What a Great Life

DSC_6831 DSC_6651  DSC_6603 We haven’t updated the blog in a while because we’ve been pretty busy – busy trying to make sure that Billy had the time of his life, during the last days of his life. Billy passed away unexpectedly April 7th, ten days before his 6th birthday. He was happy, and he lived – right up to the last day, the last minute. He passed away, quickly and painlessly, while snuggling with us in bed. I don’t think that we or Billy could imagine a better way to go.

Now, in our last blog post, we brought news of how great Billy was doing, so we’ve got some dots to connect here. We found out March 20th that Billy’s cancer had made its way into his lungs, which is the usual outcome for osteosarcoma, and the worst case scenario. His cancer had also begun to metastasize in a more unusual way, popping up in tumors on his skin. Our vets hadn’t ever even seen this type of cancer spread to the skin. (I guess we always knew that Billy was an unusual dog; we’re not quite sure where he got that trait – certainly not from us). Besides being busy spending time with Billy, I think we also had a hard time bringing ourselves to share the news on the blog.

The next couple of weeks we tried to do whatever we could to bring joy to Billy’s life, since we knew his days were numbered. He got lots of treats and canned dog food; we had all day backyard cookouts and took plenty of trips to the park and beach; and, of course, gave him endless love and attention. We’re lucky that Billy was so easy to please: feed me, love me, play with me. By the middle of March – a month and a half after his amputation – Billy was able to run around just like he always did. Boy, did he impress us! He kept going, and going, and going. But as time went on, he began displaying behavior that really worried us – he started turning away certain food and treats. This is something that a healthy Billy would never do; I mean, this guy ate lemons! But he never gave up on food completely, he just got a bit picker. While he used to be happy to eat carrots, now he wanted pork; a dry bisquit used to be enough to activate his salivary glands, now only a soft and smelly treat would do. We thought that maybe, just maybe, Billy was just trying to milk everything he could out of his illness. He knew that we’d do anything to find something that he’d like to eat. That sneaky little boy.

On the day before Billy died, we spent 8 hours cooking a 6-pound pork roast on the grill. We had such a great day, hanging out in the back yard, relaxing in the sun, and drooling over the smell of our flame-kissed meat (yes, even we were drooling). Billy was visited by many of our neighbors, and some even brought him treats. After a perfect day, and one last night of snuggling, Billy must have thought that there could be no better time to go.

When he suddenly died, we were in shock. Although we knew that he wouldn’t be here forever, he seemed to be doing so well, and we thought we still had some time with him. We expected to have more of a warning. But we soon realized what a gift Billy had given to us – not only in his life, but also in his death. Billy spared us the difficulty of having to watch him suffer, and then deciding that it was time to end his life. He was a happy dog right up to the last day of his life. We are so lucky to have had Billy as a best friend.

The day we found out the Billy’s cancer was spreading, we found a photographer who we could afford, and who could meet us that day in a nearby park, to take some some family photos. We’d been talking about doing this for a while; it was about time. This was the first day since Billy’s surgery that he really let loose, and ran around like the maniac that he was. Here are some pictures from that fun day, and soon we’ll follow up with some of our all time favorites from Billy’s wonderful life.


Running boy       DSC_6603


DSC_6651       DSC_6765


DSC_6634       DSC_6682_3


DSC_6650       DSC_6637


DSC_6747       DSC_6576   DSC_6831

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15 Responses to What a Great Life

  1. trituck says:

    I’m so very sorry to hear of the loss of your beautiful boy, Billy.
    But you are very right….he had quality of life until he passed quickly and quietly.
    The photos you posted are beautiful and a testament to the love you all had for each other.
    Many hugs
    Linda and Tucker

    • SuperMaggie says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Linda and Tucker. We are so happy that we had those photos taken when we did. We miss Billy, but we try to focus on the positive – what a great time we all had together – not always easy.

  2. benny55 says:

    I can’t even believe what I’m reading! I can’t! I’m in shock. I’m sick to my stomach.

    I know I’m not exactly saying comforting things right now.

    I’m also in awe of the grace and “not of this world” way you have articultated your lovng, fun bond with this magnificent, splendid, brilliantly funny guy named Billy.

    And yes, the way he transitioned out of his earth clothes onto the next phase of his journey was…..well…..just sooo Billy. Ues, it was a gift the way he handled it for both of you.

    My time with my Happy Hannah is very, very short now…and what I wouldn’t give to have Billy show her how effortlessly he crossed over so I wouldn’t have to be “making the call” and counting the minutes. While this was such a shock for you the way Billy decided he had completed his soul’s purpose that day…it was the best crossing a pup could give to himself and you two…the two he loved more than anything!! And boy oh boy, did he know he was loved!!

    Please forgive me for making this short. I’ve loved Billy since the day you introduced us to this special boy and the special, so very special bond you shared!
    Your grief is beyond words and your heartache is still so raw. Your ability to write this blog with the INCREDIBLE focus on all thst was good and wo derful…which was everything…speaks volumes about the two of you…the three of you–as enlightened souls with a wisdom formulated over lifetimes of learning.

    I will write more later. I just want to thank you so kuch for sharing this jour ey with us. I’m se dingyou .lve, peace and nothing but the fondest memories of a life filled with more joy than ne coud ever imagine. May I have one millionth of your courage and grace.

    Holdin you gently in our hearts.

    Sally and Happy Hannah

    • SuperMaggie says:

      Thanks again for the support. You are right – the way that Billy left us really was a gift to us all. He was special. The vets had prepped us for what it would likely be like, and boy, did we dread the time when he’d start to go downhill. It was kind of like, as soon as he started sensing that things were changing, like his appetite and energy level, he ended it before it got any worse. I’m sure there is more accurate medical explanation for what happened to him (e.g. blood clot), it brings us comfort to think that it was just Billy’s decision, that he loved us enough to spare us a lot of unnecessary pain. He was perfect!

      I’m sure that your last few days with Happy Hannah were special, because I know you’re the kind of person who really lives life to it’s fullest, no matter what’s thrown at you, and would do anything to make her happy. It’s fun to spoil our babies, especially when you realize that all that really matters in the end is that their last days are filled with joy.

  3. benny55 says:

    The pictures….the Universe was lookingout for youthat day…what a treasure of te happiest times…a chronicle of how Billy lived his life…playing full out and surrounded by love…wagging and smiling the whole time.

  4. Michelle says:

    I am so sorry to hear about Billy passing away. The pictures are beautiful. Thank you for sharing the journey with us. Please continue to share Billy with us. We love to learn about the babies.

    Michelle & Angel Sassy

    • SuperMaggie says:

      Thanks for the comfort. We enjoyed sharing our journey, and our Billy, with everyone. He’s brought so much joy to us and others who know him, that we thought the world should get to know him. This community clearly cares so much about their animals and thinks of them as family. That’s the way it should be!

  5. willowsmom says:

    I’m so very sorry for your loss. Billy was a handsome, happy guy and so lucky to be a part of such a loving family.

    With love,

    • SuperMaggie says:

      Thanks Carol. We really did (do) love each other. Billy was the most loving creature that ever existed, and he brought us so much joy. We think we did the same for him.

  6. sjstark says:

    My heart truly aches for you. I’m so sorry to hear of your precious Billy passing. What a happy spirit he was and still IS. I’m sure you still feel him all around you, because he is. You gave him a tremendous doggy life! What a lucky little boy to have such caring, loving pawrents. He knew he was so loved up to the moment he decided to go in peace in your arms. I know it doesn’t make his passing easier, but you were right when you said that there was no better way to cross the bridge than how he did it, snuggling with you. He was happy and loved and free up until the last minute. Truly amazing your little guy. Thanks for sharing his story. It will continue to help others indefinitely on their journey. Billy will live on.
    You will continue be in my thoughts and prayers,

    Samantha and Tripawd Abbee

    • SuperMaggie says:

      Thank you! He is amazing – aren’t we lucky? It actually did make his passing easier; not easy, but easier. Easier to focus on the positive, when the last stage of his life wasn’t painful or unpleasant – no, it was great! We hope that our story will help others as other stories have helped us. Thanks.

  7. jerry says:

    Oh no! You guys we can’t even believe this sad news, our hearts just fell and broke in to tiny pieces, we are so very, very sorry. It’s hard to believe that he’s gone, he was such a beautiful, strong and unforgettable Tripawd, how could it be that his battle was so short? Please accept our condolences, we are just so sad and really feel for you guys.

    Billy’s life will forever be remembered here and always serve as an inspawration to others during their own cancer battles. Even though he didn’t have long with us, the way you all lived during this time was something we’ll always remember and shows us exactly the way life should be experienced, not just during a cancer fight but always. It’s that kind of live-in-the-now attitude that you all really embodied, that is the Spirit of Dog and one that everyone needs to strive for. It’s what our dogs try to teach us all along. Billy was a wise one for sure, we will miss him dearly.

    Lots and lots of love and hugs coming your way.

    • SuperMaggie says:

      It’s still hard for us to believe it, too. We certainly did not expect his journey to be so short, especially because he was going so well. Like we said in the post, we expected more of a warning. Boy are we glad we didn’t get it!

      We’re so happy that we found tripawds – THANK YOU for creating such a great, supportive community. It is shocking to hear the vets say that you should amputate your dog’s leg. You wonder how you’re going to go on? What will your dog’s life be like? After finding tripawds and reading some of the stories on here, we knew that amputation was the right choice, and that Billy would run again. And he did run, and he did play…hard. Thank you so much!

  8. maximutt says:

    I am so sorry to post so late to this! I had just started reading the blog post about Billy’s birthday, and couldn’t believe what I was reading! I’m so sorry you’ve lost your brown dog! We all really got to know your special boy through your stories and very obvious love for him. I’m so sorry he couldn’t stay longer with you. But thank you so much for sharing him with us. Billy won’t ever be forgotten!

    • SuperMaggie says:

      Thank you! We hope everyone enjoyed the stories. Billy was a weird and wonderful boy, and he inspired us to be weird too (or maybe it was the other way around). We didn’t have him for long, but it’s hard to imagine that it could have been any better.

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