In my opinion, the only wrong way to grieve is to ignore grieving all together. This post is not about the depths of our sadness, but the wisdom and inspiration Boss gave us in fighting Cancer (with some fun along the way).
Boss, better known as My Boy, was not just a pet dog to us, he was a Family Member with a Furry Coat (Huge Scarf I might add). Some family or friends may have thought "Oh, Big Menacing Pitbull" when they first met him but by the end of the visit they were convinced he wouldn't hurt a fly (he was too slow!).
You can skip to the Fun Times below if you wish to enjoy some Puppy Fun (Still called a Puppy to this day!), but I wanted to take a moment to provide some insight for those who wish to understand the process we underwent in dealing with his battle with Cancer.
RISE ABOVE EXPECTATIONS!
As the process goes; something is found wrong with your boy, you make arrangements to meet with the Doctors, and they tell you about the Cancer or Disease and what the options are. In our case, with a form of Cancer in his Nasal Cavity (Tumor at an already very aggressive state), our options for treatment and life expectancy after treatment were;
A. Radiation - up to 16 Months.
B. Chemotherapy - 6-12 Months.
C. Do Nothing - 3-6 Months.
Radiation, due to the location, was too risky.
Chemotherapy was attempted and successful at attacking the tumor but was also attacking our Boy (See Alexandria Blog on 5/25/2017, When Man’s Best Friend is Fighting to Live for more detail).
OPTION D was to do our own research and come up with ways to prevent growth of the tumor while feeding our Boy the maximum nutrition possible.
ONE THING WE LEARNED was that Kibbles, no matter what brand, will never be a substitute for the real nutritional value of Fresh Vegetables, Apples, Eggs, Chicken, Beef, Turkey, certain Fish (Yep our Boy loved fish!), etc. No need to go into more details, but if you're ever in a state of battle (or want to prevent it) ask yourself this, “If I minimize the garbage and maximize the nutrition in my food, could I help my chances in this fight?”
25 Months of Happiness for our Boy! No more red rashes on the belly or itchy skin, No more ear infections, just a loving, always ready for his next meal, Happy Boy with a shiny coat!
I wish we knew about this earlier because all of the cost of those Vet visit added up. It did take time to prepare his meals (got clever with the crockpot), but it was worth it!
Cancer strives for attention, but attention it did not receive! Boss could tell, like anyone else, when the camera was rolling, when the fingers were pointed at him, when the sad or concerned faces came out, so we did everything in our power to not let the Cancer have our attention. Every morning was full of energy, every night was consistent, and life was one happy event after another!
"Being Happy is the best cure of all diseases!" - Patch Adams
Stress compounds all problems. We had to make sure we conformed to his routine. He ate twice a day, walked slow laps around the house (I called them geriatric laps), took naps during the day (Shhhh..quiet time). If he wanted to use you as a pillow you let him.
Cancer may invade your physical space, but may it never take hold of your fighting soul. Our Boy was a fighter. The night before he passed, I felt the weight of a really tired Boy laying on me. I wanted to let him know that it was OK to stop fighting since his condition recently got worse. Later when Alexandria picked him up and put him in bed with me, we both thought he may pass quietly into the night. Of course, that was not the case, as he wanted to keep going and woke us up with his wagging tail, anxious for his morning breakfast. I told Alex, as hard as the decision was, that we had to go through with the in home euthanization. Could he have gone longer? Yes. But our love for him was far greater than any reason to allow him to keep fighting. He took on Cancer and WON in our Book!
The Sun Rises Every Day...
As intuitively obvious this saying may seem, it was the best advice I could replay in my head. It may be cloudy, or hazy, it may take a while for it to poke out, but it always rises.
This is one of the many little things we had to check off the list as we moved into a new reality.
We packed our stuff and headed to the mountains.
We went west, passing our normal comfort zone of Shenandoah National Park to McAfee Knob. What a view.
Nature...Reminds you to Breath...
We slept in a car alongside the Freeway...Not a bad spot.
We went to Charlottesville...Argued about who Boss loves more.
We Brought Him Everywhere...
We Got Tattoos
Alex always thought of Boss as her little free bird and when she heard the song "O" by Coldplay, it made her cry thinking of him and his battle with cancer. So with his lyrics, she chose "Fly On" because she felt that Boss was now allowed to be free of his disease and fly.
"Fly on, Right through, Maybe one day...I fly next to you" - Coldplay
Mine is 80% Paw, 20% Jackson Pollock...100% My Boy (7 year old artist)!
We Spread Our Boys Ashes Over a Cliff...
We saw him everywhere we went...
"Exploration is the Antonym of Ignore(ance)'"
Always leading us...But never leaving us...
NOW FOR SOME FUN STUFF ABOUT OUR BOY:
Did You Know...Boss was terrified of his stepsister Sassy? She liked to beat him up routinely and also for photo bombing this picture! He was her punching bag.
Boss was my best Boy at Our Family Backyard Wedding.
He also drove my mom crazy when he had to poop before Alexandria walked down the aisle!
He looked handsome with a mustache.
Occasionally liked to wear shades.
He was given the nickname “The New Brad Pitt” in College by his roommates Kyle, Chris, Josh, Eric and I (Parker Palace Crew)! He still has his own page on Facebook, search The New Brad Pitt!
But only one gal would ever own his heart (his Mommy)!
She Played Tricks on Him...
Tried to teach him discipline…
But you know what they say...
Once a Law Breaker…Always a Law Breaker!
The Rules for Visitors that is Framed and Hung in our Living Room kept his head pretty big (He knew who would have to leave if circumstances were to occur).
Birthdays were eventful dress up parties. He really liked being Batman. That day he beat up his Bulldog friend Bane for attempting to steal his toy (True Story!). Being Jack Sparrow...well maybe he didn't like that one as much.
And he will always be remembered by that Young Trick or Treater on Halloween who said "Look its Captain K-Nine!" when he saw Boss.
Thank you all for your time! Remember to Love Life and live an adventure you will never forget!