Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Steeler

Words really can't express my sorrow, but since I guess blogs are for expressing yourself, I'm giving it a try. This morning at about 3:45 a.m., we lost our beloved boy Steeler. He was 9 years old. We had no idea, but apparently Steeler had been battling cancer for at least the last several months. He showed no signs of being ill at all until Tuesday evening, when he seemed to have some mild stomach discomfort after dinner. Since intestinal issues were nothing new to Steeler, we thought nothing of it and went for our normal evening walk. He seemed fine until bedtime, when he became unusually lethargic. We debated on whether to call the vet, but there weren't many clear symptoms, so we decided to wait until morning. At 2:00 a.m., I awoke to Steeler's rapid breathing as he lay next to me in bed. Our vet wasn't taking emergency calls, so we took him to a 24-hour clinic in Topeka. He walked into the office under his own power, but his lethargy was completely out of character. Within minutes of starting the exam, the vet already knew what we couldn't even begin to comprehend. Just after the vet started an IV and was preparing to do an x-ray, Steeler's breathing stopped. The vet was able to restart his heart momentarily, but the effort was futile. Our dear canine son passed away as we watched helplessly.

We asked the vet to do an autopsy, which found the cancer throughout his spleen and into his liver. The cancer had apparently caused a lesion on his intestines, which caused peritonitis, which is generally fatal in dogs and often fatal in humans. We were comforted somewhat by the fact that had we brought Steeler to the vet at bedtime 4 hours before, the ultimate result would have been the same.

The vet suggested we bring Steeler's body home so that Celtic and Hope could see him and understand why he wasn't coming back. Hope inspected him carefully, but surprisingly, Celtic took a very quick sniff and then darted away from his body. I suppose he understands that Steeler is gone, but I'm sure he is confused as to why he left the house alive and returned in such a different state. Chad thinks maybe Celtic already sensed that Steeler wasn't well, which may be true since Celtic is a very sensitive boy. Regardless, every time we walk in the door, Celtic sits and watches it, as if waiting for Steeler to come in behind us. I know Celtic will miss his brother every bit as much as we will. In their 9 years on earth, they never spent a night apart.

The pain is so great right now I feel as though my heart will never recover. I know our lives will never quite be the same. We are trying to be thankful for 9 wonderful years with Steeler, and that we were able to give him such a loving home and pampered life. We are thankful that his battle with cancer was not long and agonizing, and that we weren't left to make the decision to have him euthanized. We are so amazingly thankful for Hope, since without her companionship, I'm not sure that Celtic would survive without his brother and best friend. Finally, we are thankful for each other and for our faith. Even though we don't understand it right now, God has a purpose and this is all part of His perfect plan.

In Memory of Steeler Swann Luce
June 26, 1997-September 20, 2006

11 comments:

Crabby Rangoon said...

Chad and Kim--We will be praying for you guys.

Anonymous said...

I am just so sad right now (3 am) and I know that you have a hole in your heart that Steeler filled like no other. As I head off to bed with my dogs, I will say a prayer for all of you. I forgot that you had adopted Hope. I don't know the right words to say, but I love you all. Meg

Suzanne Gaut said...

Kim I am in tears at my computer. I am SO SORRY for you and Chad. You are all in my prayers.
Love,
Suzanne

Anonymous said...

Kim, I am so sad for you! Being a dog lover and owner myself, my heart is breaking. Take care of yourselves and Celtic and Hope.
Mandi Dow

Cindy Weaverling said...

Kim & Chad,
My thoughts and prayers go out to you both.
Cindy

Anonymous said...

Kim,
I was saddened to to read of Steeler's passing. I know what a special boy he was to you and many others. He couldn't help but be special right? My prayers are with you and Chad and also that the other dogs will be comforted as time passes.
Love, Christi Hinkle

Wendy said...

Kim,

As you well know, I just went through this and I am so sorry for your loss. Next Tuesday will be three months since we lost Winnifred and I can say that it does get easier. I still say everyday how much I miss her. Pete still cuts up a bit of meat from our meal for her and leaves it on the plate. So sad! I am praying for you guys.

kjl said...

Thank you all so much for your kind words. It is so comforting to know that other people understand what we're going through. People who don't have dogs just can't understand what an important part of our lives they are!

Erin Pivonka said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I have had Chester, whose almost 11 for half of my life. I can only imagine how hard it must be to lose someone who has been such a big part of your life. Know that you all are in my thoughts and prayers and I love you!
Erin

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear about your loss. Take comfort in the fact that Steeler's time was spent with the two most loving owners he could have ever hoped to have.

- Ryan Pivonka

Anonymous said...

Dear Kim,

I'm so sorry for your loss, I can't IMAGINE what you have been going thru in the last week! I know there are some people who would say "it was just a dog" but NO WAY MAN, Steeler, Hope and Celtic are your CHILDREN and always have been. I know you have never met my canine child B'Elanna, but I can't imagine the pain I'd feel if I lost her and I can't imagine the pain you have felt at his loss!

What a great, wonderful dog!!! I know that he is chasing squirrles and baying loudly in heaven!!! (yup, I believe dogs go to heaven!) Perhaps a young soul who has already passed too early needed a companion and God knew that Steeler would be a good choice.

My thoughts and prayers are with you, Chad and your canine kids,

Jill T.