I have had a rough few weeks.
On Sunday, September 13th at around 3:15pm, my beloved pup Loki passed over the rainbow bridge. He had been my constant companion since I got him on February 16, 2008. From the moment I first met him, we instantly formed this super deep connection to each other. He was my best bud, my rock, my handsome man. I loved him more than I’ve ever loved anything in my life, and I’m still finding it very difficult to grieve.
I’ve never had to deal with much loss in my life. I am in my late 30s and am lucky to still have both sets of grandparents. I’ve lost previous pets, but none of them were my own pet. I never had the connection with them that I had with Loki. He was my Heart Dog. And now I feel as if a piece of my heart is just gone.
Back in early December, I took Loki in for a routine dental cleaning and tooth extraction. He had an impacted carnassial tooth and an impacted molar, so we had them removed and his teeth cleaned and everything went perfectly. Two weeks later we went in for a recheck and noticed the front of his mouth on his hard palate was a bit swollen. Unsure if it was from his dental, we treated it with anti-inflammatories and antibiotics, but they didn’t do anything. After the holidays, we took him into an internal medicine specialist, and they performed an aspiration on it and found evidence for cancer. We got him in to see an oncology specialist and they determined it was an oral fibrosarcoma. The tumor continued to grow, and we had radiation therapy performed on it, once a week for 4 weeks.
This caused the tumor to shrink slightly and stop growing for a time, but eventually it did what cancers do, and it started growing internally, causing a lot of pressure on his face. After our final visit with the oncologist in early August, we determined the best thing to do was watch him closely to see if his quality of life dropped significantly and make the call when that happened. We had hoped for more time with him, but unfortunately a month later it became really apparent that he was suffering, and I had to make the hardest decision I’ve ever made in my life.
We had a vet come to our house for the procedure, so that we didn’t have to remove Loki from his comfort zone. The entire thing took maybe half an hour, and it honestly was a very comforting experience. After it was over, I knew Loki was no longer in pain and suffering. As much as I still wanted him around, I couldn’t keep him around for my own benefit. I keep having to remind myself that he was in pain, that he was really sick, and that it was the right call. I still feel such intense guilt over everything, and I keep having to redirect my focus from what I could have done differently to keep him from getting sick. But the harsh reality is that I did everything I could for him, and cancer is a rotten beast that just destroys everything in its path.
It’s been just over two weeks since we lost Loki, and I’m trying my best to recover, but it’s one of the most challenging things I’ve ever had to overcome. Like I said before, I’m not experienced with grief. I had no idea how I’d handle something like this. It took me two weeks before I could even spend more than an hour in our home office (I work from home). I still find it hard to be without a dog by my side for more than a few moments (our other dog, Mortimer, comes with me whenever I have to drive anywhere). I have reminders of Loki everywhere: the blanket he passed away on is folded up in our bedroom in the spot where he always slept, I sleep with his lamb toy every night, I have his collar framed and next to our bed, etc. I’ve had a Grief Resources website opened in a tab on my browser for the last 2+ weeks that I don’t look at, but I keep open in case I need it. This is going to take me a lot of time, I think.
Loki was the best dog. He came to me at a time I really, really needed a friend, and he became the best friend I could ever have asked for. He was a giant goofy beardog who loved his nightly walks, his long car rides, his stops for a pup cup of ice cream or custard. He loved sitting on everyone or barking at people whenever they stopped petting him. He loved running through the woods at top speed (and he was fast!) or stopping to sniff every tree, which he’d then immediately pee on to mark that HE was there.
He was my Heart.
I miss you so much, Loki.