Friday, December 16, 2016

Our sweet Saint Hank

Lawd, how I have been dreading this post. It is good therapy and in the grand scheme of things, I know I will want this all documented. 

The sweetest pup I have ever known went to Heaven on Friday, December 9th.  It has completely broken our hearts and rocked our worlds. 

The week after Thanksgiving, we came home from the beach and noticed Hank was limping a little bit. We assumed Brice had pounced on him too hard and he was sore- or maybe he romped in the sand a little bit too hard and hadn't recovered yet.  I texted my friends that Hank just didn't seem right to me and I was worried about him.  But his tail was wagging, he was eating, drinking, peeing and pooping, so I ignored my thoughts. 

Thursday the 8th, Hank was limping even more-- and although he was still tail-wagging and happy, he seemed to be more uncomfortable.  So I made an appointment to take him in to the vet on Friday morning- I was worried he had a sprain. 

Friday morning, I woke up and read something on facebook about a dog being put down and I started crying- like bawling crying and I could not stop.  I think my gut was telling me I knew.  The tears were constant all morning- I went to popup and had tears in my eyes the whole time.  I left early to take Hank to the vet.

We got to the vet at 9:30 and there were kittens for sale in the lobby-- his little tail was wagging like crazy to go over and see them. He doesn't love the vet and tries to get in my lap when we are there, so I let him crawl in my lap while we waited (all 85 pounds of him). 

The vet tech came in and asked all the standard questions- and I burst into tears immediately.  And I couldn't stop.  Poor girl didn't know what to think.  Pretty sure she thought he was totally fine and that I was just a mess of a mom. 

The vet came in and looked at him and he got in my lap.  She touched his shoulder area and felt him wince.  She then said that she suspected it was a bone tumor.  She said unfortunately those are extremely aggressive.  They would need to x-ray him to be sure.  I started opening sobbing then.  Off my sweet boy went to be x-ray'd.

I had a group text going with the best friends around.  Once I told them it was a bone tumor, my friend Pippa texted that she was on her way-- thank God she did. 

The vet came back in and said exactly what I didn't want to hear: it was in fact a bone tumor and that it had most likely spread to his chest as well.  Pippa asked if he could make it through Christmas- the vet said it would be much more appropriate for him to go today. 

Let me just take a minute here and cry.  Sweet Lord, did I cry so hard.  I am still crying. 

I called Eddie but he was in an appointment and didn't answer.  There was no way I was going to make the call without the fam.  So, they sent me and Hank home with some meds to make it through the weekend, if we chose to prolong the inevitable. 

Here's the thing- and this is what kills me and makes me cry every single time: he was still wagging his tail.  I pointed that out to the vet- I argued that he wasn't acting like he was in any pain.... she said he loves me way to much to show me that he's hurting.... he wants me to be happy. 


So I asked Pippa to go to McDonalds to get Hank a cheeseburger and fries.  Eddie finally answered his phone and ran home to meet me there.  I carried Hank in and put him on the leather couch with the sun shining in on him- his favorite spot.  And I fed him his cheeseburger and fries and I sobbed and thanked him over and over again for being the best dog in the world. 

We had a trip planned to Charlotte for the weekend and knew we couldn't leave Hank home if he was in pain at all-- and we didn't want to prolong this if he was in a great deal of pain.  We owed Hank so much more than that. 

We made an appointment at 2:00 and we took the boys out of school early so they could come say their goodbyes to Hank.  They were so sad- we all cried... we sat around in a circle around him and said how much we love him and how much we will miss him.  They asked a lot of whys and had a bunch of questions.  It is really hard to parent when all you want to do is curl up and cry.  We all promised to pour even more love into Bruce so that he would turn into a great dog like Hankers. 

And then we carried Hank to the front of my  car-- he rode shot gun (his favorite spot) and I sat in the back-- he put his head on the seat back and stared at me-- I kept leaning forward and kissing him. 

The vet was all ready for us and we carried him (he was fully capable of walking- but carrying him made him feel even closer to us) and back to the room designated for this.  I sat on the floor and he stood in between me and Eddie.  They filled us in on everything that could happen during this procedure (one last gasp of air, peeing, etc) and then it was time. 
They gave him a little jar of baby food which he loved, and then he laid down with his head on my lap.  They started he meds and he nuzzled his nose into my stomach while looking up at me.  We never broke eye contact the whole time.  None of the things she said could happen, did-- he sighed a little and then he was gone.   The whole time, I was stroking his head and thanking him over and over again for loving me and the boys so hard.  I told him I wanted him to go catch every bird and squirrel in heaven and that I loved him more than he ever could imagine. 

The heartbreak felt from this is unlike anything I have ever experienced.  And I realize, I feel this pain because we were lucky enough to love him.  And omg did we ever love him. 

It was a terrible, sad, awful thing.  However- I am thankful that we never saw him in pain- I am not sure I could have handled that.  And I thank my lucky stars that we had a dog who loved us so much. 

Sorry for the heaviness of his post-- Hank deserved a post.  I will write more about him later.  Gotta wipe some tears away now...

edited to add.... I think subconsciuosly, I had a feeling something wasn't right.  On Wednesday before, I took a ton of pics of him in front of the Christmas tree- just in case it was his last one... weird.  

Sitting on the brown couch with the sun shining in-- eating a french fry....

Just me and Hank when Eddie went to get the boys... we snuggled up on the floor and had a real heart to heart.  He needed to hear (again) how he is the sweetest boy I know.   I must have kissed that face 900 times. 

I took him for one more little walk to potty and let him be off leash-- his tail was wagging and he was enjoying the wind.  

My sweet friend Sally brought him a Frosty Paw and he loved it so much! He gobbled it up.
And then it was time to go. 

Rest In Peace, Sweet Hank-
March 3, 2004-December 9, 2016