Casey, my nine year old beagle passed away in the early morning hours of July 19, 2012 and following emergency surgery. He showed no signs of illness until Tuesday when he was atypically sleepy. I pulled into my garage at 6:00 PM and as always, Casey, Molly and Woody were waiting at the door. They then went back to his or her chair or couch while I caught up with emails. I was getting ready for a… flight that next morning for a 5-day writing retreat in Colorado.
When my husband Eric arrived home he quietly took me into our bedroom and said that he was worried about Casey. He had just thrown up water and his abdomen looked bloated. We called the 24-hour veterinary hospital one-mile away and were told to bring him in. Little did I know that I would never again pull into the garage with Casey, Molly and Woody waiting at the door. When we arrived at the veterinary hospital the veterinarian took Casey into another room to be examined. He came back and wanted to get x-rays. He was fairly certain that Casey had a growth on his spleen. Thirty minutes went by and the doctor came in with the x-ray results that confirmed a mass and internal bleeding. Casey needed emergency surgery and would not have lasted the night. He also told us that the growth was most likely to be a malignant sarcoma. Casey had a 33% chance of having a benign tumor. I could not contain my emotions and broke down sobbing. Casey was only 9 years old. We had many more years with him, or so we thought.
We rescued Casey (pudding Pop was the name on his file but he left the MI Humane Society as Casey) from the MI Humane Society. And all because the Birmingham Public Schools would not assign a paraprofessional to accompany Andrew on the 8th grade end-of-year trip to the Cedar Point amusement park in Ohio. The district wouldn’t allow me or my husband to go on the trip, nor would they allow Andrew. His teacher had concerns about keeping an eye on him and keeping him safe. So Plan B was a trip to the MI Humane Society, but only to look.
Yeah, right! Look and not adopt? Who were we kidding:).
So off Andrew and I went to the Humane Society, and we couldn’t help ourselves. We saw this adorable 10-week old beagle that had been found wandering in Detroit. He was ours. It was that simple. I felt as if something magical has sprinkled magic doggy dust on me. That was that. We adopted Casey and he was ours.
Casey brought nothing but love, laughter, joy and comfort. He loved to sleep not only on my bed but burrowed beneath the sheets. He made every day that he was with us a better day. Nine years was not long enough. I feel robbed of the years I had expected to spend with Casey. I am overwhelmed with pain. We are a family in mourning. Going imto my house without my “Casela” to jump up and greet me and Andrew is unthinkable. Sunday morning drives to Starbucks without Casey is beyond bearing. Sunday lunch at my mother-in-law’s will never again be the same. My mother-in-law loved Casey. She was my co-conspirator when I called her about adopting Casey. “You adopt Casey. Dad and I will take care of Eric.”. Thruth be told there was little pushback from Eric. Andrew had been lobbying for a second dog fairly relentlessly for almost two years. And Eric loves his dogs. He grew up with dogs and has always appreciated them for the unconditional love and joy that they bring.
I know that I am not alone in my pain. There are many of you out there that have lived through the pain of losing a cherished companion. And for those that think I am silly for mourning the loss of Casey…well, you just don’t understand the bond that develops with a beloved pet or the human characteristics that they take on.
When the surgeon walked into the waiting room I knew the news was terrible. It was the worst possible outcome. Casey would not be one of the lucky ones. He had cancer all over his spleen and liver. I have heard veterinarians refer to this type of cancer as a silent killer. The tumors thankfully do not cause pain. There are no signs of illness until the dog grows weak and lethargic and develops a distended abdomen. Those are the signs of the internal bleeding but this cancer is aggressive to the point of explosive.
We arrived at the veterinary hospital first believing that whatever Casey had was not serious and that we would bring him home. Then with the news of the emergency surgery we were assured by the young and greener-than-green veterinarian that while Casey would require two days in the hospital to recuperate fron the surgery, we would be able to bring him home and determine the course of treatment for the sarcoma. When Casey was taken into the surgical prep area and we said our goodbyes it was only goodbye for now and most definitely not forever.
That all changed the moment the surgeon walked through the door to give us the devastating news. Casey was not going to pull through, not even for 3-6 months. The cancer was everywhere and he never woke up from the anesthesia. My Casela was gone. We waited for the surgeon to stitch him closed and then he was brought to us on a gurney and covered with a blanket. “Open your eyes Casey, please just open your eyes. I couldn’t stand it. My Casey was silent. He was gone from my life nd our family. I have decided that nothing in life is more curious than “time.”. I think about this often. What is time? Where does it come from? How is it that yesterday’s memories that are not yesterday’s, they may be nine or fifteen or twenty, thirty, forty, even fifty years of memories that feel like yesterday. I will admit that time frightens me. There is nothing more powerful or formidable than time. At present I am angry with time and its power. I want my Casey back and time won’t let me have him. I will love Casey forever, as I do Jessie my beautiful golden retriever now in heaven wherever that my be. If there is such a place then Jessie is with Casey and they are at peace but know that they are missed and will never be forgotten.
I love you Casey Lipsitt. I can’t hold back the tears. I can’t contain the pain of your loss. If you can hear me somewhere in a mystical or magical way, Eric, Andrew and I will love you forever. You own a permanent piece of our hearts and you are a paw print on my heart.
I adopted you on June 17, 2002. You became one of the best days of my life. Almost nine years and one month to the day I adopted you, you have been taken away from me, and from Eric, Andrew and your canine sibling sister Molly and brother Woody. We are heartbroken and we miss you desperately.