Cancer Kills—Cancer Sucks

I intended to write about my adventures with two dogs with cancer. Today, I’m just pouring my sadness to you.

One of my dogs who had cancer (Dudley) died. He died on New Year’s Day in my arms while we were driving to the vet to euthanize him. He was a great dog. He had an annoying and demanding bark, but he didn’t’ have a mean bone on his body. He got along with everyone. He was my Velcro dog (so is Carrie, by the way). Everywhere I went, he was there with me.

Dudley (January 14, 2004—January 1, 2016)

Single Doghood

Now, my other dog, who also suffers from cancer, is a single dog for the first time since she came to live with us 2005 when she was she was 9 weeks old. For the first time since 1990, I have a single dog and not a pack.

The Bridge and Gasping for Air

I’ll never forget Dudley’s last struggle for air and how limp and relaxed he felt when he died. It took me a few minutes to realize that he was gone. At first, I just thought that he was struggling because he wasn’t comfortable. He had so many tumors and many were so big. Then when he relaxed, I thought that he found a comfortable spot in my arms. But, actually, he was gone.

I hope that there is a Bridge, and I hope he met with Bailey, the dog that preceded him in death. Dudley and Bailey were adopted together. They were a bonded pair that I heard through BROOD. We had a open adoption with their former “slaves.” Their former slaves and us became friends and consider ourselves family.

Life and Sorrow Is for the Living

Life goes on for the living. But there’s definitely a big difference, and we feel that his presence is gone. The house is quieter. There are no demanding barks for food. I now have to look at the clock to make sure I don’t miss the 5 p.m. meal. He never let me forget it. Carrie is quieter. She doesn’t demand. Dudley, on the other hand,  was on my heels at 4:30 p.m., reminding me to not forgetto give them food.

And Dogs Mourn,Too

But let’s not forget that the surviving dog is also mourning. Carrie is morose. Her snout is longer, and looks unhappier than most of the time (bassets always look sad). Yesterday, when I called out for food, she barked and ran in every room, looking for and calling Dudley to come and eat.

Also, the finality came to me at yesterday’s 5 p.m. feeding. Every day, just before each meal, each dog got their own medications for their illness. I covered the meds in peanut butter. One dog got the right hand “treat,” the other dog got the left hand treat. Yesterday, only one hand was needed. I cried. I missed him.

Also, every day, after the meds were distributed, I would pick their bowls to insert their meals. Yesterday, I absently picked Dudley’s bowl as well.

What Dogs Will to Us

Sadly, dogs leave very few properties when they leave: a bowl, a collar, a leash, a bed, etc. However, they also leave a big empty hole in your heart.

I went through so many losses in the 33 years of dog loving and dog rescuing. Nonetheless, I go ahead and open my heart to break again and again. There’s always a needy dog waiting for your love. My heart has an empty hole. A new dog, will come and fill that hole by giving a piece of his or her heart. It’s just like this saying:

Dogs will us their heart. One day, my heart will be all dog, and I’ll be so proud!

Join the Conversation


  1. What a beautiful story….it made perfect sense to me….you will always have them in your heart and soul and no puppy will ever replace them but they will give your heart new life and put happy back in your soul….we too lost our beloved Mr. Cooper a year ago, he was a rescue dog who spent his first 4 years in a cage in a lab…he was a Bagel….he didn’t know what a food bowl was, a toy, a bed, a leash, love….he didn’t have a clue about anything….we were blessed to be able to give him so much love for the 2 1/2 years he was ours….he had a 4″ tumour on his spleen…at first we said NO and decided to take him home and pray for him that night, my husband even sat up all night and played gospel songs to Mr. Cooper on his guitar and sang…he didn’t come to bed at all…the next morning Mr. Cooper was the same and he knew too…for the first time in 2 days he took his special treat, ate a bit of kibble, had us take him upstairs to say good by to grandma and actually walked out the front door…stood and smelled the fresh air and jumped into the car, when he passed on he looked so happy and out of pain….I bent down and kissed his beautiful head and cried, my tears would not stop flowing and when we left the Vet Hospital we cried all the way home….his ashes were spread in a memorial tree area and we often visit and cry….we now have another puppy, a Basset Hound called Princess Buttercup – The Basset Hound…she even has her own FB page….she has not replaced Mr. Cooper but she sure has helped to heal our hearts….we love her so much….she is so sweet and wiggley….we know one day far far into the future we will be saying goodbye to her also and our hearts will break again….but as you said there will always be room for another puppy that needs to be loved and shown what love is….you are a wonderful person…it has been a pleasure to read your story…..blessings, love, peace, healing & health always and longer than forever….Heather Brown xoxoxoxo

  2. Next week will be the 1 yr anniversary of the day Otis left us. It is almost a year to the day after his brother Milo left us. After Milo died, Otis was never the same. Oh, he loved us, but he was always looking for Milo. They were litter mates when we adopted them and were never apart a day in their lives. They shared their bowls at dinner time; round and round in a circle til the food was gone, they napped, slept, played and loved us together. They were the basset “brose” and were a joy. The year Otis lived alone, without his brother, he visibly deteriorated before our eyes. Became grayer, walked slower, ate and drank less and lost weight. In the end he succumbed to the same pancreatitus that took his brother. His grieving was as real as ours. He also died in my arms, I sang to him and read from the bible, and told him it was okay to go and find Miley. Dogs are a gift to us that we will never understand. The bond is a wonder, we are so blessed to love them.

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