Our next door neighbor offered to come stay with the kids on that Tuesday evening so I could be with My Love. What a blessing! No hard goodbyes in front of the kids. It was bad enough I broke down the day before after making the worst phone call of my life. "Mommy's OK," I reassured them as they came to comfort me. "Are you sad about Bentley?" he asked already knowing the answer. "Yes, buddy. But God can heal my heart," I said. Did I just schedule that appointment?
It was just four months before that we even noticed a change in Bentley's behavior and demeanor. We took him to the vet inquiring about his recent pee accidents in the house. They suspected a bladder infection and prescribed antibiotics. It didn't work. After a series of more tests, we pursued a second opinion and felt more confident with the care he was receiving at the new vet's office. More tests were done. His symptoms continued to develop and worsen. At some point we came to the decision that we could spend hundreds of more dollars just to confirm a diagnosis that we already knew we would not choose to treat, or we could accept his assumed illness as it was. Brain tumor.
At the end he was down to 64 pounds I think even diligently eating his regular two meals a day. My heart sank the day I noticed he left a few morsels of his breakfast in the bowl. That was SO not our boy. It had been weeks since he ate something off the counter or even off the floor. His legs were weak and he refused to climb any stairs. He was going blind and walked into walls and tripped over toys. He incessantly paced around the house every evening and when he wasn't doing that he was sleeping. He continued to have accidents. My Love came home before us on Valentine's Day to find Wups had pooped in the house and blindly tracked it all over the family room. Caring for him became so stressful trying to anticipate when he would need to go out to pee and literally having to carry him back inside. He would slowly wander in the front yard and down the street before he heard our voice calling him back and he would try to follow it. He was disoriented. No leash necessary. We hadn't gone on a Family Walk in quite awhile.
The Monday I made the call I could tell he was done. When I took him outside he would walk just a few steps and then lay down in the grass. It was a sunny, breezy day so at one point I just lied down with him spooning my furry firstborn in the front yard. It was one of the most beautiful moments I ever shared with him as I watched his fur blow in the sunshine. No photo was necessary.
My heart was breaking.
Wups had been sleeping in a crate when we were away from home and at night for a couple weeks. Monday night we brought him to bed with us and he slept for a few hours right between us before he woke up anxious. It was beautiful. My Love put him on the floor next to his side of the bed where he would normally sleep and he stayed there all night. It was so nice having him in the room with us again.
When Tuesday morning came, every thing about that day was excruciating. Knowing the exact time caused me to count down the hours with such pain. I was extremely irritable with my innocent human children wanting to spend as much uninterrupted time with Bentley as I could. It was his worst day yet. When he came inside from not going pee, he stepped just inside the front door and laid down there sleeping for the the rest of the day. My poor Love had to spend the day at work. While the kids were "napping", I once again just lied down with My Boy and pet him. Every once in awhile my weeping would startle him to sit up and I would try to calm him back down. Five more hours.
I spent part of the day removing some of Bentley's items from their normal places. As hard as it would be to come home and see them missing, I knew it would be even harder to see them there empty and unused when we got back that evening.
For some crazy reason My Love got home later than usual from work that day. His alone time with Wups was limited. Eventually our neighbor came over and the kids said goodbye before running off to play. My Love carried Bentley to the car and lifted him into the back of the Volvo. Was this really happening? The first few minutes were driven in silence with bursts of weeping from both of us. With each mile that we drew closer to our destination, my heart sunk deeper in my chest...