My last day

This is the last chapter of my earthly life, bringing us full circle.  While it has been a sad and difficult chapter to write, it is also a chapter full of warmth and everlasting love.  My memoirs would not have been complete without it.  

No-one knows when their last day will be or how it will transpire.  I certainly didn’t. But, despite all of the doubts that plagued mum afterwards, we both know that we were very blessed to have had a wonderful last few hours together. 

One week before my spirit was set free mum took me to a physio and got me a harness.  The physio gave me the most wonderful massage and I slept so well that night and the following night.  Unfortunately I started feeling unwell in my tummy and I had a repeat of tummy problems the next night (Monday) with blood in my stools.  Mum rang the oncologist who said to stop the piroxicam and give me the tummy meds.  That was my fifth last night on earth. Mum cuddled me as I slept and tried to comfort me as she felt every gurgle in my tummy and every whimper.

During my final few days my tummy started to get better but the pain in my hip was getting worse. Mum picked me up from dad on the evening of Friday 4th May. I had been at the park and was very weary and in pain. Mum was shocked at how I looked and helped me into the car as fear began to take hold of her. On the 20 minute drive home mum called our vet and our oncologist. As soon as we got home I took the shortest route to the house (which meant going up 3 steps) and collapsed on my bed in the loungeroom. Mum gave me a Tramadol (it was 6pm) and within an hour I felt a bit better.

My last night with mum

But, about 4 hours later I felt uncomfortable and was in pain. Mum gave me another Tramadol at 2am but it didn’t seem to have any impact. I was in too much pain. Mum kept cuddling me but I couldn’t get comfortable. Mum could also feel and hear a strange “popping” noise in my chest.

When mum left me to go to the bathroom I would start crying. I didn’t want to be left alone. I was scared and in pain. It really upset mum because I had never ever cried before. My step dad stayed with me while mum had a shower.

Last cuddles with my step dad

Mum decided that we would need to go to the hospital and try and get some stronger pain meds like morphine or something, anything! By this time (7.30am) I was sitting comfortably at the window surveying my territory, looking very weary but still very much like a dog who wanted to live.

My last look out the window

I grumbled a lot when mum asked me to get up but I did as I was told and made it to the car (it was such a struggle but thank God for the harness. It made it so easy). I kept looking at mum in the car, intently watching her, saying “please fix this mum”. At the hospital carpark I did a huge wee which went on for ages and I accidentally got it all over mum’s shoe. Not that she minded. I made my way into the emergency department and sat down on a bed that mum and my step dad had brought with them. I wasn’t scared of the emergency vets, in fact I was relieved to be there. I knew they could fix my pain.

The vet wanted to do xrays and blood work. Mum didn’t want to leave me but she was promised that they wouldn’t put me in a cage but would let me sit on a bed out with the nurses so that I wouldn’t feel alone. My step dad gave me an affectionate pat on the head and mum gave me her usual big cuddle and kiss. Neither mum nor my step dad thought that I wouldn’t be coming home again.

I knew the hospital would fix my pain.

About 3 hours later mum got the news she was dreading. I had lesions on my hip and one of them was very large. Mum called my dad and they both arrived at the hospital to be told that the best thing for me would be for me to go to sleep there and then. Mum wanted the vet to give me extra pain relief and let me go home so that our vet could help set me free from my pain on the Monday. But the emergency vet was very concerned saying that I was at risk of my hip/pelvis fracturing and that it would be catastrophic for me if that happened. Mum felt trapped. She always said that she would put my needs ahead of hers and now that she knew what she knew she couldn’t ignore it. We had come to the end of the line.

The hospital gave us a quiet room to ourselves and told us to take as much time as we needed to say goodbye. We spent nearly 3 hours together, just mum, dad and I. We played with the ball, creating lots of noise as I growled and enjoyed myself throwing it in a seated position to dad. I then spent ages being cuddled and kissed by mum. The nurse also came in with lots of yummy chicken and liver treats. I was so happy. I was with the people I loved more than anything in the world and I had my mum’s arms cuddled around me. I felt safe and contented.

My last play with the ball

Eventually I wore myself out so I lay back in mum’s arms and enjoyed the feel of her wrapped around me. It was after 3pm and mum realised that I was soon going to need to do poops and that it would be too cruel to make me get up again so it was time to say goodbye. Dad said goodbye with tears running down his face and then left the room. I sat up concerned about why he was unhappy. But mum said it was OK and laid me back down again in her arms. It felt so good to be snuggled up to mum that I didn’t worry too much more.

Soon after dad left the vet came in with a big syringe. Mum said that the vet was going to give me some medicine and then we could go home. I wasn’t worried, I knew I was safe with my mum. The vet had already put a catheter in my leg so it was no disruption for her to hook up the syringe. Mum’s face hovered near mine. She kept caressing my face and kissing me and telling me how beautiful I was and how much she loved me. The nurse also stayed and she was holding my back paw and patting me. I was so relaxed and contented. I had half an eye on mum and half an eye on the vet. Mum saw my eyes glaze over as I shed my mortal coil. She saw the last puff of breath from my lungs. She hugged my body, stroked and kissed me one last time and howled as she finally released the tears that she had held at bay. I wanted to stay and comfort her but it was so good to be free of pain, I couldn’t believe how wonderful I felt. I just kept soaring, out of that room and into a wonderful light.

Later on our vet would tell mum that he and the oncologist both agreed that the timing of my departure from my physical body was pretty much perfect for me.

It has been a wonderful life. I will love you always.

Mum and I shared a special, once in a life time connection.  Our mutual love and devotion was second to none and will live on forever.

About princess

Almost 10 year old loyal and courageous rottie!
30 May 2002 to 5 May 2012
Lost her leg to osteosarcoma on 1st Sep 2011 and did 6 rounds of chemo with carboplatin.
3 lung mets found in Mar 2012 and 1 month of Palladia done before it was stopped due to GI issues. But it was metastasis to the back right hip that finally took our little girl on 5th May 2012. She was happy, contented, relaxed and very loved when she peacefully slipped away in her mum’s loving arms.

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12 Responses to My last day

  1. Sarah and Kayla says:

    oh god there are tears streaming down my face but that is so beautifully written wow. thank you for sharing that with us all!

  2. samsamsmom says:

    I have tears running down my face – my heart aches for you. I’m so sorry for your pain. Please know in time, the edges get less sharp. All our best wishes for strength. Xo Sue

  3. lupedog28 says:

    Karen,

    This was so beautifully written. I don’t know if I could ever write about my very last moments with Lupe. Your words truly honor Magnum’s memory and spirit. Wow!

    -Kori & Angel Lupe

  4. maggie says:

    I’m so sorry you have lost your beautiful Princess. Thank you for sharing her with us. Hugs to you and your family…

    Tracy & Maggie

  5. labsrus says:

    I too cried for you and Magnum.
    What a beautiful way of telling us all what the final day will be like for us.
    I’m also crying because I know, unfortunately, that day will come for our beloved dogs.
    They are our furry children and the thought of losing them one day is so painful.
    How can anyone live without the love of a dog? Why can’t they stay with us longer?
    I really hope that in time your grief and pain will ease a bit and all of your wonderful memories of your lovely dog will shine through forever.

  6. colbasso says:

    OMG I cannot stop my tears. You had a beautiful Rotti who was so fortunate to have such a loving and wonderful home. Feel good with everything that you have done and always remember the wonderful memories. Thank you for sharing the pictures and the beautiful story. You are very brave. Best of luck to you in your healing!

  7. jerry says:

    Magnum, I know this story was very, very hard to share with everyone. My Momma is having a hard time typing through her tears right now, your last days bring up a lot of memories of mine too. But you know what? By sharing your experience, you’ve already helped a lot of folks who might be afraid of the end of our earthly journey. When you know what to expect, things are less scary. Thank you for finding the courage to share your story with us all, and being a part of this community.

    As you know, while our bodies might be gone from this earth, our spirits are always there, guiding our loved ones and all the pups who come after us. Your presence is always felt here at Tripawds, and especially with your people.

    Love you lots sweet girl. Run free, run with joy. xoxo

  8. kviz says:

    I am speechless and choking on tears. Rest peacefully Sweet Magnum!

  9. princess says:

    Thank you everyone for reading my blog and sharing your beautiful comments. Writing my story was really important to my mum. It has helped her to confront her grief head on in a constructive way. The pain is still there and the tears still flow but allowing ourselves to remember everything, even the yukky stuff, has helped mum and I to appreciate how lucky we were to have known and loved each other.

    For those of you who are still on your journeys, remember, you can handle anything life, including cancer, throws at you if you have love. And none of us knows what tomorrow will bring. So make sure you enjoy and treasure every single, precious, day with your beautiful dogs.

    Love and kisses to you all

    Princess Magnum

  10. Dakota Dawg says:

    Somehow I missed this when it first posted, and for that I am very sorry. I have tried hard to keep up with your blog.

    That last day can be so bittersweet, as you’ve written about so well. The distress of knowing that relationship is ending coupled with the relief that there will no more pain…

    Thank you for sharing and opening your heart to each other.

    Shari

  11. Alexandra says:

    This was heartbreaking to read! But hits home since we lost London yesterday. Magnum show her around for us, shell need a friend! Rest in Peace Magnum.

  12. Alexandra says:

    I thought I would let you know, check out my post I just wrote. I was totally oblivious to what I was writing. I had a dream of London, that I think you will find VERY interesting. I came back to your site to read about your new dog, and saw a picture of Magnum and was like OMG. It just clicked. read it when you get a chance. Very very cool.

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