Thursday, March 25, 2010

There'll come a day you have to say hello to goodbye...

Our dog Wookie passed away on Tuesday, March 23rd at 11 pm. We are heartbroken. We have been mourning his death for about two months now. We found out at the beginning of February that he had lymphoma and were told he had two to four months left. He didn't even make it two months.

Ever since his diagnosis, we've been on a mission to make Wookie's last days the best days of his life. We immediately increased the walks, the treats, the hamburger grease in his food, the petting and the long talks. I think he was overwhelmed with happiness. I am sure he loved that he was able to act like a total jackass around our food and we rewarded him! During most of his life, he tried to eat off our plates and we wouldn't allow it. These last two months, if he wanted some of our food, we gave it to him. He was happy.

The last several weeks, we knew he was fading. His body was getting weak. He lost quite a bit of weight. We had him on steriods to keep his tumors from increasing. He was having a tough time breathing. We went back to the vet for a check up last week and she said he was not in distress, the medicine was just increasing his panting (most likely). While his body was weakening, his spirit was not. He was happy and responsive. We told him that as long as he was happy and responsive, we could help him with the physical part.

For the last two weeks, Trevor has been carrying Wookie up the stairs to bed. We tried to make light of it so Wookie wouldn't feel bad - I would sing to him "I believe I can fly, I believe I can touch the sky..." and Trevor would get him to the top of the stairs, put him down and he'd lumber into the bedroom for a treat "Thanks Dad".

At night he was restless. We would lay awake and listen to him move around, trying to get comfy. His back legs were really weak, so he'd walk a few steps, then flop down. His elbow had a sore and would bleed from all the banging on the ground. But he didn't seem to care. And neither did we.

The last week, he really had a tought time - we would see him out in the middle of the yard - he'd go out to go the bathroom, then his legs would give out, so he would fall down. He'd lay there for a few minutes to regain his strength. Then we'd go out and put our hands under his armpits and he'd stand back up. Again, not a big deal - we'd tell him that we totally understood...sometimes, you just need a break.

On Monday, I stopped at the pet store and got some bones. They were too big and Wookie was having a tough time. Maggie had chewed one about half way and Wookie was looking at it longingly...I took it from Maggie and gave it to him - he was SO happy. Maggie didn't really understand, but I gave her a new bone and she went to town on it.

Tuesday morning, I knew something was wrong. Wookie had gotten himself into the bathroom and was kind of wedged behind the toilet. He couldn't get out. I helped him back out and then it was time to go downstairs. His back legs gave out and he kind of slid down. He made it outside and layed down. I was at the store all day and in the back of my mind, figured Wookie was having a tough time. I knew that he probably only had a few days left.

Luckily, the weather has been beautiful - sunny and warm. I was hoping if he had fallen in the yard that he would be in the sun. I got home and sure enough, he was out in the yard. I went out to get him. His back legs weren't working at all - I got him inside and he layed down right past the door. He didn't want treats, barely wanted any water. I sat with him for about an hour before Trevor got home. We talked. It was a good talk. I told him that if he wanted to just go to sleep that night and not wake up, I would understand. He must have been listening.

Trevor got home and we went into the living room to watch TV. We brought him in with us - this time, his legs and his arms weren't working. He looked exhausted, but everytime he put his head down, he couldn't breath. So he was trying to hold his head up. I layed on the floor and put my arm under his head, to help prop it up. That way he could relax. He looked at me with his big cow eyes as if to say "Thanks Mom".

We decided to sleep downstairs with him and figured in the morning we would take him to the vet. His ears felt really hot and I expected that he had a fever. Again, we knew the end was near. We moved Wookie over in front of the fireplace, always his favorite place to lay. We went to sleep around 10:30, around 11, Trevor woke up because Wookie was making a noise - I heard Trevor and woke up too. We both went over and it was clear that this was it. We petted him and told him that we loved him. It took about a minute and he was gone. Peaceful, quiet and calm. That was Wookie's style in life, I am glad that was his style in death. And just like was over.

I feel incredibly blessed that we had this sweet creature in our lives for so many years. He was 14 and Trevor had him for 13 of those years. I was his mom for 10. We've gone over so many memories the last days and weeks. Our animals are such a part of our lives. We joke that they are the reason we are still together - the secret to our successful relationship - we communicate through them. For example, if I am annoyed because Trevor didn't empty the dishwasher, I will say "I know Wookie...I wish dad would empty the dishwasher too". Our pets have a lot to say...much of which, Trevor and I could never get away with.

I am grateful that I haven't had a job for the last few months, so I could come home and check on Wookie. Many days I would come home early and just sit down and pet him. Just being with him these last few weeks has been the most rewarding thing. Knowing that we could comfort him and keep him from being scared. We helped him keep his dignity and that was an important thing to Wookie.

More than anything, I will forever be thankful that we could help him transition from this world to the next. He wasn't alone and I know that made it easier for him to go.

I miss him so much I can't hardly stand it. I know that it will get a bit easier with time, but I know that I will always miss him.

Yesterday was the most beautiful day - we called it a Wookie kind of day - he loved to lay in the sun and feel the breeze in the fluffy hair around his ears. Yesterday was that kind of day. Last night for dinner we had pizza and ice cream in his honor. And we were sad that he wasn't there to feed the crust to.

I am sure right now he is in doggie heaven and he is saying "this is even better than my mom said it would be"....I told him that we'd see him again someday and that to him it would be in the blink of eye, but for us it would seem like already does.


BioGirl said...

Beautiful blog Tracy. Wookie was a lucky dog to have you and Trevor as parents. You are all in my thoughts!


Tina said...

I'm a mess here reading your post...and I only cry for two reasons, children and animals. Your relationship with him was so beautiful...that's what life is all about. Goodbye Wookie.

John McGuirk said...

beautiful post Tracy xxx


Deborah said...

A splendid tribute to a splendid pet. I am so happy you could spend so much time giving Wookie such good care and attention in his last weeks.

Runner Leana said...

Oh Tracy, I'm so sorry. Wookie sounded like such a wonderful dog. I wish I had something better or more meaningful to say, but I'm in tears!

Lisa said...

Tracy I am going to have to completely redo my makeup, because I am sobbing and am so sad and happy for you at the same time that you were able to give so much love to your baby. I love my animals it seems as much as you do and love and depend on them so much. Your dog was so lucky and I wish there was more people like you out there that are so kind and giving to gods wonderful creations. My best wishes to you and your family.