Dear Bandit,
Having you suddenly gone from our lives is a pain that has no words. The Doctor did surgery on you yesterday morning to try to remove a canalope size mass that was found on your liver the day before when we noticed you weren't interested in your breakfast ~ how often does THAT happen?
We spent that whole day together and you enjoyed the cheesburger I let you have for lunch. You even got to lick both our plates from dinner. Much better than that diet food, eh? I slept that night by your side on the floor downstairs where you slept before we started packing for our move, because I knew how much you worried when you couldn't see me. Can you see me now?
We rode together to the surgery center on a clear, crisp morning, where you sat with your paw on my leg looking at the cows and horses you love to chase as we drove by. I knew you weren't feeling your best but you kept on your brave face because you knew that it would pain me to see you hurt. You knew it was your responsibility to make sure I was o.k. You didn't wag your "Stump" in the morning when I asked if you could please stay a little longer and I think you knew as we were packing to move to another home that it was time for you to go too.
I thought we would have a little more time at least, but the vet said you lost a lot of blood during your surgery and that the mass affected 80% of your liver. It was so big it was oozing blood into your abdomen. You would have died on the operating table if they had tried to remove it. The doctor said you might have a little more time -- maybe up to a couple of months with the chemotherapy that would be required, but also it could be a matter of only weeks.
We thought about bringing you home until you had no more good days, but Bandit, we realized you would never be the same and knew how much you would hate to see us grieving for the small amount of life you had left. I love you enough to care that you never have one more day of pain. You would hate to just lay around the house in a place where we couldn't always be together. You used to come shove the bathroom door open with your nose, just to make sure I was o.k. You deserve to always have the dignity you taught me so well about. You trusted us with your very life and knew, loving you that we would make the right decision. Your passing was peaceful and even spiritual. I held your little head in my hands so you could see me and I told you to "Go Goodnight" ~ you've always done as I asked.
I had your eyes closed and carried you myself in your blanket to the floorboard of my truck, where you loved to sleep and took you to the new cabin where we picked a place to bury you in the sun, under a tree, by the creek, where you could always see me ~ wherever I was on the property. I'm grateful I have pictures of you there and that you had marked your territory ~ even though you never got to call it home. We buried you curled up in your blanket with your head on the pillow you always had to have. We tucked some pictures of Walter and I in a plastic bag between your arm and under the blanket and you looked only like you were sleeping. We covered you up and planted flowers on the top, I even laid the glowing, white "Colorado" rock from our flower bed at your head ~ Walter said it was one that you had probably marked. I would have put the last rawhide bone I had for you there, but that must have been in the wrapper I found in the Living room on your "Feasting" day. I guess you thought it was a "Free-for-all". I'm glad you got your bone.
So, now it's the morning after and you weren't at the foot of my bed this morning. Though you might have only been down stairs I could feel that your spirit had gone from our home. Oh how I miss the flapping of the pet door.
You saw me through the most difficult 7 years of my life. You saw me from the summer into the fall. You've been to Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, Tennesee, Kentucky and deep in the hearts of Texas. You faithfully scouted out the trails ahead on our trail rides. You saw me married to a good man and knew that he would stay. You saw me just recently through the recovery from my back surgery and seemed to know that now that our house had sold, we purchased our dream cabin, my back was recovered and that my husband and I were about to start trying for a baby, you seemed to sense that your work was done. You are my best friend and will never be forgotten. I still can't believe you're gone. Walter loved you too. He "Leaked" at your grave and held you tenderly also as you crossed over. He gave you the bones I wouldn't allow you to have. He loved you like I did, and as his own. It is ony he that I would share you with.
Bandit may you watch from the Heavens and always be able to see me...unless there's something you'de rather do. I promise I will somehow be alright.
Wait for me my faithful beast and I promise when it's my time that I will come.
Thank you for being an example to me and helping me to see God through your honest eyes.
I love you buddy.
Shari and Walter