Bubba - My Love - My Loss

Bubba our beloved poodle/schnauzer/dachshund mix has lost his struggle with the cancer that has ravaged his body.  Friday, October 12, 2018, a vet from Lap of Love will help us stop the pain.   I’m very sad.   I know that it is the right time.

Bubba came to us (in Seattle) from San Bernardino, California where his mother had left him for rescue because she was nearing death from cancer.    He was alleged to be between two and four years old.  B – saw swollen glands.  The vets said that he had a melanoma.  Our veterinary oncologist said that he could have a normal life expectancy if he didn’t develop another terminal disease.   Bubba was also close to eight years old, much older than we’d been told.

At first it was awkward.   He and Rojo – our nine year old labradoodle did not bond at all.  They co-existed, ignoring each other.  Bubba had no use for dog toys.   He wouldn’t fetch.   He wasn’t a lap dog – staying at a distance.

Bubba had few teeth and those he had were bad.  Over the next year or so all his remaining teeth were removed and he gummed his food then.  He did fine, but was messy.
After several months, Bubba began to get comfortable with us and we with him.   Eventually – he slept with us in our bed (I think) after Rojo – went blind – and fell apart and left his unhappiness for a peaceful death.  

Bubba loved to be near us.   B – found it hard, because he wouldn’t sit in our laps and would move away when she tried to pet him more than briefly.  In the morning he would stay close, but in the evening- he was his own “little man”.

Bubba was a funny dog.   He could be ferocious in defending B – against potential attack from me – growling, barking, lunging.   Then – immediately -he was relaxed and loving with me.   If other dogs showed any signs of potential aggressiveness – Little B – would bark ferociously and seemingly defend his turf.  He left his scent everywhere!

Little Bubba - was a pain - to leave at home.   He didn't like his crate - got very nervous licking himself like crazy.   When we'd get home- he'd be quite wet - leave a water trail as he walked,  We tried leaving him loose in the bathroom.  He then pooped on the floor.

Bubba has had amazing staying power.   He'd go out when we got up - whenever and at bedtime.  Sometimes - there were as many as 14-15 hours between times he went out - no problem.

Both B and I had periods when things were rough.   Little B – was a welcome companion – always being near us; loving us – accepting our weaknesses and pain.

In February, 2018 – at a routine oncologist appointment we were shocked when the vet told us that Bubba had a tumor in his mouth that would likely kill him within about 6-10 months.    We chose to have him undergo radiation treatments – expensive – that would expand his likely survival.  He handled them well.  They aren’t painful for dogs.   We chose not to pursue a more aggressive treatment – that was more expensive.

As we neared May – when we were departing from Chicago to Seattle – Bubba found it difficult – as boxes were everywhere and he had to move amongst mountains to get to the few places where he could be.   I hoped that he would handle the move to Chicago well and would settle into a new life that could be good for at least a few months.  

I wanted to feel settled at our new home with Little B being a part of my new life.   Bubba handled the drive to Chicago excellently.  He sat in his bed between us high up in the car – with no space to move and was very calm and comfortable seeing us both near him.  He took the motel rooms in stride.  This was a good start.

Settling in Chicago – Bubba did more than well.   He loved the Many smells in his new neighborhood.  We walked together a different route most days – sometimes along Lake Michigan to the South along Sheridan Road, other times through the commercial district on Granville Avenue, also along Kenmore and Winthrop Streets to the west of Sheridan Road as well as on Loyola University’s campus to the north.   He met many new dogs.  Some were buddies – as his tail wagged furiously – leaving its normal low spot.   Others were ignored and a few were aggressively barked at.   

Bubba delighted people we encountered together.  Kids asked to pet him.   Smiles were common.   Some were bothered by his one ear that flopped upside down.   Elevator rides down and up 16 flights were a constant time to meet others – he never barked at dogs inside the building even when a few dogs barked at him.  

Bubba was funny in the elevators.  He loved to stand by the corner of the door, sniffing the smells we humans could never notice.    

Bubba loved the Bark Bark Club where he boarded days when I played bridge or was otherwise occupied (when M or B couldn’t care for him).  Once he stayed a few nights while we went to B’s family reunion in D.C.  (He had also loved his time at the Dog Resort in Seattle before we moved).  The staff at The Bark Bark Club were very, very nice to him.   Some – clearly got very attached to him.

Bubba began having massive sneezing attacks – where he often hit his head on the floor.  We had to try to hold him then – to slow the attacks and prevent injury.   He had a few vet appointments – where his growing health issues were often noted, but sometimes not diagnosable.

In early September – he had his quarterly blood work and a chest x-ray.    When we saw his new oncologist after the testing – the tears began.   She showed us where on the x-ray it indicated that the cancer had spread.   She said that he likely only had weeks to live.  We could now – feed him whatever we wanted to and stop his chemotherapy which had pre-dated the terminal cancer.

At first – little deterioration was evident.   Then he began and increasingly had blood coming out of his nose – often when he had his sneezing attacks which became more frequent.  He liked his new diet – ground turkey, an egg a day – and prescription dog food.  

Bubba began to be more clingy – wanting to be close to all the time.   His sleeping increased from his prior sleepyheadedness to sleeping most the time he wasn’t out on walks.   His walking often got slower and he sometimes seemed tentative outside.  He pawed his nose in obvious discomfort.
Over the last week- we saw his day-to-day deterioration.   He had an accident in the middle of the night – fortunately on the floor.   Several times – I took him out in the middle of the night because we thought he might need to go.   We needed to wipe his rear end – and he tried to go too many times – had constipation and then diarrhea.   

I was hoping that Bubba might make it into next week.   After being very emotional – and hurting a lot – I started realizing that the time was near and that it was okay.   I am sad at loosing Bubba, but I don’t want his pain to be extreme – as it increasingly is obviously becoming.   He has new, growing, visible tumors.  His head/neck area is sensitive to touch.

This morning I realized that it was time.  B – had asked several times if we should stop the pain and I was resistant because of the obvious pleasure that Bs still had.   B’s walks, his last area of great pleasure – were now a mix of being happy and carefree – leaving his scents  and being tentative, in obvious pain and not having a good time.   

I called B and we consulted with M.   All three agreed that the time was now.  I called and got called back arranging for a Lap of Love vet to come here Friday (today is Wednesday) around 6:00 p.m. to help us.   

I am crying – crying – B is petting Bubba who is between us.    Bubba knows something – I don’t know what.  He’s enjoyed his moments and been eternally optimistic.  Now – he is struggling, fidgeting when he’s not sound asleep.  He welcomes our touch.

I just took him out – after his bed spot on the couch – for the floor – perhaps in pain.   He was energetic during part of his brief time outside.  His tail trailed in the wind as he moved with energy.   Then- after peeing a second time leaving his scent on the edge of the building he was slow again; exhaustedly walking down the hallway into our condo – and resting/sleeping again.

Bubba – has been the (pet) love of my life!   I didn’t want a small dog – didn’t want a second dog.  I then fell in love.   Bubba has been a wonderful companion, sharing our lives with us.   Though he could be a pain – hating his crate- licking furiously on his paws coping with his nervousness, he gave us much more love and enjoyment.

I will miss you little one!   I am already grieving our loss.   Thank you for being your unique self!  (10/10/18)

ADDENDUM   October 11, 2018

Today was a day filled with tears at varying times with Bubba.

I first took Bubba to the Bark Bark Club so the staff there could say goodbye.   I carried him about half the way and he walked the other half.  As in recent days I tried to be very patient with him as he stopped a lot of times, sniffing leaving his scent, seem a little lost (in his pain I would guess) - dawdling.

I was in tears when I arrived.  I told one staff member that I wasn't leaving him for doggy care and explained the situation.  There were tears from staff members and a lot of cuddling the little boy.  I'm glad that they had a chance to see him, but it was tough on all of us.   One staff member pointed out how lost Bubba looked in his eyes - worn/tired etc.

At home I offered Bubba a little meat and he ate it.   He had also eaten a soft doggy treat at the BB Club.   I decided to make him 3 scrambled eggs with a little meat mixed it.  I was disappointed when he ate only about one half egg.

Bubba mostly slept for the next 5-6 hours, occasionally getting up, looking a little uncomfortable, lying down again and going back to sleep.   It was wonderful to have my little boy next to me.  It was also very sad for me.

Around three I took Bubba out again this time to Berger Park.   He was tentative and acting like he wanted to go home as he had done a lot recently, but I took him the usual, short route carrying him briefly.  As we began heading back to our building he picked up his pace and his tail trailed held high.  He was the old Bubba, energized for the few minutes it took us to get home.

On his walk

We spent two hours together on the bed again.   I then took Bubba out on another walk.  This time, we encountered about 4-5 dogs.   Bubba socialized happily with a small dog, and also was happy to be close to several other of the dogs, even looking longingly towards a dog who showed no interest in him.

I then snoozed - with my hand on Bubba.   B came home late and we later spent time on the couch with Bubba snoozing in his bed.

It was a sad, but meaningful day - slow and close.

Friday - the End

Bubba started out the day energetically.   He was active on his first walk.   He had a nice time with Buddy – see:  http:   georgesworldonthewater.blogspot.com/2018/10/cute-edgewater-dogs.html a nice little dog (his last good friend as it turned out).   Bubba showed no signs of his weakness and poor health.

We came back and settled on the bed with B.   I made two scrambled eggs for Bubba, not feeling it important whether he ate them or not.   He obviously enjoyed his last meal, eating all his food.
Bubba relaxed on the bed, sleeping much of the time.   He was tired.   He clearly was in a lot of pain; his sleep was the best way he could cope.

I touched him a lot.  I cried off and on.

At mid-day I took him out again.   There was no one in Berger Park which made it easier for me.   Bubba seemed a little tentative at first.   When we got to the far end of the park,  starting to head home I dropped the leash and Bubba started heading home – more energy as I had hoped.  I took the leash briefly – to keep us going along the lake, but Bubba took us all the way to the back door of our building.   I was so happy – at how strong he was – briefly- there.

We came back to the bed, and Bubba went back to sleep.  I sat by him and at one point we snoozed together.   He liked having my hand on him.   He was obviously exhausted and in pain, and sleeping was how he could cope.   

I was very sad.   I also felt like I was doing what was right for both of us.   Bubba couldn’t be who he’d been - in his weakened condition.   He also had his moments – that reminded me of how sweet and enjoyable and strong he had been.

We sat on the couch – Bubba between B and me.   He loved being in/on his little bed on the couch.   He slept contentedly.

Bubba and I went out for our last walk around four.  I was very emotional.   Bubba started out slow – as he had on his earlier walks.  He peed and pooped – for the last time – without difficulty.  I was thankful that he didn’t have trouble pooping.  Again – he sped up – walking with intention home as his leash trailed behind him.   He finished his time outside – happily coming home.

We relaxed on the couch.   I kept my hand on him much of the remaining time we had together.   Bubba slept – comfortably.

A lot of tears – and Bubba at peace.

When vet Liz arrived at 6:05 – Bubba stayed calm – waking up and resting/sleeping at various times.   As the vet warned us, he had a brief reaction to the sedation.   He slowed down.  

After a few minutes I left.   I knew that I didn’t want to see the end as I did with Rojo two + years ago.  I walked on Loyola’s campus, feeling sadness, but also relief.   The past several days had been tough, though very meaningful.  

I am at peace.   Bubba’s suffering is over.  I will always remember my little Boy.   He was a delight.


Thank you!


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