We met Little Bit June 23, 1997 and we took her home for the first time July 1, 1997. We said our final goodbyes August 27, 2006. The days between were filled with a lifetime of love.
There are no words to express the depth of our love and it is impossible to express the depth of our sorrow. We know that only time will help and we are comforted by the knowledge that we did all that we could medically for her and we did everything we could to spoil her.
Intellectually, we knew this day would come but, as were so many of her friends, we were in denial. Little Bit was such a fighter and she had so many ups and downs through her treatment that it was almost that we had expected for her to overcome this setback as well. That said, we are convinced that she was able to fight as long as she did because of all of the prayers and support that she received. This is especially true for these past six weeks or so when all of her chemotherapy had already failed.
Little Bit really was a miracle worker. She worked her way into the hearts of so many with her courage and dignity. No dog could possibly have asked for better friends and we are all better for having known her. Robin, Lyle and I are truly blessed for having shared our lives with her.
If you have been reading along from the start, you know that Little Bit was fortunate to have had an excellent health care team. Dr. Hathorn had only joined the Animal Care Clinic shortly before Little Bit's diagnosis and we couldn't be more grateful for the timing. Little Bit was one of her first oncology patients and she worked so hard for Little Bit. We can only imagine the countless hours that she spent reading and learning about lymphoma on Little Bit's behalf. When things stopped working, she was quick to consult with the experts and her dedication to Little Bit's health was a comfort to us. It was very difficult to call her this morning asking her to do one last thing for Little Bit. She offered to come to our home and at 12:45 pm, she ended Little Bit's suffering. We are so grateful and we honestly could not have asked for any better care for our sweet Bit. She has our heartfelt gratitude even if we could not express it at the time.
We are also so grateful for the love and support from all of our family and friends. We have every intention of writing back to all of the emails and thanking everyone for sharing with us but it will take some time. In time we will also post a photo memorial for everyone to enjoy. It is hard to imagine that there was ever a dog has had any more prayers on her last day than Little Bit did today. When she left us, she was resting in her snuggle sack on the blankets that her friends gave her. There is no question that she knew she was loved. And she would have thought that the "treats for LB" photo stroll was the perfect memorial.
Thank you all for being with us in spirit. Thank you for all of your love and support. Little Bit was a special dog and she will be missed. We are honored to have shared her with the world.
Going through life, we don't often have the insight to know when we are doing something for the last time. Other times it is more obvious. Take last Thursday for example, the bosses loaded me and Lyle up in the truck and went to Bruster's for our free doggie sundaes. (Mmm, ice cream.) At the time I was feeling pretty good after the side effects from my last chemo injection had passed and the tumors had shrunk quite a bit. Naturally thoughts of ice cream began to dance through our heads so off we went. Well, as a little background, Lyle sometimes gets so worked up while traveling that his stomach gets a little out of sorts. So we drive the 25 minutes to Bruster's and we see this big white German Shepard Dog and we think, wow, that looks like our friend Storm. Turns out Storm's bosses had the same idea as we did and it was Storm. Another bit of background, Storm is one of Lyle's favorite buddies and just seeing her got him even more worked up. I'm sure you can see where this is heading. Anyway, it was obvious that Thursday night was Lyle's last time going to Bruster's.
Other times it might not be so obvious. Like the one and only time I had a smoked beef knuckle. I was a puppy. The knuckle was good. The boss ma'am (actually I still had authority issues back then) got too close and I growled (a lot). Sadly that was my last time with one of those babies.
These last few days I'm starting to realize more and more that as I go through my day, I'm doing things probably for the last time. Last night I was feeling good and the boss man asked me to model for him. We both had a pretty good idea that it would be my last time in front of the camera. Since that time, the tumors around my neck and mouth have over doubled and I am having a difficult time swallowing. As I write this I have a pretty good idea that this might well be my last diary entry.
I consider myself a very lucky dog. I know some of you might be thinking "Sure Little Bit, you do have a lot of luck and all of it bad!" but I know that is not true. I have so many friends and I've been truly blessed with prayers and support from all around the world. I also know that some of you reading this might think that I've given up hope for a miracle. Truth is, I feel like I received my miracle a while back. Obviously I wish there was something left to try against this cancer. But I know that I've lived a very good life with a loving pack. And I have so many good friends. For me, the miracle is that I have been able to touch so many with my story.
Through it all, I have faced my challenges with grace and dignity (much more so than the rest of my pack). Since my diagnosis, I've gone from having a normal small dog life to making friends and telling my story to people and dogs all around the world (I was even in Reader's Digest). I've been able to teach others that there are options when faced with lymphoma. And that those options can provide a very good quality of life. When I started writing, I thought that perhaps my friends and family outside of Kentucky would want to check in to see how I was doing. Never in my wildest imagination did I think so many would follow my story. That my friends, is absolutely miraculous.
So I want to thank you for all of your love and support. And I want to thank you for all of your prayers and friendship. And for your advice and encouragement. And for the laughter and tears.
I can't say exactly how much time I have left but I think it is safe to say that my remaining time will only be measured in days. I've instructed the boss man to write one last diary entry for me after I have crossed to the Rainbow Bridge. So like I said, I think this might be my last time writing.
Sometimes I think we all forget just how fragile life is. Of course I've been dealing with lymphoma for something like 21 months now so it isn't like I haven't thought about death a time or two. And sadly during that time I've lost more than one friend to the Rainbow Bridge. Still, every time a life is lost, I am still taken by surprise.
Last night my friend Oreo died. She wasn't on Dogster but you may have read about her in my diary from time to time. She only lived a block away and she would sometimes come to stay with me when her pack was out of town. Her pack loved her very much and she was fortunate to have a wonderful home for her eight years. I don't know why she died as she was seemingly very healthy. She had been out for a walk before bedtime yesterday when she suddenly lost the use of her back legs. A short time later she had difficulty breathing and she passed away before they could even get her to the emergency vet. She was a very good dog and I will miss her.
I don't know if it is easier when you know death is coming or if it takes you completely by surprise. I think maybe that it is always hard for the loved ones left behind.
On Sunday I went back for my latest injection of l-asparaginase. I had a pretty rough night of it but by lunch time Monday I was starting to feel better and by dinner time I was back to my old self. I'm happy to say that the injections continue to work for me and the the bumps have gone down again to a more manageable size. The bosses continue to do an excellent job spoiling me and I'm happy to say that yesterday was steak day. Mmm, steak.
Finally, I wanted to thank my friend Harry for making me the fun new pictures. As you all know, I love food so they are perfect. Thank you very much.