“Is Your Dog Dying?”

Someone asked me that a few weeks ago and my answer was “yes, yes, he’s dying.” I guess technically we’re all dying, but it is really hard to watch your dog die. Especially spending 14 amazing and transformative years with him. Yzie’s cancer is progressing, but he still seems ok – happy to wake up every morning, get love from people, spend time outside, and get treats. But there are visible signs that make it seem like he could turn for the worse at any moment. Having nearly a year to cope with this has made it more bearable sometimes, but other times its this slightly agonizing feeling lurking below my skin that manifests itself in random tears.

A recent family portrait with Yzie (photo by Lauren Lindley).

Do I buck up and ignore the pain and the looming decision of when to “put him down,” or do I consider it with every life decision I make? I’m off to Kenya in 2 weeks and one of my biggest fears is that his condition will worsen and he will die while I’m away. I worry about what that means for my husband to have to relay that information to me and ultimately make that decision. I worry about what that might mean for me knowing I wasn’t there in his final hours. But then I know, I need to keep living, because if even if I change all my plans, it will not change the outcome. And if anyone can hang on and fight cancer, it’s Yzie the 3-legged wonder dog from Lake Tahoe.

Yzie in his younger days after climbing Mt. Bierstadt (14,006′) in Colorado.

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