On the loss of a pet

Yesterday I lost my dog, Cosmo. She deteriorated very rapidly with almost no warning. Within four days of becoming sick, she was gone.

Cosmo wasn’t the first pet I’ve lost. At age 6, my orange cat Rosehips was hit by a car. I came to know death at that young age, though I couldn’t fully process or understand death the same way an adult might be able to. At about age 10, my family had to put our old dog Easter to sleep as her health was failing. I’ve also lost guinea pigs and a few goldfish over the years as well. None of these deaths has compared to losing Cosmo.

When I see her dog bed or dog bowl, I find myself crying. Throughout my house, there seems to be a noticeable absence in the places where she once lingered – on her dog bed, on the kitchen floor, on the living room couch (Cosmo’s spot was on the left side of our leather couch). Sometimes she would sit near my dad’s chair in the living room, or on the floor. I can’t find her there either. My clothing still has black and white fur clinging to it.

Every time I come into my house, I expect to hear Cosmo barking, running to the door, tail wagging, tongue out ready to greet me. When I look at her water dish, I think I’ll see her there drinking from it. Now, my other dog, a pug named Spike, sits in her bed. It’s a little comical as the bed is rather large for a dog his size. Spike is typically too preoccupied with food to notice much else around him, but I think even he has marked Cosmo’s absence in our house to a small degree.

I’ve been crying a lot since we put Cosmo down yesterday. My chest physically hurts. I feel a chunk of my life is missing without her here. Even though I worked today, it’s been hard to distract myself from thinking about her. My work day drug on and I couldn’t stop thinking about her.

On Saturday Cosmo started to get sick. I figured she would be fine within a few days. Sunday she was worse, to the point where she almost didn’t make it through the day. The vet came to our house and gave some medicine to her, which seemed to help. Cosmo had been unable to eat, drink, or get out of her bed and to relieve her bladder. IV fluids helped her get up, and I was able to hand feed her some food that evening and she drank some water. My mom brought her to the vet two days ago, and the blood work showed she had pancreatitis, her urine had a lot of broken down red blood cells in it (indicative that something else was going on besides the pancreatitis), and she had a fever. Yesterday morning, her fever was extremely high – 104. She went into the vet’s office with my mom. She was under a lot of pain, and we had the vet take x-rays. 

I went into see the vet with my mom and brother yesterday to see the x-ray results. Cosmo’s pancreas was huge, and her organs were pushed to one side of her body. It was likely a huge pancreas and possibly a large tumor inside her causing this to happen.

Given the information we had, we made the decision to put Cosmo down. Surgery to see what was wrong with her would be expensive, and would only give a more conclusive answer to what was wrong, it wouldn’t treat the problem. If it was cancer like we thought, we wouldn’t be able to do much other than buy maybe a few months for Cosmo at best. After the vet administered anesthesia, they did a necropsy (like an autopsy) afterward. We were with Cosmo as she was sedated, and got to spend quite a bit of time with her to cry and say our goodbyes, and then they gave her the final shot.

The vet called back yesterday evening to announce Cosmo had pancreatic cancer and a tumor inside of her like we thought. While she deteroriated rapidly and we only had Cosmo for about ten months, we gave her a good life here as a happy farm dog. She loved taking long walks through the woods with my dad, running around in the summer, seeing what the chickens were doing, and get attention from her humans (my family).

Her absence has been greatly marked in my household.

While I only had about six months to spend with Cosmo, I can say without a doubt she was the best dog we’ve ever had. She was kind, gentle, intelligent, loyal, and sweet. She picked up a few bad habits from our other dog, (begging) but in general she was an absolute sweetheart and everyone loved her to pieces.

Cosmo, I hope you are running through the woods on a warm summer day, chasing rodents to your heart’s content. We miss you, sweetheart.


Cosmo on a warm October day last year

R.I.P. Cosmo 

2006/07- January 17, 2017