Back in late 2016 we had a scare with Bravo. He quit eating, he was less tolerate with everything, he seemed older, slept more, and struggled to get around. We did quite a bit of testing but nothing really solid came forward. Quite honestly I thought he was done then. The only thing I knew even then was there was NO WAY IN HELL I was going to let the scientific community PRACTICE medicine on this dog. If they KNEW what was wrong and they could help me fix it OK but no one was gonna dig around in him in a exploratory way. At 11 and after ALL THIS DOG HAS DONE.....HE HAS EARNED THE RIGHT TO NOT SUFFER! I caused him enough suffering by ignoring alerts or not being able to fix my BG fast enough...so did every other human that walked into his world that had something wrong physically or emotionally with them. Dr Bravo was on it and all he ask in return as he aged was a cookie. If you denied him that cookie......your luggage, purse or back pack would suffer for it! At that point I decided to use vets to ease the pain, but treated him with other more eastern methods. Energy work, essentials oils, various supplements, vitamin b shots, acupressure and acupuncture, a few pet psychics, a WHOLE LOT OF PRAYER. But it I was then that I knew my time with him was limited.
I watched as he would put his game face on when people would come over or if his vest was on. Stubborn to the core HE WAS PISSED if I left him home. His nose slobber is still on my front window. He wouldn't let ANYONE else see him struggle. By George he could do it on his own 4 feet or he wouldn't do it at all. I saw it get worse as time went on but I would try something else. For a bit a new thing would work but at times he would sleep so soundly that i would go check to see if he was alive.
About 2 weeks ago he started throwing up and with diarrhea off n on. Both had traces of blood in it at times. I treated it as I always have but it wasn't helping. Last Friday I called and made a appointment but couldn't get in until the 25th. I ask to be called if they had a opening. Over the weekend we did public access with new families in town...again Bravo refused to not go but watching him he was off BAD. That night while we were sitting around everyone observed him VERY unstable on his feet and struggling to breathe. I dropped to 52 and HE MISSED IT. Bravo might miss a 80 once in a blue moon but he was gonna be making me pay for not listening by 75 in a big way. Normally I would have been sporting CLAW MARKS, every shoe, every bringsel, every toy, and mostly likely every vest and leash he could get his teeth on for that! I dropped low 2 more times over night and he slept through all of them. While I was waiting for one of the lows to come up in the middle of the night I curled up with him and cried. I told him him I PROMISE I WILL NOT YOU SUFFER that when it is time you either tell me or give me a sign that you are ready and no matter how damn hard it is I will help you get out of this shitty physical world and move to a new place. He sighed very deeply and rested his head on my legs and fell back asleep but his breathing was very irregular.
Monday morning the vets office called that they had a cancellation in the afternoon. I had a commitment that I could not get out of at that time so I ask my friend Kristi to take him but to call me when they knew anything. They called and the vet was very concerned but didnt quite know what to make of it. Bravo had MANY fatty tumors on him but there was at least one I had ask Kristi to point out. She checked it and was very concerned that it was cancer. When it was stuck it bled badly. She ask what I wanted to do. I stated to her "THIS DOG ABOVE MANY OTHERS HAS EARNED THE RIGHT TO NOT BE USED TO BETTER SCIENCE" "HE HAS SAVED MY LIFE AND MANY MANY OTHERS I WILL BE DAMNED if we are gonna put him through a bunch of testing and prodding" " I also am sure in my heart he wont survive it". She ask to run some routine minor blood testing and said she was sending home anti nausea drugs, some pain meds, and some anti inflammatory drugs. She also gave shots before leaving the office so he would be comfortable that night. When the drugs hit his breathing became VERY unstable. I watched as he worsened right before my eyes. Again most of the night me and him had some heart to heart conversations. I told him I don't want you to go but I know you are going to soon. I told him I didn't want him to suffer and hurt anymore on my behalf or anyone else's. I raged at God to (NO OFFENSE HERE) take ANYONE or ANYTHING else in my life but leave me Bravo. I begged Him to leave the only solid rock I have known alone. I got silence which pissed me off even more.
Tuesday morning it was painfully obvious it was a greased slope that we were on. I tried to remain positive but when he turned his nose up at french fries at lunch I knew how greased it was. Tuesday afternoon the vet called. His blood work showed several things but the most worrisome was he was SEVERELY anemic. Again being a good vet she laid out all of the options for me. Again I said YOU ARE NOT GOING TO ADD TO HIS SUFFERING! She said the anemia was to the point that he could just lay down and not wake up. SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT I then got very direct and to the point about options of how to best proceed. She offered many thoughts and said to call when I had made a decision. This conversation all took place while I was standing outside of my work.
I returned into my job and told my coworker (who has shared her lunch with Bravo for the past 11 years) what the vet said. I couldn't hold the tears in. Every time I opened my mouth my heart was in my throat. She told me to go home....I replied if I go home it wont help. No matter what I did tears kept flowing and words just stopped in my throat. My co-workers grand daughter, Kenzie who is 9 and Ava who is 12 kept coming over and touching my arms and shoulders. Kenzie told Ava "I have never ever seen KC cry". She came over and hugged me.
Bravo who normally would have been pushing me slept through it, barely moving for anything. His breathing becoming even more erratic.
I have had the honor, pleasure, and at the same time the heart ache of helping many others through times such as this with their beloved pets. I have often thought that I wished humans were as compassionate with each other in end times as we are with animals. It has never once been easy but I have never questioned the belief that they will tell you when it is time if we will only listen.
When we got home I sat out side on Gilligan's Island (my deck) and he laid at my feet. You can think I am crazy at what I am about to say but I heard in Bravo's voice (kinda think Sam Elliot) very clearly in my head... MOM I HAVE TO GO HOME! I replied..."YOU ARE HOME NUT BALL" Again "MOM I HAVE TO GO HOME...I AIN'T LEAVING YOU. I AM JUST CHANGING FORMS. THIS BODY SUCKS!" I sucked in my breath an said "Well can I make it easier for you in anyway?" He replied " BIRDS, CHEESE, AND MAYBE A FRENCH FRY OR TWO". So I called my friends the Erickson's and off we went. For those of you that know Bravo well, you know that only my BG ranked above water and birds. You could see him want it SO BADLY. He even got a wee jump off the shore of about 3 feet. SO PROUD HE WAS OF THAT BIRD! SO PROUD! He carried it over and laid in the grass with a big ole chessie grin in between the grimaces of discomfort.
We returned home and around midnight we laid down on the floor with him between me and Ava. He rested his head on my side for about 3 hours. I cried and argued with God some more. At one point I stopped rubbing his ears and he took his big ole paw and requested more. Around 3 am he struggled to his feet and whined at me, so we got up and went outside. He threw up the french fries and cheese he had earlier in pool of RED bile. I could only hear the squirt of diarrhea. He stood there in the moonlight with his head handing low, looking weary and defeated. Again I heard his voice in my head..." Sorry you had to see me like this". I cried more and then yelled at God more...because I knew my time with him in the world was at it's end and that I had to help my best friend. Needless to say I slept no more. He did but it wasn't a restful sleep it was one struggling to stay here but wanting to leave.
I made the call to the vet as early as I could.......but lesson from Bravo at the end......Live hard and full. Enjoy the birds, cheese, and french fries! Jump as far as you can and when you are done...SPEAK LOUD AND CLEAR. But above all, even love cant stop death in this world but love can ease the pain in the end.