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Walks

Yesterday, I found out my youngest dog is going to die. Not in years or decades, being that he's only seven, but probably in weeks. It started off with him being kind of lethargic. His tail didn't pop up as often and he would stand around, just looking at everyone with hunched shoulders. We got worried, so we made a vet's appointment right before Exalted.

It started off finding he lost 1/3rd his body weight since May, which is never a good sign. He was 45 pounds now, but 64 at the beginning of the year. They didn't find anything at first, but then they did x-rays. Fluffy came to the vet, fearing the worse. It was pretty close, after the ultrasound and x-rays and blood work, they told us that he probably has a liver on the verge of failure, a bladder stone, and a large mass forming around his intestines.

Cancer.

My youngest dog has cancer. I could see it in the x-rays, a large white blob that looked like what the doctor said. He even got verification with another vet, who pretty much said the same thing. With his liver being so small and him being anemic because of it, they said that he probably wouldn't survive surgery to remove it. Things turned from fixing the problem to figuring out how to make the rest of his life more comfortable.

Fluffy is took this very hard. Her night... she spent most of the night crying. It was the kind of hopeless sorrow where you can't find the energy to do anything, nor can you force yourself not to just sit there, staring at a television or out into the night. In my case, I had gaming, so I had a little escape but there were a few times when I started to break down.

I don't cry often. Actually, except for a scene from Beauty and the Beast (Disney's of course), I almost never do. But, last night, my voice broke a bit when I was trying to explain it. But, it was the sheets of tears and sobbing that Fluffy suffered.

This morning, things were a bit different. I was fine until Fluffy suggested that we go on a walk. We haven't been good about that, so it was the first walk in a month. Dante (his name) kept looking up at the leashes, which is normal indication for going on a walk. He loves his walks, up to this point, it was usually an exuberant prancing through the snow, taking a dump every couple meters until he finally finished up his week-long holding it in. Today, it took us three minutes just to get to the field. He was walking so slow. But, he didn't want to come back in.

"It's like he wants to move forward, but he can't."

Just a simple statement from Fluffy, but I finally lost it. My little man was trying so hard to keep living the life like he used to make two rounds around the field, but he couldn't. He staggered as he walked, he moved slower than our eldest dog, but he was trying so hard. He didn't want to be sick. I could see it in his eyes, begging not to have to go home.

I started to cry.

I have never cried for anyone dying in my life. Not when Sadie died in Fluffy's arms, hours before we got married. After weeks of saline injections and watching her kidneys fail. Not for my grandfather. Not for the cats that died when I was a kid. But, the look in Dante's eyes, trying so hard to keep on walking was too much for me.

We tried, but he kept walking slower and slower, taking longer and longer breaks. I wanted so badly to help him keep on going, to finish the lap around the field.

But he couldn't.

We had to turn back, we barely made it fifty meters. That walk back... it felt like I had to finally accept what is happening to him. It wasn't like my mother, who spends years telling everyone that her dogs are dying. In the last decade, I've heard her constantly telling people about how one of her dogs was on their last legs. Then, they just quietly disappear on the weekend, not giving anyone a chance to say goodbye.

This was something more... visceral. I don't want to say he's on his last legs, but he is. The vet says he won't recover from this. He is dying and all he knows is that he wants to be better.

But, he can't even make that walk.

And I can't stop crying.