25 June 2014

Cheers to Caysee

How to Say Good-bye to Your Best Friend

Caysee had been sick for awhile now, but other then the inability to not pee all the time (yay, doggie diapers), she still acted like herself: happy and in love with life, (especially when the people she loved the most were around her).  Last week, she took a turn for the worst.  When I got home from work and went to pet her, she winced and ran away, as though she were bad.  When I tried again, and she looked at me with fear, I knew the end was imminent.  I needed my mom.  She wasn't home when I called, but my dad was.  As I told him I might be seeing him soon, I started to cry and he tried to comfort me by empathizing with me as we'd put our family dog down Christmas Eve 2012.  When I didn't stop, he simply said "Just remember we love you" and at that point I had to hang up the phone.  I know, without a doubt, that my father loves me, but he is not the type to say it.  As soon as I hung up, I collapsed on the kitchen floor, sobbing.

I kept hoping that I was wrong, that it was just a bad night, but it didn't get better.  When she didn't even want to sleep with me that night, I knew it was time.  When Caysee first got sick, way back in March of 2013, with a bladder infection, she went on anti-biotics, pain killers and medication to strengthen her bladder wall to help with incontinence.  From March until November, Caysee woke me up every two hours to go pee.  (Ready for babies, much?)  My vet was two hours away and would only prescribe two weeks worth of anti-biotics, so either I was going that way or my mom was coming to me.  It didn't clear up, so I went to see a vet in town.  He confirmed it was not a bladder infection and that he believed it to be a tumour in Caysee's bladder wall.  I could get an ultrasound to make sure, but it would be in-operable, and the chemo medication would contradict the current pain-killers.  At that point, I decided to take Caysee off of all medication and the instant she began to suffer, I would put her down.  Last Thursday, I called my vet from out of town and booked an appointment for Saturday morning to do just that.  Caysee was now taking extra strength Advil (in doggie-size bites) and she let me come near her.  My brother came over to say good-bye to her and she was beside herself, she was so happy to see him.  She didn't leave his side the entire time he was there.  When I saw how she was acting, I started to second-guess myself.  Was it really time?  Am I pushing this?  Should she have more time?  As I cried, my brother reassured me that it WAS time and that I was making the best decision.

As she saw me packing our stuff Friday, she was so excited because she knew we were going to the cottage.  I made sure as I packed, to throw out her bed, gather most of her things and hide them so that when I got home, I wouldn't see them.  Caysee loved the car ride, sticking her head out the window at each stop and she'd leave it out there until we got up past 48 km/h.  At the cottage, she was ecstatic.  She got to hang out with my parents, be outside in the fresh air and we took one last walk along the beach during the sunset.  I had a super hard time going to bed because I didn't want the night to end.  I knew what the morning would bring and I wanted every last second with her.  Her hips were starting to get the best of her at this point, and I had to pick her up to put her on my bed to sleep that night.  She woke me up at 5am because she couldn't get down by herself to go scratch my door to go outside.  We spent some more time in the backyard and my dad was up to go golfing, so he was able to love her and say good-bye.  My mom held it together (somehow) as she said good-bye and I loaded Cays into the car to go get my mom's best friend, who was coming with me to the vet's.  When it was time to go in, Cays was all of a sudden very calm.  For those of us who knew Caysee, there has never been an instance where she didn't bark at a stranger or try to snap at another dog.  She simply stood at my side.  As the vet looked over and said, "wow, she's lost a lot of weight", the rest of the self-doubt I'd had faded.  We took her in, I picked her up and put her on the counter and laid her down.  Care of her previous aggression, the vet decided to use her back leg, to which I am so thankful because I was able to hold my baby in my arms as she left this world, quickly and peacefully, and showered with kisses and "good girls" and "I love yous".  As I stood alone in the room with her, I started to stress out.  How do you LEAVE?  How do you just GO and leave her laying there?  All of a sudden, the words came out of my mouth, "Say hi to BooBoo for me" (our family dog) and I kissed her about 17 more times and left.  Realizing she was with Rylee made it okay to leave.  As we drove home, I felt a huge sense of relief.  I didn't have to doubt myself, I didn't worry that I'd made the wrong decision, she didn't have to suffer, she didn't have to get worse and we didn't have to WATCH her get worse. 

That was, without a doubt, the hardest thing I've ever had to do, not just for myself, but for someone else.  How do you decide the best time for your best friend to die?  The car, the cottage, my house, my backyard, my bed and my heart feel empty without her.  I keep waiting for her to scratch at the back door or come greet me when I get home from work. 

I have 13 years worth of habits to break. 

Baby Bear - I love you more than anything I've ever loved on this planet.  You were my CayCay, my Bebe, my Honey Bear and then some.  You were loving, sweet, cuddly and protective.  You have been through so much with me over the last 13 and a half years. I will never be able to replace you, my first puppy. THANK YOU.  One part of my heart belongs always and forever to you and I will miss you every day.  

Love always, always, always,