We didn't know she was so sick, see, Sunny was always a lady. She never complained, she never fussed. She was just a go with the flow kind of girl.
We knew she was getting older and slowing down. Her old joints were arthritic, it seemed. We could see the cataracts in her eyes, we knew she was having trouble seeing. But all in all she seemed pretty healthy, age considered. She ate well, drank well, and went potty regularly. Until Monday, that is. On Monday she didn't want to go out to potty when I called her. I really had to coax her out. And she didn't eat much even though it had extra special, yummy bits added in to entice her. And I really realized she wasn't feeling well when she didn't run to the back door with Sally Sue when The Wifester pulled into the driveway after work.
She's just resting up, I thought.
On Wednesday we knew we had to get her to the vet.
The x-ray seemed to show a mass that appeared where her spleen should have been. The danger of a tumor in the spleen is that you will bleed to death from it. With her blood loss, this fit together well and made perfect sense. The vet assured us that he sees spleen tumors in older labs quite frequently. And removes them quite frequently, as well. We were told that 85% of the time they turn out to be benign and the dog lives on for the duration of its life, and bounces back from surgery just fine. 15% of the time it is cancer, and the dogs life is only momentarily saved by the surgery.
Doing nothing at this moment was a death sentence, though. Slowly dying from internal bleeding is horrific, we didn't want to let that happen to her.
We decided we had to give our Sunny the best possible chance to survive. Even if that meant risking surgery.
We spent quite a bit of time with her, there in the vet's office in a private room. The staff was really nice about letting us spend our time with her before she went into surgery. I'm ever so grateful for that time, now.
We doted on her, loved on her, told her what was happening, and asked her to be strong. We reassured her that we would be there for her.
We didn't expect it would be our last moments with her. But it was.
Sunny didn't make it through surgery. Her heart was too weak, she had lost too much blood, and the tumor that appeared to be her spleen was actually all throughout her chest. Her heart, her lungs, and her liver were just encased with it. Sunny passed under anesthesia, and I take some comfort in that. She saved us from having to make that decision later. That was her style. All she ever wanted to do was to make life easier for us.
Sunny brought The Wifester and I together, you know. She really did.
We met online, but at first I didn't respond to the Wifester's requests for chats and emails. She kept requesting, and I kept ignoring them. I saw a profile name of Sunndogg and thought, huh, who is this chick calling herself a dog? Does she mean she's like one of those party chicks who has slept with everyone in town? I really didn't want to deal with that. Then finally she changed her picture to one of her and the Sunny dog. They were standing by a lighthouse with Lake Erie in the background. That's when I saw this happy, sweet face. And a beautiful, sweet dog next to her. They both were smiling so genuinely, and I knew immediately that Sunndogg was full of love. And so was her dog. That is when I responded to her request to chat, and that is when we began getting to know each other.
Sunny was just 5 years old then. The Wifester had adopted her from a shelter when she was only 12 weeks old. They were a bonded pair.
Sunny won my heart from that photo, but she really won me over the very first time I met her. She came right up to me, tail wagging, and sniffed me over, then kissed me. We were buds from that moment on. Sure, we had the obligatory test of wills and boundaries. I remember one evening, early on, when Sunny stole my steak right off my dinner plate!
And another time when she grabbed my sandwich right out of my hand. And that was so uncharacteristic of her, but she was testing me. And probably telling me, "Hey, lady, I've been here a lot longer than you. I'm top dog here."
But we came to an agreement that we both loved her momma and that we could share all the good things in life. With that, Sunny dog cozied right up to me, and to Max, my kitty.
Years later, Sunny comforted me when Max fell ill with cancer, and eventually had to be put down.
I think she knew how hard that was for us to do and this time, she decided she would do the hard part for us.
Sunny inspired us to live our lives with love, peace and acceptance. She exemplified a life of loyalty, love, and peace. Sunny inspired my art, and my business, Sunny Dog Snacks.
Sunny inspired and wooed everyone who ever met her. She taught Sally Sue a few lessons, too.
We are terribly sad to be without our Sunny dog, but we are grateful for the years we had with her. We know that we are better people for having known her, and that we are special because we get to keep remembering her and all the love that she brought to this world.
And so much love that was.
The Wifester said to me last night, "Just think about all of that love that has been released back into the universe."
You can't begin to know how much love that soul carried. No one can, not even us, and we lived with it every day. Sunny is now part of the cosmos, and her love is radiating back down on us all. This world is a better place now, having Sunny's love to spread around. And isn't that exactly what this world needs now, as the song says? Love, sweet love.