In my blog, I talked about how I liked fostering because I didn't have to deal with the death of a pet.
Well, that's no longer true.
My temperamental, lovable, fuzzy jerk passed away early Saturday morning, after a late night trip to the emergency vet clinic Friday night.
We'd gone for our usual walk that morning, but when Mark got home around 3:30 Thunder didn't get up. He still didn't get up when I got home at 5:30, except briefly. We thought he just wasn't feeling good, so left to take another load over to the new house. When I came home later, he seemed even worse and was barely responding to anything I did, so I called the emergency clinic and took him in (with some help, since I had taken NyQuill and couldn't carry a 70 pound dog down the stairs anyway).
The vet there told me that he was severely anemic, had fluid in his stomach from bleeding internally, and that his blood pressure had been too low to register. He thought he saw a mass in his stomach, which was probably a tumor. I got to say goodnight to him, then left him there for monitoring.
In the morning, I got a call from Stray Rescue telling me that he had stopped breathing at 3:30 that morning while the vets were trying to give him a transfusion. He'd had cancer that no one knew about.
I spent the next three hours crying non-stop while trying to pack.
He wasn't officially my dog, but he'd all but chosen me nearly two and a half years ago when Stray Rescue first decided to have me meet a dog "who didn't really like anyone." Thirty seconds after they brought him in the room, he was rolling in my lap. We've pretty much been together ever since, through heartworm treatment and failed trial adoptions and him eating an entire hambone and being the laziest dog known to man. We've snuggled, been pissed at each other, and eventually figured each other out.
I miss him. I miss his goofy face, and the way his butt would sway when you scratched it. I miss his droopy sad ears when he watched us eat dinner. I miss him curling up on my yoga mat while I was using it. I miss his 70 pounds of snuggle crushing my sternum when he'd lay on top of me.
I'm glad he didn't really suffer. I'm glad I got to say goodnight to him. And I'm glad he got to go on one last walk that morning.
Most of all, I'm glad I brought home the big jerk when I'm sure few other people would have been willing to do the same. I'm glad I took a gamble on him, and gave him the home he probably never had before, even if it was only for a short time, and even if he ultimately broke my heart in the process.
I wouldn't change a thing.