The Most Difficult Post



I am writing this the day after.  I don’t know if I am going to be able to get thru it.  This may end up short and I will write more later.  But for now, everything is still just *raw*.

We had to say goodbye to Butchey yesterday morning.  Things took a very quick turn for the worst on Sunday night.  I lost my Dad to cancer 12 years ago.  He worked a full day on a Friday and was gone by 4:00 am the following Monday.  All of a sudden everything just sped up.  It was the same with Butchey.

An update on what happened since our last post in July.  The front right leg limp that had developed in July had troubled him since then.  It started the beginning of July, and was sporadic.  Within a few weeks he would not bear weight on that leg.  Balancing weight on two left legs proved difficult and his rear left (his only rear leg) starting twisting in.  His oncologist did X-Rays on the front right leg.  Nothing.  His primary vet palpated his entire front right leg and shoulder.  Nothing.  He would not wince, would not flinch, not a growl nor a whimper of pain.  Nothing.  Arthritis was ruled out (maybe slight, but not enough to not want to bear weight on the leg).  He had full range of motion of his neck and legs.  Everyone was perplexed and by ruling out everything else, it was thought to be a soft tissue injury.  Which would have made sense, because he could be potentially re-injuring the area where he had no right rear leg to compensate and rest the front.  He did have muscle atrophy in the front shoulder.  So we took him to aquatic therapy for nonimpact exercise.  Same evaluation there, no showing of pain what-so-ever.  But Butchey got to swim, which he loved!!  He stopped doing stairs at all, even with assistance, and we resorted to putting sod out on our back deck which was only one step down from our kitchen for him to use as a potty area.  (We did this before when he was recuperating from amputation surgery.)

He had already been on Deramaxx as part of his cancer treatment.  We put him on Tramadol.  Then added Gabapentin for a nerve blocker.  Then took him off Deramaxx and switched to Metacam for an NSAID.  His holistic vet added in a TCM treatment of Yunnan Baiyao.  Things seemed to improve a little here and there.

Saturday, August 31, he started with this weird breathing thing at bed time.  At first I thought it was reverse sneezing, which he had done before, but it continued way too long (about 2 minutes) and it was different.  Whole body movement, but he never lost consciousness and it eventually subsided and then he would do one every 10-15 seconds or so until it stopped.  He had another episode of that the following week, but it didn’t last nearly as long and wasn’t as much with the full body movement.

Then the following Tuesday, he fell down half a flight of stairs.  My mouth opened in horror but no scream would come out.  He had started doing stairs again but still needed assistance to get down the stairs in his harness.  But he either forgot or really had to pee and went charging down before I could grab the handle on his harness.  I was horror struck.  A call to vet, extra Tramadol and iced his legs and shoulders.  We had to cancel his aquatic appointment, which was a huge disappointment because he had done so well after his last appointment.  But by the next day, he was up hopping around, begging for food at dinner table and seemed to be getting around okay.

By Saturday he had gotten a little less mobile, however.  Taking more to his dog bed, just outside our kitchen.  (Still had to be near and close to the center of activity, of course!)  Then on Sunday, he was real subdued in the morning.  Sunday afternoon is when he took the first seizure.  At first I heard an odd bang from where he was lying down and went running in and discovered him in full body gyration and foaming at the mouth.  I’ve never seen a seizure before, and at first I wasn’t sure what was going on.  I thought I was losing him right then and there, but then he came to.  With a total WTF look on his face.  We called the ER Vet and gave his background.  The vet on call said the cancer had most likely spread to his brain.  They said he might not have another, or it might be a few days before had another.  But the time in between would eventually get shorter and shorter.  But either way, time was short, we would have a decision to make and to spoil the heck out of him for now.  Little did they know how spoiled he already was, but if there was room for more spoiling, then giddy up we were game.

We were stunned.  Stupidly stunned.  Of course I started googling and remembered what I had read on Hemangiosarcoma before and that seizures were there as a symptom. It just was never on anyone’s radar.  We had mainly focused on the lung mets.  We always figured that is what would be the tipping point.  His cough had subsided after the two chemo treatments in June and July and then it was back again.  We knew Oscar and Felix were growing, and growing more quickly than before.  They had become Chemo resistant and the last two rounds didn’t do much.  We would watch and see how often he would cough and if anything came out of his mouth.  Last Saturday just after his dinner, he coughed something up on the floor.  I wiped it up and thought it looked like blood, but he had JUST walked away from his food bowl and it could have been food juice.  I couldn’t be sure, but nothing more came out of his coughs on Saturday night or on Sunday.

My husband went immediately to the local butcher shop and we ALL ate like kings and queens that night.  King Butchey had a huge NY strip steak and a half for dinner, entirely fork fed.  We enjoyed a romp in the back yard and he even chased a ball around, which he had not done in quite a while.  Ironically he was getting around pretty well, putting more weight on the front right leg than he had.  We planned a call to vets for 1st thing Monday morning to try to figure something out before the next one hit, which we stupidly thought might be a couple of days.  Wrong.  8 hours later another one hit.  This time we saw it from the start.  It started with a quick head snap and teeth bared and air snapping.  It lasted about 2 minutes of full body gyration and then another 2 minutes or so of open eyed unconsciousness.  After our shock wore off, we agreed we had made that awful decision.  If these were going to continue like that, we could not let him live like this and that it would need to be done in the morning.  He had another seizure, his third, about 5 hours after that.  We placed an emergency call to his oncologist, who concurred with the ER Vet.  Seizure medicine might do something, but no guarantee.  Especially given the sudden and quick onset.  We left for our regular vet calling them in route as they would just be opening by the time we got there.  We just needed to stop his pain before another seizure hit.  He never had the fourth seizure.

Afterwards his vet reminded me that Gabapentin is an anti-seizure drug.  So perhaps that slowed the onset.  We wondered if the cancer had spread up the spine to the brain and perhaps that had something to do with the front right leg limping.  After we left the office, my husband & I recalled the so called reverse sneezing incident.  We will never know.  And did it really matter?  Our boy was gone now, he was free from his pain.

I guess I did write a lot.  My reason for detail is part catharsis and part hope that these details might help another dog and their owner in their own journey.  Especially at the end, where it is obviously the most difficult.

It has been said that Butchey Hudson had a lot of heart.  In the end his heart was the strongest.  We cannot believe our sweet boy with his amazing soul is gone.  We cannot believe we will never kiss his face again, or rub his ears, or rub his belly, or scratch his bum ever again.  Time and death make fools of us all.  We all knew this day would come.  We had accepted it, we had planned for it, but it never makes it any easier.  Even all the anticipatory grief I experienced over the last 2 years or so doesn’t make this grief any easier.  He was here one moment and now he is gone forever.  I know the bond lasts forever, I know the love never ends.  But all we feel right now is a whole in hearts the size of his amazingly huge Golden goofy spirit.

And now that is all I can really write at the moment.  I can give you the details, but I can’t do the emotions.

Butchey Hudson

October 15, 2004 – September 9, 2013

26 months of ampuversaries

We will love you forever




19 thoughts on “The Most Difficult Post

  1. Nancy,
    I am so so sorry about your loss of Butchey. He was an inspiration to me & Sassy. I was hoping he would beat this stupid disease. I know the emotions are raw, they say it gets better. I hope so. I will personally admit it sucks. I break down crying at work (fun when you try to hide it from customers on the phone at least its not in person). I will be thinking of you & your family

    Michelle & Angel Sassy

  2. My heart breaks for all of you, I’m so terribly sorry you all went through such rough times in the last few days of what was an amazing, incredible life.

    Sweet Butchey will be deeply missed by all of us in this community and beyond. You all led such an amazing, powerful fight against this nasty disease and for that we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for sharing your journey with us. For it’s your story that has and will always bring comfort to others looking for a ray of hope during a very dark time.

    Many hugs and condolences coming your way.

  3. This loss is hard one for us all, Nancy. If we feel such sorrow over losing Butchey, what must yours be like? I am so sorry. I know how you miss him. I know how Lola must miss him. I am so happy that little T got to know him, even if only for a year. You have such special pictures of them together that she will grow up enjoying.

    The hole in your heart will fill with Butchey’s spirit and the love he showed you. Your family were so lucky to have him, and he was equally lucky to wind up with you. He was perfect. Smarter than smart. Indulged but not entitled. A true gentleman and the handsomest Golden I’ve ever seen.

    Safe travels, Butchey Hudson. Please let your family know you’ve arrived and are looking out for them. Keep Lola in line, and make sure little T is always safe.


  4. Thinking of you during this difficult time. Even though you know, nothing prepares you for this loss and it sems so much harder than any you have experienced before. What wonderful memories you have that you can hold close.

    You are being watched over by some wonderful guardian angels.

    Blessed be-
    Luanne and Spirit Shooter

  5. Inspiratin…beacon of hope…brave…courageous. and hige, huge heart…..that doesn’t even begin to describe sch a gentle soul.

    I’m so sorry about your dad’s passing too. This crappy disease jusr sucks.and tries to make up it’s own rules.

    But I think Butchey Hudson…IF he had to go…decided to go out doing it his way! Vibrant hours before…eatng steak…playing with his loved ones…no real sufferng…just livng in the moment and enjoying al of the long and spoiling ….and being hand fed his steak!

    K’ve always s enjoyed readng his updates, celebrating his victories and seeing his wonderful pics He is truly a tripawd hero.. Amd your devotiont and dedication are a stellar example of the positive difference that can make.

    Butchey Hudson (always love his name) Lives a life of meaning…a life of hope…and life with deep purpose. He has touched each of us deeply and will NEVER e forgotten.

    I apoloize…..such comuter crash difficulties….I do wish could help ease your pain, but kmow that’s impossible.

    I’ll write more later.

    Just kow we are all here for you. We understand as best anyone can. Butchey sits safely in your neart and he has you safely in his neart.

    Surro ding you with love and peace,

    Sally and Happy Hannah

  6. Oh I’m so sorry about Butchey, there are just no words in these situations. Only time will allow you to remember him and smile with out a heavy chest and tears in your eye. Our babies come and go and leave such an imprint on our lives.

  7. I am so sorry. Sometimes words just don’t express what you feel in your heart and Butchey won my heart early on. Butchey’s blog is a tribute to him and his spirit lives on. You have a special angel watching over you.

  8. Dearest Nancy and Brett,
    For whatever the reason I woke a few minutes before 4am and something told me to read FB. While Butcheys cousin Charlie layed next to me, running in his sleep and snoring I read Butcheys Final Days blog. As I read tears swelled up and the I found myself hugging Charlie tighter and tighter. Thanks to you and Brett Charlie is our first golden and yes it is extremely hard to not spoil him. They fill your heart with love and goofiness. When I we came for Tessa’s birthday and Butchey did not lay across me playing my auntie I knew this would be the last time I would see my goofie nephew. I will recall with enormous gratitude that this goofie golden allowed me to share my love for him by continuously bouncing on the guest bed to wake me up, sleeping with me, licking me on my hand non-stop but most of all shoving me into the kitchen corner wall while playing ball. Butchey Hudson may you now rest in peace….find Waldo and be his doggie grandson. He too will spoil you, just like he did with the rest of his family.
    May God Bless you sweet boy!
    Auntie, Uncle John and Charlie

  9. Nancy & Brett,
    I know your pain is so raw and your world is so empty without Butchey. I feel your pain. I remember the phone call with you about deciding on Butchey’s amputation, like it was yesterday. He gave a great fight against this terrible disease. What a great life you gave Butchey! It’s hard not to think about all the bad that has happened in this time… But what has helped me (some) is to think about the GREAT life you gave Butchey. All the GREAT things he did from competing to swimming to just “being Butchey”. Many, many hugs to you all…

    Tracy, Angel Maggie & Haley

  10. I’m a teary mess for you right now. How awful. But 26 months of ampuversaries?! WOW! That is a long time and I understand what you mean of nearly 2 years worth of anticipatory grief. To have it end so suddenly… but certainly not without some amount of prep or planning or watching. He was under EXCELLENT care. It must give you some sense of relief knowing he never had that 4th seizure. Man, these second cancers and sneak attacks scare me. Awful. HUGS to you and your pack. I ache for the emptiness he leaves behind. May his blankets and toys smell of him and remind you of his best days.
    ~ Katy & Jackson

  11. I’m so sorry to hear Butchey’s journey has come to an end. Even though we all prepare for this day, you’re right: it is never easy. Butchey was such a great dog, and a great big brother to Lola and Tessa. You gave him an absolutely wonderful life. Butchey was a very brave boy, and his memory will never fade here. Isn’t it so amazing that there are so many people here who are mourning his loss, even though they never met him? That is quite a legacy. Your boy was that special.

  12. I am so sorry for your loss. There are no words to make the pain go away, but know that there are many people thinking of you in this time of grief. You were a great pawrent and gave Butchey the best life he could have ever wished for.

  13. I’m sorry to hear of your loss. We all prepare for his but are never truly ready. Know that you and your family are thought of at this difficult time.
    Esther and Snoop

  14. I’m so sorry for your loss. It brings tears to my eyes as all of us will go through this awful experience in one way or another. I’m sure Butchey is up above running around like the good ole days, happy as can be. Remember the good times as I know he is too.

  15. It never gets easier… reading these final posts.. it hurts… it’s painful and we cry with you. We mourn with you. We understand the ache, the hole, the lonliness and the tears that will flow. We understand the want, the desire, the need to just kiss that brow one more time. We understand the peace that you feel because you know that goofy guy is not in pain anymore, and he is running around the meadows by the Bridge with all the other goofballs there! We can smile with you imagining them all at play, healthy and strong, vibrant and full of gusto.
    take care.. you are in our thoughts…
    Christine….. with Franklin in her heart♥

  16. I just wnted to add one more thing to my previous post. You made passing reference to making a “wrong decision” because Sweet Butchey had another seizure. I guarantee you….guarantee you….Butchey Hudsn would GLADY have gone through another seizure to have the splendid tume he did with you that evening! He KNEW ne was givng you a wonderful treasured memory to make you smile AND he got the steak while doing it!!

    Butchey Hudson touched us all. Your love and devotion to him is, not only a tribute to you, but a tribute to one of the fnest dogs in the land!

    Maynyou soon have some hapy memories seep into yojr wounded heart. That’s what Butchey would want. He thinks of you with a big ole’ grin on his face and a forever wagging tail!! What memory of him…..something that he did all the tme..-would make you smile? Think…it’s there…..yeah, that’s it…that’s the one! He likes it when you smile.

    Holding you in our hearts,

    Sally and Happy Hannah

  17. Nancy,
    I am so very sorry. You are right about the anticipatory grief not preparing you for when the time actually comes, and my heart breaks for you now. Butchey really was such an inspiration for those of us who joined this site confused, scared and angry. His story helped us to make hard decisions and they way that he thrived despite being dealt such a serious health issue allowed us to see that their is life after diagnosis and amputation. Our community grieves with you tonight. Please know that he will always be remembered. Always. Many hugs to you.

  18. Nancy,
    I am just catching up on this – ironically, I was in Boston for work.
    I am so very very sorry for your loss. I will always think of Butchey fondly as the one who sent us Barney.
    I know it doesn’t bring much comfort, but your boy fought a great fight. He will forever be an inspiration around here.
    I am sending you tons of love and strength at this difficult time and Jill sends kitten kisses.
    All my love,

  19. I have been putting off reading this blog ever since I saw your posting on facebook. I knew this one would be hard for me to read, because I loved to read about Butchey and Lola so very much. He was so special to me, like Abby, Gayle, Lincoln, Rumbles, Dakota and Cooper were. I knew I would sob like a baby as I read this, and sure enough, no matter how long I put it off, here I am, crying like a baby as Buster snuggles me. God, I hate cancer and what it puts us through! The only good thing it has sent us is the friendships that we have built through this website and for that I am thankful, because without it, I would have never learned about sweet Butchey.

    I am so sorry for your loss, and know that I have been grieving with you ever since I saw your facebook post. Give Lola some extra special love and give the hairless pup extra hugs.

    Jenna and Spirits Chili Dawg and Finchy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *