If you haven’t had a chance to checkout my about page, now would be good time to check it out to get a feel of what I’m doing here, and what I plan on doing.
Now. Onto my first blog post, whew. This one is a sad therapy one. I know, I know, who starts a blog with their first post being about sadness and the loss of someone beloved. HumbleParables would, did you read the about page?
I received a text from my father late this afternoon. After just getting home from a botched family outing by a fever and subsequent doctor visit with a sweaty fever breaking drive back to the doctor, that came on after being a week into a Walking Pneumonia diagnoses. I’m fine, now I just have a bad upper respiratory infection (Yay!), and the same amount of horribleness in a sinus infection (story of my life, you’ll learn). This text from my father has been one I have worried about for almost 14 years. Not the normal type of worrying either, the HumbleParables type. Unrelenting, creeping into my mind every time I think about her. My dog, the best dog I could’ve asked for, was not doing to well.
Gabby was the runt of the litter of full sized, full blooded, Shih Tzus that my family members had as a surprise in October of 2003. My senior year of high school. She was eaten up with fleas, and smaller than the others. We took her because, being me, I wanted her to have the best life possible despite her bad luck in the genetic lottery department (instant connection). She was the sweetest, and most playful ball of fur I had ever seen. Such a stubborn personality, but could love anything wrong out of you in an instant. Oh, and she is still the reigning champion of “Sitting on my butt, back straight, hands down, and barking to beg for food”. Seriously, I have seen her sit for an entire Thanksgiving dinner AND the family after talk. Oh and barking may be overstating it. The whole “bad luck genetic lottery” thing, made her bark more of a yap, or the sound of a toy that the squeaker was manufactured wrong. It can get annoying to some, bet never to me. Gabby earned the title of “Bittle” by my best childhood friend Jacob and I somehow. Neither of us know how that name came to be, but it stuck. She would sit between Jacob and I in our free time while playing Resident Evil 4 on the Gamecube, the week it was released. Jacob and I have an obsession with the RE games, and play them together even though they are 1 player. We play chapters and swap the controller to the other, while the previous player continued to rub Gabby’s stomach while she lay on her back snoring louder than I do, and I have sleep apnea. She was in heaven. She loved being the center of attention, and loved our attention that we gave. We took her with us places and she loved to ride. She could also sense when something was wrong, and would climb onto your chest from you lap and lay herself cheek to cheek with you. Ever so slightly pushing harder into your cheek to get your attention. She would lay in your lap for hours and be a fury stress and anxiety therapy dog before the term exploded. Man did I go through some rough times then. Struggling with relationships while trying to control the (then unknown) OCD that likes to manifest in many ways, including relationship OCD. She was always there to snuggle into bed with at the end of a horrible day, and more than willing to help.
Gabby and my mother became extremely attached also. My mother has been dealing with Lupus as long as I can remember. Not to mention Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, and near clockwork boughts of Pneumonia. Gabby was her therapy dog too, and she needed her more than I when I moved out. Gabby was not sad to see me go, as she knew I would be back constantly to give her food under the table with every “My son moved out of the house he is starving to death” meal my mother made me. Years passed, meals shared, snuggles had, and belly rubs a plenty.
When my wife and I got married, we got our own “Gabby” since my mom had a lock on the OG. We got Bella, a miniature Shih Tzu who like Gabby, was a perfect fit for us. All 5lbs of stubborn, lovable, furry goodness who picked up some cheek rubbing and therapy like actions from her older aunt Gabby. Bella LOVES Gabby, like REALLY loves her, like confused girl dog trying to hump another girl dog love. Gabby loved to fight her off her though, because she was bigger than someone finally and could play hard with her. It was also hilarious.
Somewhere around that time Gabby started having a lump show up on her stomach beside one of her nipples. There was no pain, redness, or care in the world from her at all. Did I mention my mom has a lot of the same broken brain symptoms as I do? No? Well, she is a worrier too. So much so that she worried about her, but saw that she was not in any pain and just knew the vet would say it was cancer and she would battle it and battle it and then ultimately have to leave us. So she made the decision to not take her in for it until she showed a life threatening sign from it, pain, or an uncomfortableness from it. Which never came. She stayed the same lovable dog that she has always been and never missed a beat, even though the tumor grew bigger albeit very very slowly.
Mom also got, as a puppy, a Boston Terrier name Gert. Gabby took to getting on to her whenever she did something bad, and mothered her as her own. Gert can be told “Be Ashamed” and will immediately flip onto her back and paw at me as if to say “Please, I know that was wrong”. Gabby taught her well. Now Gert will not sleep anywhere else except right beside Gabby no matter how much she would rather sleep alone. She loves her dearly. That is what makes this even harder.
Back to present day, with the text I received from my father stating “I need to send you a picture of gabby and if you feel like calling me about it need to talk to you. If you do call me on house phone” Followed by an immediate picture of the tumor, now small potato sized and even spread to the adjacent nipple in a small amount. I will spare you the picture, because I instantly had every fear and anxious worry come flooding into my head that I had been blocking for almost 14 years. She had a dime sized hole in her skin on the tumor and it was so deep you could see the blackness where the light couldn’t reach. No one knows how, but in the last few days they noticed a smell coming from her, and figured she had done a “You’re not getting on to me for that, I’m gonna go roll in something nasty so you have to bathe me” tantrum. My mother cut her hair today and was going to bathe her when she found it. It must have gotten scratched and infected the smallest amount to make a head that burst from the pressure of the tumor and then it drained. That was where the smell was coming from. I instantly told my wife we needed to get down there now with tears welling and my voice crackling. We got down there with non stick medical pads and athletic self adhering cling wrap to bandage her up and take her to an emergency vet at 8:00pm. After talking everything over, and seeing how she is still in not the least bit of pain and still her normal playful stubborn self, we decided that I would take her to our local vet first thing in the morning. This was not a decision to be made lightly because I know very well there is a good chance she will not be coming back with me for cheek presses and furry snuggles. She is old, has a (presumably) cancerous tumor with a dime sized hole in it. My sister has not got to see her yet either, so this will allow her to have some time with her too. Just in case the unthinkable happens on Monday, July 31st.
I’m lucky to have friends who have stuck by me in the craziness that is my mind and habits, that work with shelters and animals, like Amy and Ben. Amy has given me a run down of what to expect if it were to happen. My mother and father are planning on moving in the future and don’t want to bury her there for having to leave her alone when moving day comes. So we have decided to try cremation so that she may be with us always wherever we all may go. This was also not an easy subject to discuss, but it is one out of necessity.
Who knows, she may see the vet in, oh 6 hrs when I’m still fully wide awake from not even being able to try and sleep and staying up to write my novel of a first blog post, and they say they can treat the infection, make sure she isn’t in pain, and offer her to come home to spend the rest of her days with family? Maybe I’ll be the one who will be there to comfort her and have cheek presses and furry cuddles with her in her time of need, like all the times she so lovingly gave to me when I needed them the most. Gah, that dog has gotten me through so much s@#$. You guys have no idea. I will be there with her until the very end if comes to that. I will be strong for her as she has been for me. I will hold her tightly as I have so many times, only this time I will be trying to hold on to what I can’t physically hold. The attitude, the stubbornness, the yaps, the snuggles, the cheek presses, and the love that she has always given me. I will be strong for her as I would for any other family member, and as soon as she gone, I will crumble. I will fall so hard and fast for so long that I will feel like I won’t be able to breathe. I will forever have a piece of myself that will always feel unfilled, and empty. I will remember the bad times more than the good and constantly try to force them out of my mind in favor of the happier ones I have mentioned here. That is the nature of my brain, it works against me, even with the right medications and therapy, it will still be hard. I will make it though this fine, I know that. It’s the one battle I was always hoping I wouldn’t have to fight myself over though, even though I logically knew it was going to happen someday. Hold your animals close, snuggle them tightly, and press your cheeks against them for me please. You never know how much that will mean to each other until you find that you might be facing the possibility of not being able to do that anymore in the very near future.
Thanks for sticking with me until the end. This was a sad therapy post that I needed and I hope someone reads it and finds solace in the words I have written or the feelings I have conveyed.
For everybody else,
TLDR: My 14 year old, come October, dog is dying and I am not dealing well, yet.