Oct 16, 2015

Last Thing that Bud Saw

October 16, 2015 at 6:00 pm, sailor, hiking, ballchaser, protector, lover Bud died.
For an hour or two we lay down next to Bud, feed him sweet potato chips, gave him water, held him, and kissed him.  The only thing that he would eat was crispy stuff like tortilla chips, carrots, and pieces of pumpkin snap cookies, no more egg, salmon, or tubed beef.  Lot of sick people in pain like to crunch ice so maybe that helps Bud forget about his pain too.

The Vet and a helper from hospice care, Last Wishes, arrived at the door.  I greeted them, and led them to Bud where Mamma was holding and rubbing him.  Bud looked up at the woman and sniffed her hand, but I checked her out before she could meet Bud. 

Pappy J, Mamma, and I were that last things that Bud saw, touched, and heard before leaving this world.  We surrounded Bud, me sitting by his head,  Mamma laid down along his back and head, and Pappa sat by his front paws and face telling stories about Bud to the doctor. He fell asleep after a sedative between his shoulder blades was given and he slept.  After five minutes an injection to his leg was given. 

I knew before anyone else when his heart stopped beating by sniffing his heart.  I glanced across the room, watched his spirit fly away.  The doctor verified that Bud's perfect little heart had stopped beating. The doctor said that she had heard about pack mates knowing that the other pack mate had died, but had never seen it before this evening. 

His heart, brain, lungs, and major organs had stayed strong as the cancer grew outward over the past year and a half.  It never metastasized to his other body parts that we know of. It did suck nutrients from the rest of his body.  This last week has been very difficult for Bud.  Mamma prayed Saturday that he would not die on their Eleventh wedding anniversary, and he did not.  He no longer could support his upper body and stopped eating Monday.  He drank only a little water and a little beer.  He cried at night when he needed Mamma the most.  He cried when he peed or pooped on the weewee paper because he wanted us to clean up after him.  He did not like being left alone.  At night Mamma would have to sleep on the Bud bed with him for five nights.  I joined them every night for an hour or two and would go sleep by Pappa J.  Bud would lay his head on Mamma's neck or bury his nose into her arms and sleep, like we used to do to each other for twelve and a half years. 

As Pappa and the assistant carried Bud out on a stretcher, Mamma and I escorted them to their vehicle, and placed Bud in the back.  We all said Good Bye to Bud as they drove off, and we went back inside.

Mamma said that she feels numb, Pappa is in tears, and I am so sad and lonesome for Bud.  We needed to get away since Mamma had not been out for many days.  She could not leave Bud.  She hoped that he would go on his own, but his mind and heart was too strong.  When you are living in paradise, why would you want to leave.  We headed out to two dog friendly bars that I had never been to before, Underdog and Darwin's Theory.  I met a sweet, friendly puppy at one, and lots of dog friendly people at other.  It is nice to get out of your own head for a while.

On our last Friday morning together Mamma allowed us to talk to both of our grandmothers on the phone for as long as we wanted.  Bud kept crying out whenever Mamma walked away.  He had an upset tummy and pee smelled like ammonia.  MeMe said that he probably had a kidney or urinary tract infection.  Mamma gave him an antibiotic to stop the pain and an hour later he stopped crying.  Since Wednesday night his right arm had kept swelling up because the cancer was pinching his veins, and Mamma would slowly push the fluid out of arm every couple of hours and he would stop crying.  She regularly moved Mr. Bud which was still not an easy task for such a big boy, so that he would not get bed sores and locked joints.  He enjoyed the touching and moving around, and would kiss Mamma with gratitude.  I lay on one of the beds and watched him.  Whenever he started to cry, I would go find Mamma and tell her that he needed you.  Many times I would find her sleeping, and woo at her to wake up.  She was very tired, but still would go check on Bud.  Leaving the television or radio on seemed to help Bud rest.  He did not like high pitched music or fast music.  When we drove from east Texas to Houston, he cried to have the radio station changed when it was not something he like.  He loved the guitar and acoustic music which probably reminded him of Pappa J playing for him.

Mamma listened to and read about our brains and immune system nearly every day over the past year.  She learned when Bud is crying in pain that holding and rubbing him for 20 seconds or more helps him stop the pain and crying by releasing oxytocin and opioids in the brain.  

The brain is an amazing tool.  Dogs and humans are surprisingly similar.  Learning to unlock the pain relievers in the brain, Mamma kept Bud fully aware of us so that he never changed personality and never felt fear.  He was loyal, joyous, and loving to the end.

When Bud could not stand on his own or would fall, Mamma would encourage Bud to stand up on his own and walk.  He was very discouraged, but Mamma would tell him, "You can do it Bud.  Get up.  I believe in you."  Most times he would get up on his own and walk to where she was.  Other times she would have to help him get his back legs up.  He went down so many times since last March but he always managed to recover.  Even last week we got up one night and tried to get into the bedroom, but hit the closed door and fell down.  Mamma awoke and yelled to open the door, its Bud.  He wants to join us.

When Bud's body was taken away to be cremated, that whole week we were all lost, worried that we get Bud back, and sad.  Mamma took me to the new Johnnie Steel Dog Park to forget the loss for an hour.  I swam, walked around, and politely said hello to the other dogs.  I did not run or touch any balls.  I made no new friends there.  Maybe West Webster Dog Park, where Bud and I used play daily, I will find another friend to play.

Pappa J and Mamma went to view Bud one time before his cremation.  Mamma said that he looked like he was sleeping; his eyes closed, and body curled around.  They were glad that they got to say goodbye to him one more time.  A few hours later they returned to collect Bud's ashes.  They let me smell the velvet bag that held Bud, and I licked the bag. 

I write this story down so that I do not forget what happened.  Whether you believe in a spiritual world, this brings me comfort in feeling the presence of Bud.
Give us eyes to see and ears to hear how every living thing speaks to us of your love. Let us be awestruck at your creation and daily sing your praises. Especially, create within us a spirit of gratitude for the life of this beloved pet who has lived among us and given us freely of his/her love. Even in our sorrow we have cause for joy for we know that all creatures who died on earth shall live again in your new creation.