Love Never Dies...
Companion: Golden Retriever - Bentley
Owner: Human - William
April 7, 2001 – July 10, 2012
My Bentley went to Rainbow Bridge on July 10, 2012. He was a very good boy. It was never easy.
June 19: Bentley did not finish his dinner. I was shocked. I thought it was summer. About two hours later, we went for our routine walk. He vomited some food during our walk.
June 19 – June 25: Bentley became weaker. There was no need to use leash. He must be declining. I thought this was normal. He slowed down only because of his normal aging and hot weather.
June 26: Bentley went to see his new vet. I fired the original vet. The one he used for his whole life. This was his second time to this new vet. This vet came from some referrals. So he must be at least average. I was very picky. Bentley had no problem to get on to the Jeep. As usual, he was happy to go for a car trip. Within 5 minutes in the appointment, I saw my vet became serious. I was told Bentley got Lymphoma. What? Why? When? You did not tell me anything three months ago. Last year, my original vet also told me Bentley would have a few more years.
Desperate with Tears, I listened. Lymphoma is Terminal and there is No Cure. Based on his experience by looking, and touching, it was now stage III or stage IV. There was no time to waste but too much information to absorb.
I was told three unacceptable options:
1) Untreated – Bentley would last 8 weeks.
2) Treated with Prednisone – Bentley could have improved quality life average up to 3 or 4 months.
3) Treated with Chemotherapy – Weekly treatments and strong commitments, Bentley could live 8 or 9 months average.
No, these were not my options. I have plans for Bentley in the next two years. I was thinking to spend more time with him in his senior years and work at home probably 2013 because I know I have 3 or 4 years remaining. But I must accept the truth.
Vet explained Chemotherapy to me and his past experience with patients (dogs and owners). Many dog owners would never do this route if ask again. Many dog owners regretted the long process, and saw the dogs to go through weekly treatments for a prolonged life of 12 months.
Based on Bentley at 11, I thought I picked Prednisone – aiming for 4 months or longer improved but short lived quality life. I still took time to think about that. I did not give firm agreement about Prednisone or Chemotherapy. I got some supplements home to start to build up his immune system to fight illness. On the same night, Bentley was not eating again. Things were day and night. I was nervous and scared. I discussed with the vet on the phone what was happening. Both vet and I decided to start Prednisone right away so as to make him to eat again. I was still not sure about this choice.
Two weeks of Roller Coaster – That Were Very Intense Two Weeks!
Bentley and I were the only members in the household. I needed to have time off from work. I was desperate to buy personal time.
June 26 – July 5 (10 days – Bentley took daily 50 mg prednisone and some health supplements):
There was no improvement on existing lymph nodes. The existing nodes were even getting slightly bigger. There were new nodes appearing.
June 26 – July 1 (I have hope):
Bentley ate and pooed. His energy level was back to about 75%. I thought there was hope. I thought that Prednisone treatment was magic.
July 2 – July 5 (Bad Bad and very Bad):
My poor Bentley was difficult to get up, to walk upstairs. He was even weaker than June 19 – June 25. How could that be? He was in the treatment! Now I learned some good days and some bad days. On July 5, Bentley saw the vet again. Vet wanted him to have 75 mg prednisone daily and hoped to control the lymph nodes and improve his illness.
The thoughts about End of Life and Quality of Life hit me so hard. Friends told me I would know when the time was right, but I was not sure. Did I wait too long and allow him to suffer? Was he suffering? Around July 6 and July 7, I felt the time was nearer. I did not let go of Bentley’s treatment.
July 6 – July 9 (4 days – Bentley took daily 75 mg prednisone and some health supplements):
I learned to live one day at a time. Bentley was quiet but he always put on a happy face. Bentley panted heavily. He was difficult to get up. He walked a few steps and lay down for a few minutes. I knew Bentley walked for me and pleased me but he must lay down to rest. Seeing and dealing with this situation, my heart was broken. I could not lift or hold him all the time. It was only me and Bentley. I felt lonely and no help.
I wanted him to be outside 4-5 times to have regular pees and poos. I knew some negative effect of prednisone. He drank more water and ate more. I hand fed him. He gained one big pound. Thanks God. I also live on ground level. It was considered easy out to the gardens and yards to do his business. But for a sick dog, Bentley walked half block in 5 minutes. We were both exhausted. I carried a backpack with me at all time when we were out. I had towel. I had treats. I had tennis balls. I had cell phone etc. Thank you! Summer daytime is always longer. I tried to enjoy every moments left. On July 9, vet came to my house. Vet told me some nodes were actually reduced in size. We should continue the 75 mg prednisone for a while and eventually smaller dosage. He told me that Bentley was not suffering but he was only tired. We further discussed to get him some rugs or carpets at home. Bentley should get new boots at home to help himself to get up later. I must start to prepare some diapers at home. Sooner or later, he would urinate and soil the home. We discussed homemade meals, some organic eggs, and yogurt in his coming diets. July 9 was not a very bad day for Bentley. Bentley felt good when vet or my friend came to visit. My friend came to visit him in the evening. Bentley was always turbo charged during those moments. He pleased the humans around him.
His poos were pretty normal for the last week. In the morning, July 9, Bentley’s poo was big and dark black. I thought it was okay because he ate his food. At night, he vomited his 25 mg prednisone I gave him that was mixed with his cheese. I gave him a new one. In the middle of night, Bentley soiled the house. That rarely happened.
July 10 (The hardest decision I made – I let him go):
I cleaned up the mess in the early morning. I walked Bentley when the light was out. He pooed again and he was bleeding a bit. He walked slowly. I knew it was our last morning together on earth. From June 19 to July 10, Bentley’s quality of life has diminished. I did not know what I could offer to make a major change. I knew I could hold him one or two more weeks with me. I made a house call. I hold him and fed him cookies / treats and he went to Rainbow Bridge by himself. Love Never Dies. I never forget My Bentley. I let him go. I don’t know how I’ll manage.