Thank you for being a Gert
If you’re here, you have likely already read the post on instagram, so some of this will be repetitive. But it helped me to write everything down, so here it is, the whole long story of this weekend, of how Gert came to be a part of our family, everything she accomplished, and where we go from here. I have labeled each section, so if you don’t want to hear the details of the weekend, you can skip that.
This weekend/saying goodbye
We knew she had cancer when we adopted her back in April, but it was rather slow moving and as you all know, she was a force of nature when she wanted to be, so we really thought we had at least a few more months. Over the past 2 weeks or so I noticed she was slowing down a bit, but I wasn’t overly concerned because she still had moments where she would play and she had a voracious appetite. Even on Friday morning she seemed ok, if a bit tired. But by Friday night when we came home from dinner she couldn’t walk. We took her to AMC emergency hospital, where they did an abdominal ultrasound and said an extremely low platelet count, and lymphocytes everywhere. The next day we took her back to the oncology specialists, who ran even more tests and confirmed that the cancer was everywhere. Our only option was to start her on steroids, but given her high disease burden and low platelet count they were extremely concerned about tumor lysis and/or an internal bleed, and she’d have to be hospitalized for a few days.
We simply couldn’t take the chance that she would pass at the hospital, alone and scared. We opted to bring her home for a last few days. Over the next 24 hours she declined rapidly, unable to walk more than a few steps if we stood her up, unable to potty, and unable to get comfortable or sleep. Rather than put her through another sleepless night, we opted to let her go last night, in the comfort of home, in our arms, with her sisters by her side.
We are still struggling to make sense of everything. It seems impossible that she was just here, playing with the puppies a few days ago, and now she’s gone. Even so, we couldn’t bear to see her suffer one more minute, and we are grateful we were able to keep that short for her. On her last day, her whole family gathered around her, and her best human friend Paula of Prodigy Puppy, who spent at minimum 3 days a week with her, was able to come and say goodbye. She was filled with love and food. She ate meatball pizza, peanut butter, rotisserie chicken, filet mignon, ice cream, and lamb cheeseburgers. We wish we had more time, but Gert was never one for patience.
The story of Gert fka True Blue
Gert came to us back in January as a temporary foster. I picked her up from the ACC on January 2nd with the name True Blue. She was pulled by the amazing rescuer Marisa Grimshaw (Lilybug’s mom) and the team at Mr. Bones and Co., at the recommendation of her guardian angel volunteer from ACC, Carol. She was supposed to move to another foster after a week, and we were only supposed to be a stop on her journey. After seeing how she struggled with stairs, we agreed to keep her longer as a foster since we have an elevator. We helped her recover from extensive surgeries to be spayed and remove multiple tumors. She was nothing but love. Over the next few months, she fell deeply in love with Eric. She also accepted me as her competition for his affection. She loved Loosey, and even learned to love crazy Penny. In April, her scheduled dental surgery was denied due to the lymphoma, and she was given a year, more or less, to live. We adopted her and changed her name to Gertrude, and she was ours. Thank you to Mr. Bones and Co. for entrusting us with that amazing privilege.
9 months and 4 days of Gert
In the end, she spent 9 months and 4 days with us. In that time, she was an integral part of our family. She spent 3 days a week in “girl gang” play sessions with Penny, Loosey, and their best friend Kira, where she always chose to play with the puppies, tugging with them and trying to chomp their legs, playing dirty by pretending to give up and then grabbing them with her teeth from below.
She romped in the snow, and participated in multiple professional photo shoots. She wore coordinated outfits with her sisters. She begged for food like a little gremlin and almost always got what she wanted. She went to the park, which she loved, and the beach, which she hated. She chewed up our table leg for no apparent reason. She patrolled the door and barked at every hallway noise with her weird little howly boofs.
She had a party in her honor for her adoption/birthday, full of food (including a homemade pup-cake) and Golden Girls themed props, and lots of people and presents just for her. She went to her Grandparents’ house and rolled around in the grass like she didn’t have a care in the world. She acted like we were trying to murder her every time we bathed her or put boots on her. She slept in a $200 Casper bed every night (thank you Foster Dogs).
She was licked for a cumulative 1,000 hours (probably) by Penny, and never complained. She went to a Bed and Breakfast and napped in a king size bed. She destroyed tons and tons of toys, methodically and meticulously. She visited the BARK headquarters, and chose more toys to destroy. She went to the Chloe Kardoggian celebration of life fundraiser, met lots of celebridogs, and threw a fit every time her dad stepped more than 2 feet away from her.
She helped Eric propose, and acted like an absolute diva about wearing her t-shirt, probably because she was pissed he wasn’t proposing to her. She breathed her hot, disgusting, vile old lady breath onto and into anyone’s mouth who would let her, and she covered us in smelly, slimy kisses every day. She became the face of our new line of Buy Pizza Not Puppies campaign, which raised thousands of dollars for dogs in need of homes. She had songs made up about her every day. She made thousands of people on the internet fall in love with her. Not bad for 9 months and 4 days.
Where do we go from here?
I was dreading writing this post, but in looking through and gathering all the photos and videos on my phone of her that I love (558 and counting), I am surprisingly dry-eyed and clear-headed. There will not be one minute that goes by that I don’t miss her, or that I don’t wish we had more time. But we knew from the moment we met her that we would never have enough time together. We never do in life. But man, did we try to make the most of what we had. I could focus on what we missed out on together. We never had a Halloween (which she would have hated, because I was going to dress them as the golden girls, she’s such a Sofia), or a Thanksgiving (she would have looooved Thanksgiving), and we didn’t get to celebrate a second Truesday, or even 1 year together. But luckily, Gert didn’t know any of that. All she knew was that she was part of our family and she was loved. Looking at everything she accomplished and how happy she was, I don’t feel sad. I don’t regret breaking my heart by falling in love and losing her. When our hearts are ready, we will be back to fostering, ideally seniors and pits and mamas, and if the situation presents itself we would be open to another fospice.
Even now I feel her in my heart, and I see her judging me from that wonderful Muttsterpieces painting hanging in my living room. I’m sure she’s in heaven talking shit about me with Chloe Kardoggian already, bemoaning how she would have made a better wife for Eric. Gert, if you can somehow read this (yes, I know you can’t read, please stop rolling your eyes at me), know we love you and miss you. If you see Mr. Bones, please tell him thank you from all of us. Thank you, so much, for being our Gert.