When You Lose Your Best Pal

Recently I had written about my epic battle with fleas and all that Castle and I had gone through to fend them off. A few days after that post, things took a dramatic turn and not in any way I could have expected.

I had gone to my cousins that Monday evening to watch football. Earlier that day, Castle was his normal self even after enduring another flea bath on my lunch hour. In fact, later on when I returned home and he didn't come running to greet me I had become concerned that somehow I had made him sick from all the dumb flea stuff I had done to get rid of those buggers.

He had thrown up some in the bedroom and still, even after I went in there, he did not budge from where he was lying on my bed. That was when I knew something was up. He was breathing deep but not excessively. By this point I had two options, go to the emergency vet or wait until the morning and take him to his regular vet. I chose the latter after reading the not so stellar reviews for the closest emergency vet to where I live.

He was lethargic, but I had thought that it was due to the medicine he is on for seizures and his thyroid so I was not too concerned. I was worried yes; panicked, no. I knew that his medicine could cause some of these symptoms and I hoped I made the right decision to wait.

I called the vet immediately when they opened Tuesday morning and they took him right in. I had to drop him off curbside, due to COVID-19, but I did not even make it home before they called me with news. They had noticed he was dehydrated and due to the symptoms I had given them they went ahead and did an ultrasound. This was the reason that they called me right away. What I thought was a simple medicine adjustment turned out to be much worse.

Castle had a large cancerous mass in his belly that ruptured. He was full of blood in his belly and could not keep food or water down at all. This kind of thing comes on fast apparently. They had four other dogs that had similar issues in the last 2 months. Only one was still going strong.

To even have a chance he would have needed emergency surgery and with that he would still only have a small window of time left. It would not save him, just buy some time. They could give him medicine to make him comfortable but he might last a day, a few weeks, or maybe longer but his quality of life would be drastically altered. He would never be the dog I knew again.

With his seizures he was not a great candidate for the surgery. This was evident when he hurt his leg two years ago. It was why my vet and I agreed to not push surgery on his CCL unless absolutely necessary.

When I first went through my divorce, and moved across country, my promise to him had been that I would put him first as if he was my kid. In many ways, and any fur mom or dad would argue this, a fur baby is just that. In this case, I stuck by that promise.

When I first arrived in GA I had less than $400 to my name, and spent $100 of that just on his medicine. It was just the way it was going to be. He needed it. I did the same when he ate my boot and needed $2000 in surgery. I found a way to make it happen. There was not any other choice. The difference then was it would save his life and he would eventually be ok. This time surgery offered me some time but he would be in pain.

So, the decision came to what was best for him. As much as I wanted more time with him, I could not bear for him to suffer through this too. So, that afternoon, I spent as much time as I could at the vet before we sent him off on that final journey across the rainbow bridge. It broke my heart and even now I still look for him every time I come home. The silence is awful.

I am eternally grateful though for all the kind words of comfort and support I have received from friends and family. I am also tremendously thankful for the wonderful people at Trickum Ridge Animal Hospital for taking such great care of him these past few years. They are angels.

To my dearest Castle - thank you for all the love, cuddles and kisses you have offered to myself and those who knew you. You truly were my best friend and you are so loved.


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