Oh, Emmett.

When my husband and I took Emmett to Dog Beach a couple of weeks ago, my husband commented how the place was like ‘heaven for dogs’. I was thinking the same thing, though he probably wasn’t thinking about it in as literal a context as I was.

This weekend, I went again, without my husband and kids. Just me and Emmett. He had a fantastic time, wading through the surf, visiting other dogs, getting lots of pets. It was a perfect day. That night, things started to go downhill. Fast. I threw every med in my arsenal at him; talked to multiple people about rescue treatments, got ready to cancel my upcoming anniversary trip with my husband.

Through all of this, Emmett has been so compliant, so happy. It was hard to believe he was as sick as he was. Most people had no clue, though those with more astute observational skills could pick up the shaved forearms, the temporal muscle atrophy. But then boom- it happened. He looked sick. And nothing I tried was making it better. I was text messaging my boss trying to track down Elspar and deciding whether or not I should run some IV fluids in when I took a breath, stepped back, and looked at my dog. Into his big brown trusting eyes, asking him what he wanted.

He gave me the look. The look you can’t mistake. The look that made me put down the phone, stop making phone calls to hunt down Elspar in Just One More effort, and give him what he wanted, and needed. He was ready. I wasn’t. But are we ever?

A week ago, my daughter and I were having a discussion about heaven. “What is it like?” she asked, in the literal way four year olds do.

I pondered a moment. “I think it’s like whatever you love best.”

“You walk down a path under a clear blue sky.”

“The water is warm, and there are lots of friends to play with.”

“The beach is dotted with unmonitored bags filled with treats.”

“Little old men walk by and give you donuts. And not those crummy granola fake ones. Dunkin Donuts chocolate glazed ones.”

“And you are happy.”

“You look to the one who held you close in life, standing at the end of the path. When she lets you go, you run off into the waves, happy to wait for the moment she, too, will join you.”

Take good care of him, Kevin.

Filed: Cancer sucks, Musings, Picks of the Litter Tagged: ,
  • Heather

    Tears of joy for the times you got to share. That was beautiful, Jessica. My thoughts are with you.

  • msubugvet

    I’m glad to know that Emmett had a great family and you guys got to share so many memories. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  • Jamie

    When I saw your post on twitter, I assumed this is what happened…but I was hoping I was wrong. My thoughts are with you and your family. I shed tears for you, as this hits very close to home for me still. May Chase meet up with Emmett as they run healthy and happy together. Big hugs to all of you.

  • Weasy

    I’m so sorry you lost your beautiful Emmett to Kevin. At least you were able to give him some doggy joy at the beach before the end. My thoughts are with you and your family tonight.

  • Amber

    I was so lucky to have known Emmett for as long as I have, I know he is having a blast with Mulan right now. I love and miss them both.

  • I’m so sorry for your loss. {{{{{hugs}}}}}

  • rachel

    I’m sure Kevin will take very good care of Emmett, but I am so so sorry about your loss.

  • Megan

    Jessica and family, I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ve fallen in love with Emmett from the first time I saw him on Cute Overload. It’s not often you shed tears for someone else’s pet whom you’ve never met. My heart goes out to you.

  • Beth

    Kevin is a much richer place with Emmett. I know he will find my golden, Alex. Alex will share his tennis balls and donuts with Emmett, show him all the great places to hang out and dig, and will romp and play with him.

    Like you said, they let you know. Alex let me know. It was the hardest decision ever, but I did it to let him not be in pain any more.

    My heart goes out to you for your loss. What a wonderful joy it was to have him in your life. Thank you for sharing his story. Like others here, I am crying right there beside you.

  • Shannon

    I am so sorry for your loss. Please know that way on the other side of the country, someone in PA is crying with you. My dog, Candi, absolutely loved the beach and I know the she and Emmett will get along splendidly in Kevin.

  • I know what you mean about them suddenly looking sick. About five days before I had my kitty put down, I got home from work, looked at him, and knew it was time. He’d been looked fine for the six weeks since he’d been diagnosed w/ CRF, but suddenly, there it was. I should have made the appointment then, but my roommate resisted, thinking we just needed to keep trying harder. But after three days of trying, we both finally conceded that it was time, and I made the call for an appointment. It’s such a tough decision, but you did the right thing.

  • Kristie

    Beautifully written. I hope that it provided a bit of catharsis for you.

  • Moosie’s Mom

    I am so sorry for your loss.

    Moosie, our 14 y/o Golden met Kevin on Monday. Mulan, Moosie, Emmet and our first Golden Jibby are all chasing millions of tennis balls in the surf…

    • I’m so sorry for your loss as well. Sounds like Emmett will have good company with Moosie. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • i’ve only been visiting here for a short while but have become very attached to emmett. sending you and your family big hugs. You’re very brave and such a wonderful owner to listen to your dog like that. xoxo.

  • Ryl

    Oh, God. In tears. I’m so sorry that you had to say goodbye, too soon. ๐Ÿ™

  • Georgia Jewel

    Dr. V, I am so sorry for your loss. Emmett could not have had a more wonderful life with you, I’m sure. Kevin will take good care of him.

  • Kim

    J, I’m so sorry. He led such a great life with you all and when the time came, you let him go. It is probably the more difficult things you will ever have to do and I know it hurts like hell. You gave him a good life and a peaceful death.

    Kevin, you don’t know how lucky you are.

  • Braden

    Oh Jes, I am so sorry. I wish you had more time together. He was a great dog; from your stories I felt like I knew him. The donut picture is one that can’t be forgotten.

  • Chile

    I’m so incredibly sorry Jess. The thought that brings me comfort right now is that our boys are playing together. And Mulan is with them and we have three trouble-makers watching out for us. And that our beautiful wayfarer will take care of our babies until we see them again. *hugs* and so much love.

  • Kelly

    I’m so sorry Jess. I’m crying for you that this happened so fast, and so soon after Mulan.

  • priscilla

    So sorry about your beautiful boy.

  • Megumi

    I’m so sorry Dr. V, my heart goes out to you.

  • Amy

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your sweet pooch.

  • elephant

    I’m so sorry, Jess.

  • Damn Kevin. He better take good care of Emmitt or I’ll kick his ass. I’m so sorry.

  • jw

    *shakes my fists @ Kevin*

    *thanks Kevin for taking Emmit to play with Mulan and my beloved Rocky*

    I am so very sorry for your loss, Doc. V.

    Dayum, and all other swear words I can think of.

    *heavy sigh, and wipes the tears* We love you Emmett!

  • Debbie

    I’m so sorry to hear the news about Emmett :(( What a beautiful dog – and so happy to run in the waves ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Lionesse

    Your words are beautiful. Thank you for sharing this with us.
    Emmett was lucky to have you as his friend.

    *hugs for you & donuts for Emmett*

  • bcats

    I am so sorry for your loss hugs to all of you. bcat

  • r

    This is a beautiful entry. i have been deeply moved by reading your entries throughout these last few weeks of emmett’s fight. A few months ago, i had to go through the same agonizing process of accepting the fact that there was nothing more that I could do for my own dogs suffering. A very sage friend, one whom had gone through the process a mere month before me, gave me some very wise words. He said “Dogs would try to live forever for us if they could, if only so that they could continue to love us. It doesn’t matter to them if they are suffering, if they are old or sick, they only want to be there for us. The kindest thing that we can do for them is to let them know that its okay for them to go.” Emmett was a very special friend, and isn’t it wonderful to think that now he gets to play on dog beach and eat all the donuts and treats he wants (he probably doesn’t even have to flash those big brown puppy dog eyes to get them!) He was very lucky to have a friend like you.

  • Nan

    Just read your post to my hubby. Tears. Wish we could just sit with you, shed a few more tears, maybe laugh a little, talk about Emmett, or not talk at all whatever the case may be. Dr. V, “Kevin” has a special place in His heart for you.

  • Olga

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Emmett was just lovely in every single way. {hug}

  • Bonnie Bee

    If that’s what heaven is gonna be like, then I can hardly wait to get there. My thoughts and prayers are with you & *your* family as you mourn your loss. (There’s a bull mastiff named Hudson on that same beach. He was with my family for 11 years. Bet he & Emmett have already sniffed butts and become good friends, ’cause Hudson was just like that about meeting the new ones.)

  • karen

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

    I’m glad that you were such a good mommy. You did what you could to give him a chance but more importantly, you listened to what Emmet wanted, not yourself. It’s so hard to let loved ones go but holding onto them past THAT point is selfish and wrong but so, so human.

    I’m grateful that you had so much time with such a special friend.

  • MizLit

    Thinking of you and your family. Thank you so much for sharing this difficult road with your readers.

  • This post moves me so much. It’s such an oxymoron that there can be beauty in death and pain. I think you have captured the very little sliver on beauty perfectly though.

    Much love to you.

  • Found this poem written by British Romantic poet George Gordon, Lord Byron, and thought I’d share:

    Near this spot
    Are deposited the Remains of one
    Who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
    Strength without Insolence,
    Courage without Ferocity,
    And all the Virtues of Man without his Vices.
    This Praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
    If inscribed over human ashes,
    Is but a just tribute to the Memory of
    BOATSWAIN, a Dog,
    Who was born at Newfoundland, May, 1803,
    And died at Newstead Abbey, Nov. 18, 1808.

    Understated and lovely. The effing Rainbow Bridge author needs to take a lesson from him.

  • Jen

    Do not stand at my grave and weep;
    I am not there. I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow.
    I am the diamond glints on snow.
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you awaken in the morning’s hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circled flight.
    I am the soft stars that shine at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry;
    I am not there. I did not die.

    Mary Elizabeth Fry

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Emmett was a lovely dog and he was lucky to have your love. My thoughts are with you and your family.

    • I love that. Thank you.

  • Laura

    My heart breaks for you, Dr. V. On some level I think it’s harder to lose a pet than a person because pets love you so completely and so unconditionally. They never criticize or second-guess or ignore. But rather at all times, their hearts are totally open and accepting. As lucky as you were to have Emmett, he was just as blessed to have you. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  • Tracy

    I am writing this comment through my tears. Hard to believe this beautiful boy is gone. You did the correct, unselfish thing. Emmett is thankful to you, I’m certain. I miss him and I didn’t even know him…….

  • macula_densa

    I’m so sorry. I’ve been off-line a lot lately, and this is the first time I have read this. It made me cry. Of course, everything’s making me cry right now… LOL

  • tc

    Very nice. Wanted to let you know that mobile vets are great and convenient. I know of one in Maryland and Washington DC. http://NMotionHomeVeterinaryCare.net