Promises …


And then there were five.  Five dogs in the house.  We have three — Ali, Frankers and Dante.  The current foster makes four.  Time to make good on a promise.

After my parents’ third miniature poodle passed away (neurotic little creatures, I tell ya!), I finally talked them into a different breed.  A Shih Tzu to be exact.  Cute as a button, that became her name … Buttons.  And only after I talked them into it as they wanted to name a black/white dog “Buffy” — until I made them watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer.   Along with the gift of a wriggling puppy 10+ years ago, there came a promise … should anything happen or their health fail, Buttons would come live with me. 

Mom died 2.5 years ago, the victim of a massive stroke.  Buttons helped fill the grief-filled hours and gave my father reason to get up in the morning.  She, in turn, sought him out as never before in the past.  A deeper bond was formed in the ashes of their loss.

Buttons has been with me off and on since the end of March.  Dad was diagnosed with bladder cancer then and it was originally thought to be a “low grade” cancer.  Another procedure is performed in mid-June and we find a “fast, aggressive” cancer.  July 2nd brings the emergency surgery to remove bladder and a cancerous bowel obstruction.  The recommended post-surgical treatment — a grueling regimen of radiation and chemo — is refused (wisely, all things considered).  August runs together with two more hospitalizations in as many weeks.  For each emergency, Buttons and all her necessities are packed up and hauled to our house.  Easily done as she’s intimately familiar with our home and the other dogs. 

I suspect the doctors will move Dad to the hospice ward in days/hours as the bowel obstructions can’t be controlled or fixed.  He is drawn and frail, having lost 25+ pounds since July.  An obvious withering is present even though I see him daily.  Family has been called in — better get here while he’s still cognizant.  In short, he lies dying in a hospital bed … and his little dog sleeps quietly at my feet.

Time to pony up.  Papa … your beloved Buttons is my baby now.  Loved for who she’s been all these years and cherished as the last link to you.  ‘Til we meet at the Bridge when I escort her home …

7 Replies to “Promises …”

  1. Oh Vickie, I so understand and grieve with you. My Mom’s cat sat with her until The End. I was fortunate that one of her caregivers loved and wanted him, as my sisters and I already had 2 cats each. I am still in touch with this caregiver, even though it will be 8 yrs 9/14 since Mom died and her cat, Tim, passed earlier this year. I knew my Mom was waiting for him 🙂

  2. Vicki..as I sit here this morning and read this, tears are rolling out of my eyes. Taking care of a loved one’s pet is the last gift you can give them. Bless you and your family and bless Buttons.

  3. Dear Vicki;
    your words moved me so much…..I am so sorry. May Buttons comfort you as she did your mom & dad…

  4. Vickie – May God be with you during this very sad and difficult time. Bless you for keeping your “promise”… Buttons has a wonderful home with you and Papa will soon be at peace with no more pain…
    Love to you all….

  5. Vickie, I was checking your rescue site hoping to see a smapshot of Buttons after reading on the Shih Tzu message board that you had added her to your family…..not knowing the circumstances.
    I am so saddened to learn of your Dad’s serious illness. My heart goes out to you and all the family. Please know that I am praying that God will strengthen and comfort you in the days ahead. Sincerely, Nani

  6. Dear Vickie,
    Hi my name is Cheryl. You don’t know me. I’ve
    experienced the exact thing as you. My mom
    passed away from a brain hemmorage. My father followed her 2.5 years after her from terminal cancer.
    And then there was Harry. Mom and I adopted Harry 14 years ago from the spca. He was one of many dogs picked up from a puppy mill. The owner made the tv news in January. He had over 100 counts of animal abuse against him. Six months later, we found Harry. Harry really chose mom. I asked mom, why did you pick him. She
    said, He leaned on me. Harry could only love one
    person at a time. He was mom’s dog, and when
    she passed away, he became the best companion
    my father could ever dream of. Harry loved dad.
    I had the great privilege and whole heart full of love to take care of Harry, who was the last precious connection I had with my parents. Harry could look right through your soul, and know it. Harry was tibetian. When we use to go for walks, people would yell Lhasa Apso from their cars. Homeless people would say: that’s my Lhasa. Tourists would come up to us and ask if they could take his picture. Harry just passed away. Now he’s
    in heaven. My heart’s breaking. I loved that dog
    beyond words.
    A week before his passing, I went to the cemmetary. It’s been 10 years since mom passed.
    I said Hi mom, look what I brought you from the garden, fresh cut roses. At that moment, the
    sun came out in full God light, and I heard these
    words: Everything will be alright.
    Vickie, I found that your parents never leave you.
    Their love can transcend space and time. They’re
    with God.
    Sincerely, Cheryl.

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