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Nothing But Love in Her Heart

Sep 16

My warrior girl is gone.  My love, my heart, my Fally…

I knew someday I would need to write something like this.  I never thought it would be this soon.  All indications were that Fallon was doing awesome.  Two weeks ago we saw 2 doctors—good reports from each.  X-rays and bloodwork were good.  You can be too confident, and if you are, you can get blindsided.  Last week, we lost her.  My girl is gone.  I am devastated.  Confused.  Angry. Cheated.  The pain is overwhelming.

Paul got me the angel greyhound around the time Willow died. I had just gotten the Teeny Tripawds Heart from the Tripawds Etsy Store. It’s gorgeous, says Fallon on the back.

Paul and I decided we’d go down to Mustang week in Myrtle Beach.  I dropped the girls off early with our trusted petsitter on Tuesday, and things were awesome—both of them exploring the house, taking treats, they were with their good friends, excited to be there so barely noticing I was leaving—which I like.  It gives me a level of comfort that they are happy.  Paul and I started off, we got as far as Roanoke, VA—9 hours from home, 4 more hours to Myrtle Beach.  At 7:30PM., we settled into a hotel, went to get some dinner, then sleep.

At around 12:45AM, our petsitter called frantically—Fallon was having bloody diarrhea,   and had stationed herself in the bathroom and wouldn’t leave.  She took Fallon to the emergency vet.  I wasn’t going to sleep anymore, so I waited for the e-vet to call to update.  Fallon was in rough shape.  Her bloodwork had many concerning features.  My head is still sketchy about details, all that was clear now is that I wanted to be with her.  We left the hotel around 3AM, and started driving home, 9 hours without stops by the map.  No coffee, didn’t want to spend time on extra bathroom stops.  We went directly to the hospital, arrived about 1PM the next day.

The doctors consulted us every step of the way, we talked every couple of hours on the trip home, and we visited 4 or 5 times over the course of the afternoon and evening.  I was also working the phones, trying to get input from our other doctors.  We kept telling the e-vet to proceed with treatment because even if it was small, if it seemed there was a chance of recovery AND pain/discomfort was not a factor, we wanted to run with hope.  She had her ups and downs. The last night we went to bed with a bit more hope, her blood pressure was improving and bloodwork was looking a bit better.  But the next morning, she hurt to be touched.  She was still bleeding.  We went to see her and it was clear she was in pain.  We had no more good choices left.  We hugged her and kissed her and sang in her ear, and cuddled her and told her she was the best girl ever, such a good, good girl, and what a hard worker she is, and how soft and pretty she is, what a good job she’s done, and how much we love her.  We will always love her.

What happened?  No clear answers.  Maybe that’s the most disconcerting thing.  She had the issue labeled anxiety at the oncologist the week prior.  Yet she had awesome x-rays and bloodwork.  We saw our primary vet the very next day and got meds for anxiety.   I never had a chance to give them, they were PRN and she never showed symptoms afterward.  When I left her off at the petsitter, she was awesomely normal…exploring, sniffing, hopping around, eating treats—totally normal.  I left without her even noticing, she was so comfortable.

A couple of people mentioned hemangiosarcoma, without collaborating, without prompting, based only on my description of symptoms.  My grasp on the disease via google makes it a plausible explanation.  I called the e-vet doc afterward, the doctor who took care of her the longest to discuss this, all she could say was there were no clear answers what caused this, but it could be, she supposed. No commitment, the e-vet docs weren’t on that mission—they were addressing her symptoms and trying to save her.  I am grateful for all they did. Our other doctors could only reiterate what the e-vet reported to them.  What I get was she had severe gastroenteritis, as serious as they had ever seen.  Her blood wasn’t clotting (which is a greyhound thing, and they gave her the appropriate med to address, once the issue was identified), her liver and kidney values were way off, even for a greyhound.  No explanation of why, no crystal ball available.  I just put together a fresh batch of food—did I screw up somehow with that?  Maybe it had something to do with whatever was labeled stress the prior week.  Maybe we should have examined that further, I just accepted it as good news.  Maybe we should have pushed and paid for pathology tests after the fact, an autopsy to understand, just for closure…but in the moment, grieving, gutted, floored by the quick events of the last 24 hours and also cognizant of the thousands of bucks we just spent to not get our girl in the end, that didn’t happen.  I will be keeping my side hustles for more than a few more months now to get back on track financially, but I don’t care.  When you see hope, you chase it.  But maybe, given the way I feel now, some answers would be good.  It’s too late to second guess.  I’ll always be looking for answers that will never come.

My girl is still gone.  Nothing changes that anyway, no matter what we do.

I cry even more when I think of all the last times I didn’t know were the last.  When was the last time we cuddled in the yard?  Fed her breakfast? Took a walk for fun?  Played chase?  I even cry that we never realized the last time we were at the Veterinary Cancer Center really was the last time.  I didn’t make her favorite chicken-rice balls that week because it was too hot to bake.  Now I regret it.  I’ve been perseverating over choices I made—right or wrong, no way to tell now, and it’s only making me crazier.  I keep on with it nonetheless.

Maggie is lost.  She yields to a Fallon that isn’t there.  She waits to eat, won’t go out the door first, is really trepidatious about lying on a bed that is traditionally Fallon’s.  We’ve been walking, doing miles, talking and crying, Paul, Maggie and me on a mission to feel better.  Maybe someday it will work.  It hasn’t for me yet.  Maggie won’t let either of us out of her sight. She whips around to make sure we’re all there.  She’s already missing one of our family, she won’t let the others get away.  She’s uncharacteristically clingy, which is fine, it’s how I like my dogs.  But it hasn’t been her nature prior.  Her retirement job was being a sister, she’s the best at it.  This happened with Fallon too, after Willow died.  Another dog would probably help Maggie out, it helped Fallon.  I am nowhere near ready.

Our rose garden has been struggling this year, I think it’s been too hot for them to thrive.  We were outside last weekend, crying and, reading sweet, heartfelt messages about Fallon from the Tripawds forums.  Paul noticed a sign Fallon may have for left us…after nothing happening all summer, we had roses blooming—white, for my white girl, and pink, because everyone always thinks she is a boy.  We always dressed her in pink but people still thought she was a boy.  I think because she was a big girl with a boyish frame.

I don’t know how to not hurt yet—but I’m working on it.  It’s overwhelming, and impacting everything I do.  I feel a strong urge to simplify my life significantly.  I can go along, seemingly fine, and burst out crying.  Paul’s the rational one now—usually it’s me.  He says we have tons of greyt memories with Fallon.  We need to reflect on those, treasure those—and start making more greyt memories with Maggie.  I really, really want to.  Remember to do that with your loves, too.

I will always love this picture of her. She is in her favorite place in the world, the yard.  It’s so her–happy, happy girl.

We’ll keep in touch.  I want to post some stories about Fallon that you might not know.  She really, really was a special, special girl, she will never be forgotten.  I’ll let you know some of the new greyt memory making things we do with Maggie.  Thank you, all of you, for the support and love you give us.  You have been there for us from the beginning, I feel like you understand what I am going through more than most.

Fally, I’ll see you on the moon.  I always used to sing that to her, it’s a favorite of ours.  Imagine it with dog names in it.

Horrible, horrible hurt.

6 comments so far

  1. paws120
    4:32 pm - 9-16-2018

    Hi Dawn, Paul, and Maggie (((hug)))

    I just can’t tell you enough how very sorry I am over what has happened. Crying my eyes out like a baby reading about what happened. It’s just not fair. I understand the frustrations of not knowing. We lost our Rosie 6 years ago and there were a lot of unanswered questions surrounding her sudden illness that took her quickly.

    Thank you for finding the strength to come in and share what happened. I know that had to be so hard. Not a day goes by that I have not looked for you, for an update, hoped you were doing ok. It all happened so quickly.

    I know Fallon is your heart dog, she is just so special in so many ways. And the care that you give to your babies is just nothing shy of amazing. You always did right by your girls, and you have done everything and more to take the best care of them. I know Maggie must feel totally out of place without her sister to take care of, but I have no doubt you will use your tears to shower her with all the love she needs to get through this horrible devastating time in your lives.

    I am praying for comfort for your family, sending you all love and hugs. I wish I could change it all back for you. Your baby is an Angel now, and I have no doubt her gift of roses brought a little smile in between the tears. She is and will always watch over you. Of that I have no doubt.

    Lots of love,
    Jackie and Huck 💖💖💖

  2. dobemom
    7:30 pm - 9-16-2018

    Dawn and family.….there are no words to tell you how I ache for you guys. To be blind-sighted like that, when you were high on life, and Fallon’s great check-up results – I can’t even imagine how you are dealing with this. It sounds like her vets fought as hard as they could – there is a small comfort in this. To be brave and selfless like you were to set her free when she was in pain, that is the greatest gift you could give your girl….all the while your world was shattering. Please be kind to yourselves – you did everything in your power. We always second-guess ourselves with this journey – but sometimes the universe has a different idea, one that we will never understand. We will never forget Fallon, and would love to hear her stories when you are ready. Wishing you peace in the coming days…

    Paula and Warrior Angel Nitro

  3. Michelle
    12:18 am - 9-17-2018

    I am so sorry that this happened like this to Fallon. To have such great news the week before and celebrate her birthday and then be so totally blindsided.

    This part of the journey is the hardest and no one can say when it will get easier as it it such a personal journey. Fallon will leave you messages and signs watch for them.

    Please do share those wonderful stories about Fallon we all would love to hear them.

    Michelle & Angel Sassy

  4. tlahaye
    2:52 pm - 9-17-2018

    Oh Dawn, I was so happy to read about Fallon, and then such sudden sad news. She will always be your warrior, one of our warriors as part of the TriPawds family. She will be remembered.

    I don’t know any magic words to help you today, but know that in the fullness of time, you won’t have to stress over the last good times, but will rather be able to smile, remembering the good times, whenever they happened. I wish you peace until that time comes.

  5. jerry
    6:36 pm - 9-17-2018

    Dawn, how I wish I could somehow make things better. I am so very sorry. It’s difficult to imagine the depth of grief that happens when one is unprepared. Knowing when it’s coming is hard enough, but this? Unreal.

    Nobody could have seen this was in her immediate future. Sadly, there is no reasoning why it happened. You did your best to fight for her, to be her advocate, to make sure that her last months with the pack were the best they could be. And they WERE. You were an awesome parent and she had such a great life before and during cancer. Her life will not be defined by this one last decision you had to make, her life was so much more than that. Cancer can never, ever take that away.

    Fallon’s life is a story of hope, of the beauty and unforgettable memories that can happen when a dash of love, faith and science is all mixed together to kick cancer’s butt and enjoy life to the fullest. You did that! And her spirit will always be by your side to thank you for all that you did for her, and all the dogs and humans who will look to her blog for guidance.

    Thank you for allowing us to be a part of her journey. She will be deeply missed by all of us, but never, ever forgotten.

  6. hvinci
    9:03 pm - 9-17-2018

    Dawn, when we met at VCC the first words I said to you were “Is this the famous Fallon?” I am so very happy we had the privilege to meet her, and meet and talk to you that afternoon. Nothing but love in your heart too Dawn. We’re so sad and sorry for all the terrible circumstances and unknowns, and most of all for your loss. You were an amazing parent to her. Thank you so much for sharing her life with us all. Wishing you peace in the days and weeks ahead.
    Helen and Len

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