We found out today that one of our dogs - Wookie - has cancer, Lymphoma to be exact. He is 14 years old and his days are growing short. I have to write this blog today because when he passes I don't think I will have it in me to go into any details about this sweet love of our lives.
Wookie has been coughing and wheezing for a bit now. A few weeks ago it go so bad that he was having a rough time sleeping at night. One night we were awake all night listening to it, the next day we went to the vet. His lymph nodes were really swollen. They gave us an antibiotic and steroid for the cough. We hoped it was just an infection. A week later, the cough was gone, but the wheezing was still there. Over the weekend we realized that his lymph nodes were getting bigger and bigger. On Sunday we took him back to the vet and they did an aspiration with a needle to send off to the lab. The vet said she was pretty sure it was cancer.
We really tried hard not to think too much about this. Wookie seemed to be doing okay and we were just waiting for test results. Yesterday morning he took his normal walk and was content. I got home last night around 7 and could immediately tell that something was wrong. When you have a pet, you know their language, you know what is right and what is not. He was laying in a strange way and didn't wag his tail or lift his head when I came in.
As the night went on, Wookie didn't get up to eat or want outside. He just laid there looking really sad. He appeared to be having a rought time breathing. When it came time for bed, he could hardly stand up, so he had no interest in going up the stairs. We decided we would sleep downstairs with him. We brought down our pillows and blankets and slept all night with Wookie, Opal and Maggie - all our dogs.
This morning we headed to the vet. Wookie had a high fever and they had just gotten the test results - so they told us it was cancer and gave us some options. Wookie is spending the day at the vet getting some IV fluids and medicine that will hopefully lower his temp and improve the way he feels. We are picking him up tonight.
We were both pretty sure that he wouldn't make it past today. As you can imagine last night was tough. We took turns laying next to Wookie, petting him and talking to him. We said our goodbyes and told him that if he was ready to go that he should just go to sleep.
The doctor told us this diagnosis can be a roller coaster, he may do okay for awhile, then not, then be okay again. So we don't know what the future holds.
I am very scared. I get scared when I think about how badly it will hurt when Wookie is gone. I get scared when I think about how the other dogs will react when they realize he has passed. I am scared that I won't be able to stop crying. And most of all, I am scared that Wookie will suffer.
Trevor and I have been talking alot the last week about Wookie's life. We've laughed at a lot of things and smiled at how sweet he has always been. Everyone loves Wookie. He's just a big, soft sweet ball of fur.
Trevor has had Wookie for 13 years. I have known Wookie for almost 10. He is an important part of our family. He's the reason the rest of the dogs get walked. Wookie LOVES to go on walks and if we are a little late taking him, he lets us know. Wookie loves to lay in the sun. We were really hoping he would get one last summer so that he could lay in the grass and sunbathe one last time. If I have any regret, it is that we didn't move somewhere warm and dry where he could lay in the sun all the time. He hates the mud and rain (join the club buddy).
Wookie was the first pet and has tolerated the addition of all the rest. First Opal, then Gus, then Daisy, Roxie, Norwyn and finally Maggie. For some reason, Maggie annoys him and so he growls and barks at her. Maggie, on the other hand LOVES Wookie and just rolls on her back and crawls over to him. She wants him to love her so much. I wish he would have. I think he needed some more time to come to terms with a baby in the house. But he never bit her and he never hurt her.
I could go on and on about this sweet boy. When the time comes to say goodbye for good, I know it will surely kill me. How can you survive a broken heart? We always say that the only difference between children and our pets is that when you decide to love a pet, you know that they will die before you...you know that it can only end in sadness. Yet we love them anyway. That really says something about what these creatures bring to our lives. People who have never had an animal will not understand this. Those who have, will.
I hope we have more time with Wookie. I hope that whatever they do to him today will extend him life for a while, a few weeks, a few months. I hope that he wags his tail when he sees us tonight and that when he gets home he goes to the kitchen to see what we are making for dinner. But I know that eventually, none of that will happen anymore. But I am still hoping.
We love you Wookie. I hope that where ever you go next is sunny and warm. Our lives will not be the same without you.
EDITED WITH UPDATE:
Wookie is home and feeling better after his day at the vet. They have given him some mega doses of steriods and we'll continue that. His prognosis is 2 to 4 months. We are hopeful that he will have more good days than bad days. We plan to make these last months the best he has ever had...that way he can die from happy poisoning.