A year on after the death of a loved one


Stilton 8 weeks old, with Gina, Bella’s sister

Isn’t it amazing how time heals? Just 13 months ago I lost Bella to canine lymphoma. Whilst it was something I had been prepared for, it was also something I had been dreading. As expected, her death hit me hard, and for a few weeks I was inconsolable. She was my best friend, my faithful companion, my love.

She was diagnosed just before Christmas 2011 with T-cell lymphoma, a rare and difficult cancer to treat. We caught it early, but it was so aggressive that had she have not started chemo on the 2nd January I doubt she would have seen the week through. She had many set backs and nearly died again in late January, but thankfully she pulled through and finally reached remission in April. It was a wondrous moment. My heart was singing.

Like all good things, it had to come to an end; unfortunately for everyone involved, it happened within two weeks. Since the chemo had failed so swiftly, the only other option was steroids, designed only to keep her pain-free until the inevitable happened. She was given 2 weeks to live. She stayed with us for 3 months – they were a happy and (surprisingly) healthy 3 months.

My husband and I cherished every moment of that time, as did Bella. We took her on special walks every day, treated her by allowing her into the bedroom in the mornings, and cuddled her as often as she wanted. We were always happy around her, and never gave her a chance to feel her pain. As a result, she probably had the best 3 months of her life.

It’s so sad reminiscing after the loss of a loved one, but I also feel happy and proud, and grateful to have known her. She was cheeky, animated and energetic; she was a brave, a fighter. She was affectionate and loyal.

What more could I ask? She did the best she could, but it was not to be. It wasn’t her fault she developed terminal cancer. I’m sure she would have liked more time, but I remind myself her life could have been far worse. She could have been a street dog, abandoned, hungry and unloved. In addition, had Bella not died, I would not have found Stilton, a beautiful apricot standard poodle. Soon he will be one year old.

Maybe, just maybe, a small peace of her spirit is within him. What a wonderful thought!


About Honor A Dawson

I live in a rural location with my husband, dogs, cats and chickens. I love reading and writing, watching and playing tennis, swimming, and wildlife and nature.

Posted on September 26, 2013, in Dog Lymphoma and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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