Sunday, October 20, 2013

Being Kicked

Seth and Clifford - 2004

I've been struggling with my dog, Clifford. He had a shoulder injury that seemed to be getting better thanks to the vet and pain medication.

Monday I got up at 3:30am to go to work and I couldn't find Clifford. After searching the house, I found him sitting in the bathtub just staring at the wall. Not laying down, just staring. He wouldn't even look at me.

Right then I knew my baby was dying. For anyone that has seen the death look in an animal knows the look.

By time the vet opened at 8:00am Clifford was in shock, needed blood transfusions and was admitted to the doggy hospital. He had an ultrasound later that afternoon, and the diagnoses was cancer. It’s through his whole abdomen, in his liver and spleen. Most likely will spread to his lungs next.

I am devastated.

You see.. Clifford is our dog. Seth got him for me for my birthday in 2004. He was just six weeks old and has been my baby since the first time I laid eyes on him.

Through Seth’s death, he was my rock. I remember shortly after the funeral I was sitting on the couch hysterically crying. Clifford came up and put his head on my shoulder and licked the tears off my face. I realized that even though he was grieving (both my dogs went through a really weird grief stage) he was able to put his own pain and grief aside and take care of me.

Fast forward to now. I have decided to not do treatment on Clifford, other than pain management. After all, there isn't anything the vet can do other then blood transfusions every couple weeks.. which would mean he would need to be hospitalized every couple weeks. I.just.can’ I can’t put him in the scary hospital for a short term solution. I can't put him through fear and pain for my own selfish reasons.

I have been in panic mode since Monday. Taking care of Clifford. Trying to make sure he is comfortable until it’s time to send him home to his daddy. Every night we are up several times a night, shoving pain pills down his throat and his multiple trips to the potty.

I am exhausted.

I am angry. Pissed off at Seth. Pissed that because my husband killed himself I am doing this alone. Pissed off that my husband isn't protecting us, yet again.
Clifford rolling around in the grass and sunshine.
Despite the fact that he is dying, he finds joy in the simple pleasures.

Shortly after Clifford’s diagnoses I had the following dream.

I was walking into a sporting goods store. I knew exactly where I was going and what I needed (Can’t remember what I needed). As I walked into the store, Seth was standing there with two of his friends. I thought SHIT. Pretend like you don’t see him, just walk past him fast, maybe he won’t see me.

After I quickly walked past Seth and his friends, Seth came up behind me. He kept kicking me in the butt and back, with each kick it would launch me forward. After the third or fourth kick he said “What, you just going to pretend like you don’t know me??”

I was furious. I whipped my head around and yelled at him. “You haven’t talked to me in three years. You just up and disappeared. You left me, and now expect me to pretend like I’m happy to see you??”

He didn't get the clue. He continued “What’s up, what’s new?”

“I don’t need your shit today. Clifford is dying. He was just diagnosed with cancer. The last thing I need is your shit.”

He started crying “don’t lie to me, Clifford can’t be dying, how did this happen?”

I was so angry I could have choked him. “If you were around for the last three years and were part of our family, you would know all this. Instead you abounded us and left us to figure out all this shit on our own.”

I woke up. I woke up angry. I couldn't shake the look in Seth’s eyes when I told him Clifford was dying.

Looking back the dream seems symbolic. Seth kicking me repeatedly when I don’t have the energy to get back up. Like in real life, I can’t recover from one thing before I get kicked back to my knees. Obviously I am angry Seth isn't here and my anger came out in my dream.

This is one of the worst things I have been through. It is completely devastating. I never imagined having one of my dogs die would be this devastating.

Today I reached my breaking point and asked for help. I have a friend coming to stay the night and be on Clifford duty for the night, so I can grieve and sleep.. and know my baby is being taken care of.

The silver lining in it all? When Clifford’s time has come I can have a vet come to our home and send him home to Seth. I don’t have to take him to the scary vet’s office and have him die on a cold metal table. He can be at home with his friends, family and doggy sister Juna.

I find peace in knowing I can put him out of his pain. I find anger in knowing I couldn't just put my husband to sleep and put him out of his suffering rather than him shooting himself alone in the mountains.


  1. I have a 15 year dog, and I know time is getting closer. He was limping badly last week, but now okay. I have put down two dogs, hard to do but best for the dog not to endure the pain. Our dogs trust us with their life and give us so much. Best thing you can do to give payback for all he has done for you is putting him down.

    Peace be with you..

  2. heart aches for you, Melinda....and Clifford is adorable....may your time together be as peaceful as possible....

  3. Hugs to you Melinda. Losing a pet is so traumatic even when your life hasn't been completely up-ended. I'm glad you were able to ask for help. That's so important for your and Clifford's well being.
    Much love.

  4. We had to put one of our dogs down the day before the surgery that was supposed to save my husband's life but ended up taking it instead. I've always felt guilty that I didn't mourn him the way he deserved because I had so many other things to take care of. Still, I have occasionally had experiences where I have - for a few moments at least - felt my little bagel dog and my husband lie down with me as they did on our last night together. I'm so sorry you have to experience this.

    I will tell you that I reluctantly adopted a puppy in desperate need of a home - supposedly a little beagle, but actually a great big hound. She has been my savior and I do truly believe she was sent to me to help me at a time when didn't know how I would go on.

  5. THis makes me cry, especially the last sentence. I have the two kitties that Don and I adopted together, and I know that when the time comes for me to let them go, I will be beyond devastated. Im actually frightened for that day. So so sorry, and major huge hugs xoxo

  6. That last sentence is so powerful. I'm glad you can find peace knowing you are doing the best you can for Clifford. I think, and hope, that deep in your heart, you know that you did the best you could for Seth, too. Maybe that's what he was trying to tell you in your dream.

  7. Melinda, Hope you were able to get some rest. Thank goodness for friends.
    I am dreading the day when my kitty departs, she is 15, with health issues also. We all should enjoy the simple pleasures like your Clifford is, rolling in the grass and sun. Take care.

  8. I am so sorry you are going through this. Our dogs are older and I dread the day they decline. My husband died in April and he was the one who picked our pooches. I am so sorry, losing a pet is so awful.

  9. My husband and I adopted our pair of dogs in June of 2009, and my husband died in January 2010. The dogs were the only reason I kept going. There are days they are still the only reason I keep going. And I don't think too hard about what will happen when I lose them, too, when I don't have that reason to keep going. But hopefully it's something I won't have to deal with for a long time.