Friday, August 22, 2014

Our sweet Bentley boy

This Summer has been a tough one. We've had to say goodbye to some of our pets:
  • Max Fisher III passed after a good long life ( 2 years).
  • Penny the Hamster passed on after two long years, leaving behind a very sad Lon, who will probably follow suit in the not so distant future.
  • Kimchi Coco Puff, Martzi, Katsu, and Honey who were loved to death (literally) by Bentley.

  • Schnitzel and Martzi Jr., who turned out to be roosters and we had to take them back the the chicken breeder. For roosters they were sweet and fun. We just didn't want to run a chick factory.

  • And Bentley, our sweet Bentley. Stomach cancer took him from us. 
Bentley's death has been the hardest for each of us to deal with, Ryan especially. It all started on Mother's Day this past May. We came home from church to a house covered in sickness. Literally, every room - the living room, kitchen, bathroom, master bedroom and bath - all had a trail. It's like you could tell that Bentley was looking for someone to let him out and he was panicking. Poor guy. Ryan and I calmly cleaned everything up. We knew he hadn't been feeling well and that he had dropped about 15 lbs over the last month or so. But we figured it wasn't anything big. But this was different.

Ryan took him to the vet first thing the next day. He came back with the news that Bentley had a cancerous tumor in his stomach and that it was growing. The Vet said it could be 2 weeks or 6 months before it got really bad, but that we would know because there would be more bad days than good days. We told the kids and talked about what would need to happen in the coming months. There were many sad days in our home. However, after the vet appointment Bentley perked up, gained back a few pounds, and started acting like his old self. He wanted to play ball, was attentive, and eating more regularly. A part of us thought that the vet just might have been wrong.

Unfortunately, the vet had been right. After 3 months, we knew the diagnosis had been correct. Bentley's tumor was getting bigger, you could see it and feel it. He had no desire to eat and lost even more weight. The late night wandering started again, he would get lost outside and refused to come in. Ryan would have to carry him after letting him out to do his business. The one thing he wanted to do up to the end was play ball. But he had no strength or energy to run to it. He would slowly walk, pick it up, and bring it back. Then collapse because that took all his strength. His legs would give out and he started falling more often and you could tell he found it hard to get up and stand. The vomiting and bleeding came back and finally took over. We knew we had to make the decision to put him down. 

Here are the kids with Bentley the night before we put him down. Love these pictures so much.



Ryan made the appointment for August 20th and we all took him to the vet. It was a beautiful day and we were able to put him down outside in the vets yard rather than in the sterile office. We were all there, by his side, on the grass. The kids were petting him and talking to him. I am sure Bentley knew something was going on and that he could sense our sadness and see our tears. He was so sweet and gentle just laying there. I am grateful that once they gave him the shots that he passed quickly and peacefully.

The hardest part for me is watching how hard it has been on Ryan. The kids have been ok. For them the daily routine of school, friends, activities and sports keeps them busy. For myself, I am at work all day. But Ryan, he has the constant reminder that Bentley is gone. They have gone to work together every day from the time we got Bentley as a puppy 10 years ago. Ryan has spent more time with Bentley than anyone and is surrounded by so many things that remind him of Bentley.

I have days where I really miss Bentley. In a sense he was our first child. It took me 3 weeks before I could bring myself to get rid of his food and put away his bowls, dog bed, collar, toys and balls. I put them in a box downstairs. But his passing has been the hardest on Ryan.

Someday we might take on another dog. Berlin asks for one on a weekly basis. Maybe she'll wear me down in a few years. I just can't do it right now. For now, my project has been compiling all our pictures of Bentley, from puppy to adulthood and putting them into a book for the kids to have. It has been comforting to me to be reminded that he had a good life. One that was full of love.