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On January 30 Cosmo was declared "cancer free" - free of Lymphoma and skin tumours, after a miraculous 2 year battle, the story for which you can find here: T-Cell Lymphoma - Cosmo's story

3 days later Cosmo collapsed after a few hours of feeling lethargic. By the time we got him into the emergency he had no external pulse.

A suspected tumour on his heart had ruptured and fluid build-up had made it impossible for his heart to beat any longer. As the vet staff drained the fluid quickly his tail started to wag and we could literally see his heart beat rise in response to every person who approached him, in time with wag of his tail.

He left the clinic that as if nothing had happened - with a McDonald's Cheeseburger from the drivethrough in mouth - an a 2 to 90 day renewed lease on life.

It was cruel. Why this unusual timing?!?!

On March 9 he awoke lethargic again so we rushed him to the vet, knowing what was going to happen. His vitals appeared to be fine and there was no fluid build-up around his heart so he was discharged. I was confused.

I spend the day waiting for the worst while my husband went to work. I should have listened to my head and insisted that the hospital keep him for observation or that my husband stay home.

CONTENT WARNING: the following details haunt my dreams but also tell of the tragically beautiful thing that is trust between a dog and his person...

As Cosmo walked to get a drink I could see his legs begin to tremble and I supported him as I felt his stomach gush and he slid down. I told him I loved him and ran to open the car to rush him to the vet. As much as I tried I couldn't lift him so I left him again and ran into the street looking for help, but I couldn't find anyone. I came back to him and said in my most positive voice: "Up you get!" And he did. I supported him as he walked himself out of the house and into the street. Luckily a passing car stopped and someone lifted him into the back of the car. As I drove I had no idea if he was alive, but I wanted him to not feel alone so I sang You Are My Sunshine, which I sang to him when he was a puppy that wouldn't stop being a crazy leash biter and I couldn't do anything else to calm him down, for the entire ride. The vet staff met me at the car and I couldn't believe that he had his head raised and his tailed waggled as I opened the hatch and he greeted the vet staff.

My husband met me there and we said a very teary goodbye to the one eared, one eyed miracle dog. He would have been 10 years old in a couple of weeks.

Here is what I wrote on my facebook page a few days later:

Thank you everyone for your kind words about Cosmo.

It’s been so hard - it’s not been sadness. It’s guilt and panic and nothingness.

Cosmo represented a lot of things to me - he was the only constant companion and non-judging friend I had through very difficult times and subsequent rebuilding of my life. I watched him be mistreated by his person - eventually it would act like a mirror, and we would find freedom. We’ve had many of the anxiety and health effects that come with trauma - no doubt 4 different types of cancer is among the toll it took on him.
Learning to stop trying to dominate him turned out to be a better path to the rest of my life. And then led to a career in animal and people behaviour. More importantly it led to a more congruent and whole life.

With him dies a piece of my story. I am optimistic about that, but I’m also feeling both the grief of his loss AND the grief that seemed unjustified then. It’s so different to have the support I get with his passing, and I’m thankful to you for letting me experience your compassion.

His legacy will not go to waste. His infectious spirit brought life to so many, even in the face of abuse, loss, cancer and kittens ❤. So much of my knowledge and compassion was built upon understanding him and his needs as a result of the trauma we both faced. I get to use and truly make a difference in multi-faceted ways now for others.

Bad things don’t happen to cause you to grow but you can sometimes grow from bad things that happen.

I miss you dearly my partner, my example. Thank you for teaching me how to be your person, and teaching me about unstoppable grace.

The first 2 pictures were taken on that final day. The third just a few days before doing his favourite thing, running after his blue squeaky Chuck-It ball, on a cold Vancouver morning, between many treats.

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My heart goes out to you-I am so very sorry for your loss of your beautiful Cosmo.

Run free and sleep softly.
 

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Oh no. I am so sorry. He was an extra special Golden Retriever.
 

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I'm so sorry that you've lost Cosmo. Kind thoughts coming your way.
 

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I'm sorry. Thanks for sharing.
 

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thank you for sharing him with us. I wrote a long post but it appeared doubly and when I edited this one, the other disappeared. 30 min later I decided it really did disappear... so I will say (less eloquently) that my tears came at the 'you are my sunshine' and I know that his influence on your story will be there the rest of your life and the rest of the lives of everyone this stellar dog touched-
 

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So Sorry for your loss, and hope you find comfort in his memories, positive thoughts going toward you.
 

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I'm so very sorry for the loss of your precious Cosmo, I have to admit I had tears in my eyes reading your last post and looking at his wonderful pictures. He sounds like the most amazing, treasure of a golden. Please let me know if you would like me to add his name to the Rainbow Bridge List. Rest in peace beautiful boy x
 

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Thank you for sharing Cosmo with us and the wonderful pictures . My heart goes out to you.
 

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I'm so sorry for your loss of Cosmo. It's such a blessing to be touched by a dog you love this much and who loves you back even more. It leaves such a void when they are gone. May your heart always feel his love.
 

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Many of us felt a kinship to Cosmo and his fight to live life to its fullest. We are thinking of you and the terrible grief you are going through.
 

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I am so terribly sorry for the loss of your beautiful Cosmo. I have followed your journey and I thank you so much for sharing. Run free, sweet Cosmo.?
 

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"Teaching me about unstoppable grace".

YES! That is the essence of what these dear dogs bring to us, unstoppable grace - no matter what they have been through. Thank you for that and for the window into your spiritual bond with Cosmo.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Please do. :cry: March 9.

I'm so very sorry for the loss of your precious Cosmo, I have to admit I had tears in my eyes reading your last post and looking at his wonderful pictures. He sounds like the most amazing, treasure of a golden. Please let me know if you would like me to add his name to the Rainbow Bridge List. Rest in peace beautiful boy x
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thank you all. I haven’t had the guts to come back here. I’m mostly still in the trying-to-not-think-about-it phase. But it’s definitely better. The guilt has eased off and the sadness has arrived.

move been struggling with memory lapses since we found out he had hemangio. My therapist feels that my brain has just had too much for now, particularly since I work in social services as well. The quarantine has actually offered a welcome congruency with my inner life but I am looking forward to going out again.

Also, we got a kitten. And there’s a Cosmo connection. Check it out in the other pets section.
 
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