When we first found out Rose had liver cancer, I cried. I cried every time I thought of her, every time I saw her. I did research, I cried more. When we found out she had a lump in her lymph nodes, that was assumed to be cancerous, I cried. Whenever I thought I was done crying, I would cry more.
Rose was a sweet heart. She had been the runt of the litter, she nearly died from a lung infection when she was four weeks old. A black boxer mix with some of the sweetest eyes, her personality matched her beauty. Nothing upset her, she loved everyone she met. She was a bit more careful than Angel, a brindle from the same litter as Rose. Angel would let a robber in our house, Rose wouldn’t. Rose was my aunt’s, Angel lived with us. Yet, I loved them both as if they were my own.
Rose began acting funny when one of my Aunt’s guinea pigs, Meeko, died. Rose loved Meeko. She would eat hay with her, sleep beside her cage, and when Meeko was out of her cage, she would cuddle beside her. We thought that maybe Rose was depressed. She had stopped eating, just sleeping, and she was acting funny. Rosie didn’t act like she normally did. You wouldn’t know, but you didn’t know Rose like we did.
The vet said nothing was wrong. “You could do this lab test. Which I believe is a waste of a hundred dollars. I guess, peace of mind just isn’t cheap.” He had said. The results came back. “High liver enzymes. Might want to do a x-ray, and then if the x-ray shows something, a ultrasound.” He grunted, but it looked like he didn’t want to say something. I know what he was holding back now.
We did both, Rosie got meds. “The ultrasound shows masses in her liver. Several, across the liver. You can do surgery, or you can try medicine. Or,” the female vet, a pathologist had said, “you can treat like palliative care.” We tried the meds. “No chemo, and no surgery. I don’t want her dying on the table.” My aunt said. My mom agreed they had lost Shadow. their Rottweiler, to chemo.
That was a week, maybe a week and a half, ago. She got two of the shots to kill the cancer. She got one pill in when she should have had eight, and that was when we force fed her. We have been trying to feed her, she won’t eat on her own. She won’t fight, she has gotten worse. If the cancer is in her lungs, its stage four; if it’s not, its stage two. My mom and I know one thing. She won’t be here for our Thanksgiving camping trip, which my aunt, along with Rose and my aunt’s Saint Bernard, goes on with us.
“She isn’t a fighter like Shadow was.” My mom choked out last night, tears falling on her cheeks, her brown eyes looking at me, so much like mine, filled with tears. Her eyes said the same thing mine did.
“I know. She won’t be here for Thanksgiving.” I said, saying my biggest fear, saying what I already had known.
“No,” My mom agreed, her face and voice contorting in pain.
I suppose miracles happen, but in my experience, they never do. We said Meeko would live, she died the next even with our Exotics vet, one of the best in the state, fighting to keep her alive. We said that with Tia, the dog my aunt and I had shared, when a mass was discovered in her lungs. She was slowly choking to death until my aunt decided that letting her go was best for her.
Rose is different though. You can see she is dying. From the way she won’t move, except to go out, to the way she looks at you. It’s like she is saying “Leave me alone.” As ridiculous as it sounds, I think Rose wants to die.
When Rose leaves though, which she will soon, three things will happen. One, is that my Aunt’s Saint Bernard will be depressed, so depressed she won’t respond. Two, is just as bad. My aunt will break. And three, once Angel noticed that she isn’t at Aunt Cindy’s house, Angel is going to be depressed. The two sisters were so close, so close that I have no clue how Angel will respond.
Jazmine, is my aunt’s Saint Bernard. That dog was probably destined to be a therapy dog, but instead became Aunt Cindy’s pet, and one of my best friends. She loved everyone, and she loved every dog, except for Weimaraners, ever since one attacked her as a puppy. Rosie meant the world to that dog. While Rose was at the vet’s, my Aunt told us that she came home to vomit all over the house. That is not like Jazmine at all. Once Rose leaves this world and crosses the Rainbow Bridge, Jazmine is going to need a whole lot of Prozac, or maybe Zoloft. I doubt that will work, Aunt Cindy isn’t going to be able to cheer her up, and neither will we.
Aunt Cindy has a shell. She never cries, she never gets upset, she just is Aunt Cindy, all calm and rational. Rosie’s illness is enough to throw her off. Her shell breaking, cracking like a hardboiled egg. She’s losing it, not sleeping, not smiling. Her voice is off, at least to us. When Rose leaves her, she will break all the way. Aunt Cindy will be Humpty Dumpty, and I don’t know if we can put her together again.
As for Angel, she won’t notice for a few days. When it hits her though, she too will mourn. She will not wag, she will not lick. She won’t be “Angel”, she will be a shell for some time. As sick as it is, I am frightened of that. I hope she never notices. I am scared of her reaction, in a way. I am scared, I will lose her too.
I have no human friends, just my animal ones. They aren’t friends though, they are family. When I lose a member of my pack, I mourn. I shouldn’t start mourning her now, but I will. No matter how many miracles, no matter how many prayers I beg, no matter how many times I tell my dead grandmother to not take her, she will leave. My musings are that, just musings of the mourner. It’s only August, the 22nd, to be exact and I know a few things. Rosie won’t make it to her birthday in September. She won’t meet me at the Aunt Cindy’s door anymore. I fear not knowing everything. I fear losing her. There is one truth I know.
Rosie won’t be at the Thanksgiving beach trip with us this year.