I promise things will get easier. I still miss my Mango every day and it is so surreal to realize he's gone. I hate when people say you'll get over it. I don't think I will ever 'get over it'. I don't think we ever get over it, we just have to learn to live with it and realize we can't stay miserable forever.

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Thank you for saying it gets easier. It gives me hope.

I agree, I don't think there is any getting over it. My friend the other day after only a week and a half without him said "I thought you were getting better".  I don't think some of my friends realize how much I'm hurting. Sonny was my soulmate, my constant companion for 14 years.  He was always by my side, never judged, never abandoned our friendship, and he gave me more love and understanding than most humans. 

 

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When my beloved cockapoo Muffin died, just a few weeks after my dear father had died as well, I had the distinct feeling that some people were thinking (even if they didn't say so), "Geez, Marty, you didn't react this way when your dad died!" Here is my "take" on that. As much as I love my father, he was not someone I took to bed with me every night, or the one I snuggled with on the sofa with every evening as I watched TV, or the one who kissed my face and licked away my tears when I was upset about something, or the one who went nuts with joy when he heard my car in the driveway and wagged his tail so hard he'd send himself flying off our deck, landing in the shrubbery. Muffin was glued to my side like a second skin when I was home, and I cannot say that about any other living creature, including my father. I loved my father as much as any daughter can, and to this day I miss him terribly, but my relationship with him was DIFFERENT from the relationship I had with this dear little dog, and the role that Muffin played in my life was DIFFERENT from the role my father played. I do not apologize for that ~ I simply know it, understand it and accept it ~ and if other people do not understand and accept it, then I consider that to be their problem, not mine. ♥️

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28 minutes ago, MartyT said:

wagged his tail so hard he'd send himself flying off our deck, landing in the shrubbery.

LOL - oh my gosh, the things these doggies do!  😍

The connection we feel to them, and they feel to us, is astounding and everlasting. I would do it all over again if I had the chance. I would continue to do everything I was doing if he was still here no matter how it affected my life. I think I'll always want just a little more time. 😢

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Sonny Boy is a beautiful boy and I too understand what you are going through with the loss of him.  I had to let my beautiful girl, Maddie, go the end of May of this year.  After being diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2018, three years after losing my husband, she became my reason for living.  I was told by the oncologist she could live comfortably for at a minimum of one year with treatments, and hopefully longer than a year.  The treatments would affect her for a day where she was maybe a little quieter.  Even now her absence still is so difficult for me to accept. 

4 hours ago, Sonny boy said:

I agree, I don't think there is any getting over it. My friend the other day after only a week and a half without him said "I thought you were getting better". 

I understand your thoughts on getting over the loss.  We all grieve differently and if someone doesn't seem to get your grief, try not to let their misunderstanding cause you pain.  There are many who do get your grief.  My best to you, Dee

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Thank you. Sonny had more specialists than I did! When he first got cancer I had no idea there were dog oncologists. Over time he wound up with an internal specialist, neurologist, cardiologist, surgeon. 

The sadness just washes over me randomly, unexpectedly. It's worse when I wake up and then right before bed. I miss him so much! 😭

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56 minutes ago, Sonny boy said:

Thank you. Sonny had more specialists than I did! When he first got cancer I had no idea there were dog oncologists. Over time he wound up with an internal specialist, neurologist, cardiologist, surgeon. 

The sadness just washes over me randomly, unexpectedly. It's worse when I wake up and then right before bed. I miss him so much! 😭

Yes it's amazing the vet specialties they have now. I brought Mango to one oncologist for targeted radiation and another for chemo. He also went to see an eye doctor.

When I was a kid I remember our dog got cancer (I think it was in the liver) and they didn't have anything like that. They told my mother to feed him a specialized diet and that was about it. I don't think he lasted long. I got a little over a year of mostly quality time with Mango. I don't think he would have lasted more than a month or two without it. I cherished every day of it.

Every night before I go to sleep I say good night to Mango and tell him how much I miss him. Sigh.

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Awe 🤗

I say good morning and good night to Sonny and I talk to him during the day sometimes for various things. He used to come into the kitchen when I cooked, so I call him when I take out something I might've shared. If I leave for the grocery I say "I'll be right back baby boy".  When I would turn around and he was behind my chair, "hey cutie pie".  If I was going to put laundry away...  Every frivolous moment he was there, following me to every room just to be near me. 

💔

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On 8/6/2020 at 10:58 AM, kayc said:

My Lucky girl (whippet/dalmatian) did not have a fatal disease either, she was 14 and her hip kept giving out, bad arthritis in her leg where she'd had a break and surgery with a spring put in as a puppy, she no longer smiled the last two years (she'd always been known for her beautiful grins!) and when she started whimpering during the night, I decided it was time.  Could she have lived another month?  Yes, likely.  But why put her through that, she didn't seem to have quality of life left anymore.  She was such a good girl, so well behaved, I felt she deserved better than suffering.

Yes, this!

A beautiful tribute to your Sonny.He certainly was a cutie and those pictures tell a story of a great life together.I just put my 17 year old pug to sleep who had many health issues and we try to keep them as long as we can but there is a time when they are in too  much pain and not happy and just trying to stay here for us and we can’t keep them anymore because they would suffer.You did so much to keep Sonny around and should Be grateful all the wonderful times you shared and will always have.You will always feel he is with you and miss him so much but in time it gets a little better when you can look back and smile at the beautiful life you both had.

 

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I am so sorry for your loss...what you wrote could have been wrote by me...I lost my boy 8/16/19, also inoperable cancer, liver shut down.  He was my world.  I am so glad your Sonny got YOU for his parent, and you got to enjoy HIM!  Arlie was my soulmate in a dog, my perfect dog, I also got him just shy of one year, he lived to be 11 1/2.  I wish we could have had each other the rest of our lives.  His smile lit up my world!

Thank you for sharing your pictures, I think what I got out of it is that Sonny is so grateful and happy to have had his life with YOU.  I'm also glad you got that time at home with him.  Very sweet sweet boy...I hope the thoughts in this video bring you some comfort.

 

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Thanks y'all for sharing and for your thoughtful words. This is why I came to this discussion group and it means a lot, and helps too. 

Jayjay - I have hundreds of pics of Sonny. I wish I could share them all because they do tell a great story and show how wonderful our time was together. I was able to look at some and not become a basket case this week and just smile and focus more on thinking about the fun we had and all the quirky things he did that made me happy, things I didn't think much about in the past couple years as we dealt with his health issues.  And you're right, at some point they seem to just live for us and I think that's where Sonny and I were in the past four months. He had good days and not so good days, but he wasn't enjoying all the things in life that he used to, like he used to. He was winding down and our time was coming to an end and I did my best to enjoy every second, every day, and do things that made him happy. Sorry for the loss of your pug 🤗

I sometimes get upset that maybe I shouldn't have done the radiation because it created so many issues later in his life.  But even with those issues, at least until these past few months, he was as happy as could be. Dogs are so resilient and are able to overcome obstacles in ways that a lot of humans never can. He taught me in that way, just get up and keep going. Of course it was easier when he was here, for me to just keep going. I'm struggling now. 

I will be forever grateful for having the opportunity to be a stay-at-home dog mom for several months. I know he loved it! 

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2 minutes ago, Sonny boy said:

He taught me in that way, just get up and keep going.

In this way their legacy lives on in us, for all of the memories we hold, for all of the lessons they taught us, they were indeed our greatest gift.

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21 hours ago, Sonny boy said:

Sonny had more specialists than I did! When he first got cancer I had no idea there were dog oncologists. Over time he wound up with an internal specialist, neurologist, cardiologist, surgeon. 

It's evident you did everything in your power to keep your Sonny well.  You were a wonderful Mom for your fur baby.  Hugs to you, Dee

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

My heart is breaking reading this. I'm working home as well and I'm not going to have my baby boy in my lap anymore, or sleeping by my feet, or jumping in my chair when I get up for a moment. I also don't want to be at home without him. I don't want to keep coming home to a house that doesn't have my baby waiting for me. Every word you said resonated, I feel your pain and I am so deeply sorry for your loss. It's a pain unlike any other

I don't know if you have the resources, but you could consider moving your workspace. I'm planning on moving my work desk to another room, I just can't sit where my cat used to sit next to me. I see him everytime I look in that corner, I hear him meowing at me, I feel his presence. I just can't do it. 

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That could be a wise idea, right now your home workspace is a trigger for you.  :(  Home triggered me hugely in the beginning and even now I can picture him laying on the couch smiling, then the vision disappears, although it's not happening as frequently as it did in the early time of my grief.  I still have his coat hanging on the chair, and I hold it sometimes, it's the closest thing I have to holding him.

 

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thank you amboehlen - i'm sorry for the loss of your baby boy. that's a great idea and i'm happy for you to be able to move your workspace. i unfortunately do not have the space, but if i did, i probably would have done that. the grief comes in waves, some days more than others. sometimes i can sit at my desk and look beside me, picture him laying there, hear his breath and smile. other days i sit on the sofa and feel so empty and alone i have to get up and go somewhere else. i have a blanket that my friend gave to Sonny for my birthday (yes, Sonny got a present when it was my birthday) and now i snuggle that blanket and think of him, imagine i'm petting him or he's sitting next to me. and the blanket is soft just like he was. 

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