My beautiful dog Billy has had skin cancer for the last 14 months. An oncologist has treated him with chemo and cryosurgery. Billy has survived because of this treatment but in the last month he has been failing. On Tuesday I took him to his regular vet to see what she thought of Billy’s condition.
In addition to cancer Billy also had a collapsing trachea. It seemed to me that in the last few weeks Billy has begun to cough more and have difficulty breathing when he lay down so I thought the trachea was worse. The doctor told me that the cancer had spread to Billy’s lungs. I asked if was time to put Billy down. She said yes.
The vet came to the house at 1:00 to put Billy down. I was incredibly sad but at peace with the loss of Billy I think Billy knew he was dying He would lie for hours with his eyes open while not moving. He was still able to take his daily hike however since his breathing was fairly normal when he was standing.
Since the decision to put him down was made three days ago I have taken Billy hiking every day. I’ve cooked him steak and chicken and turkey for dinner. We even went to the dog park which wasn’t too successful since Billy just clung to my side.
During Billy’s illness faith had been very difficult for me. Billy was my mainstay after my husband’s suicide. While I understand intellectually that God’s ways aren’t often understood by man emotionally I felt devastated. Believing had become almost impossible.
Once I decided to put Billy down and devote those precious 3 days to my best friend I found myself spontaneously thanking God for having given me this precious dog who has loved me no matter what. I realized that while I am losing him I have been so blessed by him for all these years. Oddly after all the struggle to believe faith returned in a rush of gratitude just as I was about to lose him.
After I took Billy for our last hike this morning I stopped with him and Boo to pick up a plastic sheet to put on the couch where he would be euthanized. As I was walking through Home Depot people would stop and pet the dogs. One man stopped and said “Oh what a nice whippet.” He stooped and Billy crawled onto the lap his legs made. For some reason I told him Billy was going being put down today. This lovely man cuddled Billy and petted him for at least 10 minutes. Somehow I knew God sent him to reassure me and bless me in my loss. How grateful I am for God’s generosity.
When the vet and her assistant arrived to put Billy down I was ready. I sat with Billy on my lap and fed him pieces of turkey while the doctor inserted the needle. Billy was gulping down the turkey, as much as he wanted, a rare treat. Suddenly he stopped, gave a sigh and that was the end.
Billy is gone but not forgotten. He blessed me with his life and now he has blessed me with his death. Go with God Billy.