Friday, December 4, 2015

how do you live with a dying dog...

i sit here typing at my laptop, in the comfort of my living room... a day off from work.   i watch sabre, my brown pit bull mix, rolling around in the splotch of warmed sunny carpet in front of me... her tongue lolling happily from side to side as she smiles as only a pit can.

and yet she's dying.

not literally as i type this, (she's way too busy enjoying the moment of warm sun, carpet, and potential belly rubs from anyone that may cross her path) but soon.

too soon.

some may know how sabre came into my life, but for those that don't, here's the cliff notes:

jeff and i fell in love a little over 2 years ago.  he moved out of his house, and into my townhome.  this past february we  moved back into his house, and we inherited two of the five or six dogs that resided there.

the white dog, angel.  a pit mix.  she's a mushy love, a real mommy's girl. 

the brown dog, sabre. a pit mix. she's another mushy love, and if you feed her or rub her belly she'll love you forever.

we knew these were the two dogs that were being left with us.  although i'm a dog lover, i've never cared for more than one at a time, and had never been exposed to the dreaded pit bull.  so yeah, although jeff assured me these dogs were the coolest bestest dogs in the world,  i was a little ascared.

all that fear vanished the moment i met angel.  while still living in the townhouse, jeff would go get angel and bring her home to me for a sleepover so that we could get to know each other.  i fell in love with her.  but he didn't do that with sabre, explaining that she had some medical complications and wouldn't make a good overnight guest.

i met sabre the day i moved in.  i remember this massive headed beast barreling at me - her wide chest looked huge as it approached and i held my breath and it was fine.

 i realized what jeff told me was totally true - these dogs are awesome.  behaved, trained, lovable dogs. they have been my constant companions for ten months.

three weeks ago i got the flu for the first time in my life.  holy CRAP was i sick.  angel never left my side.  i am not exaggerating this - she went everywhere with me.  EVERYWHERE.   i would open the shower curtain and she'd be sitting outside the bathtub.

sabre wasn't quite as attentive - sabre's #1 request is food, #2 request is belly rubs and ear scratches, #3 request is food. (do you see where this is going?)

both dogs were rescues.  sabre was used as a breeder bitch, and she is the ultimate 'mother'.

she loves to play ball with me, in her clumsy way, she's an... awkward dog.   she loves to sit with her huge head hanging low on her chest looking every BIT like a gargoyle.

 we got word the fall before we moved in that sabre had cancer.  mast cell i believe.   so we knew we were on borrowed time with her - but the vet saw her over the summer and was thrilled with how good she was doing, and felt that she could go a good while longer.

i remember her happy face while we drove home from the vet.  it was so cute i took a pic while jeff was driving.  look at this face.  a new lease on life.

it was like she knew what the doctor said....

but thanksgiving day something happened.  i was in the kitchen, jeff and danny were outside playing with logs and splitters.  sabre exited her bed and shakily just crumpled in front of me.  i held her and i could tell she was totally disoriented.  i left her briefly to call jeff inside and we sat with her for a while, soothing her.  she couldn't get up.   after a bit it seemed to ease a little and she shakily got up and drank water.  the boys carried her outside in the warm sun to the grass where she always loved to be.   after a time she seemed to rally and i brought her inside since the air had gotten chilly.  she went to bed and slept.  no interest in food, which is enough to tell anyone that sabre is SICK.   for her not to be begging at the entrance to the kitchen would be highly unusual.

the next day she was fine.  like nothing had happened.

we knew something was happening, and in our hearts we knew what that was.  when she had another spell on tuesday i called the vet.  sabre had some xrays and bloodwork and then ultimately an ultrasound.

that ultrasound showed what was going to kill my beautiful gargoyle.   her liver was completely shot through with cancer... and causing a slow bleed into her abdomen.

she's not in pain.  she's 'subdued'.

time left?  maybe a month according to the doctor's best guess.

or... the bleeding may suddenly worsen and she'll die suddenly.

the vet and i cried on the phone together yesterday.

if the time comes that she is in any discomfort or her quality of life is gone, we will do the right thing.  

there's nothing that can be done.   i was going to type that we will love her unconditionally for the rest of her short days, but we already do that so this changes nothing.

although she may get extra treats.  just sayin...


  1. And extra cuddles from us when you think of it... I am very happy to have met and belly rubbed Sabre.. I hope her transition to the rainbow bridge is calm and painless. Love you all.

  2. Sad, beautiful story. Wishing comfort for all of you during the time you have together... and beyond...

  3. A sad story, but heartfelt. It is never easy watching, but as you travel this journey together she will know that you have done all you can and she is very loved. My heart aches for you.