I’ve been waiting for the news to really hit home for two days now.  The vet called to tell me my dog Kelly has malingnant cancer and that it’s a matter of time.  I feel like a shallow jerk for saying no to his suggestion of chemotherapy for her in a town about a half hour’s drive away.  She’s just had surgery to remove a large lump in her mammary gland and is healing well it seems.  She has three different infections going on right now to fight and the cancer isn’t helping. 

She’s been a saviour to me.  I feel like hell for not being able to return the favour.  The vet says the lumps will reoccur within 2-3 months somewhere else, most likely the chest and lymph nodes.  The hardest part to get my head around is that it’s almost impossible to tell when she’s sick and suffering.  I have to watch for signs of deterioration to know when to let her go peacefully, put her out of her misery.  She’s not a whiner, though.  She had such a terrible uterine infection that she was dripping blood everywhere and never flinched or gave a sign that anything was wrong.  She’s just the sweetest natured dog in the world.  I am heavy with the responsibility of divining her time to leave this life.  How will I know?  I am afraid that I will keep her here too long, and afraid too that I will let her go too soon.  What an awesome responsibility to be in charge of deciding the life and death of another living soul, such a sweet soul as Kelly’s.  I fear greatly that she will suffer quietly for too long before I see what is happening to her. 

Love will have to be my guide. 



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I am an artist and curator at large in Hamilton, Ontario. Moreover, I am also a serious patron of the arts. It is not enough to work on my own art, though that is a vast and satisfying part of my life, I also deeply enjoy the company of other artists at all stages of their careers. Emerging artists, mid-career, and established artists all have their particular energies and visions to share that are fascinating to me. The art and literary worlds are my sources of entertainment. I spend my time and energy exploring and celebrating both.

11 thoughts on “time”

  1. Oh, Steph. I am so sorry. That is a very difficult decision and it does weigh heavily. I found with my dog that it was in her eyes. They just stopped looking happy and her tail wagged less. I’m sending you my love and asking that you trust your intuition. Love for each other and love for yourself will be your guide.
    Heart hugs,

  2. Apart from putting garlic in her food and to continue giving her the love she sought you out for, I can only wish I had better words of comfort for you. Poor Steph, we will send you all the love we can though this sad time.

  3. As you know we have just been through this exact same process, although with our beloved Skampy it was her inability to cope due to her age. She was as sweet spirited as your Kelly, had had many serious operations and come through fighting and behaving like a puppy again.
    All I can tell you is that you will know when it is the right time – love does that I think – the connection is so strong you can’t miss the unspoken signal.
    My love goes with you through this time as ever.

  4. You honor her with your love, and witness her life as it is fading. You watch over her and will listen with all your heart to know when it is time to let go, when that is the kindest choice — it is all we can do for those we love. It is enough, even though it doesn’t feel like it.

  5. So sorry, Steph, to hear about your furry companion. Our four legged companions suffer without complaint. They do have a way though of letting you know when the time comes and you will do right by her.


  6. This is so awful Steph and doubly so because I had exactly the same thing happen with Ash. He came along after Darryl died and then had malignant throat cancer and I had to wait and watch again, wait to know when the right time was to have him go to sleep. In some ways this happening helped me heal parts of me that could not be healed. I owe Ash a tremendous amount because he did what few others could do. He was with me continuously, loved me and helped me move on. It is really because of him that I am where I am now, doing things in the way I do them. I know he will be at heavens gate along with my Darryl, precious Monty Dog and so many other faithful companions.

  7. Oh, I am SO sorry. I’ve been in this place myself and it is just horrible. There is nothing I can say to make it better. But my prayers are with you both.

  8. I have had to put down 2 cats and both times were so hard but you have to decide that you can’t let them suffer just because you are suffering. It took me a long time to make the decisios and possibly I ended their lives needlessly early but when it came to the time for the second cat, on the day I had fixed with the vet, the cat woke me up by patting my nose as if to say, “come on, it’s time to go”. Even the vet was choked but he died in my arms before the second lethal injection. Do think about getting another one, maybe from a refuge, as soon as possible. It won’t be a replacement but it will be another furry life to look after

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