If you saw my Instagram or Facebook post then you probably knew this was coming. And quite honestly, I imagine this being a little bit difficult to type. Really I’m not even sure if it’ll make the cut and be published but here we go anyway.
As you may well know, I have two dogs who are, as I like to say, “old as dirt.” Had two dogs. Yesterday, I received a message from my parents asking me to give them a call after my dance class. Of course my intuition immediately knew that something was up. I wondered if I had sent them a text that I meant to send to a friend or maybe they got a few of my parking tickets in the mail. Especially when I called on my way home and they said it would be better if I waited to take the call until I was at home and out of the car. By then I had had it. I needed to know what was going on and when I asked for a hint they simply said “It’s about Bear.”
This didn’t come as a huge surprise to me. When I was home a few weeks ago, we had noticed that she was moving a little bit slower. My dad has basically had Rottweilers his entire life and most of them had some sort of issue involving their bones ranging from minor joint pain to full fledged bone cancer. We assumed that this may be the case, and so did her vet, so we ended up buying her some treats that were designed specifically for joint pain. We noticed an improvement, but we also noticed some strange lumps forming on her belly. Those aren’t related to joint pain…
They had grown a decent amount between the time I left for California and when I returned home last month. We had had the vet check them out a few times and we had basically decided to keep an eye on the lumps and her disposition to see if there were any changes for the worse.
If you read my last blog, you also know that I did I shitty job of seeing all of my friends back in Iowa. For some reason I couldn’t get myself to leave my parents or my dogs. Now it makes sense. I spent the entire week cuddled up to bear. My parents said they hadn’t seen her that social and lovey dovey in months. She knew. But I could have never prepared myself for the phone call I received last night.
She was gone. They took her to the vet to have her lumps, they had grown significantly since I had returned back to California, drained and checked out. The vet found more than what he had bargained for. It was cancer and it had spread. A lot. Still on the operating table, the vet called my parents. They were faced with the decision of putting her through extensive surgery, recovery, pain and (maybe) a few more weeks of life or letting her go in peace.
Bear left us around noon yesterday. I can’t imagine how different my house in Iowa is. No one to steal the good couch or squeeze on with. Fluffy (our other dog) is probably lost. In fact, I know she is. But I also know that she knows what happened. She got in the habit of leaving a few little crumbs of her soft food for Bear to finish off. Last night, my parents said that she ate every bite. She knew Bear wasn’t coming home. I just can’t help but wish that we had the same instinct.
It feels like my family is down one member. One unconditional lover who didn’t care if we got fired from a job or had a shitty day or even yelled at her one hour before.
I’m beginning to learn how I work a little bit better and called today off specifically for this blog post. I had full intention of doing what I normally do. Go on as if I’m unaffected, afterall, I’m halfway across the country. But I stopped. Called my dad and said “not this time.” I needed to get this out. I needed to deal with it in the moment and be present in it. In the painful, empty and sheer realness of it. Otherwise, I’m going to feel it x20 in three months like I always do. To make this even more of a growing experience, I challenged myself to write this in public. Why? Because I knew I would cry and crying in front of people makes me want to crawl out of my skin. But I let it happen. I needed to let it happen, to not wear a mask as I so often do.
So to finish up, thanks for reading this. Sometimes the only thing that makes me feel better is just letting my fingers do their thing on the keyboard while I turn my brain off. That being said, I’m making the choice not to proofread this.
Give your furry friends some extra love today. They can teach you so much.