Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Tribute to Benny

Our beloved Benny, March 2012

Harry and I had to euthanize Benny last Friday morning, July 13. His right hind leg had increasingly been bothering him … we naively suspected arthritis. I was in Sisters last week taking quilt classes so Harry took Benny to the OSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital Thursday to see what was going on with Benny's leg. The news was bad ... a tumor growing in/on the bone of his right hind leg. The only surgery possible was amputation which we were unwilling to consider and they were unwilling to recommend. Benny was a lousy surgery candidate due to a substantial heart murmur and damage from previous chemotherapy but that really wasn’t a factor so far as we were concerned. We simply would not put him through that. They told us the femur was very weak from the cancer and would break soon … a few days, maybe a week or two at most. So, Thursday evening, Harry brought Nickel home from doggy day care and Benny home with pain meds to help us through his last days. Nickel, excited to be home, jumped out of the truck and started running around the yard. Harry lifted Benny out of our truck. Benny started to pee when Nickel started chasing birds. Harry called for Nickel to come. He obediently came running full bore and crashed into Benny, knocking him down. Isn't it ironic that we wish that one time he would've disobeyed? Seeing that Benny was in severe pain, Harry took him back to OSU. I start packing up my supplies and will head home early Friday morning.

The vets at OSU got Benny's pain level down for the night, then did scans Friday morning to determine the extent of the damage. When they saw the femur was shattered, they recommended we not bring him out from under the general anesthetic. Harry asked if they could hold him under anesthesia until I got home. Thankfully, I got there in time and was able to say goodbye even though Benny was unconscious. We got to hold him as they stopped that great golden heart. I deeply regret missing his last few days. The standard of care at OSU is amazing … Benny was wrapped in one of those warm air blanket things so he was comfortable and warm until he drew his last breath. He had brightly colored, happy kids' socks on each of his paws to keep his toes warm. Kate, our oncology technician, made a casting of Benny’s paw for us. Can you believe their kindness? I cannot tell you how much we love them for their wisdom and care of our Benny boy, named for the Elton John song "Benny and the Jets".

Benny (left) wrestling with Frankie, March 2012
Benny (right) playing tug with Frankie, March 2012

Perhaps Nickel did Benny a great favor; in any case, he is forgiven. Pain meds never eliminate pain completely and I’m pretty certain we would have done our best to give Benny as much quality time as we could. He was a happy golden with a hearty appetite making it nearly impossible to determine the extent of his pain. The decision we had to make was clear and unambiguous; I am grateful for that.

Even in April, Benny could "tug" Nickel across the floor
We buried Benny in the back yard where I can see his grave from our kitchen window. I planted an oak leaf hydrangea to mark the spot … hopefully it will be happy in the shade beneath all the big trees. I cannot tell you how I miss my Benny boy. There is no one at my feet, Benny’s usual spot while I am working at the computer. Back and forth from computer to sewing room, Benny would tirelessly haul those sweet old bones to be where ever I happened to be. I am well and truly blessed to have been loved by that sweet soul.

Under my desk are Benny with Nickel peeking over

Z is missing Benny too

I feel Benny's absence profoundly and, at the same time, know we gave him an awesome year and a half since his diagnosis of oral melanoma way back in December 2010. While the words "heartfelt thanks" don't even come close to expressing our feelings, we are deeply thankful and grateful for the wise, loving care of the Oncology, Cardiology and Orthopedic doctors, students, residents and receptionists at OSU's Veterinary Teaching Hospital ... thank you.

Benny playing tug with me, March 2012

Out comes the paw ... let's tug again!
Remember Benny with joy, happiness and a smile!