What Melvin’s cancer has given me.

Hemangiosarcoma gave us something that it does not give to everyone. Fair warning.

In the past month, I have laid on the floor with Melvin, several times a day. He glances at me and I stop what I’m doing and whisper ‘I love you’ into his ear. I have snuck surprises into each meal, I have allowed him to bark at whatever he’d like.  He no longer has to sit for treats.  When he won’t go outside at night without me, I gladly accompany him, even in the rain. I cheer on his every moment, I even applaud his sleeping, I mean could anyone be resting better than him?  Doubtful!  I have told him in a million different ways, how much he means to me. I’ll be honest, Heaven better be pretty spectacular because his last month has been pretty flippen incredible.

It’s easy to pretend that the vets are wrong, but that is not going to help Jake or I in the long run. So, I have taken time to say some things out loud to myself, so that the reality stays grounded.  When I say them, there is no gratitude but there is also no anger. I just thought (hope) the more I realize while he’s here, the less I’ll have to come to terms with once he’s gone. Little things like…

  • I’ll be washing fewer bowls (you raw feeders know what I mean!).
  • There will be less pills.
  • It’s going to seem like a lot of leashes for just one dog (especially one that can’t walk!).
  • The big Kongs will go unused.

And some bigger realizations, that are harder to come to terms with since they have become a part of who we are.

  • It will be OK if food drops on the floor, Jake is not allergic to earth.
  • I will be going to the bathroom alone.
  • Without his food, the freezer will be empty.
  • The bed is going to feel too big.

These are the little things that can overwhelm you when you lose someone.  The flood of missing everything all at once.  Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t.  But I’m a hopeful realist (yes that is possible)!

Cancer gave me time to do things right. And while it has been awesome for him, and harder on me, I’d carry a million of these moments just to know that he went weeks feeling he could do no wrong. Enjoying extra treats for no reason at all. Realizing that his glance is so powerful, it can beckon me to the floor. Each night, I tell him over and over how wonderful he is. I sing songs, I kiss his sweet face, I breathe him in.  I watch his nubbin wag the whole time. And every morning, I’m grateful for one more day.

Cancer gave me one thing that it cannot ever take away, the opportunity for time well spent.

A few more from our recent photo shoot..

Photo Credit: Kate Juliet Photography

Photo Credit: Kate Juliet Photography

Photo Credit: Kate Juliet Photography

Photo Credit: Kate Juliet Photography

Photo Credit: Kate Juliet Photography

Photo Credit: Kate Juliet Photography

Photo Credit: Kate Juliet Photography

Photo Credit: Kate Juliet Photography


19 thoughts on “What Melvin’s cancer has given me.

  1. Ugh that second to last photo makes me want to smooooooooosh that face so hard! I have been loving your heartbreakingly honest posts. Even for those of us without ill pets, your posts are a wonderful reminder to relish every single minute we have with them. Hugs!

    • He would love a smooooooosh from you! My feeling in general is, ‘it is what it is’. This is our life right now, but it won’t always be our life. So sharing it feels right. I think it’s important to note that even in darkness, their is always light.

  2. I have to stop reading your blog while I am at school and especially when I have students in my room. Your posts are such a beautiful and loving tribute to Melvin and they make my heart hurt for you. I need the bell to ring so I can go home and hug my Baxter.


  3. When I was in high school we all congregated at what we referred to as the farm. All of us were welcome any time of day or night and it was common to find any of us around whether our specific friends were there or not. The parents were just that “there” for all of us. When, years later, the Mom found out she had cancer, she wanted to see all of “her kids” one last time. We gathered for what we thought was her going away party-three years in a row! My point is not everyone knows they have a chance to prepare and while there is the deep sadness and poignancy there is the blessing that we won’t leave anything unsaid (or unspoiled.)
    This time is so precious and we are so fortunate that you allow us to share in it. Kisses to the fur kids. and you.

  4. What a sweet boy, great photo shoot!
    That was a hard post to read though but what a wonderful time you’ve had with him. Lets hope he doesn’t cross that bridge for a long while yet!

    <3 Hugs!!

  5. I love your posts. When my first dog Cody passed, it was a sneaky cancer; I didn’t see it coming. We played fetch in the morning, and by the time I got home that evening he couldn’t get up to greet me at the door. I was a mess, couldn’t eat, sleep, or go to work for days. My current love-of-my-life dog Charger is twelve now. I’m dreading that day, but I’ve been practicing many of the things you’ve mentioned. He gets treats now for no reason, I don’t scold him for waking me up at 8am on a Saturday to go out, he even gets table scraps sometimes! I take way too many pictures of him (he has his own instagram account) just because I don’t want to forget a single snaggletoothed grin or bark. I want to treasure every day I have with him, and your posts always remind me to do just that.

    • Tricia, comments like yours make my day. Not that you can empathize (although empathy goes a long way doesn’t it?!), but that my posts earn Charger some extra treats and early morning smiles! That’s a win!

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