Two Years and a Million Tears Ago

I know that Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy and laughter and wonder and awe.  And it is…it is all those things.  But today has not been a happy day for me.  I am feeling rather down today.  Why?  Because it will have been two years ago tomorrow that my beloved boxer, Casper, died.

730 days ago today (Thursday), I got up in the morning and knew Casper needed to see the vet.  He’d started struggling to breathe a few days before, though in hindsight, it was clear that he’d been having symptoms for a while.  So, on 12/19, I loaded him in the car and drove him to see the vet.

She was a wonderful, compassionate young woman who watched with great interest the video I’d made of his breathing on my cell phone.  I could see a immediate look of concern on her face and she said she wanted to do a more thorough exam and took him to the back room.  She soon came out and said that it appeared that he had air in his chest that was making it hard for his lungs to inflate.  Such a thing could be caused, she said, by a recent injury, an infection, or cancer.  So, she started running tests, calling for consults, and decided that they had to remove some of the air from inside his chest to help his breathing.  I started to hear him howling as they inserted the needles to let the air out of his chest cavity.  It was horrible.  I had to walk out the front of the vet’s office, but I could still hear him.

After draining the area around one lung, she came and told me they were taking a break, but that they needed to do the other side, too.  The howling soon began all over – and every howl tore my heart out.

After the procedure he was much better and I took him home.  He sure seemed happy to be leaving with me!

That night, however, he started to struggle again.  The vet called in the morning with the test results: no infection.  There had been no recent injury.  The only possible explanation left was cancer.  I asked her what she would do if it were her own dog, and she said the words that crushed me: “I would let him out of his misery.”  I told her I would bring him right back over, so with tears streaking my face and falling all over my shirt, I loaded my precious friend into the back seat of the car, talking to him all the way, telling him how much I loved him and how much he meant to me.  I could barely see to drive through the tears.

I can’t tell you the rest because it is far too painful.  But within the hour, Casper was at peace.  It is something that we do for the pets we love when the time comes.  It just always comes too soon.

So, my friend, Casper, this one is for you. I miss you, buddy. I will love you always!!!!!!  This picture was taken of Casper about 7 months before he died.

Casper051711ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1971, the Apollo lunar-landing program, arguably the greatest scientific achievement and feat of exploration in human history, ended when the last three astronauts to travel to the moon splash down safely in the Pacific Ocean. Apollo 17 had lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, 10 days before.

In July 1969, after three years of preparation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) accomplished President John F. Kennedy’s goal of putting a man on the moon and safely returning him to Earth with Apollo 11. From 1969 to 1972, there were six successful lunar landing missions, and one aborted mission, Apollo 13. During the Apollo 17 mission, astronauts Eugene A. Cernan and Harrison H. Schmitt stayed for a record 75 hours on the surface of the moon, conducting three separate surface excursions in the Lunar Rover vehicle and collecting 243 pounds of rock and soil samples.

Although Apollo 17 was the last lunar landing, the last official Apollo mission was conducted in July 1975, when an Apollo spacecraft successfully rendezvoused and docked with the Soviet Soyuz 19 spacecraft in orbit around the Earth. It was fitting that the Apollo program, which first visited the moon under the banner of “We came in peace for all mankind,” should end on a note of peace and international cooperation.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Cats purr at 26 cycles per second, the same as an idling diesel engine.



One thought on “Two Years and a Million Tears Ago

  1. Galen and Laurel, Reading this was difficult. We too had to decide to let one of ours go and it’s just crushing. Hoping writing about it will give a little healing power.

    Happy Holidays and a very awesome New Year to you both.


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