I’ve been meaning to write this for a while now, but every time I start to type –tears blur my vision. I can’t even see what I was writing. Even now, as I type, I am sobbing.
My sweet little puppy passed away about a month ago. He had a very aggressive form of cancer. He fought hard – he went through surgery and 5 rounds of chemo. My little puppy weighing in at 24 lbs. – battled through 5 rounds of chemotherapy.
Gus was more than my dog, he my was child. I always said,
“when I travel I miss him first and then my husband”.
Gus was my greatest love. He was always there for me – in 2015 I went through a lot of pain and suffering – there were times when I didn’t want to go on. I felt like my life was meaningless and I needed to let go, but every time I fell into this despair, he would be there, giving me a reason to live. He was whatever I needed him to be – he was silly and would thrash around the sheets, he was calm and watched real housewives with me, he was energetic and took long walks at 6 am and he was loud, barked at the seamless delivery guy. He was everything and now he is no more – I feel so lost without him.
Gussie in 2012 – not 100% trusting me
When I met my husband in 2011 – I met Gus, and I didn’t like him. He had wild fur that was all in knots and his breath was terrible. I thought he was too quiet and had no personality. The first couple of months – I wouldn’t even interact with him. I had never experienced a dog like this, he wouldn’t bark or be aggressive – he was just calm. But as I slowly got to know him I realized he was onion, you had peel back his layers.
In 2012, I took Gussie to the vet for a teeth cleaning. I dropped him and I went to work. It was a busy day and I had a lot of back to back meetings. I didn’t check my phone. When I finally got to my desk, I saw 3 missed called from the vet. I immediately called them back – I was terrified. The vet informed me that he had really bad gum disease and because I didn’t’ pick up the phone they went ahead and removed all his teeth except 8.
That was the moment I realized just how much I loved him. I began to hysterically cry at my desk. I felt horrible. The vet called and I didn’t answer and now my little guy only has 8 teeth. When I picked him up he was loopy. I carried him home in my arms and I sobbed. I let him down and it was the worst feeling I have ever felt.
But, he was fine. My Gussie, was so tough. Soon, we realized that the tooth removal was a blessing. He was in pain and now that the bad teeth were gone he could eat a lot more. He even chewed through bags looking for treats.
when I found out doggie pajamas were real
In 2014 when my husband and I tied the knot – I refused to leave Gussie behind. We were traveling to Savannah and I needed Gus to be there. We carried him on the plane – a 2.5 hour JetBlue flight. He slept the entire way. Another passenger commented that they didn’t even realize a dog was on board because he was so quiet.
The night before the wedding everyone went out to a bar. I left around midnight so I could have my beauty sleep. I changed into pajamas put Gussie in the bed-force cuddled him until he slipped away and drifted to sleep.
I awoke at 5 am to get ready and as I opened my eyes I noticed that Gussie wasn’t there. My friend and I ripped apart the room looking for him. I was so afraid that I had left the door open and he ran away. We ran into the main house and climbed 5 flights of stairs to where my husband was. As I tiptoed into the room, I saw the bed and a little head popped up – it was Gus. He was sleeping on the edge of the bed.
My husband had walked home from the bar at 3 am – come into my suite taken Gus and carried him up 5 flights of stairs.
The last few months of his life, he was so tired – he had chemo every 3 weeks. That meant, that he would have 1 good week and then he would be sick for the rest.
His last treatment the vet brought him out with a yellow bandana and a certificate that said, I Kicked Cancer’s Tail! He has no visible tumors. I felt a sigh of relief. I thought that everything we were doing was working and that we had more time.
What I would give for more time with him.
Always so happy
As I was creating the guest list for my husband’s birthday party – it occurred to me that Gussies x-rays were the next day. I felt a lump in my throat.
The day before I was supposed to spend the day with him – I had taken off. But something came up at work, so I said would be gone for an hour. It took the entire day. I got home at 9 pm. I walked him and tried to feed him. He didn’t want to eat the dog food. He wanted chicken.
I went to cook him some chicken and my husband and I argued that we should only feed him the specially formulated food to fight the cancer.
I put the half cooked chicken in the freezer, it’s still there.
He didn’t eat the dog food.
The next day I had to work again. I woke up at 8 am and took him for a walk, gave him a kiss and went to work.
I got home at 1 pm and my husband and I argued about something while he sat patiently on the couch.
I took him for a walk at 6 pm. We walked down his favorite street – he pooped in front a restaurant where people were eating outside (his favorite thing to do). I brought him home and fed him. Then I picked him up and sat in the window with him. He loved looking out the window.
He threw up 2 times after that and the 2nd time was the last. Something had happened.
We had to rush him to the vet that night, during the party. We slipped out and I held him in my arms as my husband drove. He was breathing so heavy, I kept whispering in his ear “I love you, you’re a good boy.”
When we got the vet, it was clear, he was bleeding internally and we had to let him go.
That day at 4 am – we put him to sleep. In my husband arms as I stroked his head. He left us.
I have never felt such pain.
I have never felt such guilt
All I wanted was time with him and yet I never gave him time. I live with this guilt every day. My greatest regret was not spending that Friday with him. I am so sorry my Gussie.
The lesson I have learned from all of this is to spend time with those you love because you never know when it’s going to be over.
But the truth is, I haven’t even given myself time to grieve – I’ve been so busy. I had an epiphany this week, I need to find my balance. I need to center myself again. I feel so sad every day. I feel so alone in my grief. I feel so pointless.
I have been taking medication to fall asleep and medication to wake up. Inside, it feels like I am running on fumes – I don’t know how I’ve been existing.
I need to accept that I’ll never hear his collar tag jingle (my favorite sound). I need to forgive myself and let go of the guilt. I need to feel this pain, let it wash over me.
I love you so much. I miss you so much. You were such a good boy. Thank you for being there for me. Thank you for coming Savannah for our wedding. Thank you for wearing that ridiculous bowtie collar. Thank you sitting in that stroller I got for you. Thank you for playing with the hand puppets I bought from Ikea. Thank you for being my guard dog when my husband was away. Thank you for always sleeping on my side – warming my feet.
I hope you had a good life. I hope we gave you everything you wanted.
I’ll never forget you. I am sorry I tried to push these feeling away.
You are forever my favorite.
My last mothers day with Gussie (featuring Rikee my family dog)