Cosmo Canis Major
May 19, 2001 - January 28, 2011
It is with great sadness that I write this post. We lost a beloved family member last Friday. Just last week I introduced you to the furry members of our family, and it breaks my heart to tell you that Cosmo is no longer with us.
Friday was my off day, so Brian got up first like he usually does on my Fridays off. When he woke me up so that I could get up and get the kids ready he said "Cosmo isn't feeling good today. He won't even get up." I went out to the family room to check on him and he wouldn't even pick his head up. He didn't want to eat his breakfast, so I thought maybe his stomach was upset. When I was making breakfast for the kids and opened the peanut butter (they eat peanut butter on their waffles), he didn't come running out to the kitchen like he normally does. That is when I knew something was really wrong.
We got the kids off to school and decided that Cosmo needed to go to the vet. Since I had just gotten up and was still in my pajamas, Brian was going to take him. He put his leash on him and told him to come on, and Cosmo didn't move. He tried to help him to stand up and he couldn't even stand on his feet. His back feet just kept buckling under him. So the two of us carried him out to the truck (he was 80 pounds) and they left for the vet. I thought he was having a stroke the way he couldn't get up. I jumped in the shower, because I figured I would need to meet them there.
Shortly after I got out of the shower I got a text from Brian that said "Prognosis isn't good." I jumped into the car and drove to the vet as fast as I could. When I got there, Cosmo was laying on a blanket in one of the rooms. They had taken xrays and found that he had a tumor on his spleen that ruptured and he was bleeding internally. He had lost a lot of blood and was very weak. The vet painted a very grim picture. He said that it is very common for golden retrievers to get a cancer called hemangiosarcoma and he thought that is what it probably was. They could do surgery to remove his spleen in order to get the bleeding stopped, but if it was hemangiosarcoma it would spread and within three months would probably be in his lungs. However, if it wasn't cancer and was just a benign tumor, he would be fine and could live another few years, barring any other issues. He didn't say it in so many words, but he basically recommended that we put him to sleep.
I couldn't do it. I could not put Cosmo to sleep not knowing for sure that it was that kind of cancer. The vet even said they didn't see it spreading on the xrays they took, so there was a possibility it was just a benign tumor. I felt like we owed it to Cosmo to try to save him, and wanted to do whatever we could for him. He was healthy. He played frisbee every day, and never had any health issues. He had just played frisbee the night before and was running around like normal. There was a possibility that he would be OK, and I held onto hope that he would.
We agreed to the surgery and signed the consent forms. I told Cosmo that I loved him and to be strong and pull through. They had been pulling him around on a big blanket and when the tech started pulling him out of the room he looked at us and wagged his tail. The vet said they had to get some fluids in him and stabilize him before they could do the surgery, so they probably wouldn't be done until 3:00 or so.
At 1:30 my phone rang. When I saw the vet come up on the caller ID my heart sank. I knew it was too early for him to be calling me. He said that the surgery went well. There were a lot of tumors on his spleen and even some on his liver, but they removed the spleen and stopped the bleeding. As they were closing him up, Cosmo went into cardiac arrest and they couldn't get his heart started back up. He didn't make it.
My heart is broken. Cosmo was a trusted companion and a loyal friend. He was a member of our family. He was a gentle giant. For the last 9 1/2 years he has been by my side.
I wish I could say that I love all of my pets the same, but I loved Cosmo just a little bit more. There was just something about him. There was that special something in his eyes. I feel like I lost one of my best friends.
I feel guilty. I'm overwhelmed with guilt that I let my dogs take a backseat to my kids. There were so many nights that we came home and Cosmo was so happy to see us, but I just walked right past him because I had my hands full and had two hungry, cranky kids to deal with. There were many days last summer when he sat by the sliding glass doors longing to come swimming with us, and we didn't let him because it was too much to deal with since the kids were in the pool too. But he didn't hold a grudge. He was still overjoyed to see me every time I walked through the door. I patted his head every night and told him how much I loved him. Was that enough? Probably not. But I hope he knew how much he was loved.
He didn't suffer. That is the only good part of this tragic story. The vet said he wasn't in any pain when we brought him in. He was asleep when he went in to surgery and never knew what happened. I feel good about my decision to try to help him, and I'm glad that I didn't agree to have him put to sleep. We did everything we could to try and save him. My last memory of him was of him wagging his tail, and that is what I want to hold on to.
Brian did some research over the weekend and found that over 65% of golden retrievers die from cancer. Unfortunately Chloe is also a golden retriever, and even worse, she shares his DNA. I have to somehow put that out of my mind and not constantly worry about the same thing happening to her. I can tell that she misses her brother. She has been just laying around for most of the weekend, and she acts like she doesn't know what to do. Cosmo was definitely the leader of the pack.
Even though this post is so ridiculously long, I cannot even put into words how sad I am right now. A piece of my heart died along with Cosmo. I loved him so very much, and I will miss him terribly.