Monday, April 7, 2014

Met and Exceeded

Well, it's been a week and I need to post this. We will see if i can get this done in one sitting.  One week ago today we said goodbye to the girl who started it all.  We let Cookie go.  Man that was hard to write.  But she is free of pain and free to run with Butterz.

It seems like so long ago, and really it was.  Oct 2012 Cookie was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  We immediately started 16 rounds of Radiation therapy to temporarily stop it's growth and attack on her.  And it did it's job for much longer than expected.  We had been told the average was 8 months to 1 year.  We made it well past that......Met and Exceeded.

But here's the thing, the average life span of a boxer is 10 years.  Cookie lived just past 12 1/2.  Once again, Met and Exceeded.  But really, that's what her entire life was about, exceeding.

Cookie was born exactly 1 week after we were married, September 22, 2001.  Nacho picked her out, or rather she picked him out.
You see, i had my eye on another boxer.  Turns out we met that boxer's owners by chance out on the river one day & put it all together.  Cookie even got to hang out with her fursis for a summer.
But then came Butterz - her furbrother who we adopted when they were about 4.  And those 2 hit it off instantly.
They didn't miss a beat from day one!
They were Yin and Yang
I could post an endless stream of pictures so i better stop now!
But there was no mistaking it, Cookie was always The One!
She was and will forever be Nacho's #1 girl!  And I am so okay with that!

As heartbreaking as Butterz's diagnosis and passing was, I think Cookie's was more gut wrenching.  We were devastated when we got the news that she too had a brain tumor - very common in boxers by the way.  But the good news was, hers was not as aggressive as his and we did have the option to seek Radiation Therapy.  And you knew we would.  As I have said in other posts during her last year and a half, we knew we got lucky with her.  We've been on the other side before where luck was not so good.  So we were grateful for every day we had with her.

In the last 5-6 months we began noticing the little signs that the tumor perhaps was back.  Walking around in circles is a big clue.  That went on for some time.  Loss of balance became another.  In her last few months we had resigned ourselves to carrying her up and down the stairs multiple times a day so she could go do her business in the yard.  Between all the snow here and her balance issues, doing it on her own was not an option.  We did not mind at all!

It was in the last 3 weeks the changes became more drastic.  Her balance issues were becoming a problem inside the house.  Not just tripping up or down the 3 steps inside the house, but bumping into walls, etc.  In the last week, we noticed the BIG clue for a brain tumor:  getting "lost" in corners.  Often they will walk into a corner and just stand there, staring.  She did a lot of that.  More than that, she began to "panic" in those corners.  She would freak out and try to climb up the wall in an attempt to get out of the corner.  Not a good sign.  For all we know this was a combination of the tumor and old age.  Our concern now became that she was going to hurt herself when we were not there to help her.

Suffice it to say, her final weekend was when we knew we had to make a decision.  We found blood in her stool and she had a seizure.  This was only going to get worse.  We could not let her live like that, that is not living.  So we made the decision to let her go.

Don't think it's all sad stories though.  Cookie was all about the happy remember.
I have owned a lot of dogs in my 45 years, and letting them go has always been a hard decision.  A decision that I have always questioned no matter how "right" I knew it was.  But not this time.  Cookie taught me something so important.  Something I never saw coming:  There is a sweet spot for letting a pet go.  Too early and you always ask "what if?"  Too long and you hate yourself for being selfish.  Not Cookie, not this girl.  I am convinced that her leaving happened at the exact second it was supposed to.  As sad as it was to let her go, it's hard to explain how perfect it felt.  It was so "Cookie".  She stepped forward to us that day 12 1/2 years ago, and she let us know she was ready to go 12 1/2 years later.

She saw a lot in those 12 1/2 years:
A record flood
A record snow

A perfect life on the river
Sunny days that didn't end
A brother that no time or distance could separate

And humans that loved her more than imaginable
She lived such a full life.  It's hard not to be sad, but don't......That simply wasn't her style.


dyejobs2 said... you guys..and thank you.. so much..for sharing all of her joyful life...good job you too...sigh...

Unknown said...

I loved it. It was remarkable.