I wrote a post back in June about how we had a lump removed her abdomen. We learned a short time later that this lump was a Mast Cell Tumor. We had a second surgery done to have more of the tumor cells removed but it wasn't enough. Another lump started growing back and got quite large after only a couple weeks. The vet took a needle biopsy and determined that this lump was mostly fat but had some mast cells reorganizing to form another tumor. He suggested that we consult with an oncologist at the University's Vet College to talk over subsequent courses of action. That was only two days ago.
Yesterday morning we woke to find that Abby had thrown up downstairs. She seemed otherwise OK. She spent the day with me outside, wandering around the yard as I puttered. Her energy level seemed a little lower than usual, but I was hoping that was just due to the heat. Yesterday evening, she started pacing around restlessly throughout the house. Then she threw up again. We let her outside and she continued getting sick while keeping her distance from us. Then she just laid down in the grass while clouds of mosquitoes buzzed over her. Abby looked up at My Lovely Wife while she laid there with a look that said "Help me". She was dying.
We got her into the truck at 10pm and drove her to the Vet College. The half hour drive was quiet as My Lovely Wife and I were filled with the dread of what could happen next. Abby lay there quietly, her head bobbing up and down.
We parked the truck at the front door of the Vet. What happened next amazed us. Abby jumped out of the truck and started sniffing around all over the place! Her ears were up and she had a spring in her step! It seemed like the sick dog we had just a short time ago was only a bad dream.
We debated what to do next. Was this just a false alarm??? Maybe it was just something she ate and she was going to be fine? We decided to have her looked at since we were there.
Sadly, the vet confirmed our fears. Abby started fading again and the vet discussed our options. None of them were good. They brought Abby into a private room where we were able to hold her close and tell her how much we loved her. We were with her as the vet helped her pass shortly after midnight this morning.
My only solace is that we did what we had to do and that was to put an end to her suffering. Abby gave us eleven and a half wonderful years, a ripe old age for a dog her size. And every day in every one of those years, Abby filled our hearts with joy. Every. Single. Day. When her day finally came, Abby used the last of her energy to trot into that clinic with her head high and ears up. She epitomized pure grit. I was so proud of her.
We woke up this morning to a house that is too empty. Too quiet. We are reminded of her everywhere we look. This morning, there is no one to take for a walk. There is no one to chase the deer out of the yard. There is no one to bring our slippers when we come in to the house.
Abby was my first dog. She taught me the connection a man makes with his dog. It wasn't something that happened right away for me. Abby had a bad habit in the first months that we owned her of always jumping up on us. One time she jumped up at me and I stuck my knee up. She hit it hard and fell back in pain. I felt terrible. I knew then that I loved her, and I grew to love her more each day after that.
Abby was my psychologist. We would go for long walks and I'd talk to her about things I wouldn't talk to anyone else about. And I'm sure My Lovely Wife did the same. Abby didn't understand, but it always seemed like she did. That was all that mattered.
Abby was my companion. We would get asked where Abby would stay, meaning if she was an "inside dog" or an "outside dog". We simply answered that Abby was where we were. She was at our side inside and out, day in and day out.
Abby was my bodyguard. We would go for walks around the acreage and Abby would at times cut right in front of us and just stand there with her body physically blocking the path. If we would try to walk around her, she would do it again until we turned around. Now and then we'd catch a glimpse of coyotes or some other nasty critter on the path ahead. We soon learned to put our trust in her and her nose for our own safety.
|The Big Dog, On Patrol|
Goodbye Abby. You were the best dog we could have dared to hope for. We were truly lucky to have had you in our lives. I have shed many tears over you as I have written this and I will shed many more today and in the days to come. We love you. We miss you. Rest easy, Pup.
|Abby January 2001 - August 2012|