Goodbye Willie


July 3, 2006 – April 15, 2019

That’ll do, Willie. That’ll do.

I can not write more right now. Not now. I can’t even find the perfect photo to include. Not now. But I will have lots to say, when the miasma of this pain has cleared. So, so much to say about life and death and dogs and the biological miracle that is our relationship with them.  And about Willie.  Our Silly Billy Willie Boy.

We are bereft, that’s all I can say now.

Here is what I sent friends yesterday morning, on Monday the 15th of April, 2019. I’m including it here, because so many of you feel like friends, even though we’ve never met.

We wanted to let you know that we are putting Willie down tonight. His cancer has defied all expectations, and in spite of chemotherapy and a gazillion other efforts, has spread to his thorax. His chest had over 2 liters of fluid in it on Friday morning; that’s over a half a gallon. We had him sedated so that it could be drained to give him some relief, but it is filling up again, and will continue to do so. Thus, over the course of one day, Willie’s prognosis went from 4-6 months with chemo to “a few weeks” IF he is sedated and his chest cavity is drained every few days or so. We have, after agonized thought, decided that enough is enough.

What was first perhaps “kennel cough” became “pneumonia” then “primary adenocarcinoma” with a single mass in the lung, to “metastatic pulmonary adenocarcinoma” with multiple tumors to a cancer, that within two weeks–and even after chemo and acupuncture and magic mushrooms and best food ever and god knows how many supplements–spread out of his lungs into his chest cavity.

Willie has been sedated 5 or 6 times, which makes him feel awful for 2 days, has had as many CT scans, multiple ultrasounds and Xrays, needle aspirations, fluid drained, and blood drawings. The best possible prognosis is a few weeks, and putting him through yet more procedures for a few more weeks feels wrong.

Tonight two wonderful vets, John Dally and Carrie Donahue, who have cared for Willie over many years, will come out to the farm to put Willie down tonight at 5. We will be burying him in the yard.

We are going to be pretty quiet for a few days–think wounded mammal in a cave. We will cherish any responses, but please understand if neither of us responds for a while. This is a tough one.

Love, and gratitude for your support,

Trisha and Jim

Today, April 16th, the morning after, we are taking Maggie for a long walk in the woods. She is a mess. So are we. We will find our way through this together.

Off you go Willie. Say hi to your Uncle Luke.