Cancer comes with extra real life decisions. I am mommy to a 15-year-old fur baby who is the light of my life. Sampson has been the protector to my children. HE saved my oldest son’s life when my was 11. He was always better behaved, and minded better than the children. If he slipped up and tried to jump up on a guest I could say “No, you know better, go to the corner.” Sampson would go sit in the corner and hang his head.
Sampson had a sixth sense of some type. Anytime I was feeling real emotional he would want to lay in my lap and love on me. Sadly, Sampson had gotten old and he had health issues. He was completely deaf, had lost the majority of his teeth and was going night blind. His rear legs were no longer responding properly. He fell a lot and I had to carry him up and down the steps to the house. When he was hurting from the arthritis, it was likely to snap at anyone else who tried to pick him up. I was mom though. Never once in his life did he snap at me.
Now, regardless of what option I chose to deal with my breast cancer I was going to be limited to not lifting anything over five pounds for many months. Sampson’s weight on his last vet visit was 96 pounds. The vet told me there wasn’t really anything else that could be done for his rear legs. The medication had stopped working as well. There were several days I came home at lunch to check on him and he was stuck unable to get up and had urinated on himself.
For HIM, not for me I had to make the hardest decision I ever made in my life. It would not be a quality life if he was stuck like that and I was unable to get him up and help him. My cancer was going to make me unable to properly try to give him a comfortable life. My vet supported this and said she was amazed he had lived to this age. She said the oldest large breed dog she had personally ever treated was 17. Sampson was 15. I set the appointment for a Saturday.
On Friday night I threw a celebrate Sampson party. My kids were all invited to celebrate his life and spend some time with him. We grilled steaks and two were for Sampson. It was very bittersweet. We made a paw-print memorial stone with him. He was spoiled rotten all night.
Saturday morning Sampson and I headed to the vet. My heart was breaking. I had to pull over three times because I was crying too hard to see the road. (Those that know me well know that I am NOT a crier)
The vet was opening early for us so we would not have to sit in the waiting room. I am thankful for everything the staff did. The had come to know my baby so well. A few of them had tears as well. The had a blanket on the floor in the room for Sampson and I. They took him back and put an I.V. in his leg and then brought him back to me. He and I laid down on the blanket with me rubbing him and crying. I swear this baby looked up at me as if to say “Its ok mom, its time.” I cannot explain it. The vert comes back in after about 20 minutes and asks me if I am ready. I told her I would never be ready but yes it was time.
I had sat up to talk with the vet and Sampson had drug himself across my lap licking me. She told me she was first going to give him a sedative injection. It worked very fast and before she had injected it all he was snoring. (Did I mention he snored like a grown man?) We all giggled at his snoring, even through my tears. It was so sweet and peaceful.
Now she injected him with the medication to stop his heart. It also worked crazy fast. She checked his pulse and told me he was gone. I was scared it would be hard on him. It was not, it was very peaceful and respectful of him. She told me there was no rush, spend as long as I needed. I stayed about fifteen more minutes. I was still petting him. I just couldn’t stop. I finally got up and let them know I was leaving.
Sampson was being cremated. I would get his ashes back after the vet took him to Harts Petuary. I sat in my truck for another fifteen minutes trying to stop crying so I could drive home.
Cancer forced me to make a decision to put my baby down that I wasn’t quite ready for. But I know I did right by him and he was loved and is now GREATLY missed. One of the kids had a photo from that night wood framed at Walgreens and it’s right by my bed. It may be crazy but I still tell him goodnight every night. His ashes are in a plastic urn until I find just the right one for him.