I know I have a million things to blog about, but I feel like I have to post about this first before I do everything else. Because Stewart was my first baby. I got him right after I moved to Tallahassee to go to FSU. He was the cutest thing ever and fit in the palm of my hand.
He went with me everywhere and he was the best dog ever. He drove me crazy once we had kids and he did incredibly annoying stuff like jump up onto our table and steal food, or pee on the corner of our couches. But… I loved him.
We had to put Stewart down a few weeks before I had Holland. June 10th, actually.
It all happened really fast. I was scratching under his neck and I noticed his glands were both swollen to about the size of a golf ball. I hadn’t noticed it before and neither had David. It was a Friday so I figured I’d call the following week if they weren’t better by then. Well, Monday I forgot to call so I called Tuesday. The vet had his surgery day that day or whatever so they asked us to bring him in at 7:30 the next morning. We dropped him off the next day and later that afternoon they called and I assumed they were telling me to come get him, but it was the vet, and not the secretary, so I knew it wasn’t good. He said he thought he had lymphoma and by the looks of it, it was already pretty advanced and aggressive since he had just been seen there not long ago and there weren’t any signs of it before. He said he was sending the labs out and they should be back the following Monday and we’d make plans from there. In the meantime, we picked up a vitamin for him because his blood work wasn’t great. When I picked him up from the vet that day we stopped at McDonald’s for a cheeseburger because #dogbucketlist.
Monday came and I missed the call during dinner with the lab results so we called Tuesday morning and the labs confirmed he had lymphoma. We didn’t really have many options. Stewart already had heart problems that are typical in his breed and he was almost 11. The vet said chemo would maybe give him 2-3 months, but we already knew we weren’t going to go that route. Instead, he gave him a steroid that he said should help Stewy feel pretty normal for another month or so. So we picked that up and started it on Tuesday. Stewart was still acting pretty normal for the most part and just seemed a little lethargic. David went out of town Wednesday and that’s when the decline started. By Thursday I had to pick him up to go to the bathroom because he couldn’t really walk anymore. We decided we would call the vet in the morning and see what we should do. We wanted him to be comfortable and that was really all that mattered at that point.
After David and I had that conversation we all went and hung out with him in our room on the floor. He didn’t really even notice we were there. I know this because he really doesn’t like the girls and he didn’t care that they were near him or touching him at all. These 20 minutes where I took these pictures are probably the most contact they ever had with him and it’s funny to us because they think he was the best. dog. ever. The girls always got so excited if he licked them or let them touch him. We just never told them he only licked them because there was food on their face. When I got Stewy, David and I talked about he would be around when we had kids and how that was so cool. I had visions of a much sweeter dog/child relationship, but I get it. We rocked his world the day we brought Kennedy home and he wasn’t happy about it.
Back to the story, that night it went from bad to worse and we stayed up with him trying to decide what to do. At about 3 am he barked randomly and I knew he was done. I tried to give him some water and then I called the emergency vet. He peed all over me while I was holding him. I put his bed in a laundry basket and laid him down with some blankets and David carried him to the car. I stayed with the girls and David went to the vet. We were both so afraid to make the call to put him down, but the vet told us she didn’t think he would have made it through the night. That gave us peace of mind at least.
He would have turned 11 last week. The girls still talk about how they miss him and the other day Kennedy was letting Lexi in the back door and was calling for Stewart to come in and we had to remind her that he’s not here anymore. Stewart Gilligan, Stewy, Stew-Stew… thank you for the cuddles, the endless amounts of pee that I can now laugh about, and every other memory I have of you. Thanks for being patient with me and taking that backseat to the girls, but always being ready to step back in when I was there. We’ll miss you.