We lost a really wonderful member of our family today.
Last Thursday, Roxanne was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, or bone cancer. It's a particularly nasty, painful, quick moving cancer; it's hereditary, and fairly common in certain breeds.
By yesterday, she could hardly get up and down stairs to go out and go to the bathroom. She was taking painkillers, but they weren't taking away her pain. We made the decision to let her go today.
She had a hell of a couple of days; cheese and crackers, pig ears, marrow bones, oatmeal raisin cookies, scrambled eggs and bacon, spaghetti with Richard's meat sauce, a freezer-burned t-bone steak I found when I defrosted the freezer. Probably lots more that I didn't see. I sat and brushed her; as usual, she fell asleep and snored. She went for a ride in the car to get ice cream at Rita's. We think that she might have put on about 10 pounds in about three days.
We haven't stopped crying since Thursday afternoon.
We know that we made the right decision, but it hurts so much. I didn't know that a human could produce so many tears. In the last hour before we went to the vet today, I started thinking that maybe we shouldn't rush into this, maybe we should just put her on stronger painkillers. I watched the clock, knowing that at 2 pm we had to go. I felt so horrible.
The doctor gave us a few minutes with her beforehand; and brought a blanket in for her to lay on. We all said our goodbyes. We had to roll her over on her other side, and the doctor said something about it being like steering a cargo ship, which made us laugh. Poor Roxanne, our "petit fleur", always the brunt of the chubby dog jokes. They hooked up the IV, and were ready. Richard and I were holding her; I laid down on the floor and took her face in my hands, and talked to her, and told her that I loved her, and that I wanted to thank her for being such a great dog. And she was gone. No more pain for her. She looked like she was sleeping. I felt an odd sense of relief for her, and for us. Watching her deteriorate over the past few days has been so hard.
We've spent the rest of the day just going through motions; thinking of things and crying anew, just trying to get through this new feeling of something missing. We got pizza because nobody wanted to cook and nobody was really feeling much like eating; Richard always gave his pizza crusts to Roxanne. She connected with just about everything we do in this house (especially if there was food involved), and we will feel the void for a long, long time. We are all feeling it; we are very quiet at times, just holding each other, other times we cry out loud, and wish we could have done more. Richard said that he believed that she knew how much we loved her, and there's some comfort in that.
Roxanne had some really funny habits, some really strange ones too. When Richard and I would hug, she would immediately come between us, so she could be part of it. She would sometimes lay on her side, or on her belly, and dig to china with her front paws. She did that ever since she was a puppy; we never knew what she was digging for. All bread had to be buried in the back yard; bagels, crusts, Italian bread. For some reason, it had to go in the ground. When she was little, any pile of leaves was her playground, much to the chagrin of the people who just raked them. She had an amazing memory, remembering people that she met for only a few minutes years later. She took a dislike to a boy who was dating Maggie, chasing him up the stairs, him yelling like a girl. We were proud of her for that.
She defended us against all the neighbors, and the terrible UPS man, who would come almost every day. She defended us against Jeff, our neighbor, who, for seven years has tried hard to make friends. She would bark at him, take the cheese he was offering, run away, eat the cheese, and start barking again.
She was the queen of drool, managing to get it everywhere, even on the ceiling sometimes.
Her hair has been keeping the birds warm for years. I vacuumed copious amounts of it everyday, and put it outside for the birds to use for their nests.
I yelled at her too much. I wish that I hadn't.
I miss her so much already. It's 1:30 a.m., and I'm so tired, but I can't sleep.
"Every government interference in the economy consists of giving an unearned benefit, extorted by force, to some men at the expense of others." Ayn Rand
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Posted by Margo at 11:42 PM