her bucket list.

Layla was our nine year old boxer; the sweetest soul that gave us love in our lives in a way that we never knew we needed.

On a Sunday morning in September, I woke up and found Layla laying beside our couch on the ground, which was an unusual spot. I kept calling her to get up, but she wouldn’t. She wasn’t moving, she was breathing shallowly & quickly, and the only thing that indicated she was conscious was her eyes were trying to look at me. As a previous veterinary tech, the first thing I checked were her gums and her paws. They were pale and they were cold. I yelled at Michael that we had to go to the vet immediately.

Her heart rate was touching 200 beats per minute, and her vet didn’t know why. So we were sent straight to the cardiologist. During the echocardiogram, I could feel the room become eerily quiet. I was rubbing Layla’s head while the techs held her body down to her side. The doctor was hovering the scan over one particular spot for awhile, and I noticed the two technicians look at each other. I didn’t know what they saw, but I knew it was not fucking good.

“7cm x 10cm x 3cm.”
“Drowning in her own blood.”
“Nothing we can really do.”
“I’m sorry.”
“We will give you a few moments.”

We were shattered. In a second, hopeful became hopeless.

She was bleeding into her chest, and the blood in her chest cavity was preventing her from breathing well. They told her we had to hospitalize her and put her down within 24 hours. We were at the office going back and forth between our options. The main thing was: we wanted her back home for at least a day so she could feel comfortable, not in a kennel with no one around that loved her. We also felt these hospital visits were stressing her heart out more. We also got the information for a vet who could euthanize in our own home. When we decided this, the cardiologist recommended a Chinese herbal drug that was used in war by soldiers in order to stop bleeding.

We started her on that medication, and we spoiled the hell out of her. We moved our bed to the living room floor, so that we could be right next to her.

Instead of 24 hours, we had her for three more months. There were two more of these cardiac episodes, and the second one she couldn’t pull through.

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So thankful for this medication because we believed it gave us more time with her.
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Our living room set-up for the next month or two.

Before she passed away, we did some bucket list things with her. 

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First things first! We got her nine cupcakes from a local bakery. She LOVED them and we may have given her some vanilla ice cream, too. She had the worst smelling toots after this. 😅
We took her to the coast where she was always the happiest pup. Look at her looking up towards the moon!
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We just let her hold the frisbee instead of throwing it. We didn’t want to stress out her heart.
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Her last national park visit was at Crater Lake. This was at sunset the day we got there.
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At her favorite park in Portland, Council Crest.
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This was a camping spot we stay at and the colorful leaves during fall were INCREDIBLE. I was taking photos of her, but she wanted to cuddle up to Michael. 😍
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Got one. ❤️
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And we can’t forget all the cuddle sessions we had in between all of our adventures.
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My cousin owns a tattoo shop and did this for me the day I found out.

On December 22nd, 2018, she passed away in her sleep. She passed away the night we flew to Texas for Christmas, and she was with our dog sitter. It breaks our hearts that we were not able to see her or kiss her or hold her one more time before she died. It shattered us more than anything knowing she was not with us, when she left. In a way… it felt as if she waited for us to leave.

Dogs die. But dogs live, too. Right up until they die, they live. They live brave, beautiful lives. They protect their families. And love us. And make our lives a little brighter. And they don’t waste time being afraid of tomorrow. Dan Gemeinhart

We love you, Lays. We miss your little wiggle-butt more than anything.


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