Friday afternoon, I lost my best friend.

Ranger was a 14 yr old Shepherd mix who was diagnosed with lymphoma three weeks ago.

He had birth defects that caused issues with his back end, and his rear right leg had become pretty much useless as he aged.  He was healthy in most other ways, just walked with a limp.  As the vet told me once, "He's just an old man.  If he were human, he'd walk with a cane".

We went to the vet for annual shots and a check up, and they said his lymph nodes were swollen.  They did a test, and a few days later it came back lymphoma.  I went from just having an old dog, to having a dog with cancer.

I wasn't going to do chemo on a dog his age, so we went the prednisone route.  It worked like magic.  Over the next two weeks, he was getting around better than he had in the past five years.  He was playing with toys he had long lost interest in, he was climbing on the couch again, even became a little annoying at times bothering me when he wanted a treat.

Then this past Wednesday I came home from work, and found a diarrhea puddle smeared on the living room tile.  He sheepishly came up to me to say "sorry", and I noticed he was having trouble with both back legs.  He was even using the bad right one for support.  I cleaned everything up and put an "X" on the calendar to track a bad day.

On Thursday, I came home to find him laying on the floor in the spare room that he had previously claimed as his bedroom.  I changed clothes and returned to find him still in the same spot.  When I moved him to help him stand, I discovered he was laying in his own feces.  I brought him into another room to clean him, and he collapsed right away. I tried giving him a treat after cleaning, but he wouldn't take it.

Friday morning I called the vet and made the appointment.  Ranger was odd that day, alternating from good and bad.  He would eat and even walk out the doggy door to do his business, but then a few minutes later he would collapse and lay in that spot for half an hour.  We went to a park and sat under a tree and talked, then went to the vet when it was time.  I was numb when I returned home, got out a bottle of whiskey and that was the night.

Saturday(today) has been pure hell for me.  I have another dog that I love, but Ranger was the favorite. My other dog is very independent, where Ranger was like my shadow when we were together.  I prepared food for only one dog today(and cried), put away the dish from where Ranger used to eat(and cried), made sure to look on the floor before I got up off the couch so I wouldn't step on Ranger(and cried), drove to the store(and cried), greeted by only one dog upon my return(and cried). Pacing around the house wishing the clock would move faster so I can start healing(and crying the entire time).

Sorry this post went on forever, but it was very therapeutic to write this.  It took me about two hours to finish, due to the pacing and crying.  I know I should feel blessed that he lived almost 15 yrs and I got spend time at the end and say goodbye, but all I can feel right now is the hurt.

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The hurt is only there because great love is there too.  At some point, the hurt will start to fade, but the love will remain forever.

So sorry for your loss.
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So sorry for your loss of Ranger. You will find understanding here. The clock does feel as though it has stopped, especially in those first days. The pain is so raw, just try to get through the next minute.

With great love comes great pain. Our lives are forever changed but the love and memories will remain.


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One day the pain will feel less but dont rush all in good time
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Your love for Ranger comes through in your post. You cared for him so much, and you made the compassionate decision in letting him go. I know that's very little comfort to you right now, but you've taken on his pain, the most selfless thing you could do for anyone.


How beautiful that you had some time together at the park and talked before you parted ways. It reminds me of the last two walks I had with my Dante. The vet said he didn't show any signs of heart failure (yet) but my gut told me that I didn't have much time left, so I savored every little step on our evening walks. Those last two walks, he would be too tired to walk back, so I carried him (he was a 7lb chi), and he would rest his little head on my shoulder and close his eyes, one time we just sat on my porch, with him in my lap, and watched the sun go down. He'd always run straight back indoors for a treat, but he was very calm, he was looking around, as if taking it all in one last time. He knew, too.

Its been nearly two months for me, I lost mine very suddenly on May 4th, and typing this, I still well up, but everyone here sharing their grief and their love makes me feel less alone, so we're here for you.

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