I am writing this through tears, so please excuse if my words don't come out right or if I share too much - or for misspellings.
Ten days ago I took Moose to the vet to get her yearly shots and mentioned to the vet that her appetite had been on and off. He checked her out and decided that he should take some x-rays of her stomach. Unfortunately, he found a tumor the size of a coconut in her abdomen on the left side. The tumor had probably taken over her spleen and most likely had gone into her liver and other parts of her body. The only way to confirm this would be to do an ultrasound. If the ultra sound showed that the cancer had not spread, then we could do surgery, which the vet shared is very invasive and not an easy surgery or recovery for someone at an advanced age, such as Moose. We decided that putting Moose through all of that wouldn't be fair to her. Her recovery from her leg surgery was not easy and she was much younger! :)
So, we decided the best thing to do was to bring her home and when her bad days outnumber her good days, we would know it was time to say good-bye. The vet couldn't tell us how much longer she would be with us. It could be days, which I was in denial of, or a month. He did say that her abdominal cancer was terminal and this would most likely be her cause of passing. Worse case scenario, the tumor would start to leak and she would have internal bleeding. He warned us that would be painful and he wouldn't want that for us, but most importantly not for Moose.
That night, we shared the news with the boys. Sam sobbed. Jack cried and said we need to celebrate her life. We decided to create a bucket list for Moose and begin right away.
That weekend she had a great couple of days and you would have never known she was sick. She ate breakfast and dinner, barked at the deer (but not chasing them) carried something in her mouth at all times, got up and followed us around (she has been on and off with this too) and when someone was in the kitchen, she was under foot.
Pancakes for breakfast.
She found her Mr. Hippo and carried him wherever she went.
She got to lay on the couch, cuddle and watch TV!
"I can't believe you have been keeping this wonderful thing from me all these years!"
One of the boys threw a sleeping bag on the floor and Moose took it over...just like the old days!! She was very proud of herself!!
After her fun filled weekend, she was worn out. Looking back, I think it was her last rally. Her appetite started to wain again and she slept more and more. I was home those three days and gave her my undivided attention during the day. I noticed while I was eating my lunch or breakfast, she would start by my side waiting for a treat, but would soon need to lay down.
I came home from work on Thursday afternoon and she hadn't eaten all day, so I browned some hamburger. When I gave it to her, she refused to eat. The vet had said whatever she wants to eat is fine, because, if she eats, she will stay with us longer. I was desperate, so I warmed up some left over mac and cheese (she had eaten a couple of cheese raviolis the night before.) I started hand feeding it to her and noticed her tongue was very pale. I called the vet and they said to bring her in right away.
That was gut wrenching. I just knew. I had to warn the boys and this was not a proud parent moment. I went upstairs and told them I needed to take Moose to the vet and I don't know if she will come back. That was NOT the way to break it to the boys, but I had to get her to the vet. (I called at 5:15 and when the secretary told me to bring her up, I asked, "NOW?" And she replied, "Well, we close at 6.") Understandably, the boys panicked and I tried to make it as easy as I could for them. I told them I would do everything in my power to bring her home, but to remember we do not want her to be in pain. I, too, was not ready for this.
Before I left, they asked for me to take their picture with her. Sam is so trying to keep it together. *sniff*
(Jack had a Dr. Seuss day...hence the green bowler hat.)
This is the first picture the boys had together with Moose.
"Mom, would you like a picture with her?"
My first picture with Moose.
When I got to the vet, they put her on the scale (she had actually gained two pounds in 6 days! It must have been my amazing cooking!) Moose always jumps right on the scale, but tonight I actually had to help her. She just didn't have any energy. We walked into a room and she immediately laid down and just wagged her tail when someone would come into the room. Not her usual hearty greeting.
The vet came in, checked her out and said due to the color of her tongue (which can be a sign of internal bleeding), the tumor or spleen was probably bleeding and she would most likely not make it through the night. Worse-case scenario had become our reality. Looking back, I think Moose knew I didn't want to make the decision of "when it was time" and she made the decision for me.
At this time, my sister and shortly after, Jason came into the room. We talked with her and said our good-byes. The vet brought in a big comfy blanket for her to lay on. Then it was time. Her blood pressure was so low, that they couldn't get a vein to pop up right away, which reinforced how sick she was at that time. She just laid there while I held her head and suddenly, she went to sleep and I went into ugly cry. The vet gave us time to be with her. After a bit, I asked Jason and my sister to leave so I could have for some alone time with her. I talked with her, cried on her and said good-bye. It was so hard. I didn't want to leave her.
As I headed home, I knew I had to tell the boys, which I knew would be gut wrenching. Each reacted in their own manner, which I won't share without checking with them. That is their story.
When I got home, my mom was there. She had come to hang out with the boys. While talking with her, I noticed Mr. Hippo on the step by the door. Moose would lay him there every time she went outside and then pick him up when she came back in.
He is still laying there.
Rest in peace our dear Moose.