Many of you have been tracking Blotch’s progress since we learned he had an aggressive tumor (fibrosarcoma) in the sinuses above his left eye.
Last Friday, I noticed something inside Blotch’s left nostril and, by Sunday, it appeared to have made significant progress toward the opening. I realized it was probably the tumor. The doc told us that the tumor might break through and reach his brain, but we never thought it would grow the other way. I hoped the children wouldn’t notice it, but Ali did and was distraught that she could actually see what was killing her best friend.
On Saturday, Blotch’s condition started to decline dramatically. I called the vet and sent Zach to pick up more medication for him. We’d planned to take him in on Monday to have the vet evaluate his condition. It was looking very grim by Saturday night and, on Sunday, Blotch started making hack/cough/wheeze sounds when he was eating. He’d made that sound in the previous week or so, but it was coming more frequently and more severely. It was painful to watch and we knew that Blotch was fighting for every breath during those horrible episodes.
On Sunday night, around 11:30, Blotch was standing by the pantry, wanting his kitty treats. I put some on the floor for him and, when he bent his head down to eat them, he started to make a repetitious, odd sound and his body was shaking. It sounded like a turkey gobbling, of all things. I pushed his head back, thinking the position of his head, leaning down, was causing him to have a seizure, which the vet warned us might happen.
The sound and shaking stopped and he ate his treats. However, when he finished and turned around, it happened again. I ran upstairs and told Richard I thought Blotch was having seizures. I then called the emergency vet and explained what happened and they said it didn’t sound like a seizure, but was probably just Blotch’s reaction to pain or discomfort.
Ali and I agreed that Blotch had reached a point where it seemed, to us, that his bad moments were now outweighing his good ones. We knew we’d have to take him to the vet the following morning and let him go. Ali cried off and on and finally fell asleep. I tried to sleep but couldn’t because I was crying so hard. I got up several times because I was so miserable, so confused, wondering if we’d made the right decision.
It was raining outside, complementing the mood in our grieving home. Lying in bed, sobbing, I heard a thump. The wind blew over our plastic Santa and I had to go out in the rain and bring him indoors. When I came back in, it was around 2:30 a.m. and I noticed Blotch was sleeping in his favorite winter spot, directly over the heater vent in the downstairs front hallway. Blotch could no longer walk up the stairs by himself and could barely even make it down the stairs because he was so weak and uncomfortable. I’d watched him try to come down the stairs earlier that evening and he’d stopped after only the first stair to rest. I wanted Blotch near us that night, but I knew he wanted to sleep in his favorite spot. So, I patted him, told him I loved him, and went back to bed.
I did finally fall asleep, only after praying fervently, desperately begging God to send me a sign that what we were planning to do the next morning was the right thing. And, God delivered, with a little help from Blotch.
I dreamed that it was nighttime. It was very dark and I was alone, running down a long sidewalk, carrying Blotch to the vet. Blotch was like a threadbare rag doll and pieces of him were falling off, one after another. I was trying to hold him together while running, desperate to get to the vet before they closed, desperate to have them quickly end Blotch’s suffering. But, when I arrived, they were closed. I was all alone on a dark sidewalk, holding what was left of Blotch. When I looked down, I realized he was already dead. Oddly, his head had fallen off, too, but I still had his heart in my hand and I pushed it back into what was left of his body, wrapped his body in my coat and turned around, relieved that it was finally over but so sad that Blotch had suffered so horribly. That’s when I woke up.
I sat upright and looked at the clock (something people with chronic insomnia do a lot). It was 4:00 a.m. That’s when I noticed a weight on my legs. I looked down and started sobbing. Blotch was lying on my legs, sound asleep, curled up in a ball with his head upside down, his favorite sleeping position. Not only had Blotch been able to climb the stairs all by himself, which he hadn’t been able to do since his illness got so severe, but he’d also managed to jump up on our bed! Either Blotch performed this miracle, or God picked him up and put him in our bed, on my legs, his favorite place to sleep on our bed. Either scenario was a miracle in itself. I started sobbing when I realized that God had given me the sign I’d so desperately begged him for! My sobs woke up Richard and I told him what had happened.
God and Blotch told me, through my dream, that I needed to help Blotch go to heaven before it was too late and too painful. He’d been, physically, falling to pieces before our eyes all weekend. It was time and I had to get him there as quickly as possible because he needed to be free from the pain. He was tired of struggling for every breath, tired of us constantly wiping his already raw nose, tired of not being able to walk where he wanted to walk, and tired of the needles and medicine. He was just…tired. Blotch was ready to go home.
People told me that Blotch would tell us when it was time. They were right, and Blotch’s message was loud and clear.
I called the vet at 7:30 a.m. and they told us to bring him in at 9:30. At 9:10, Blotch was standing by the backdoor. Did he know? I let him outside. He walked over to the garden and Ali followed him while I grabbed my coat. Ali picked him up and wrapped him in his favorite fleece blankie, and we took him for his last car ride. Blotch laid in Ali’s arms, not fighting the car ride, not struggling to get out of her arms like he used to do in the car…just content to lie there and be scratched and petted. Did he know? We arrived at the vet and they put us in a room. Ali and I started crying again, telling Blotch it was okay…to go to the light when he saw it. I saw my Aunt Barbara standing by the sink there, with her hands on her hips, smiling, waiting to take Blotch from us. My Aunt Barbara died last June.
I saw a flash of light on the wall, and then another, right behind Ali, who was sitting in a chair, cradling Blotch on her lap. I told Ali about the lights. She knew what they were and she smiled. Blotch was lying so still, so relaxed, so…accepting? Did he know? The vet gave Blotch a small shot, a sedative. Blotch didn’t even flinch when the needle went in. He relaxed more and started snoring soundly, like he’s done since he got sick, a soft, rhythmic rumble…a sound that has told us, during Blotch’s illness, that we needed to be quiet. It was Blotch’s time to rest.
The vet then gave Blotch another shot that calmly and almost instantly stopped his heart. At that moment, I saw an explosion of flashing lights behind Ali and I knew that everybody who loved Blotch who had already passed over had come for him, to show him the way home. The lights disappeared as quickly as they’d come and Blotch went with them, no longer struggling for every breath, no longer fighting to stay with us just because we selfishly didn’t want him to go. We had finally let him go….and Blotch peacefully and silently returned home.
SPECIAL REQUEST! Ali and I received hundreds of emails today from wonderful, loving people who wanted to express their condolences about Blotch. We will personally reply to all those who have written, but, if you haven’t written to us about it, please instead just say a small prayer for Ali (she’s still grieving badly) and/or for Blotch. We’re buried in emails so please, if you love us, don’t send us anymore. 😉
It’s going to take the better part of a couple of days to respond to those who have written and we’re very busy not only with work and school, but also getting ready for Richard’s 84-year-old grandmother to come visit for a month. She’s in very poor health and we’re making special accomodations for her here at home.
We deeply appreciate everyone’s prayers and warm notes. They have all made this horribly painful period in our lives just a bit more bearable.