This is really hard for me to write about because the wound is still pretty fresh. It’s really long but I sincerely appreciate anyone taking the time to read it.
My whole life I wanted a dog. Finally at 24 I got my first dog, Bossco.
Everyone says they have the best dog but nope, sorry–I had the best dog. 😉
Gods, he made me so happy. He stayed by my side every moment I was home. If I was on the computer he was passed out in bed. If I had to go to the bathroom he’d wait for me at the door. If I was in the kitchen he’d lay at the kitchen entrance. He knew every time I thought to sneak him some food because he’d perk right up just as I turned to hand him some.
He was dog-defensive (he’d get scared and be on guard anytime another dog passed by instead of wanting to attack them) and because of that, taught me how to be a fearless leader for him. I had to learn to be strong so that he could feel comfortable in his day to day. I had to learn how to handle his fear, and teach him that I would protect him, always and forever.
Until I was faced with a cruel reality of life: he was sick and needed surgery and I did not have the financial wellness to take care of him.
See, when I first adopted him, he had a growth on his leg that his previous owner had had removed before I took him in. She and I kept in contact and would visit from time to time. He remembered her every time and loved playing with her, and it was truly wonderful.
Just under than a year later, the lump grew back in the exact same spot and it grew quite quickly. I knew in my gut that there was no way it was “just a lump” now. I spent nearly $700 on tests and biopsies for him, and a month prior I had spent another $500 on an emergency vet visit for Zorro (PSA: 24 hour vets are scams). Needless to say, I had tapped my (meager) savings dry and was facing another $1200 bill for surgery, because the tests determined that the big lump, as well as some of the little ones spotted around his body, were cancerous and needed to go.
It took me months to save up what I had blown through in a matter of weeks, and I was terrified that waiting that long again would be extremely detrimental to his health. I wanted to take care of him. I wanted him to be healthy above all else, and I was terrified (and had plenty of evidence) that I couldn’t provide that care for him.
I will regret this decision for the rest of my life, but I decided to rehome him.
I contacted the previous owner (as per our agreement that she be the first to know, which I understood and respected) and told her what was going on. Her mother graciously took him in and got him the surgery less than a week later. I lost my job a few days after they took him, so I knew… I just knew I made the right choice.
I was so happy–so relieved. In that moment I felt I made the right choice and that no amount of pain I felt would take that away, no matter how much I missed him. After all, he was being taken care of where I severely lacked and could live a long, happy life from then on. The mother also said I could come visit any time. It was a win-win situation and I thanked the Universe for giving me the strength to do what was right.
It grew back again, this time within about eight months. I was reminded that I did the right thing. I must have done the right thing. They removed it again, and again I counted my blessings that he was in a home where they could take care of him.
I was able to visit him once, and had another visit planned for the Summer, which fell through due to emergencies in their family. A couple weeks later, the previous owner called me and told me that her mom and Bossco were at the vet and that he was going to be put down. He had apparently been very sick the last few days and told no one, until it got to the point where euthanizing him became the best and only option. I told her I’d be right over if she could tell me where it was happening.
She told me her mother was refusing to let anyone be there, including her–her own daughter.
I will regret this decision for the rest of my life, but I respected her wishes and instead cried in my room. I was devastated. I am devastated. It still fucking hurts and I imagine it always will.
I should have gone. I should have fucking gone. I should have told her to shove it and stop being selfish, that her daughter and I love Bossco too, that we deserve to be there, we took care of him too, and that he deserves to have people who love him surrounding him when he’s sick and terrified.
Instead all I could do was cry. I was afraid of stirring the pot at an already stressful time. I wanted him to go peacefully. I played out shouting matches in my mind, that if I showed up to the vet to an emotionally charged, very upset woman who asked for privacy, she would just lose it and I didn’t want Bossco to experience that as he was dying.
Fuck. I should have done a lot of things. I should have never let him go. I should have tried harder to raise money. I should have begged on the streets. I should have begged my family. I should have begged any friend who would listen. I should have sold everything I owned. I should have moved back in with my mom. I should have saved up despite the time it might have taken. I should have done so many fucking things that I didn’t do because I was terrified that time wasn’t on my side. And it wasn’t, because he was put down about a year later anyway. That year could have been with me.
I should have done a lot of things and those “should haves” will haunt me forever.
After all, didn’t he trust me to protect him? Didn’t he place his trust and love in me that I would be there for him no matter what? Why did I let the fear of his sickness and death push me to having him leave my life? He got sick and died anyway… it should have been with me. He would have been surrounded by anyone who would make the time during his last moments. He would have been receiving a million pets a minute from a seemingly endless amount of hands, happy as can be, wondering why we were all crying even though he was having the time of his life. Instead I let fear control me when I was supposed to be protecting him from it. Fearless leader my ass.
The picture above was the last time I saw him alive. It is my treasure and my burden that I will gladly hold on to forever.