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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.