It has been a tough few weeks for so many reasons in my life. I am only going to share one of the things that has been going on this week. And again, this is one moment. I am not completely lost and depressed 24/7.
When we get a pet, all we think about is how wonderful it will be to have youth in our house. It will be fun. It will be work! They serve as one of the best forms of company you can possibly have. They can even fill a void that you have in your life. They become the best friend you always wanted. It is true love.
I grew up always having an animal in my house (calico cat, tuxedo cat, Maine Coon cat, beagle, dalmatian, lab, german shepherd). I could NOT wait to someday be a pet parent of my own. I will never forget the day my wish came true. When our cat walked into our life almost 12 years ago, I remember thinking to myself, "Wow! A month after we got married, we had our (fur)baby!! How perfect." What a gift it is to have a pet. One thing that always seemed so far out of sight is their last day with us.
A few years after we had our cat and moved from apartment to apartment, we knew that we would have to get a dog when we bought our house. That's exactly what happened. This was a dream of mine.
Bella came home and immediately gravitated toward me. We have always been inseparable. When I sit on the couch, she follows me to sit on or next to me. She is my everything. She's my girl. My sweet girl. I have always said she prepared me well for having my own human child. She has taught me how to truly care for someone. Let's be honest, my husband really takes a good job caring for himself. If you're a pet parent, you understand the unconditional love we are so fortunate to share with our animals.
So getting to it. I had been putting off her physical for a few months. She had lost weight with all our daily walks. She was getting complimented for her results. As November/December neared she began packing on some weight gradually like she always does. As a hound dog, she is incredibly obsessed with the smell and taste of food. I admit I have a hard time saying no at times when she constantly paws my leg and barks for food. She only begs me even though she could beg Bill or Nik. Finally, I decide I need to schedule that physical. It booked a weeks out. ok.
Then I notice before her appointment that her urine appeared to look funky. When she went in for physical, I figured she would be getting treatment for UTI like she had in the past, no big deal. But the doctor performed an ultrasound which revealed she has a tumor in her urinary tract. *Sigh*
I sat there frozen for a minute as I heard the diagnosis when finally I realized what this meant. I burst into tears finally after saying to myself, "No. It's okay to cry in front of her. This is Bella, your baby girl. They will be okay with my reaction. It doesn't matter what they think." I was, and still am completely shocked that my 8 year old girl has such a thing. I thought lots of things. First my mom. Then my dog. Who's next? She has done such a good job hiding her discomfort. Don't they always? Her waggily little tail was moving so fast. She was snorting like a little piggy. Her behavior was consistent as usual. With so many hard moments, I am almost always handling it alone, in this case, hearing the worst news ever by myself. I still don't understand why so many curve balls I've had in my life are when I am alone.
As I was waiting to pay the bill, I had to sit down in the lobby. There was a couple about my parent's age arriving to pick up their dog's ashes and her crate. I exploded into tears again. That will be me someday. My poor girl. But Bella was soooo happy to see them. She always gives the best greetings. The man went right to her and commented on how happy she looked and how she must be one of the shorter beagles he has ever seen. He asked how old she was. As I had tears down my face, I explained that she was 8 and I just learned she has a tumor. I felt like he talked to her and me the way he would if I was his daughter. He told both of us that everything was going to be just fine. That I will be fine.
It was comforting to know that a stranger was trying to make me feel better. I know I would do the same thing. Humanity at its finest and kindest, I believe.
I've never been on this side of a journey with a pet before. We are going to be referred to oncology to see what we do. Google says without treatment she may have up to 6 months and could have 1 year with treatment. Obviously, I am going to make the decision that is best for her. As much as I would love for her to be my side, it is not right to try to make her live as long as she can for my sake while she is lives in pain.