Losing My Pain Pal
My husband and I rescued my boxer Cassius when he was about four years old from somebody who was using him to breed and was neglecting him emotionally. We opened his small gated yard that he called home and Cassius never looked back when he followed us to our car. He was a 130+ pound lapdog. While he had his own demons from the experiences he faced before we were able to take custody of him, his devotion to me was beyond any dog I have ever had before in my life. I have chronic migraines, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, and anxiety issues. Cassius never left my side whenever I had any kind of flare. Even though he was never professionally trained as a service dog or for emotional support services, they all came to him naturally.
My personal weighted blanket in dog form
While he was a Boxer, he was not crazy energetic and definitely enjoyed his new life of being inside in the air conditioning and cuddling with me on the couch or in the bed. When we first rescued him, he was heartworm positive so we went through a few rounds of antibiotic treatments to get him healthy again. Since he was so large, I went ahead and started him on hip and joint supplements to attempt to prevent arthritis and hip dysplasia. He was my own personal weighted blanket in all forms because he would crawl on top of me and lay there. At the beginning, he weighed just as much as I did and my husband thought him laying on top of me was crazy, but it was comforting for us both.
The start of our worries
One morning, we woke up and Cassius’ back end was out. My husband had to take a day off of work and when the vet’s office opened that morning we carried him into the office. He was not crying in pain and was sitting up on his front legs, looking around at us and the office staff. Our vet said we could treat him since he seemed to be so very much with us still. When they did the X-Rays, they found that my preventative medications had worked; Cassius did not have arthritis or hip dysplasia but they believed he was having nerve issues in his spine. They gave him a large shot of cortisone steroid shot and a week worth of the steroid pills, plus tramadol for his pain. The treatment did the trick for a good while. I had my buddy back and he seemed to be doing fine.
Out of the blue, Cassius started experiencing weakness in the muscles in his back legs. I would occasionally have to help him get up or go down the stairs outside to go the restroom. Again he was not whining about being in a lot of pain but we still gave him the pain medicine the vet provided for him just in case. Over one night, his back end just completely went out on us. My husband carried him outside and when he set him in the grass, Cassius peed laying right there. I told my husband to stay home and I called the vet when they opened. My best friend met us at the vet. This time, there was nothing they could do to help him.
Losing my pain pal
At 11 years old, my Cassius was out of lifelines. I laid on the floor of the vet’s office with Cassius as they gave him each medicine to relax him and then to put him to sleep. I gently loved on him, even after the light was gone from his eyes. The hardest thing to do was to leave my best pain pal ever there with the vet. I signed paperwork for them to make his paw print in plaster and to cremate him for me. I spent several days occasionally looking for him when I would first wake up or when I was completely miserable. That type of companion is so difficult to lose and almost impossible to replace. As we finish rebuilding from Harvey, we will have a shelf dedicated to my lost pain pal that will include his urn, paw print, photo, and cards from the vet, crematory, and some close friends. I am still not over the loss of my Cassius and my husband’s dog is also grieving in his own way. I hope to eventually find another pain pal but I am not sure how another one may ever be able to live up to the legacy left by Cassius.
Do you have a pain pal that helps you with your chronic pain? Have you lost one yet?