There is a huge, gaping, hole in my heart right now. My sweet Roscoe had to be put to sleep yesterday.
I know, over time, this hole will be filled back up by his memories. He was an amazingly sensitive and empathetic dog and was there to console me through countless heartaches, bad days and lonely times. Actually, I take that ‘lonely times’ part back because when Roscoe was around there were no lonely times. There was only comfort and love and that sweet, soft fur that I loved to bury my face in and hold onto.
I am bereft. Roscoe was with me for more than 10 years and while I knew he was sick, and I knew this was always a possibility, (the worst possibility, and one I couldn’t bear to imagine, but having been through this before with Dixie it always lurked in the back of my mind) I had no idea it would happen like this. That I would walk into the vet’s office with him, hoping to find answers, and walk out four hours later with a collar and a ziploc bag of a few tufts of that fur I loved so much.
He had a very aggressive form of cancer that is untreatable, and which is almost impossible to diagnose until something catastrophic happens – which it did. It was a cancer of the lining of the blood vessels and he had a tumor on his spleen that ruptured and he was bleeding internally. I could have had it treated with surgery, I could have had it treated it with chemo, but it had already spread to his lungs and even the best case scenario only gave him a few, short months. Five at absolute best, but more like two or three. And those months would have entailed a long hospital stay, recovering from a major surgery, weekly chemo, and the horrible fear of living with a precious being who could ultimately leave us at any time, despite all the care we would give him.
He had an amazing life. He was loved by so many people. The end came swiftly and I don’t think he suffered much. Saturday afternoon he went sledding with us and ran up and down the hill, chasing us as we went. I even was lucky enough to capture some of it on video. But that night he just wasn’t himself and couldn’t even eat his ice cream, which told me things were very serious. Was that when it ruptured? Was that the beginning of the end? I’ll never know but I can guess. As horrible as it is to think about that, in some ways, if we were going to lose him this fast, at least I was here. I’m traveling for work a lot this spring and in two weeks I’ll be in Peru. If this would have happened while I was gone, with no opportunity to stroke that fur one last time and say my goodbyes, I would never have been able to forgive myself.
Yesterday I went to tell a few of our neighbors who were especially close with Roscoe, and felt naked walking down the sidewalk without him. I am the woman who walks with, “what a handsome dog!” as so many people would stop us and say. I am Roscoe’s mom. He was my friend, my love, my heart. Life without him will never be the same.
Up until now Roscoe had been in perfect health. This past fall we would run together, and for a dog who was almost 10 years old he could still go three miles. Each vet visit the doctor would remark how spry he was, how, if they never knew his true age, they would have guessed him to be years younger. I always thought he would be with us for at least three more years. But if there is any consolation to be had, he lived his 10 years fully and happily. And I know I did they best I could to give him a good life and all the love and affection I could.
Roscoe was a sensitive, gentle, affectionate soul who was also so fun and playful and always up for any kind of adventure. He made my life so much richer for having been part of it. His spirit and his goodness will always be a part of me.
I had a dream, right before I woke up this morning, where Roscoe came through the door one last time and I was hugging him and scratching him and giving him big belly rubs. He was young and spry and reveling in the affection. I was thrilled to see him again and was reveling in the chance to stroke that silky fur one last time. He was happy. I was happy. It was a good dream.
It was a good life.