Tuesday, April 14, 2015

You Know It's Bad When...

Stella with her favourite thing: a bone.
...you sense the vet wants to give you a hug -- and neither of you are the huggy type.
This is worth dropping the f-bomb again, because it's even worse news on a personal level, but if I do that, my mother will stand in the doorway of my office with her BB gun and shoot me until I remove it.
I'll just say this then:
The greatest asshole dog in the world has to be put down and I'm so heart-broken, I can barely breathe.
My story with Stella goes back 12 years and it's a long, complicated one. It's not the story of a really good dog; those are short and simple. Perfect dog stories always are. Stella's story, our story, is book-length and perhaps that's what I'll do next.
I'll call it "A Bad Dog Gone Good" because this is why bad dogs live so long: So we remember them as good dogs. Stella has been a pretty good dog the last couple of years, if I push aside how pushy and annoying she gets about food.
Which impending death doesn't change at all; apparently, she can chase food down as well on three legs as on four.
Stella has advanced bone cancer, which means the huge tumour that is wrapped around her back leg could eat all the way through the bone at any time. As well, there are several small masses in her lungs which are making her cough.
The stoic, protective, adventurous, dominant, stubborn, food-oriented Stella didn't show her symptoms until two weeks ago and now,
I'm broadsided by this unexpected news. I really did think Stella was going to live forever.
And I'm blindsided by the fact I have to put her down before she's ready. Stella is fine, Stella wants one more summer. Her eyes are bright, her face is eager. "Look, Ma, how well I get around on three legs." Stella doesn't understand that the cancer won't allow that; the cancer will force me to make a decision I'm not ready to make.
And like the bad dog she is, Stella isn't making it any easier for me.
As if she wants to give me something to think about. And write about.
If it weren't for the tumours in her lungs, I'd tell the vet to cut off her leg in order to give her one last summer. I would do that for Stella. I would carry her into the sunshine, I would clean up after her messes. I would feed lie next to her in the green grass until she exhaled for the very last time.
But it's not going to happen that way. No one is throwing us a bone.

Kid you not, she'd let a chicken peck at her bone. Not such a bad dog.

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