Sunday July 23, 2017 started out like most Sunday’s do for me. Got up, made my coffee, did my devotions (complete with cat), and got ready for Church. As per usual, I gave Thomas his morning pets and a couple of treats. I put out some food for him as well – not in my usual routine but for some reason did it anyways – he didn’t eat much of it.
As I was leaving, he gave me a somber look, with love in his eyes, the usual look of “Please don’t leave and I love you.” I never thought anything of it. I found out later that he did the same to my Mum before she left for work early that morning.
At Church the sermon was about change. As soon as the Pastor told us what the sermon was about, I had this weird feeling in my heart. He talked about how change will always occur in our lives whether we want it to our not, but that God wants us to be strong and courageous. Change can be scary (usually is) and brings on an array of other emotions.
I continued on my day with a relaxing potluck lunch, in the sand, with great people and a perfect ocean view at Kye Bay. This place holds a special place in our hearts and it’s interesting that this was the place we chose (a week before) without knowing what was to come. I couldn’t have asked for a better afternoon… except after the fact, spending the afternoon with Thomas would have been special.
As we were at the beach my phone vibrated with a text message from my Mum saying that Thomas was not himself when she got home from work. He was very lethargic. He wouldn’t even take a piece of cheese.
They spent time on the couch cuddling together.
A couple of hours later I arrived home, walked in the door and as soon as I saw Thomas slowly struggling to come out of my room to see who was at the door, I dropped my stuff.
I knew instantly something was very wrong. My heart sank.
I laid on the living room floor with Thomas as he struggled to breath and weakness in his body, though still enough strength to lift his front paw to let me know he wanted a belly rub. I obliged in his quiet request.
As I was with him on the floor, I checked his gums and that’s when I told my Mum that we needed to get him to the Veterinary Hospital. This was an emergency. Thomas was dying.
Thomas tried to show excitement as we said we were going for a car ride but he was simply too weak. He struggled but managed to get into the car… Thomas was doing his best to be so strong for us in hopes to not make us worry though we could plainly see the weakness that was overtaking his body.
Roughly ten minutes later we arrived at the back door of the Veterinary Hospital and greeted with a very concerned doctor. We didn’t know the fateful news we would receive on the other side of that door but bravely walked through into the daunting back room.
Thomas was so weak that he gently collapsed on the floor. The doctor asked her questions and I mentioned that his gums were completely white… no blood flow… She took a peek at his gums and the look on her face caused our hearts to sink even more.
She was concerned enough to completely skip the routine blood work and in-depth exam and go right for x-ray.
We got Thomas into the x-ray room a few feet away and he collapsed again on the floor. His strong body and legs just unable to hold him up anymore. I sat on the floor with him as the doctor prepared the x-ray machine. I put his head on my lap telling him it was okay. He looked at me with soulful yet weak and tired is. I told him he was a brave boy and that it’s okay.
The doctor and I lifted Thomas onto the x-ray table and she put him on oxygen, hoping to relieve the struggle as she took pictures of the inside of his ailing body.
Mum and I exited the room while radiation filled it.
The doctors voice called through the closed door for us to come back in. Once we were both in the room my eyes drifted to the monitor with the images of Thomas’ lungs. The tears started. She told us that that she didn’t have good news. The room was eerily silent for a few seconds. A soft, faint, tear filled “oh no” came from my Mum.
Thomas had several small tumors, in his lungs and in his abdomen, which the doctor said one in his abdomen had ruptured causing internal bleeding. The sole reason why he had labored breathing, he was trying so hard to oxygenate his body but there just weren’t enough red blood cells left.
Thomas was and is a fighter. It’s hard to believe that just the day before we were taking a walk on the beach together, the three of us. Thomas, Mum and I spent a lot of time at his two favorite beaches, Ferry Beach and Air Force Beach, over the past three weeks I’ve been here. Rain or shine, we would be out there! I’ll never forget the day we walked in the pouring rain together. We spent a lot of time cuddling not even knowing the looming darkness that was hanging over our heads.
At almost 9 years old, Thomas still acted like a puppy. Especially when the words “car” “truck” or “beach” were said.
He never let one once over the course of these last few weeks, or months that he was sick. He was staying strong and brave for us.
Until he couldn’t anymore.
We told him we loved him as he lay on a mat in the back of the hospital. I hugged him one last time while he was still breathing. Told him to find his sister over the Rainbow Bridge. I stepped away so that Mum could spend the last moments of Thomas’ life right by his side.
I found it so hard to believe that just over a year after I had to say goodbye to my girl, Takoda, I would be saying goodbye to Thomas. Just as they were together here on earth, they are now together again running free over the Rainbow Bridge.
My Mum sat at Thomas’ head during his last moments. Tears falling on his fur. The soft spoken words of love. Of goodbyes.
Thomas passed away peacefully at 6:25pm on Sunday July 23, 2017. Surrounded by my Mum and I.
I believe this is why God wanted me to be here. To spend time with Thomas, to be here for my Mum during that difficult evening of saying goodbye. And to help for a bit afterwards during her grieving.
God was preparing my heart that morning with the message on change. He knew exactly what I needed to get me to where I was going to need to be that evening. To allow a relaxing afternoon at the beach with good friends. He was preparing me for my task this whole time, but especially that Sunday morning.
We may not always understand why things happen. Why our fur family members always pass away too soon. They love unconditionally and that’s what they came to teach us. Forever teaching us to love and to have free spirits. They teach us that it’s okay to take a long nap in the sun in the middle of the day. And that fur shed is simply them spreading their unconditional, unforgettable love.
God brings certain people and animals into our lives for seasons. But their impact and foot/paw prints on our hearts will last a lifetime.
Change is inevitable but it doesn’t always have to have a completely bad outcome.
Until we meet again, Thomas. We love you and miss you like crazy already. You will be forever missed by all those you had come in contact with.