10/30/2010 - 06/22/2022 04/19/2008 - 03/13/2022
We have had a faithful pup by our side since we were chosen by our first dog, Nicky, at a local animal rescue in El Paso, TX.
We lost our sweet Bosun this week after a sudden decline. Three months after we lost his sister, Baylee.
See Trip's deeper dive below - it deserves its own blog post.
Baylee, Bosun, and all the Other Dogs
We had to put Bosun down at a Lufkin, Texas veterinarian hospital yesterday, the 22nd of June. Readers of this blog know that we had a working diagnosis for Bosun of Cushing's Disease. We had a treatment plan, had radically adjusted his diet, and thought Bosun was showing signs of some improvement. The one aspect of Bosun that was not improving was his gait and worsening weakness in his hind legs. All of his symptoms were consistent with the Cushing’s diagnosis. We visited the Lufkin veterinarian to discuss increasing Bosun's Cushing's medications to hopefully significantly impact his symptoms. Fortunately, this veterinarian was astute enough to be skeptical of Cushing's and felt Bosun's rapid decline in pelvic girdle strength warranted further investigation. We consented to a full blood panel and an abdominal/chest x-ray. These new studies revealed the truth we were desperately hoping to avoid: BoBo’s liver enzymes were off the chart, and the x-ray showed a large, softball-sized mass growing on his liver. Cancer.
We don't know what cancer type; it just doesn’t matter. Despite practically letting Bosun eat anything he wanted, the poor pup had lost another two pounds from the last veterinarian visit a few weeks ago in Alabama. The tumor was overwhelming him metabolically. I can’t imagine the pain the poor dog was experiencing, but that never stopped him from doing his best to be engaged with us. His only real desire was to be with Pam and me. Our proximity seemed to be the best medicine for his aggressive cancer. Bosun's deterioration these past three months has been shockingly fast and a source of tremendous anxiety for both of us. These past few days before the final veterinarian visit, he had difficulty walking and could hardly hold his body up for more than a few minutes. Despite this decline, I am overwhelmingly grateful that his last few weeks were here on Sam Rayburn Reservoir in East Texas, with our hosts, Toni and Karon.
Toni and Karon’s home on the lake is truly a dog paradise (pretty sweet for humans too). Bobo could 'run' free on the property, swim in the lake, and hang out with the local big dogs who quickly enveloped him within their pack. We are grateful that he was able to do all the things canines naturally desire right up to the end. The veterinarian had recommended we euthanize Bosun immediately at our first visit on the 21st, but neither Pam nor I were ready for that. We did our best to pack the 2-3 years of love we thought we had left for Bosun in 24 hours. He was treated to multiple marrow bones from the 'bone lady' (Karon), and we had tramadol for the pain. He slept deeply that night for the first time in weeks. His breakfast consisted of raw steak mixed with his usual rice and chicken. We all loved on him between treats. Pam cooked up a pound of bacon that he enjoyed on the final trip to the veterinarian. He quietly went to sleep while chewing bacon (we should all be so lucky). As heartbreaking as it has been for us, we are grateful to have spared him the final ravages and indignity of terminal cancer. Bobo was too loving an animal to be subjected to that trauma.
Sadly, we had to put Bosun's sister, Baylee, down just three months ago. Baylee had a slow-growing thigh tumor that eventually overwhelmed her. We had essentially 18 months to prepare for her death. Bosun's cancer has been viciously sudden and makes it a double gut punch.
Losing both dogs in such a short time seems exceedingly unfair. Irrationally, I have been raging at the world for the blow. Practically, I understand the universe does not care a bit about my feelings of fairness. While I can intellectualize that the death of these family members just 'is,' the human in me still rages against the injustice. It’s a cruel joke of evolution that the human and canine species have developed in such symbiosis, yet dogs have such a pitifully short life compared to their human companions. The loss of a friend that offers such unconditional love, no matter how great an ass I have been that day, is hard to bear. So many family dogs have soothed my soul and watched over my family these many years. With the greatest respect and love, I raise my glass to all the faithful family members who have filled our hearts but left too soon. Fair winds and following seas.
Thank you, BoBo. We will miss you every day, but know you’re playing with Baylee and Nicky, eating all the bones, playing with all the toys, running as fast as the wind.