1 Feb

When Rey got sick in December, it was odd. When he was diagnosed with cancer last week, it was sad. When Mike and I took him to be put to sleep today, it was devastating.

Rey joined our family just two months shy of 10 years ago (part 1 of how he came to live with us; part 2). He was there as Mike and I renovated our first house. He was there when we got married. He was there when we brought Michaela home from the hospital. And throughout it all, he was awesome. Sweet, smart, friendly, charming. People fell in love with him.

Last week, I got an opinion from a second vet at our practice who said we could give Rey steroids to try to shrink the masses in his lungs and appetite stimulants to make him eat. She said we’d be able to tell in a week if the treatment was working or not. I was optimistic at first, but it soon became obvious that it wasn’t working. In the last couple of days, his condition got worse. He started having trouble walking, then he stopped eating (even the turkey meatballs I started giving him when he stopped eating his regular dog food), and he wasn’t drinking much.

I knew Rey was really sick, and I knew he was going to die, but it was still a shock. Last night, his breathing was really labored. Mike was giving him water with a syringe, squirting it into his mouth. Today Mike promised to keep a close eye on him and to let me know if he got worse. He sent me a message this afternoon saying I should come home. That it was time.

Michaela was crying. A couple of neighbors stopped by to say goodbye and they were crying, too. I was crying. Rey? He was laying there feebly. His gums, which should have been a bright pink, were white. He was so anemic. His breathing was heavy and he was making a wheezing sound. It definitely was time.

Mike and I took Rey to the vet. They were very kind. A technician took Rey to¬†place a port in one of his veins and when she brought him back, the site had been bandaged and they’d drawn a heart on it. The doctor told us she would have made the same decision, given the state of his health. She used the port to inject two drugs and a minute later, he was gone.

This is the last picture I took of him alive.



I keep¬†waiting for him to come sauntering down the hall, his nails clicking on our hardwood floors. I’m waiting for him to jump up onto the couch with me to snuggle. I look in the corner of our bedroom where his bed was (I moved it when we came home; it was painful to see it) and see an empty space.

Rey was such a big part of our lives. He was here everyday. He counted on us to meet his needs. And now he’s gone. It’s different than with Elree, who I hadn’t seen in a while. And yet in many ways, it’s the same. Both were bright spots in my life. I’m thankful for the time I had with them.

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