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Saying Goodbye to Devo

November 13, 2020

We said goodbye to Devo last week. She was blessedly clear that she was ready. Her eye was getting worse, and her docs felt that there was a mass growing behind her eye. They offered a CT scan and even eye removal by surgery. We were pondering this crossroad when Devo made the decision for herself – she started hiding in the basement. Then she stopped eating, felt nauseous. She thumped her tail when we visited her, but she wanted to be alone, low, in a small space. When she was visibly jaundiced, we knew. 

Her last two nights she had a hard time getting comfortable. I slept on the couch and listened to her hop back and forth around the room. We had a cold snap, and all she wanted was to drink icy cold water from the birdbath outside. 

On her last morning, she woke up before the dawn and hopped outside to drink. She was so tired, she lay down on the deck and didn’t want to go back in. We watched the sky grow lighter together, her covered up in my puffer jacket. 

To our surprise, it felt best to take Devo to her holistic vet for the euthanasia, rather than have him come to our home (which bless his heart he would have gladly done). It was a 30 minute drive and I sang to her the whole way there. At one point, she popped up and gave me a gentle and loving look in the rear view mirror, resting her chin on the seat back like she has done on probably every drive we’ve ever taken together. I will treasure that sweet gaze forever. 

Her actual passing, I will keep between us. It was gentle and lovingly done. After she died, the weather turned warm and the sun came out. I feel her with us, strongly. 

Devo loved being alive. She was a joyful and liberated presence. She loved using her dog body to play and roam the wild. She was so capable and competent, independent (sometimes to my annoyance). We were more free and wild because of her. I regret the times I felt frustrated with her, or tried to control. I think those lessons are a part of her final gift to me.

Here is a poem I like to share when someone loses an animal love. For the first time, that person is me. I like to change the hims to her when I read it these days.

 

Bazougey by Mary Oliver

 

Where goes he now, that dark little dog

who used to come down the road barking and shining?

He’s gone now, from the world of particulars,

the singular, the visible.

 

So, that deepest sting: sorrow. Still,

is he gone from us entirely, or is he

a part of that other world, everywhere?

 

Come with me into the woods where spring is

advancing, as it does, no matter what,

not being singular or particular, but one

of the forever gifts, and certainly visible.

 

See how the violets are opening, and the leaves

unfolding, the streams gleaming and the birds

singing. What does it make you think of?

His shining curls, his honest eyes, his

beautiful barking.

Safe travels, Devo <3

Lumps Gone

October 19, 2020

Yep, those lumps from two posts ago are gone after a dose of doxyrubicin. They went down slowly, but after 3 weeks I can’t feel them at all. In Devo’s oncologist’s words: “Good for her!” She wasn’t too bothered by the chemo and we had a second dose last week. We know it’s temporary but we’re encouraged that she responded so well.

Her eye is still swollen and sight in that eye is gone from the cancer induced glaucoma. We need to watch the pressure and are still dialing the right eye meds. Acupuncture has been working too. It helps me to jokingly think of her as Mad Eye Moody from Harry Potter! Or imagine that she’s got one eye on us and one on the other side.

So for now, we’re enjoying the Fall and happy that she’s happy to keep hanging out with us 🙂

Our First Scare

October 2, 2020

Well, we had our first big scare this week. Devo’s cancer is affecting her eyes, and in the middle of the night something must have changed. She was very uncomfortable — pacing, eyes squinted shut, obviously hurting. A small dose of tramadol finally helped her rest, but the next day she didn’t want to eat and hid under the stairs all day. She looked just awful, and I wondered if that might be it for her… But the smell of dinner and some warm clam broth brought her around to our happy surprise.

The vet found pressure in her eye and glaucoma. Also low platelets after her doxyrubicyn 7 days ago, so oral prednisone now. And CBD treats. She’s not back to where she was before the scare, but she went to the beach yesterday and still wants to be here with us.

 

A Confusing Turn of Events

September 26, 2020

Well it seems Devo’s chemo is not controlling her cancer growth. 10 days ago she had a red painful eye that turned out to be uveitis from cancer cells blocking her eye ducts and circulation. Luckily steroid drops eased the pain right away. It is still red but doesn’t seem to hurt. She doesn’t see out of that eye any more.

She also has small lumps growing near her incision site that are also cancerous. She doesn’t love those being touched, but they also don’t seem painful.

So we are very sad.

But she is just herself — chasing apples, enjoying the heck out of food, sprinting after squirrels in the yard. Maybe groaning a little more than usual? It is confusing.

We tried a new chemo drug, doxyrubicin, yesterday. If that doesn’t slow down the lumps’ growth then we’ll be done with chemo and focus on apple chasing as long as we can.

 

2 Months!

September 11, 2020

Devo is doing so well on three legs! Around 5 / 6 weeks she really came into her own and it is such a joy to see. She’s figured out her new geometry and started rolling in the grass, scampering, and generally getting back to herself. Pre-surgery her greatest joy was running like a maniac on the beach, and she’s been able to do that again (albeit with more rest breaks). Her hair has mostly grown back too.

Still she definitely reminds us that she’s in her final life transition. A few weeks ago she woke me up at 2 am to go outside. (I thought maybe she had to puke.) We went out into the night, and she hopped just beyond the reach of the porch light and laid in the grass. I don’t know what she needed to do out there, but I’m glad she shared it with me.

She sleeps in bed with me sometimes now too, which she’s never enjoyed until now. I like feeling her doggy body curled in my knees and knowing she’s there through the night <3