A year ago last June my ex-husband was killed in a car accident. He was with his 12-year-old-daughter (not mine) on his way out of town to a classic car show in Carson City, Nevada, and he was driving his custom 1928 Ford Roadster that he built from the ground up. His Roadster was a convertible, had no seat belts, and, ironically, carried a custom made coffin in the truck bed. Both my ex and his daughter were thrown from the vehicle and landed in rush hour traffic on the 168/180 interchange. Fortunately his daughter survived the wreck with minor scrapes and bruising. My ex, however, sustained major head trauma from which he did not recover. There are a half dozen folks in the world right now carrying bits and pieces of him inside of them -- kidneys and corneas and who knows what else. A month after he passed, my son, one of two children I had with my ex, reluctantly handed over his father's dog, Bama. Bama was a foundling snatched from the streets, a little worse for the wear and happy as a clam that someone found him, got him out of the heat and put some food in his belly. Bama's always been an exhuberant guy. Always happy to see people, always there with a big toothy grin and a vigorously wiggly bum. He's a well-mannered young man. Fully house and leash trained, gentle with children, and adores kitties. Basically, the perfect dog. Today we are having him put to sleep.
Osteosarcoma is bone cancer that is common in larger breed dogs. Bama is a pit bull, robust, barrel chested, and long-legged with a healthy appetite and penchant for long evening walks, or as we like to call them, drags. He hasn't wanted to do those things so much lately. His appetite comes and goes. His love of getting harnessed up and out into the yard has diminished. He sleeps long hours and often doesn't move except to lap up water or ask to go outside for a wee. Last October we noticed Bama had a bit of a lump on his snout, halfway between his eye and the tip of his nose. We took him in and the vet diagnosed an abscess in his gums above his big teeth in the back of his jaw, and recommended having the tooth pulled to relieve the pressure, and then put Bama on a round of antibiotics. During the two-week recovery period we all noticed that the lump got larger. The vet put him on another round of antibiotics. Two weeks later the lump was four times as large. We sought the opinion of another vet, one who came highly recommended as a straight shooter. He shot us all straight through the heart when he said Bama had bone cancer and wouldn't survive for more than six months. He recommended we put him to sleep right then and there to spare him the pain of the tumors that would spread, if they hadn't already, to his lungs, liver, and throughout his bones, but we just couldn't do it yet. Over the past month Bama's health has diminished, just as the vet said it would, to the point that he isn't able to hold his bowels long enough to get outside, his feces are watery and mucousy, his mouth bleeds profusely, when he sleeps, his lungs make sounds like an old bellows. When we walk into the room he is in, he no longer raises his head to check who it is. He just lays there, thumping his tail on the floor, as if he's too exhausted to give a proper greeting. He still growls and barks when someone knocks on the front door, and I think that his doing that, as he always has, has given us a sense of false hope that he is okay. It takes a lot out of him to jump up and bark as he saunters to the front door. There are signs of false hope everywhere, signs that we interpret as it not being time just yet, like last night when I set down his food and his companion dog's food and Bama went to town eating both. He hadn't done that in weeks. In fact, he's never done that, not like that. He usually waits for Mary Jane, his dog friend, to eat a little off her plate before stealing the rest, but last night he just butted his way in and ate it.
Today is the day. Bama isn't himself. He's in pain. His body is failing him. At 10:45 we take him in for his last walk.
RIP Bama, 7-12-2017, 11:07 AM