Today my dog fell down the stairs; he'd been diagnosed (tentatively, of course, because no one's sure of anything in medicine) with lymphosarcoma. There had been some small hope dangled and latched onto that it might be something viral.

And so you can imagine my shock and horror, discovering today that my dog - my truest companion for nearly a decade - had lost his sight. Every noise scared him. At the pet ER, more small bits of hope were given - maybe a month, maybe two, maybe remission. And all the while, my dog was more scared than I'd ever seen him, sought the center of the room so he wouldn't smack his head into anything even as he started at every noise. When I finally calmed him down enough to get him to lie down, I heard his breathing change: there was a rattle, and he was obviously uncomfortable. I realized why he'd been so antsy the last few nights - he couldn't breathe right when he was lying down.

I sat there with him on the floor for a couple of hours, petting him and trying to work the angles. And all the while, my sad dog, shaky on his feet, unable to find me if I wasn't whispering to him, was trying to make me feel better.

Letting him go wasn't easy. I thought about seeing him when I came in the door. About the way he'd peek over the bed in the mornings, infinitely patient with my laziness. I thought about how he's been the constant for almost a decade, the one thing I always always always looked forward to, who made every day, any day, better. Then I thought about the hours I wasn't home, and what it would be like to be left home in the dark. I thought about pacing the floor, unable to sleep, and not getting to do the things ones loved.

I had to let him go.


14 Responses to “Lymphosarcoma”
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life_of_a_fool said...

I am so sorry. This is a terrible loss and I'm sorry you have to go through it.

December 13, 2009 at 12:47 AM
Dr. Crazy said...

:( Sending you the biggest hug possible. I hope you're ok.

December 13, 2009 at 1:14 AM
Notorious Ph.D. said...

I am so very sorry to hear this. Losing a constant companion -- especially one who loves you without reservation -- is amazingly hard. But letting him go, rather than hanging onto him living in confusion and pain? You made the right choice, for him.

But it sucks for you, and I'm sorry.

December 13, 2009 at 3:01 AM
Dr. Rural said...

It is so hard to lose a beloved pet. My thoughts are with you.

December 13, 2009 at 7:33 AM
Maude Lebowski said...

I am so so so so very sorry to read this. I am extremely sorry for your loss. But you were there with him until the end. You did the unselfish thing and put his well-being before your sadness. He went knowing you cared.


December 13, 2009 at 8:35 AM
Brigindo said...

I'm so so sorry. I can't imagine how painful this is for you but I do think you made the brave and compassionate choice.

December 13, 2009 at 10:37 AM
kermitthefrog said...

I'm so sorry, Dr. C. It sounds like you helped him as much as you could, until the very end.

December 13, 2009 at 2:47 PM
Belle said...

You did the right thing. Not that that helps with the pain and sorrow (I'm fighting tears for you, remembering my own experience), but you let your love for him overcome your own needs. That's heroic.


December 13, 2009 at 4:07 PM
ash said...

Oh, poor sweet M.! He was a wonderful dog. I am so very sorry. My long-time companion, Nick, was hit by a car and died when I was in grad school, so I know all too well how devastating it can be to lose a four-legged friend. Please call if you need to talk. I know it will be very lonely without him.

Love you,

December 13, 2009 at 6:59 PM
dance said...
Dr. Curmudgeon said...

Thanks, all. I'm just trying to get along quietly, doing what little things I can to fill the day. Your thoughts and sympathy helps.

December 15, 2009 at 1:35 AM
Anonymous said...

I'm so so sorry. I know my pets are/have been my family -- so I know what a deep loss it is. Poor ol' guy! I think you did the right thing -- as hard as it will be for you. You gave him a good life -- that's the only thing that matters.

December 16, 2009 at 9:33 AM
Anonymous said...