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My sweet Angel Bentley. <3

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After sitting for two hours staring at a blank page, I finally wiped away enough tears and forced my fingers to type. Writing is therapeutic to me, but for some reason I have struggled to even think about putting this in print. Print is so final, so absolute. It’s real. If only I could edit the last few days from my memory, or better yet the last 8 months. 8 months tomorrow in fact, I still remember that day like it was yesterday. The second worst day of my life (the first now being Thursday July 24th). We decided after a couple days of a limp (doing rest and anti-inflammatories) that we’d better get Bentley in to see the vet. I went alone, assuming that this was going to be some type of minor injury (assuming he must have just sprained or pulled something). When I close my eyes I still remember the look on the doctor’s face when he pulled me into the room and said, “I want to show you something”. As if he needed to actually say any more. I knew right then and there was not just a simple injury. I recall sitting, staring at the screen for what felt like eternity – as if maybe I could erase it, if I stood still and stared long enough maybe I could will the cancer out of him? And then he said it – Bone Cancer. Cancer. Cancer. No matter how many times I say it, the word never loses its heaviness. That’s the only way I can think to describe it..as if there was all of a sudden this massive tank that fell from the sky and landed on you, suffocating the very breath right out of you and saying a big FUCK YOU to your happiness. Two words, that’s it..that’s all it took to destroy my world, knock the wind out of my sails, and forever change who I used to be. The 8 months that followed that day have been a whirlwind. I immediately went home and joined every online support group, research group, and sat up researching myself until my fingers were bleeding. We did diet change, boiled his drinking water, and had him on every possible immune bossting and cancer killing therapy known to man. There was no amount of time, money, or energy I would not spend to save my handsome man, my baby boy. On top of all of that (which I became to refer to as my second job); let’s not forget the X-rays, blood tests, oncology visits (who the fuck ever thought I’d need to be looking up and researching Oncologists!?!), surgery, vaccine therapy in Pennsylvania, and the waiting game – the good ole waiting game. Waiting for test results, waiting for the call that he was out of surgery, waiting to see if this supplement or that therapy worked. I have never been blessed with patience, that’s for damn sure. And I sure as shit don’t have patience when we’re talking about the life of the one sole thing that means more to me than anything else in this world. And all throughout this crazy whirlwind, never once was I discouraged, not once did I hang my head. In fact most people were amazed by my can do attitude. Not once did I let statistics dictate my life or our Cancer Journey. So what Bone Cancer is 95% fatal in the first 9 months? Fuck you cancer – you will not win, we will be one of the lucky ones. And I truly, whole heartedly believed it up until June 1st 2014 (if you’re keeping track, this we will mark as #3 on the ‘days I wish I could erase from history’ list). June 1st was the fourth visit to UPenn Vet School where Bentley was taking part in Dr. Mason’s Bone Cancer Vaccine Study. We were accepted into the study back in March, after Bentley finished his 4 rounds of Carboplatin Chemotherapy and showed clear chest films. However, unfortunately, on our first trip up to UPenn for his first vaccine – pre-vaccine testing showed visible signs of lung metastatic disease. Fuck you cancer, again (please excuse my vulgar language, you should probably stop reading now if you’re offended. Even after that damaging blow, positive patty crazy mother of Bentley I never stopped fighting. So what he had Bone Cancer, so what amputation and 4 rounds of Chemotherapy didn’t TOUCH his cancer and it had already spread to his lungs. Fuck you cancer – you will not win. So we continued on. We continued to drive to UPenn overnight every third Friday for 3 months, my husband and I would leave work early Thursdays and come up to load up the car, and Bentley – and drive through the night 10 hours to UPenn. Drop Bentley off for vaccine and then (attempt) to sleep in the parking lot for a few hours before picking Bentley back up and making the 10 hour drive home. Every trip to UPenn brought bad news, but we never stopped, we never threw in the towel, and we never cried. Fuck you cancer, you will not win. Now don’t get me wrong, there were definitely wins in there too. Every small victory I took as a huge win. The 4th day after amputation when Bentley started walking on his own, 1 point for us. The first real walk we did with his husky sisters after surgery, 1 point for us. Our (my husband & I) wedding day, Bentley made it to our wedding day and walked me down the aisle, which he promised me he’d do even after he got sick, 50 points (I think this deserves 1,000 – but I’m bias). Every day that we had that was a good, healthy day – you guessed it, 1 point for us. I think that must be what kept me going. All of those little small wins, kept me fighting for more good days. Something change on June 1st. After Bentley’s fourth vaccine, while he recovered and went through post-vaccine testing – my husband and I were at Allegro’s pizza having our usual vaccine day dinner before heading home. That’s when I got the call from Dr. Mason that Bentley was not doing well (for those of you who skipped over some of this atrociously long email, this is the day I said marked #3 on my ‘worst days ever’ list). She explained that Bentley’s system had some huge immune reaction to the vaccine and was causing some abnormal rhythm in his heart. Not only was his heart rhythm not normal, it was being initiated by the wrong chamber in the heart AND was beating at about 220 bpm, whereas a dog his size should be at about 50-70 bpm. It is ok for a dog to have small runs of abnormality or elevated heart rates, but when we’re talking about a heart functioning at supersonic speeds for any length of time…the worry is that it’ll quit. The heart is just not made to withstand that type of abuse. As I’m hearing all of this on the phone, that little voice creeps back in my head – fuck you cancer, you will not win. This is NOT the way our story ends. The next three days were all a blur. I spent 7 hours a day on the floor of a kennel in the ICU room at UPenn Vet hospital. But seriously, those people were amazing. With everything they had going on and all of the animals they were caring for, they let my husband and I hang out there with him all day. Ok, so back to what I started saying before – ‘something changed June 1st’, you with me? So, it was at this time that we knew the vaccine was no more. We were absolutely not willing to continue to vaccinate him in hopes of destroying cancer cells at the expense of his heart. Kind of pointless right? Can’t beat cancer if you’re ticker ain’t working. So that was it, after 4 vaccines we were done. I truly believed in this vaccine. I’d seen the proof, I absolutely believed that this could cure him. Granted, I knew that all of the other dogs ‘in remission’ from this vaccine were free of lung mets. But Bentley was strong, he was a machine, he was full of heart and fight, and he had a mother that would chew metal for breakfast and demolish buildings with a single blow. To be fair, maybe I exaggerated a bit there, but that’s how determined and badass I felt in fighting for him. So back to the drawing board we went. Our options at this point were to: try more chemotherapy (although at this point he had already had carboplatin, and we weren’t willing to give him anything that could have cardio-toxic effects because of his heart – so our options were few), try Palladia (could have significant positive effects, but only usually for a short period of time, and there are a lot of negative side effects), or try to load him up on supplements and love and hope for the best. Clearly, given my descriptions (for the 2 of you that are still reading this) we chose option 3. We were still holding out hope that maybe this crazy huge immune response that sent his heart all in a tizzy meant that it was going crazy destroying cancer cells…Fuck you cancer, be gone – all of you! Pow Pow Bang Bang! Ok, so clearly that was NOT what was going on in there, but that’s what I like to think was happening. We now know that it wasn’t, but I could not see continuing to put my precious boy through more after all he had endured over the past 7 months. Bentley has never liked going to the vets, in fact – I dare say he loathed it. He would (literally) JUMP in my lap when the vet tech would come out to bring us back into room (don’t forget my ‘baby boy’ I speak of is a 95 lb. Rotty). I could stand the thought of continuing to take him back in every week for blood work and needles and chemotherapy. Especially not after our last trip to UPenn and spending 4 days in the ICU, I think that was plenty of ‘vet time’ for both of us. I was at that crossroads where I started to ask myself, “Who are you doing this for – you or him?” It was at this time that I started to accept where our journey was heading. I had to start accepting the fact that maybe we weren’t going to win this fight, maybe the hand we were dealt was just bullshit and we were going to lose. So instead of moping around, we made a pact that we would treat every day as if it were our last. Not think about the future, but concentrate on today and the gift that it was. I have to fair, I cannot take credit for this completely – it was right around this time when I ordered the book “The Legacy of Beezer and Boomer”. Doug spoke to me, it really hit home. As I’m sure it does for a lot of us at this point in our journey – it’s hard to enjoy life when it seems as though everything is ending. But I tried, I tried REALLY hard. We spent every evening in the backyard playing in the pool and the sprinkler. We had a ‘no phone’ rule out back so that all of the time spent there would be focused on Bentley. It’s crazy when you stop and slow down, how amazing life really can be. I really started to appreciate the small things. I didn’t need any lavish vacations (although right about now I need one), spending time in the backyard with my husband and my dog doing nothing was absolute heaven. We did take one trip to the beach July 4th weekend (used to be Bentley’s favorite place to go), but unfortunately that’s when we noticed he was starting to slow down. He used to LIVE for the water. All of my fondest memories with him ALWAYS included water. Whether it was a lake, pond, ocean, pool, baby pool, hose, sprinkler, or shower – that boy LOVED water. I swear he thought he was a lab! But the ocean was tough for him now, I guess that’s what having only three legs will do to ya. The waves were more scary than enjoyable, and he started to seem more ‘I just wanna rest Ma’ than running around with his football like he used to. The car ride home from the beach was probably the worst 5 hours I had had in a long time. I’ll admit it, I’m not proud..but I did sit there in silence the entire 5 hours home and cried. Anticipatory grief at its finest. All I could think about was the fact that my son was dying in front of me and there was not a god damn thing on this planet I could do. All the money and energy in the world, and I was helpless. Fuck you cancer, I cannot let you win. He did perk up a bit when we got home (he has never been a huge van of new places and a lot of people so he definitely felt better when home), but as the days went by he seemed a little more tired and a little less playful. Every night we’d still go outside and enjoy our time together, but he’d start to take rest periods that were longer and longer in between playing and I knew that time was not on our side. I had a trip planned for this past weekend (July 19th) for a friends shower. I went back and forth about going vs. backing out and staying home – but I really had a hard time doing that for her. And I really thought Bentley was doing well. Yes he was slowing down – but he had never been very energetic anyway, and other than being a little more lazy – he was still himself. Man do I regret that. They say that fear and guilt are your two worst enemies. Let me just say that guilt has been a thorn in my fucking heart this past 7 days. My husband called me on Sunday (I was set to come home Monday) and told me that he thought that Bentley was not feeling well. Keep in mind, Bentley is an absolute Mama’s Boy through and through – if I go to the store for 5 minutes he will act like his world is ending. He hung on every word I said, every time I moved he’d move, and he absolutely LIVED for me. So I was not really that shocked that he seemed ‘down’. That all changed Monday night when my husband picked me up from the airport (with Bentley in tow of course). Usually when they’d pick me up from the airport, as soon as Bentley saw me he’d be all but JUMPING out the car window to land some kisses on me (‘the paintbrush’ we called it). However, this time I got an over the shoulder look of sadness. It nearly killed me. I knew right then and there my little boy was fading. It was almost as if me leaving did it, maybe he thought I was gone for good so he thought – ok, I can go now too. I know some believe that dogs will run away to die so that they’re human doesn’t see them like that. A large part of me believes that he didn’t want me to be a part of this. Tuesday morning when I woke up, my husband had gone to work – and I was off for the week because Bentley and I had already planned to complete our ‘bucket list’ this week. It was 11am before I could get him to get up out of bed (again, not completely abnormal for him because that boy LOVED his sleep) and as soon as I got him downstairs, out to pee, and fed breakfast – he was laying back down asleep. There was something about it though, it wasn’t as though he was just being lazy. There were a lot of times he’d just lay around, he was never very active – but I’ll be damned if he wasn’t laying down with his eyes GLUED to my every move. And you bet your ass if I went upstairs, he was at my heels. Not this time, not today. Today he was tired. I saw it in his face. I called my husband and told him that I was taking him in to get another round of x-rays. I just needed to know. I think I already in my heart knew, but I could never live with myself if it was something else going on that we could have fixed. As I lay there on the cold floor with him fast asleep, I noticed how much quicker his breathing seemed to be just in the last 12 hours since I’d been home. Like I said before, I had steadily noticed over the past several weeks that his breathing seemed to be slowing getting faster and shallower, but now I could really see it. The vet didn’t need to say anything when she came in and sat on the floor with us, I already knew. His lungs were REALLY bad. She said he had several more tumors and most of the existing ones had doubled in size. I didn’t ask her how long she thought he had, but when she asked me ‘What do you want to do?’ (implying that maybe I should say good-bye today?), I guess that was my answer. I elected to do a liter of Sub-Q fluids, she said he was a touch dehydrated and it may help to liven him up a bit. After getting his camel hump injected, we loaded up in the car, and I seriously contemplated just driving and never stopping. I asked Bentley if he thought that maybe we could out-drive cancer. Like, maybe if we just run away it won’t know where we live and then it’ll disappear? Man o man, the irrational thoughts of mama bear backed into a corner wanting nothing more than to protect her cub. Instead, we went home and laid on the floor – face to face, looking into each other’s souls. It was that moment that I saw it. He was ready to go. As much as I tried to ignore it and thought maybe it was just the fluids making his eyes look different, or maybe he really was just tired today – deep down I knew. He held my gaze and looked at me in a way that I have NEVER seen before. And god how I wish I could ‘unsee’ that look. When my husband came home and sat down with us, I told him what I thought we should do. I told him that I thought that we should plan to have this week together as we had planned, and let him go this weekend. As hard as it was for me to say that, I also knew that next week meant back to work for Mommy and a lot of alone time for Bentley. I could not imagine seeing him continue to decline, and then have him spending 9 hours a day at home ‘dying’. I would much rather spend every second with him and love and spoil him and let him go on a high note. As we were talking about this, I think I was absent for a part of it. All of a sudden it was like an out of body experience. This is NOT happening right now, this must be a bad movie. I am not seriously sitting here talking about when I’m going to kill my son, right? Fuck you cancer, I cannot believe you won. The next two and a half days were like a god damn nightmare. One minute I’m up, we’re laughing and having fun and playing in the pool, the next minute I’m down – Bentley is too tired and needs to rest and I run out to sit in my car and scream and cry. It was the worst. I actually found myself saying, I wish he would just die. Fucked up, I know. Please don’t judge me. But sitting there knowing that we were going to make the decision to KILL OUR SON, is quite possibly the worst feeling in the world. I thought that maybe if he made the decision to do it, then I would feel better about myself. Then Doug came back into my mind. BE IN THE PRESENT. So we tried REALLY hard to make the best of Tuesday, laughing and having fun, and taking a lot of naps. But I did the best to keep my positive patty pants on. Tuesday night was rough. I think I slept for all of 3 hours, in about 20 minute increments. Bentley wanted to sleep in the bed with us, but was hot and panted pretty much all night. I turned the AC down to 65 and blasted the fan. He had completely taken over my side of the bed, so I sat on the floor and nuzzled my head into his neck and rubbed his belly (we took our bedframe out weeks ago so that he could sleep in bed with us so although the floor was about as comfortable as a rock, the mattress was at perfect height for me to lay my head down with him). The only time that he would settle down was when I rubbed his belly. His panting would subside, and his breathing would slow. Granted, I was now dressed in ski socks, sweatpants, and a sweatshirt, feeling like a zombie – but I would do anything for him, and although it killed me to think he was uncomfortable…I would sit there and rub his belly watching him sleep forever if I could. I called a family meeting Wednesday morning with my husband and Bentley, Brandon now admitted that he too could see it in his eyes that he was tired (for the two days prior he insisted that he didn’t think he was ready). We made the decision that we could not let this go on any further. He was so tired, he had fought so long and so hard – but his body just couldn’t do it anymore. We decided that Wednesday night we would have a party, not a goodbye party – there were to be no tears (that was the rule on the invitation). We invited over all of our family and friends, he received more presents that he even knew what to do with, and ate enough chicken nuggets and pizza to feed a small army (they were his favs). It was a really nice change of pace and distraction for my husband and I, and it was so amazing to see how many people loved him. He got belly rubs and loving all night. He was in his glory, and for a few short hours – I almost forgot that he was sick. He played in the pool, chased his Wubbas (his favorite toy), and growled at his sisters if they even cast a sideways glance at his mountain of toys in the yard. At one point he actually just went and laid on his toy mountain. He didn’t want to play with them, just wanted to claim them. Wednesday night we made an appoint to have someone come to the house Thursday afternoon to help our sweet boy say goodbye. We’ll start a new list now and put this at the top spot for worst phone call to have to make. I think I dialed 5 times and hung up before actually letting it answer. I couldn’t make it three words without breaking down. “What time would you like me to come?” Umm, how about fucking never?! How the hell do you ‘pick a time’ to kill your dog?! How is this seriously fair? I don’t fucking get it. I am a huge believer in Karma, where the fuck is my Karma now? I ALWAYS do the right thing, pay it forward all the time, volunteer, donate to charity, feed the homeless, and always take care of others. When the fuck do I get to cash that in for my turn for good fortune? Can I do it now, because if I could that would be fucking great. So that was it, 3 o’clock tomorrow – death certificate stamped. Wednesday night seemed to be no better, I admit a small part of me thought maybe he’d have a miraculous turn around and we could call this whole thing off. Like when Ashton Kutcher jumps out and says ‘you’ve been Punked’, it was all just a bad joke that was being played on me right? Nope, sorry kid – better luck next time. We elected to sleep downstairs on the living room floor, because the trip upstairs last night seemed tiring and tough for Bentley. The panting and restlessness continued again, and again I slept on the floor next to the bed, rubbing his belly, in a parka. Thursday morning when we woke, it was immediately just a heavy feeling. The feeling I imagine an inmate on death row must have when they wake up on execution day. Although this wasn’t my execution, it was the loss of my whole heart. In hindsight, it was really stupid to do it for the afternoon. That day seriously dragged by. Hour by hour, counting down the time. We had some good moments of course. Daddy made Bentley Liver and Eggs for breakfast and he scarfed those down, we had cake and burgers for lunch, and even made it out for a couple sessions in the pool and sprinkler with our toys. But every time, Bentley would tire and lay down to sleep – and my husband and I would sit in silence staring at the clock. At 2:00 I set up our ‘spot’ up on Bentley’s hill in the backyard where he loved to sit. He’d sit out there surveying his land, watching his sisters play. He was the king of his castle, the ruler of this land, he was so proud. I decided that’s where we would spend our last hour together. I got out one of his favorite blankets, his favorite toys, and of course – chicken nuggets and liver bites. We laid up there and played with our toys, and snacked to our hearts content. My husband and I each spent some time alone with him, and continue to watch the clock tick by. Even just in that day, more and more we began to see a decline in his breathing – more panting, more labored breathing, and even coughing (which before Thursday happened maybe twice). It became painstakingly real that my son was dying. I was beginning to see his decline and it was KILLING me. I think I’d rather be stoned I decided. I actually think that would be less painful than those 8 hours of my life on Thursday July 24th. Then it came, the knock on the gate, she was here. She was here to take my little boy away forever. It nearly killed my husband, because when the vet walked through the gate Bentley immediately jumped up and attempted to run at her, barking his usual ‘this is my house’ warning. I have to admit, it was hard for me to see too – but at the same time a comfort. Again, one of Cancer’s fucked up mind games. It made me happy because I saw my boy was still there full of gusto and life so I was happy that he would go out as the big man protecting his house and his family. But, at the same time, sad because then I thought ‘well shit, maybe that’s a sign that he’s not ready to go yet?’ But really what I think it was, was him doing what he ALWAYS did, what he lived to do…take care of his mommy. But now it was my turn to take care of him for once. It was my turn to step up and make a decision that would nearly cripple my life, but would free him of pain and suffering forever. As hard as that 30 minutes was, for an instant a heaviness lifted off of my heart. I knew that he was free, I knew that he had 4 legs again and was running freely in all the oceans and pools and sprinklers he could imagine. With endless buffets of chicken nuggets and pizza. And I’m pretty sure that Wubbas also fall from the sky at the Rainbow Bridge, I’m sure he’s loving that. I have to say that although it was the worst decision to have to make, and the hardest thing to do – I could not have imagined it being any more peaceful for him. The first shot she gave him just made him very sleepy. He immediately stopped panting and his breathing became slow, which was oddly very comforting to me because he had been having a harder time catching his breath. I laid face to face with him, staring in his eyes talking to him the entire time. I watched as his eyes became more droopy, being sure to keep my face in his eyesight the entire time, smiling through my tears and fighting them back as much as I could – I gave it everything I had to make sure that he didn’t see me cry, and would just remember my smile. After 5 minutes of sleepiness, she administered the 2nd shot which she said wouldn’t take long. I placed my hand on his heart and clenched my necklace (a silver necklace with his picture on it I was given after his diagnosis, and have never taken off) as he took his last breaths. I needed to take those last heartbeats and be sure that I locked them away forever with my, in my necklace so he would be with me always. As soon as I felt him take his last breath and his heart stop, I lost it. I put my head down into the blanket and cried and screamed for 5 minutes. Like those cries you have that consume your whole body – shake every inch of your core and you feel as though you’d rather die than continue on in life. And just like that, it started to rain. I don’t know how quickly their trip to Rainbow Bridge is, but I took that as my first penny. I mean instantly, he was gone and the rain comes. They let us have a few minutes with him, and I just laid with him in the rain. Those few moments when we laid there, I actually felt peace. I knew we did the right thing and that he was safe now. I didn’t cry during those moments, the vet and funeral home director came back in with his ‘box’ and I stepped away while they placed him in it, when I stepped away – I stepped right into a pile of Bentleys dog shit. Another penny?! I’ll take it. After he was in there, they stepped away again so we could say our goodbyes. I packed him up with all of his necessities for his trip to Rainbow Bridge: his wubba, a few rawhides, treats and snacks, one of his two teddys that he slept with every night, and of course – his ‘cancer warrior’ cape. And that was it, just like that he was gone. I didn’t say a word, didn’t talk, I just went inside and started cleaning my house. Odd, right? It’s a funny thing that your mind sometimes does to protect your heart. I guess for me I just needed to keep moving, keep going, pretend that today was just a regular day. My house was also in complete chaos from the last three days because we had not spent two seconds of our time un-devoted to Bentley. I hadn’t showered, hadn’t put a single dirty dish away, and our bed was still set up in the living room. It had become clear to me that I couldn’t control everything, but there was something I could control and I needed to control it. So I cleaned, and I cleaned, for hours. I’d see something that reminded me of Bentley and I’d cry, break down for two minutes. And then I’d clean some more. My husband didn’t understand and had a very hard time watching me as I tore through the house and put away all of Bentley’s medicine, immediately demanded that we put our bed back on the frame and put our room back together. He didn’t get it, ‘we just lost our son two minutes ago, and it’s like you’re trying to erase him’ he said. But come yesterday morning, he understood. I was getting rid of cancer. Anything that reminded me of cancer, and Bentley being sick – it needed to go. I couldn’t look at it anymore, it repulsed me. Fuck you cancer, you took my son – my world, my everything…but I am still determined you will not win. It turns out that my whole ‘let’s just clean the house and it will fix everything’ only lasted a few hours. That night I did sleep though, probably partly because I hadn’t slept in three days and partly because I drank enough wine to kill a small horse and was probably almost comatose. None the less, sleep I finally did. Friday morning, brought a new day and a new feeling: unbridled, heart wrenching, uncontrollable loss and devastation. I woke up at 5am wide away staring at the ceiling. I don’t even think I was thinking about anything, just nothingness. I felt like I was the character on a walt Disney animation page – where I was in a scene of a movie, and then all of a sudden the illustrator erased everything except me, I was standing there in the middle of nothingness, blank, empty, nothingness. Now what? What do I do? Well it’s almost 6am, so Bentley needs medication soon – oh wait, no he doesn’t, I was fired from my cancer job. Fuck you cancer, I needed that job just like I need my son back. I don’t know that life is possible without him. He has been through the worst and best times of my life with me. The ONLY constant thing in my life over the past 7.5 years was him. It was just me and him, mommy and me, we were best friends. Granted, when he was 1.5 his Daddy and I got together – but at that point it was too late. He was a mama’s boy no doubt, no matter what he did he would never be as good as mama. I was his world, and he was mine (it’s ok, my husband knows that he was #2). So what now? I must have laid there and asked myself that same question 4958 times before I decided that the answer was to ‘get into his bed and cry for 4 hours’. And so I did. That was when it hit me that he was really gone. My husband also must have been having that same thought, because as he got ready to go to work (part of his morning routine being to lay with Bentley and have some snuggles before heading out) – he stopped to lay in Bentleys bed on the floor and cry. I don’t know what’s harder, feeling my pain – or seeing my husband’s pain. My rock, my protector, my provider, crippled by the loss of our son…I’m really not sure which is worse. After hours of laying in his bed and crying I decided to pull out the computer and take a trip down memory lane. I went back to 7.5 years ago when that little shit was biting me through the fence of our neighbor’s house. Bentley was the puppy of our neighbor’s dog, so they had him at the house and were trying to find a home for him. I was in no way looking for a dog, but I fell madly in love with the little bastard biting me across the fence and from that day we were inseparable. I spent the rest of the day looking at old videos and pictures: trips to the lake, trips to the beach, endless summer days in the pool, and spending rainy Saturdays lounging (literally) on the couch with Daddy. It was amazingly therapeutic for me, I didn’t cry at all for 5 hours, I laughed and smiled A LOT. I decided to focus on the first 6.5 years of his life and stay in those moments, looking at pictures of the last 8 months is too hard for me now. I know they are part of our journey and our story, but for now I find myself needing to remember only the best of times – before he was sick, those were the best days of our lives. God he was so amazing, so full of life, so full of love. One look at his face and all was right with the world. Friday afternoon Bentley came back to us, and since then I have taken him with me wherever I go. Don’t judge me. I also have his other teddy that he slept with every night and I put his collar and bandana on it and that goes with me too. Being in the house is hard for me, and I know I will cry every day, several times a day for quite a while I’m sure. There will be moments that I lose it, those moments where he was ALWAYS present (waking up, coming home from work, going to bed, etc.) that are going to be REALLY hard for me for a while. But I know better days will come. I know that eventually the pain will subside, and we will have good times and laughs again. Today my husband and I actually forced ourselves to go out to the movies (still not feeling social, but it’s hard to sit home and cry all day too) and enjoyed a few laughs and a walk downtown. It was nice, it showed hope. It showed me that with great love, will always come great loss. But what is better – to live a life with no great love? I don’t think that’s really living at all. So I’ve decided that Cancer didn’t win. You may have taken Bentley’s physical body, but you can never take his soul, his love, or his spark of life. He will live on in me, and in our cherished memories of all the amazing times we had with him. As I sit up on our hill now putting in writing the very raw emotions and feelings of my soul, I find peace. This is our spot, this was his favorite spot, and I know that he is still here watching over me. Every time the cool breeze blows, I feel him here with me. Run free & play Baby Boy, wait for me at the Rainbow Bridge where we will meet again. I love you, my sweet Angel Bentley.


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17 Responses to “My sweet Angel Bentley. <3”

  1.   Michelle Says:

    I am so so sorry for Bentley’s loss. You are right cancer didn’t win Bentley did. He fought a good fight. You are right its going to take time. There will be a time that you will look back on this part of the journey and smile. Not the losing him but everything else. He never gave up at all.

    I just don’t know what to say these things always suck 🙁

    Hugs
    Michelle & Angel Sassy

  2.   jerry Says:

    My eyes are watery, I can’t believe it, this caught me completely by surprise and I am so very, very sorry. What a sad, sad day to know that Bentley earned his wings this week. My heart breaks for you all, I completely understand your feelings and oh how well you explained them here.

    Bentley was, and always will be, such an unforgettable, strong, heroic dog, and you are just like him. You made a call that was incredibly hard, you didn’t let him suffer, you gave him an amazing, awesome life and a last week on this earth that was filled with so much love, even through the sadness. Bentley was able to leave this world knowing that there was no love greater than the one you had for him. What a gift! You are More Dog. You did it. You graduated.

    You are all in our hearts, you are not alone, we are here for you so please come to the forums or the chat if you want to talk OK?

    Lots of love & condolences coming your way. Never forget you are not alone. xoxo

  3.   Karma Says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Looking at those pictures, Bentley was loved and happy and had a great life. You were a wonderful mom for him. And I know that we take this journey one foot in front of the other, but it sucks. It so sucks. You fought super hard. And you may find that there is an emptiness afterwards now that the fight is over. Did I say it sucks? Yeah.

    My thoughts are with you.
    Karma, Adelaide and the crew, and our special angel Brendol

  4.   Anonymous Says:

    I am sitting here in complete tears, a mess. I read every word of your story almost reliving the loss of my Jake. From the being attached at the hip to being up all night rubbing his belly, to cleaning the house, to laying in his bed to cry…and that look, the one I wished I could “unsee”, you saw too. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said Fuck you cancer!

    Bentley was so lucky to have such great parents. He knew 110% that you would do anything for him, and you did, right up until the end. That call, that decision, I too sat shaking crying hysterically on my bathroom floor saying over and over again, what the fuck have I done? But we gave them dignity, we were there for them in the moment they needed it the MOST. Bentley got his wings surrounded by those he loved, in a place he loved. Cancer may have taken his body but it can’t take his spirit, his soul, the memories, the love or the bond you shared …ever. I’m so so sorry for the loss of your beloved boy. The memories you and he have, nothing can ever take those away.

    Many hugs and much love to you. I need to go find a box of tissues!

  5.   mom2shelby Says:

    My heart breaks reading this … I am so sorry for your loss. I don’t have any words but your story, right down to the end is so similar to mine. It’s a horrific pain but it does get better.

    Cancer didn’t win. You guys had amazing experiences and he walked your down the aisle. You fought a great battle!!!

    My thoughts are with you and send you a huge hug and so much love … so much love!

    Alison & her Shelby fur-ever in her heart

  6.   benny55 Says:

    I cannot even respond right now and I apologize for my weakness.

    I also have read every single word through sobs and the gasping sounds of trying to catch my breath. I’m worthless to you right now and I do want to come back and pay proper tribute to this glorious dog and the UNBREAKABLE bond you shared.

    Your post today took so much courage and strength. The gift of transition you gave Bentley while “celebrating him home” could not have been more selfless and more loving.

    The whole tripawd community cries.with you today while applauding a life well lived and well loved.

    I shall be back when I can be more centered.

    Sending you love

    Sally and Happy Hannah

  7.   Donna and Angel Selu Says:

    I am so very heartbroken that Bentley’s journey with you has come to an end. Your beautiful remembrance of the life you celebrated with him was so touching and such a wonderful tribute…Bentley was fortunate to have a loving family to share his life.
    I wish you all strength and comfort during the days, weeks, months ahead. I know the pain you are going through and no words can make it better. Time will make this easier to bear, although never better.
    Run free and pain free at the Bridge, beautiful Bentley, and know you were truly loved.

  8.   Diana, Dreamer, Cami and Angel Savannah Says:

    Kate, My heart aches for you. Thank you for sharing Bentley with us. The love you shared will never die. It is eternal and lives on in your heart, in your memories, and in the words you write about your beloved boy. I know what that love feels like and what it is like when they are gone. It tears you apart but life goes on and as it goes on in the days, weeks and months to come, you will find that Bentley is never far from you. He is in your thoughts, in your conversations with your husband and with your friends. You will smile and laugh at the good times and you will be proud of the fight be put up against cancer. He will always be your boy, your hero, your # 1. Wishing you peace, strength and comfort. RIP dear Bentley and when you see a Golden girl running by, say hi to her for me.

  9.   Linda Morrice Says:

    I’m so very sorry for your loss of Bentley.

    Your words are a wonderful tribute to him and to the fact that cancer did not win!

    May you find peace in your many happy memories of your boy.

    Hugs

    Linda and Tucker

  10.   Candi Says:

    Kate, I am not really sure where to start. I guess I should tell you how sorry I am for your loss. I know you love Bentley more that you love anything in this world and nothing can fix your broken heart, but please know that I am praying hard for you and Brandon, as I have for Bentley numerous times in this past year. I know I’ve been a shitty sister-in-law and have let the miles between us separate us in too many ways…and I am very sorry for that…but please know that I am thinking of you and my heart is aching for you both.

    I am a firm believer that God carefully chooses each of us for the lives we will live. The weak ones get the perfect lives full of roses and kittens and coffee that always stays hot…but the strong ones, He saves the hard stuff for us. And while we are busy trying to understand why things seem so unfair, we overlook all the beauty in the struggles. Although it was too short and ripped away from you long before you were ready, you got to be Bentley’s mommy. You were that sweet boy’s favorite person in this whole world…nobody else can say that. And just as he made your life better, you did his as well. You were there through every struggle and every triumph. You loved, comforted, and provided countless Wubbas every minute of his life. You never lost hope and you stayed STRONG until the very last second…and even longer. I for one, am in awe of you…as I know Bentley was as well.

    I wish I was there to hug you and/or be your emotional punching bag…or just to sit there next to you and do nothing. I wish I had words to make your pain go away, but I know time is the only thing that will. I love you and I’m thinking of you. When you’re ready, I’m a text or phone call away. Rest in Peace sweet Bentley.

    Love,
    Chi chi

  11.   zeuspod Says:

    Kate, I am so sorry for your loss. I know that is is raw, and sad, and lonely, and hard right now as you experience such grief. One day peace will come to you and you will remember more of the good times than the bad times. One thing that I want to address specifically is “the look”. I know you say now that you wish you could forget it, but that will change also. In the beginning, the memory of that moment is haunting. But over time I realized that it was a blessing. He told you he was ready. The burden of “deciding” was not placed squarely on your shoulders and Bentley got to decide when the time was right. Without that look, you would always wonder if you did it even a moment too soon. Throughout the lives of our three babies, I often wished I could talk to them. Truly communicate with them. I knew their looks, their head-tilts, their different wags, but I never felt like they truly “spoke” to me more than in that moment when I saw that look in their eyes. It is a precious thing, that look. To know that in your most intimate time with them, they are allowed to speak to you. Truly speak to you – not just your mind deducting the signs of their behavior, but directly to your heart in a way that there is no guessing, no deducting but instead just pure understanding.

    Wishing you comfort and peace in this most difficult time.

    Lisa

  12.   fourminipups Says:

    All my thoughts are with you as you travel through the hardest part of this journey. What a loving tribute to Bentley and the love and strength you gave each other. These memories are what will hold you up during this time.

    Thinking of all of you.

    Luanne and Spirit Shooter

  13.   snoop Says:

    Dear Kate and Brandon,

    My heart dropped and became heavy with your news of Bentley. I am so sorry for your loss of your boy.
    So many of us here understand the hurt, and the anger of being cheated time. The hole in the heart is big.
    I like you, thought we are gonna beat this lousy disease, but we ourselves just weren’t lucky in that way.
    I think all you can do it just to take each day as it comes. I find some days are better, some are difficult but that’s the price of love and loss we all pay.
    But… I wouldn’t of traded anything in the world not to of had my Snoop, as you your Bentley.

    Our deepest sympathies to you both,
    Esther and my Angel Snoop

  14.   Charley's Mom Says:

    Kate,
    Tears have been falling and my heart is breaking for you…it took me almost an hour to get through your post because I was sobbing so hard. My heart is heavy and it feels like I lost one of my own. I loved Bentley too…. It just sucks that his journey was to short and you both fought a valiant fight. It’s just not fair and nothing I can say will help ease your pain.

    What a beautiful tribute you wrote on Bentley’s blog to your handsome baby boy. I am truly so very sorry that it was Bentley’s time to make his journey to Rainbow Bridge. You gave him the most loving final gift knowing that you were going to now take on his pain…you set him free and gave him his angel wings that he so bravely earned. You were the best mommy ever and he knew that and he loved you the most.

    Godspeed sweet Bentley. Run free with all of the angel heroes that have gone before you. Please send your mommy and daddy pennies so they know that you arrived safely.

    Wishing you and Brandon peace, strength and comfort until you are all reunited again…love and hugs to you…

    As Ana has said before….It is always important to remember that you both fought a courageous fight and the cancer did not win. The balance between Bentley’s body and spirit tipped in favor of his spirit, and you were the chosen one to set him free. xoxo

    Hugs and chocolate Labby kisses,
    Ellen and Charley xoxo

  15.   Marcio Alvarez Says:

    Kate,

    Cancer never wins, evil never succeeds, battles may be lost, but in the end evil already lost fro the very beginning. Bentley shed his vessel that contained his eternal spirit, as beautiful as or children’s vessel is, it is temporary, BUT so is the separation, you, Bentley and your good husband will be one again, in the future, in another time and place. Never doubt that! You know it deep insideyour soul, I see can see that. You are a remarkable woman and a perfect mother. The ‘acid’love you feel for Bentley is powerful, it’s so ‘aggressive’ the way it should be! Truly a Mama Bear. God bless you for that and for being the kind hearted giver that you are, NEVER change. Nobody can answer your question of when you will cash in all the good deeds for others (I’m certain we have all asked that question at some point when this life reminds us the meaning of the word unfair when tragedies happen.) No mortals can, but we will get our answer in another life. In a better one. It’s so hard to type blinded by tears, having read and attempting to leave a post expressing my condolences and letting you how right you are about all you have said madam. God be with you Kate, your husband and Bentley who watches over you both from above. Blessings

  16.   Holly Dean Says:

    I am so sorry for your loss of your baby boy. We pick up our Jake tomorrow from his amputation and will go on the exact journey you have shared with us. Thank you for sharing so it might make our journey a little easier (if that is even possible).

  17.   Liliana Says:

    Dear Kate,

    I come here a few times, and for some reason struggle to say something to you. Its not about me, know, its about yo and Bentley. I am so so sorry for your loss of Bentley, it really broke my my heart to learn this news.

    It is so clear how MUCH you love that boy. He was a lucky fella, as were you to be loved and adored by such amazing and beautiful boy.

    You know, it is true that with time it gets easier, but I can tell you that not a day goes by that I don’t think about Sasha, literally. Just a few hours ago I was crying for her. I will always morn her loss, she was such a part of me, of who I am, who I became after I got her. My suggestion is to not feel rushed or pressure by anyone, no matter what. Some people said that right away I should throw away all her stuff. Throw away her stuff? Never. Her bowl still sits where it has been ever since we moved to our house in Raleigh. Her harness hangs in my closet, so its the first thing I see when I opened the door. Her collar, leash, and a few other things are tucked away in a little box in my closet. The little pillow I got her in March of last year (which says, “You are my Sunshine” and “You make me happy when skies are grey”) goes to bed with me every night. Some people asked and still do if I’ll get another dog. Another dog?! I respect those who are able to do so, but I cannot and do not want to do that. Plus, I’ve got 4 more home that need my love and attention.

    Do what comes naturally. Take your time, however long it takes to ‘heal’.

    Sending love, hugs, and best wishes to you, your husband and the girls Meekah and Kaiya.

    XOXO,
    ~Lili @ lilisnotes.com

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