The past week has been a mixture of sad, surreal, and sublime. A week ago, we found out our dog Zane probably had lymphoma. I wasn’t too surprised when I heard the news. I had noticed slightly swollen lymph nodes under his jaw and feared as much. But then, everything I read about lymphoma in dogs led me to believe that the nodes would be much larger than they were. I looked at Zane’s teeth and thought maybe it was a dental problem. One side felt larger than the other. I asked Bill to take him to the vet, hoping the swollen nodes were something minor, but kind of knowing deep down that they wouldn’t be.
The vet had told us to take him to a local high speed practice where they could confirm what was wrong with him. Maybe chemo would be an option. Bill was only able to arrange an oncology appointment for September 20th. I knew he’d be long dead by then when Zane couldn’t open his eyes on Monday night. Bill took him to the high speed vet, which also has an emergency department. The vet aspirated Zane’s lymph nodes and it was clear that he had lymphoma. We started him on Prednisolone, and he got a few good days. I got a lot of pictures of Zane this past week, knowing that they’d be the last ones I’ll have of him. Even yesterday, I got a beautiful shot of Zane enjoying the sunshine in the backyard. We even managed to take a couple of walks this week. He went his full route on Thursday.
Yesterday, I could see that he was getting more and more exhausted. He still wanted to eat his favorite treats, but he spent all day lying on his side, sleeping. This morning, it became clear that it was time to let him go. He was trying to stand up and had managed to raise his haunches, but was too exhausted to get up the rest of the way. I also noticed a puddle of urine by the fireplace. Zane had kindly done it on the tiles instead of the floor, but it was the first time he had had an accident like that in many years. I looked at Bill and said, “Today’s the day.”
We took him to the vet at 11:45am and by noon, he was on the table, licking some liverwurst paste. The vet, Dr. Glenn, was very kind and compassionate as she drew his blood. She could see that his belly was full of blood. She said she thought maybe his spleen had ruptured, and that it was good that we brought him in today. It’s unlikely he would have survived the night.
Zane went quickly and peacefully. Bill held onto him as the drug took effect, feeling his heart’s last beats. Bill always does this when we lose our dogs. I stroked Zane’s head and told him to go see MacGregor at the Rainbow Bridge. We told the vet about Zane after he had passed, how we adopted him from Atlanta Beagle Rescue after we lost our dog, Flea. He was the very best. He was the most wonderful, loving, kooky beagle ever, who always tried so hard to be good. I will never, ever forget him.
I’ve made a video to remember the best parts of the past ten years with Zane. Every dog we’ve had has been wonderful, but I think Zane will go down as one of the most special canine angels to ever grace my life with his presence. It was a joy and a privilege to rescue Zane… and I think he returned the favor one hundred fold. When I’ve had more time to process this, I’ll write more about how much he mattered to me and how much I’m going to miss him. For now, I’ll just say I’m glad the suffering is over for him, but it will be awhile before my heart heals.