In March of 2006 I drove with my mom and friends to south Georgia to pick Guinness out from some bulldog breeders. We met them in a McDonald's parking lot. I watched 8 puppies play and chase while the wife of the breeders smoked cigarettes and the husband made inappropriate comments. I always joked that Guinness was a rescue dog. I saw his little patch over his eye and decided he had to come home with us. I loaded him into the cutest little carrier and we took him home to surprise Sam.
Sam was being distracted by friends and ended up getting in a scooter accident. He came home to tell me his news and was overwhelmed with emotion when he saw mine. Guinness was the cutest puppy. He used to nibble at our toes and had so much energy. We had been married for about a year exactly when we got him. He was born on St Patrick's Day so naturally the name Guinness was a great fit.
Guinness was there with us when we bought our first home, when we had both of our babies, when we lost Sam's parents. He was always there. He was such a good dog. He was gentle with the girls and such a good listener. I never for a second pictured life without him. Now I'm devastated and would give anything to go back and give him more snuggles and walks. I took him for granted many days, his company, the security I felt when he was here, his soft belly and ears, the way he laid his head on my lap. I wish I had been better to him. I let life and motherhood cloud my head, I didn't pay attention to his needs. The intense pain of grief and regret has been unexpected. I've cried a thousand tears. I hear phantom clicking of his paws on the floor, I see him out of the corner of my eye. I wait for his bark when the UPS driver goes past. Nothing. The house is so quiet.
A couple of weeks ago Guinness' eye got really irritated and red. Sam began putting his eye drops in but it got more swollen and hazy. We thought it may be cataracts. Sam took him to the vet and they gave him some drops, it didn't get better. He took him back to the vet and they said it may be a tumor to wait until he could see an optomologist. Last thursday he stopped eating. He ate a little on friday but just would't get off his bed. He was so weak. The weekend came and Sam thought it may be the steroid drops making him sick. He couldn't hold anything down. Monday morning Sam was going to call the vet but after he left for work Guinness got sick over and over until he just lied down in it. I tried to get him to go outside, he just stood in the rain. I begged Sam to turn around and come home. I knew something was wrong. Sam took him to the vet and they said there was a mass in his belly, they'd let us know the next day what the tests showed.
We brought Guinness home, we put him on blankets in front of the fire. I lied down right next to him, weeping begging him to forgive me. Telling him how loved he was. He slept with us, in my gut knowing we wouldn't have much time with him.
We got the results the next day. He had stage five Canine Lymphoma cancer. We made the decision to let him go. He hadn't eaten in almost a week. He was so tired. That drive in the rain to the vet was the hardest thing we've ever done. Neither one of us spoke. Waiting in the lobby was torture. "Why are you guys here?" they asked. I stared at my feet, the tears uncontrollable. My brain is burned by what happened next, saying goodbye, watching his life slip away. "Were we doing the right thing?" "Will it hurt?" So many questions. The vet cried with us. It was the worst thing I've ever experienced. I'm struggling to get back to "normal." "Do I run out and get another dog to make this hole go away?" Then that thought makes me sick.
I had to write this today because I need to get it all out, I need to be able to cry until I can't cry anymore. I don't want my girls to see me like this. They're confused and worried. Today I'm going to do whatever it takes to feign happiness. I'm going to start posting cheery things, I'm going to pretend things are normal.
I will always love and miss you Guinness. My heart will truly never be the same without you.
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