Saturday, June 14, 2014

Casey Lynn Tonseth (Yes my dog has a middle name!) is gone... 6/7/2014

Julie's Note - I started writing this post when Casey was diagnosed with cancer a couple of months ago. So you will see that there is references to dates that aren't current and hopefully it isn't too confusing. 


Casey's Last Picture - June 7th, 2014


If you know me, you know my dog Casey. She has been part of our lives since August 2001 and I can't imagine my life without her but now I have to very shortly. My old girl is sick with bone cancer and I will not let her suffer at all. I have talked to a few vets and will be setting up the date for her to go very soon.(She kept rallying! Every week I thought this was it but she kept showing me that she wasn't ready yet... until that final week.)
Casey 2012


I "rescued" her from the Santa Clara SPCA soon after Nick and I bought our first house in Santa Clara. I went to the SPCA almost everyday for 2 weeks looking for a dog. Casey was in a corner kennel with a block wall that was short enough for her to put her front paws on and look over. Whenever she heard my voice, there she was, looking over the wall at me. But I was set on a lab or golden retriever but all of them were just not right... so finally I said, let me meet Casey. And that was it... she was so sure of herself with me that it was like she was going to the car and waiting for me while I completed the paperwork. 

Casey 2013


She had issues from the beginning that we needed to work on like most rescue dogs do. First issue was her need to escape the yard by hook or by crook. I went to the grocery store and left her in the back yard but came home to her sitting on the front porch looking very proud of herself. Or if the front door was open just a little too much or too long she would bolt out and take off... of course you would chase her and that is exactly what she wanted. Me, my dad, my housekeeper and my brother-in-law all chased her at one time or another... and the key to making her come back? Give up and walk back and she will almost beat you home. How did we solve this? Everytime I left the house for the first month I would lock her in the garage. She got the message (very smart dog) and didn't break out anymore.
Next issue was that every time a man came to visit she would pee on the floor... which tells you her life was not good before coming to my house. It took a couple of years before she would finally gain confidence in herself and stop being that submissive.
I was able to train her many obedience things and she was a quick learner... even learning tricks and such. She was super-smart so teaching her new things kept that brain busy.
Casey & Nick at Mother's Day 2013
Two issues I never was able to break her from, was that she never liked other animals. She tolerated them to a certain distance but that was all. And of course, the counter surfing and trash diving... she never would stop that. We lost so much food to this dog!

But during the dark times when Nick was suffering from migraines so bad in jr. high and high school, she was his constant companion and almost a nanny. She would sleep in his room during the day when he was home and in pain, and was always there to try and get him up in the morning. Every morning, she would wait patiently until I was done getting ready and I would say, "Go wake up Nick" and she would tear off down the hall, open the door and up to his bed licking his hand and whining! Every night she would wait for me to come home by the garage door. When she was really excited to see me, she would run around doing figure eights around the family room. 



Casey 2011

A few years ago, she went deaf completely and starting turning grey. Thankfully the training we had done together included hand signals so we were still able to communicate somewhat. In 2012, she started having issues with "surprise" bowel movements... where she just had no idea she needed to go until it was too late. (All of my rugs will be thrown out after she is gone!) In January this year, her legs gave out for the first time and the terror and confusion on her face made me cry. Since then her legs have progressively gotten weaker and the effort to get up greater. Than in the first week of March this year, she got extremely ill and I was sure we were losing her. She bounced back but that is what led to finding the bone cancer in her jaw. The lump we thought was an abcess never went down and kept growing and growing.





Today is May 9th, 2014 and this is the day that I can say to myself, it is time for her to go. It isn't the cancer but her back legs that are causing her the most issues and the reason I think it is time. She is afraid of even the smallest step and getting up off her bed is a challenge now. This time coming up to the hill house, she actually turned around and tried to walk off instead of getting in the truck. She wants to follow me everywhere still but I have to restrict her from doing too much or trying to go somewhere I know she will have a hard time getting back. And for the first time, she watched me walk down the driveway and stayed at the top on her own as if she understood she couldn't make it back up. Hard to believe the dog that could run all day and figure out how to open doors and drive me crazy is at this point where she is so fragile. Her mind is still there and sharp but her spirit is fading. She is tired and her body is tired... she is going on 16 years old and has had a great life with us. She won the "doggy lotto" when she got adopted by our family. And frankly, her presence has been a comfort to Nick and I during some really hard times in our lives. When you are alone and sad, a dog that wants to play or go outside wrests you from that sorry place and forces you to move on with your life.
I am not sure how I am going to move on or how long it will take me to not well up when I think about her, but I am forever grateful for the time we have had together. There are no words to express the emotion that comes from grief.. yes i know she is a dog and no I am not comparing her death to the death of a human, but it is grief none the less. Grief made worse because I am the one that is choosing to end her life. I am the one saying that her life is over on this earthly plane and acting like God. I am the one left behind... and so is Nick.




The week before Casey died, she started licking her front legs and wouldn't stop, it was from the pain starting to escalate. I was doubling her pain medicine to get her some relief and that was when I had a long talk with her vet.. she was put down at my house in Walnut Creek and I will be getting her ashes back to spread out here in Mokehill.

Rest in peace baby girl - you did good... momma loves you...

Julie