Our 10-year-old White/Yellow Lab, Rocky, was put to sleep.
What a strange euphemism for death.
Apparently, cancer in animals is primarily detected by secondary effects or certain bodily responses to the disease.
Lymphoma can be one of the more difficult to detect.
Over the past several months, Rocky has had an increasingly difficult time keeping food down.
After trying every test and treatment that three different vets could come up with, we were recommended to have an endoscopic exam of his stomach.
His stomach lining was very swollen and lined with polyps.
The Pylorus, a muscle that regulates the flow of food from the stomach to the intestines, was swollen shut.
The doctor with the endoscope took a biopsy of the stomach lining.
In the meantime, Rocky was progressively unable to keep down scrambled eggs, baby food, or protein "shakes."
That is when the biopsy results came back.
During the following week, while we agonized, finally even broth wouldn't stay down. Even on an empty stomach.
Rocky would retch for hours.
Rocky was starving to death. His spine, ribs, and hips were sticking out.
But he still loved to chase his ball, wagged his tail and was still "stupid happy," as a friend once described him.
Would it be selfish for us to keep him alive while he starved?
Starvation is a horrible way to die. But he still seemed to be happy and filled with life.
Reluctantly, we decided that it was time.
That stupid son-of-a-b---- was wagging his tail until the anesthesia took full effect and his favorite ball was still in his mouth.
At this point, I had to leave and take a walk outside. My wife stayed with him.
I hope that if we see each other again, Rocky will have his ball in his mouth so I can throw it for him.
Is there a larger life lesson? I am not sure.
When my father's mother passed, she had been suffering for many years. As much as we were heartbroken at her passing, we couldn't help but also feel that she must be relieved now.
My mother's father lived life to the fullest, had a heart attack, and was gone.
When my time arrives, what do I want?
Do I want people to say, "He never gave up. Even though he was suffering, he fought it all the way," or do I want people to say, "That stupid son-of-a-b---- was still wagging his tail and died with his favorite ball in his mouth."