You Must Be Feeling Better?

I have been upfront and open about Rumpy’s condition: he has a tumor at the base of his heart that has grown. He has a lypoma beneath the muscle on a hind leg that is not worth removing because he also has difficulty breathing due to laryngeal paralysis. It was most likely the lar-par that led to Rumpy developing pneumonia.

But every time I post a photo or status update for Rumpy, he invariably gets this reply, “Oh, you must be feeling better!”

Yes, there are still plenty of moments like this.

Look, I know you’re just being nice, or responsive, but will you please not say that?

Rumpy is not feeling better. Yes, he looks good in photos, and maybe eating cat food could be a sign that he’s doing ok.

He is not.

Dogs don’t stop being dogs just because they’re sick. Rumpy is dying, but he is still a food-reactive dog. Cat food left unattended? Rumpy is there. Cook his chicken? He’s scoping out the scene hoping for a bite.

Rumpy enjoys walks outdoors, but has no desire to run. He can get excited over a smell or a squirrel sighting, and he can still sometimes garner enough strength to pull me a short distance to get where he wants to go. But he’ll soon start breathing heavily and may have to stop for a moment to catch his breath.

But there are more moments like this.

For the past few days I’ve noticed he’s started to lick his paw repeatedly. Nervousness? Anxiety? Fear? I don’t know. I’m treating it but if this behavior continues it means another trip to the vet.

So no, Rumpy is not feeling better. Neither am I.

I have given regular but not daily updates on Rumpy’s condition. I had considered not disclosing his condition at all. I chose to do so because so many of you have grown rather fond of this sweet, floofy dog that I felt it wouldn’t be appropriate to pretend nothing’s wrong.

I continue to post photos and words to let you know he’s still here with us. Please don’t misconstrue those posts as evidence of his recovery. It’s not. It’s just me trying to create a small sense of normalcy in our now-upside-down little world.


42 thoughts on “You Must Be Feeling Better?

  1. Thanks for the updates about sweet Rumpy. I am so saddened to know he’s in his last days and each day could be the last. Love that doggie! Malamutes are a such cool dogs. Not easy but so special. I dread saying goodbye to Loup, too, but of course that day will come eventually. It was so hard to make the decision for the red Sibes, Tanner and Alex a few years back. I still think fondly of those two.

    Love and hugs to Rumpy, Jen and the kitties. Thinking of you in these bittersweet days sharing Rumpy’s remaining time. Thanks for sharing the journey with us. The pain of losing our pets is the price we have to pay for the incredible love we feel for them. It would be so much easier to not bother having pets as many do but I can’t imagine that either. Pets bring such joy, purpose, and unconditional love to our lives making us less selfish people. They give much so much to us and ask for so little. They are so precious, so lovable and special. We are so lucky for the short time we get with them. If only it could be longer.

    1. I dunno. Maybe I should have never said anything. I know most people mean well but they can say some of the most thoughtless things. I know a lady would just smile and move on, but who said I was a lady?

  2. I can see how a comment about feeling better would cut you like a knife. Rumpy has a happy face and dogs live in the moment enjoying all the simple pleasures that humans tend to take for granted. I’m glad he’s still having times he enjoys with you.

    1. This is an opportunity for growth for me in many ways. Not only have I not allowed myself to grieve the loss of a companion animal before, I’ve not voiced what I need or don’t need. Maybe this seems harsh, but I’m still learning how to ask for what I need.

  3. Well said. Just because human or an animal friends are not always showing outward signs that they are in pain doesn’t mean they aren’t. We always like to be able to put something on the shelf and say, “oh, good. I don’t have to worry about that now.” But we are all walking around with anxiety and worry and fear. The best thing we can always do for each other is just show kindness as we don’t know what burden anyone is carrying.

  4. Hang in htere and continue to enjoy each day you have with him as you have been. It’s a difficult time. Give that beautiful doggie a great big hug from me.

  5. Oh Jen, Bella walked to the door tail wagging to meet the vet the day she took her final breath. Just after she ate some ice cream. I did exactly as you are doing to try to continue to make memories and feel some kind of okay in a time that was clearly not. Huge big enormous love to you and Rumpy xx

  6. My heart is with each of you. This is a challenging time for you and the tribe. Enjoy each day you have with Rumpy. He knows he is loved. He wants you to know you are loved as well.

  7. I hear you. It’s almost a month since Jamima patch the pirate cat Puddleduck went to God. 16 years she was my best friend and constant support when shit got hard. When she wasn’t eating and peeing in places she was not supposed to it was the sign that it was time. It is hard when you have to make the decision but when you do it will be out of love. Hopefully, you have more good days than bad. Love the time you have and know I am there feeling your pain. It’s still been too soon. With love. H

    1. It is so incredibly hard to let go, and to find some sense of reconciliation. I won’t say healing, because I don’t think one heals from loss. I think we find a way to live with it and move on. But that’s just me.

  8. I have a neighbor who is dying of cancer. Some days she is covered in bodily fluids and can’t function at all. Some days she is “feeling better” and I will see her slowly walking, with or without a walker, down the sidewalk in front of her condo. Dying is a process. I used to do thanatology work and there is a variation in how any being feels during that process. The “feeling better” moment may be that tugging you away for a few moments.

    It may be that person thinks any transitory positive sign is a good thing, rather than understanding that dying is a process. Or it may be that they’ve seen others rally during a long illness and hope that he’s “feeling better” for the nonce. I dunno. Personally, I hope he “feels better” at least a few times a day so he can still get a kick out of life now and then.

    I inquire now and then about Rumpy because I am concerned for you, the cats, and Rumpy. I love dogs, you love Rumpy, he loves you. Losing someone we love is always difficult because we do not want them to suffer and then there is the gigantic hole left in our lives when they’ve gone somewhere we cannot reach with mortal senses. Ugh.

    Personally, I love those expressive eyebrows of his, that big doggie smile, and the expressions he gets.

    I’m glad you let us know. I hope we can be at least a cyber support – a sounding board. I can’t be there to offer to spend time with him while you have to work, sadly. I would if I could. Because life and love is precious. Know, if nothing else, that there are many of us who think of you and your beloved companion animals every day.

    And get a kick out of Rumpy getting into cat food. I don’t know any dog who does not simply LOOOOVE cat food. 🙂

    1. He only eats the canned cat food. He doesn’t touch the dry. I know this because I leave bowls of dry out now when I go to work and there is no evidence of Rumpy inhaling it while I’m gone.

  9. I totally understand where you are coming from, and I’m so sorry for your beloved Rumpy…and for you. It is a difficult situation. We hate any illness our babies have, and the struggle to keep our own sanity is day-to-day. The Red Man was a friend of yours from the beginning, and I know I speak for him wherever his spirit might be today when I send his Paw Snaps and Twirls to you both.

  10. Jen, your readers love Rumpy and we love you. We may not say what you need to hear, but we are coping with your loss, too. Jack is heartbroken. So am I.

  11. I, for one, know very well Rumpy isn’t feeling well with all the recent health problems. I’m glad you’ve kept us updated on his condition, Jen, just as you have with your other 4-legged children. I know it’s all rather morose, but I’d still rather read these posts than hear more news about the Trump administration, Tony Romo retiring, or battles of the transgendered community.

  12. I’ve been checking in on your baby. I wished dogs lived forever. But then I would want to live forever too. My dog has had cancer as well and currently has aspiration pneumonia so I shove him full of pills every night and hope they work. You’re not alone and I know how much it hurts to your child suffer and not be able to fix it. My dog is my best friend and I can tell that Rumpy is yours too. Sending hugs to you and Rumpy!

  13. I always looked forward to your posts. I felt as though if I knew you, Rumpy, and the cats and grew to love your family. After the years of being with our pets it is so hard to lose them. I”m so sorry that Rumpy is dying and can only hope that your remaining time together have some fun.

  14. Its nice to see that Rumpy is still having “good days” because that means he is still happy to be here with you and be that cookie monster that we have all come to know and love.Its the “Bad Days the are hard to bare and make’s you think and question whether you are doing the right thing…..Most of us here know what that is like.We are all praying that Rumpy continues to have many “good days” with you because we all know that is the best that you and everyone can hope for.Keep letting us know how you feel because its ok to do that and we all love you for that,much love to you and the Rumpster,xx Rachel and Speedy

  15. Glad you are being honest and sharing what and how you feel. Do remember that you have a group of us here cheering you and rumpy on. Every day spent with rumpy is a blessed day. Sending a big hug your way

  16. For what it’s worth, I know. I’m glad you are still able to be together as long as you can be. Sadly, we’ve all been up and down this road and will be again. It never gets easier. I am so terribly sorry.

  17. I’m so sorry. I had to make the decision to let more than one of my ill pets go, and it never gets easier. Hang in there. Sending prayers your way.

  18. Just know that we are with you and Rumpy in spirit, Jen. You are never far from our thoughts and prayers.

  19. Tough times. Look after your boy, and to make sure his days, however many they are, are as comfortable and pain free as you can make them.

  20. Can relate to you, lost my kuro last year, each day we would hope he would be able to walk again, but that did not happen. We lost our kuro. We humans don’t deserve to be wid these wonderful creatures.

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