Iggy Pup died today. We found out he had bone cancer in his jaw about three weeks ago, and that it had metastasized into his lungs. We have been hand-feeding him little pieces of roast beef, stewed chicken, hot dogs, apple fritters, mashed potatoes, and cheeseburgers, but he was losing weight rapidly, and yesterday he wouldn’t eat at all. We had his chest drained of fluid on Tuesday by a veterinary oncologist in Seattle, but it filled again on Wednesday, and last night he couldn’t breathe if he lay down. He spent the night standing while Pia and I took turns comforting him. When he drank from the water dish, the water turn red from the blood in his mouth.
This morning we brought him to our vet’s office and she ended his suffering while Pia and I held him. Iggy was, as usual, calm and peaceful. Our other dog Frankie was in the room, and he provided comfort to all three of us. I think being there will help Frank to understand what has happened.
My relationship with Iggy changed many things in my life – what I do for a living, how I think and feel about animals in general and dogs in particular, and even how I think and feel about people. Yes, he was a dog, and I am a human, yet I try to emulate him in many ways. I would be a better man if I could be as calm as he was, or as predictable, or as reliable. I feel very lucky to have known Iggy, and to have shared many wonderful adventures with him. Though he died at only seven, I knew him less than half of his life. I will remember him the rest of mine.