Last week was truly the highest of highs and the lowest of lows for our family. When I say ‘our family’ I’m not referring to our vast and extensive extended family, but rather the family unit that Brett and I consist of. We are a family of three; Brett, myself and Bogey, our dog. Bogey is absolutely our family. He is our fur-kid. And he is beyond spoiled. We (read I) go paparazzi nuts with the camera, in fact I have an entire Facebook album dedicated to pictures of Bogey.
Recently, Bogey’s health had taken a turn south, so we did what any parents would do, we rushed him to the ER. When we got to the hospital, Bogey was weak, dehydrated and his color was off, he looked pale. We were freaking out. We didn’t know what was wrong. I have to say, Blue Pearl in Overland Park, KS is the nicest, most compassionate place I’ve ever been. They were so incredible helping us through a very tough couple of nights. After two nights at the hospital, Bogey came home! Diagnosis? Bleeding ulcers. Bummer. But, they were totally treatable, and he would be okay. Hooray! Medicine and a bland diet for a week and he seemed to be alright.
But, while we were at the ER the first night, the doctor came in and told us that Bogey had a perianal tumor (which is what they originally thought the problem was). After lots of tests, they decided that wasn’t the cause of his emergency visit, but that we should still take him to his regular doctor and have that tumor looked at.
We scheduled an appointment and had some samples of the tumor sent off for a cytology report, which came back inconclusive. Meaning, it might not be cancer, but it might be cancer. But, it needed to come out. So, we scheduled the surgery.
Bogey had surgery at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 7th. He was scared, but okay. I was there with him, and told him how great he was doing. He didn’t even squirm, which was great because that meant no full anesthesia! Local anesthesia is all he needed, which, given his age (15!) was a great thing. Tumor was removed and he was stitched up and, after a couple of hours at the doctor for post-op observation, we were on our way home. His tumor was sent off to get biopsied and we’re just awaiting results to find out if it was cancerous or not, so we can start forming a treatment plan for our Dude.
Thursday night was a rough night for everyone. Bogey hated his Elizabethan collar, which everyone knows as ‘the cone of shame.’ He freaked out and started running in to things trying to rip the collar off. I hated seeing him panic, so I took it off of him. Then he started throwing up, which, if I had just recovered from bleeding ulcers, and then had surgery and then freaked out, would probably throw up, too. Brett stayed up with him until about 3:30 a.m. That’s when Bogey finally decided to lay down and go to sleep. On Friday, he seemed okay. Great! Our Dude just hated his collar and basically threw the equivalent of a screaming, kicking, crying-until-you-throw-up tantrum. He didn’t really eat much Friday, so I made him some chicken (I told you, he’s spoiled). He chowed it down and everything seemed good. Friday night, more vomiting. But, not as bad as Thursday night. So, maybe the food upset his stomach. He probably ate too fast. But, his breathing seemed off, and his behavior was off too. But he did just have surgery 24 hours ago and now has stitches in his hiney….
Saturday, he was walking around the basement in the morning. We gave him head pats, and rubbed his ears. Like the concerned fur-mom I am, I still thought his breathing didn’t sound right, but he seemed alright, just tired (which is understandable since he’d spent two nights throwing up). We decided to leave him downstairs (with his favorite red blanket) to get some rest and went to check on him every hour to see if he wanted to go outside. He was laying at the foot of the stairs, and would look up at us when we came down, but wasn’t interested in going outside. So, we would rub his head and belly, and give him kisses and tell him how much we loved him.
At 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 9th, Bogey was no longer breathing. It was heartbreaking. I got Brett and told him that Bogey wasn’t breathing anymore and we sat there and hugged our Dude and cried together. My heart broke more. Brett’s Mom came down and cried with us, too. And his sister came down, cried with us, and we all said a prayer to St. Francis asking him to watch our Boy until we got home.
As much as losing our Dude sucks (and it is the big time suck) I learned a lot over the last few days and weeks. I learned that Brett and I are an amazing team, even in super sucky, super awful situations. We connect to form a strength that is stronger than either of us individually. I learned there are awesome people who care about our Dude as much as we do. I learned about Blue Pearl Emergency Pet Services and their incredible staff. And I learned that we have the most quality people in our lives. Our families and friends are truly some of the best people on Earth and we are so incredibly blessed to have them.
Having to say goodbye to Bogey sucked. It still sucks. Every time I walk downstairs I expect to see his fluffy little face look up from his bed. I expect to see his red blanket laying on his bed. I look at the clock and realize that Bogey probably needs to go to the bathroom. I still look around for him. And while the emptiness sucks and has left a hole in my heart, I find a small amount of joy knowing that our Boy isn’t hurting anymore. That whatever pain he was feeling, he’s free from it. He’s running, and jumping, and chasing squirrels and snoozing in the sunshine. I find comfort in knowing that St. Francis welcomed our Boy with open and loving arms, and I’m sure he gave him his favorite snack, Cheese-Its, when he got there.
With all that knowledge, I find peace with the emptiness.
The last three weeks of Bogey’s life were not the best, I’m sure. He spent too many hours at doctor’s offices. But, he also spent a lot of time at the playground, laying in sunshine, lounging next to us, giving us hugs and kisses, and bringing us smiles and joy. So, I’m grateful for that.
Bogey lived a really long, great life. In dog years he was 15, which makes him 105 in human years. 105! What a great life. He had lots of adventures, and even got to spend a few years of his life as a Texas dog (which automatically makes him one of the coolest dogs in Heaven). He spent his final days at home, with his family. Surrounded by love and laughter. What a life.
So, this part is for our Dude: Rest in peace, Bogey. We love you forever and we’ll see you when we get home. Until then, listen to St. Francis, don’t just eat your vitamins, you cannot have all his french fries, you do NOT eat Raisinets (even though you think you do), I’ll pretend I don’t know you’re eating way too many Cheese-Its, and because you are one spoiled kiddo, I won’t even yell at you if you’re laying on our bed when we get home (just please don’t have muddy feet). Love Forever, Mom and Dad.
Thank you everyone who said a prayer, had us in their thoughts, sent good vibes, asked how Bogey was, sent us messages, gave us hugs or sat and cried with us. You are the best people. We are so, so grateful. The love and support our family has been given over the last three weeks has been amazing, and has truly helped us make it through this big pile of suck. So once again, THANK YOU!
Here are some of my favorite pictures of Captain Bogey P. VonFluffenstein the 14th
Dear Lord, please open your gates
and call St. Francis
to come escort this beloved companion
across the Rainbow Bridge.
Assign him to a place of honor,
for he has been a faithful servant
and has always done his best to please me.
Bless the hands that send him to you,
for they are doing so in love and compassion,
freeing him from pain and suffering.
Grant me the strength not to dwell on my loss.
Help me remember the details of his life
with the love he has shown me.
And grant me the courage to honor him
by sharing those memories with others.
Let him remember me as well
and let him know that I will always love him.
And when it’s my time to pass over into your paradise,
please allow him to accompany those
who will bring me home.
Thank you, Lord,
for the gift of his companionship
and for the time we’ve had together.
And thank you, Lord,
for granting me the strength
to give him to you now.
*******(UPDATE: I called Bogey’s doctor on Monday to let him know what happened and to ask him to call us with the results of the biopsy anyway. I received a phone call a few minutes later and learned that the tumor was NOT cancerous. So I guess that’s good news, though it doesn’t ease our pain or sadness.)*******