Sully’s Last Summer

Why is it that we never assume those we love will go before us. If we did would we still continue to love, or would the harsh reality of loss deter us? I have love and lost many times over; abandonment as well as death…yet I keep loving. Why when I know it’s futile?

I walked the length of the drive till I reached the mailbox that sits by the side of the gravel road in front of our property. I felt numb, as if simply going through the motions today. It occurred to me on my way back up the drive that this was the last summer. His last summer. Our last summer together. I had to stop and gather myself together as the harsh reality hit. This home, the only one he’s ever known; these five acres of grass he’s crossed, numerous trees he’s marked, area he’s protected, this is all he knows. This is where we brought him as a pup, this has been the totality of his world, and this is where he will find everlasting sleep. Our last summer together. Does he know he’s sick? Does he know that time is short and what we have right now is all we’ve got left? I wonder.

I’m angry. So angry I could pull my hair out and scream to the top of my lungs. I told the vet as much. I asked, why is it that people who don’t deserve animals are given them, yet we, me and my husband, have been wonderful parents to our boy, and he’s being taken from us? I don’t understand. Someone make me understand. He has been such a joy to us, and is so loved, and in return has loved us back, and yet we’re going to lose him. Where is the justice in that? Even the vet commented on what a good boy he is. There are so many owners out there who don’t deserve being parents…punish them. There are so many animals out there who don’t fit well into society…destroy them. Don’t take my boy. What did he do…we do…to deserve this? What did he ever do but love and protect us? What did we ever do but give him a good home?

Yesterday was a bad day. Yesterday my husband who has been in denial took our boy for his x-rays and finally had to face the truth as the vet confirmed what I knew all along; our baby is dying. He has a large mass under his lungs that is preventing him from breathing well that the vet suspects is Lymphoma. His Creatinine level is 4.5 which is dangerously high, and his kidneys are slowly shutting down. I let my husband attend this appointment by himself, because I knew he would need time to deal with his feelings on the way home, and it would be easier if I weren’t present. As he and Sully walked slowly towards the door I peered through the glass at him, he looked up at me, and just shook his head.

I’d asked to be put on speaker phone when the vet was giving him the results of the x-rays, but my husband asked him instead to phone me a bit later when he had time. He told the vet I was going to bombard him with questions, so it would be better if it were he and I, one-on-one, on the phone. He was right, and when he phoned an hour later I assaulted him with them: How? Why? When? What to do next? The vet was forthright and honest. He said there’s no reason why this happens, but seems to strike perfectly healthy dogs in early, or middle age. He cleared my conscience when he told me there was nothing that my husband and me did to contribute to this. I’ve been beating myself up with guilt over whether it could be something in the well water, something in the dog food we feed him, etc. Also, he eased my mind when he told me that even if we opted for chemo it wouldn’t heal him, but simply prolong it at this stage.

I told him it was all about making him more comfortable. If we did nothing he said he would have about 30 days before he would either seize up and have a massive heart attack, or would suffocate. Neither are acceptable to us. We discussed the use of Prednisone, a steroid, which could shrink the tumor temporarily and make it easier for him to breath, although the cancer would still be advancing. He warned me though if we started him on that to be aware that it can make him feel so good for the next couple of months it could appear he’s in remission, but not to be fooled by that. All it will do is improve the quality of his life temporarily, then will stop working when his illness has reached the final stage, at which point he said the humane thing is for us to put him down before he suffers any further. This is the path we’re choosing to take. I hope and pray that God is gracious enough to give us another four months so he can enjoy one more Christmas holiday lying in front of the fireplace.

My husband finally broke down. I’ve done nothing but break down. I have cried daily, every hour on the hour for the past couple of weeks. When I first began to realize something was terribly wrong the tears began, and they haven’t stopped since. Yes, he’s a dog, but he’s also a dog that we’ve  treated like a baby from the moment my husband brought him home. He rocked with mama in her rocking chair well after he was too big to sit in it with me. Slept in our bed with us, drank and ate the ice out of my glass, shared my ice cream cones with me, the food on our plates. We always left the tv or radio on for him when we’d go into town so he and Hound Dog wouldn’t be lonely, and argued over whether the rock n roll my husband wanted was better for him then the classical music I thought would make him smarter. He’s been a huge pain in my ass more often than not, and also the best companion I could ask for. He is such a big part of my everyday life I just can’t imagine life without him now.

I’ve finally broke through the block and the writing is helping to free me from some of the pain. I’m trying to will gratitude for the opportunity that we’ve had to have him in our lives for these past four years, but I’m so damn mad that it’s making it difficult for me to enjoy the memories and time we have left.  My husband summed it up perfectly as he sat and let the tears finally fall, “Everyone I let myself love leaves me.” Yes, they do, and frankly I’m exhausted by it. 

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15 Comments on “Sully’s Last Summer”

  1. I’m here by way of Renee of Pooter and Booger’s Place and her September 2nd post (I’ve been a blogging slacker for a few months). It took me a day to click on her link to this post. I cried just reading her post! I lost my “daughter,” Maggie, in June of 2010. It was one of the most difficult losses I’ve ever endured. Sound silly? She was “only” a dog? Of course not, and I know you would agree. I am so sorry about Sully. As much as I love my family (the human variety), none of them have as much unconditional love as Maggie did for me. And the other way around. I still cry when I look at pictures of her. And that’s okay in my book. Hugs to you!

  2. The Hook says:

    I feel surrounded by Death these days as well. It’s not easy to stand by powerless as those we love move on.
    Hang in there.

  3. […] So, when I read about her beloved dog Sully having cancer and facing what would be his last summer with her, I was incredibly sad. But yesterday her news was even worse; Sully is not responding to his Prednisone and will have to take his final bow in this world Saturday, in order to stop his suffering. I’m posting links to both her moving tribute to her amazing Sully, and also to yesterday’s post. I defy you to read and not join in her weeping. https://pissykittyslitterbox.com/2011/08/20/sullys-last-summer/https://pissykittyslitterbox.com/2011/08/31/waking-up-the-ghost-limb-and-putting-sully-to-sleep/ […]

  4. Renee Mason says:

    Your second paragraph was utter emotional beauty. Sully will have a wonderful few months with his beloved people, and then he’ll be an angel, looking out for both of you. Love will never die.

  5. Spectra says:

    I feel his presence in your heart. I hear it in your words. You are making the best choice, to give him the best possible finish to his life with you, and here in this world. He will never really go away, though. My Puppy stayed, in spirit, and guided me in my heart. She was here. The love never dies. And their spirits remain loyal, as in life, and stay with us, to watch over us.

  6. As I said before you are in my thoughts…get lots of hugs and love in with the time you have left, Sully has had a great puppy life, and you have been blessed with the great joy of having him in your life. Unfortunately sometimes, we don’t get as much time as we want, but we have to take the joy in what we are given…hugs my friend, to all of you xoxox

  7. Bren says:

    My heart cries for you, your husband, and Sully. It sounds like exactly what happened to my cat last year. All of a sudden, a cancer. Lungs filled with fluid but yet, Jaggar couldn’t tell us he was hurting. It’s very sad how attached we get to our fur children. When we adopt and/or rescue them, we do know at sometime there will be a departure but we still want to love and love and love even though we know sometime in the future, there will be pain.

    Again, I cry knowing what you are going through. Just know you gave Sully the best home and life he could have. You, a special person, actually took a chance on HIM and gave him a life. I commend you for that.

    Hang in there my friend. We are all here for you. ~hugs~

  8. I’m so so sorry. You dont deserve this and neither did he. You are in my thoughts – take all the tail waggings and pettings you can for now, and cherish each day w/out letting the future cloud what you have right now. I know that is easier said then done. big hugs.

    • Sorry the reply took so long in getting to you. I’m just now feeling up to extending my gratitude to everyone for being so supportive. Thank you so much for the hugs and support sent my way. Knowing I’ve had so many in my corner has made a big difference.

  9. mairedubhtx says:

    Your post brought me to tears. I know what you are feeling, having been through a similar situation with my Spikey. You and Sully are in my prayers and I pray that the steroid will help him have a few more good months with you. May you find some sort of peace in your broken heart.

  10. So sorry. Loosing a love one, even a four-legged one is so hard. Hang in there, at least for Sully. Sending love and prayers.

  11. Weeping with you. I hope he and you do get those good few months. It is so hard for you all.

    I have been on prednisone – and it acts quickly. It is the path I would have taken for Sully too.

    Big hugs, sending good wishes to you all.

  12. Jodi Lea says:

    😦 Sometimes, life just sucks and we can’t do anything about it. Y’all are in my thoughts this weekend
    J

  13. siggiofmaine says:

    My heart is filled will sorrow as I know yours and your husband’s is overflowing with sorrow, grief, anger and every emotion known to man or beast.
    Trite, but true…”It is better to have loved…” you know the rest…he is a precious gift to you and you have treated him as no one else could…
    Am keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers as I go about my day …
    Much love, wishing you eventually peace of heart and soul for sharing a love as bountiful no person or animal has ever known before.

    Thank you for sharing your story of Sully enhancing your lives as I know you have his.
    ☮ ♥. Siggi in Downeast Maine

    • Siggi, I’m trying to touch base with each of you that have left your well wishes with me at least once, and to tell you how much I appreciate the kind words and support I’ve received. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you. I am starting to feel a bit better now, so hopefully my blogging will resume soon. Thank you again for stopping and your comforting words. I’ve needed each and every one.