February was a bitch....

It was. It really truly was one of the worst months of my life. Our sweet Bella would be doing so well, then out of no where was miserable, in pain and so sad for a few days before she would hop up and be fine again. For those of who you don't know, we found out Bella had cancer in December. In January we had an appointment with a Dog Oncologist who told us that my baby had cancer that had spread to her lymph-nodes. My heart broke, I cried literally every day and at night I would hold her and tell her how loved she was as I soaked her soft, always shedding, black hair.

I have experienced death before with family and friends. But when cancer decided to haunt my dog, it felt like Jack after Rose kicked him off the perfectly sized-for-two door. Stuck in the middle of no where, freezing. My heart was so cold. Did I want to grab dinner with friends? NOPE. Did I want to workout each day? Abso-FUCKING-lutely not. I wanted to lay with my dog, in front of the fire and drink wine while we pretended it was just another day in paradise. I kinda stopped talking to friends, checking in on my business, and wanting anyone to know what was happening. I have a great tendency to just disappear and handle my emotions and stuff on my own. I don't like talking about it. I don't like bringing it more energy than it needs. I just want it to go away mostly, so if I don't acknowledge never happened! Real mature, I know.

On the night before we had to put our sweet girl down, her cyst was leaking and bleeding. We were told that because it was on her paw the skin was too thin to repair if it ripped or if we removed the tumor. So she had been living on a healthy diet of steroids, Pepcid AC, and Claritin. This delicious cocktail gave us two months of baby it caused Bella to have to pee constantly, become hangry and irritable at a moments notice, and sleep all day and party all night. My sweet husband was the BEST during this time. He changed her bandages, cuddled her so much during the day when he worked, bought her baby socks and cut them perfectly so they fit on her paw to help keep said bandages in place, and he was the treat king. Man, I was so jealous of him sometimes. Bella had always been my shadow and best friend, and just when found out I was losing her she found a new BFF. I couldn't be too mad though, I literally wished they would be best friends for the past 9 years. Lesson to self: Be careful what you wish for.

ANYWAYS...back to the night before. We noticed Bella was breathing so heavy, she couldn't jump on or off the couch very well (that did not stop her from trying), and her poor wound was close to bursting open and causing her a world a pain. So that night we all slept on our couch in the living room. In all fairness, we do have a sweet Ikea couch that pulls out to a full size bed. But all four of us camped out in the living room because we didn't want Bella to be left out. OMG and her brother, Ditka, literally is an angel. Dogs are so intuitive and he just knew something was wrong, so he gave her space and when she got uncomfortable he would get up to give her his spot. As if I wasn't already crying all the time...geez!

When we went to bring Bella into the vet, I sobbed, my husband sobbed, and she shook like normal (her reaction to any time in the car). The vet was AH-MAZING! This is an awful, heart breaking experience but they brought such grace and sweetness to it. They had a bed set up for her so we could be in the room with her, her name was in a heart on the door and right before she was put to sleep we said our goodbyes and the vet tech knelt down and whispered a prayer in her ear. DONE. I was done. The vet was kind and she peacefully went to sleep, no longer in pain, with her tongue sticking out. It was so long. It brought a little bit of laughter and lightness to the moment. The vet reminded us that just because it is her last day, it didn't have to be her worst. That right there made us both feel as if a weight was lifted off our shoulders. Everyone said we would just know, we thought we knew it was the right time and that sealed it for us.

A week later we picked Bella back up, this time in a beautiful wooden box that is adorned with hand carved flowers, her paw print, and a sweet card. I cried for two days. I looked like a boxer after he lost a fight. Anything and everything made me cry for a week or so. During that time we were flooded with love from friends, cards from family, flowers, and sweet messages. I am so thankful that sweet dog choose me to be her person 11 years ago.

Bella now hangs out with the Harry Potter books that she loved to knock over with her tail. I still cry from time to time and her brother sought her out for a week or so. Every time he looked for her my heart broke a little more. It has been a little over a month now and we are getting back into a new routine, a new normal with less potty breaks and bossy barks. And yes, I cried the ENTIRE time I wrote this post. So cheers to our perfect, angel baby Bella may we forever find your hairs and remember how sweet you were. Thank you for being our first child.


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