Brutus arrived at Rainbow Bridge a champion. He didn’t win a dog show or an agility competition. And he did not defeat cancer that punched his ticket to the Bridge. But he fought the disease like a champion, and he kept it at bay long enough to be by his mom’s side during her own illness, until he had given every measure of his devotion.
Last year Brutus was diagnosed with lymphoma. His mom scheduled chemotherapy sessions for him. Some of them he handled well, others he struggled with. He had completed all but two of his treatments. His parents began to dream that the insidious disease would loosen its grip on their handsome boy.
While Brutus was going through his treatments, his mom was getting medical treatments of her own. A check up with her hermatologist showed that her kidneys were failing. She was hospitalized for three days.
“I hadn’t been feeling right for a couple of weeks,” Brutus told me after he arrived at the Bridge. We were lying on the green grass with his brother Hans who had preceded him. The only happy part of this story was their reunion. They spent four hours running with each other through the hills. Now they were resting.
“I didn’t want anyone to know I was getting sick,” Brutus continued. “Mom would not have been able to handle it if I went to the Bridge without her seeing me one last time. So I hid my symptoms. When she got home, she was thrilled to see me. But then everything went wrong.
“I began breathing hard and throwing up phlegm. My parents rushed me to the vet. The doctor said I had pancreatitis. I didn’t care what they called it. I just knew I wasn’t getting any better.”
I nodded. I had felt the same way. When you know, it is the end what they call the end doesn’t matter.
The vet read Brutus’ blood panel and saw that his levels were three times higher than normal. Also, his lymph nodes were enlarged. There was no need to confirm that his lymphoma was back. Brutus’ parents made the Hardest Decision and gave Brutus the Greatest Gift, freedom from pain and an immortal life.
Along with the relief from pain, the gift of immortal life, and being reunited with Hans, Brutus felt the pain of separation. He would have to wait to be called Cutie Brudie again, to have his nubs rubbed, to feign anger when he was dressed up during the holidays. Brutus wants his mom to know he loved all of it, including getting dressed up. He stayed as long as he could, and a few days more. Her borrowed some heartbeats. He just wishes he could have borrowed more.
Now, Brutus and Hans will do their parental dream visits together. Maybe having twice the dog power there will help their parents remember the dreams. And now there will be two ghosts padding around their home.
Brutus and Hans are together again.
They will never be separated from their parents.