Loving Le Pug: Part 1

_DSC6844_photo by the lovely lara blair

Yesterday I told someone that I needed a balm for my body, especially my heart. Something to help soothe a loss that has affected me deeply.

Le Pug’s MRI following a grand mal seizure led to a brain cancer diagnosis in January. We’ve been filled with anticipatory grief of what was to come. He was given two to three months.

In February, we drove him to Florida to hit a dog beach and soak up sunshine. In March, we made it to Hilton Head for more of the same. We had last weekend set aside for a final jaunt to Le Beau’s cabin and this weekend for camping in Miss Lillie, our vintage RV. Unfortunately, his tumor had other plans and April’s adventures were not to be.

Le Pug was 10.5 years old and quite healthy up until the end so in one way, we’re grateful. In another way, we’re broken. We expected 15 years and the January diagnosis left us crushed. Our whole world changed.

We didn’t leave him home alone due to the possibility of a seizure. We didn’t make any plans beyond what had already been set before the diagnosis. We watched him lose interest in his beloved Teddy, playing fetch, and exhibit confusion. His steroid and anti-seizure meds made him sleepy and sometimes wobbly. The tumor started in his left nostril before moving into his brain, so he shifted to mouth breathing when it blocked his air passage.

Despite his decline, he remained a loyal, loving companion who never missed an opportunity to consume a treat. After his diagnosis, he would do his standard manipulation trick of scratching on the sliding door to go outside. We’d let him out and he’d come right back, not having done a thing. We rewarded him still declaring it, “treats for doing nothing!” He was a fan. And this happened repeatedly. He was no dummie.

Last week his condition took a nasty turn. He had cluster seizures Wednesday morning before we rushed him to his caring neurologist. She admitted him to ICU, increased his anti-seizure medication, and reminded us that he would not improve, only stabilize, hopefully.

Stabilize he did and, unsurprisingly, he also won over the team working with him. He returned home and subsequently had five more seizures despite the increase in medication. We were heartbroken.

Le Beau and I were on the same page about quality of life being of utmost importance in our decision making on when to let Le Pug go. It was time.

11149278_10152949507597739_6036962200701687247_nphotos + collage by le beau

On our last day together, we went for a couple gentle walks and took him for a cup of champagne mango sorbetto at our favorite gelato spot. You can see above that he was a fan. We love the pictures because he looks like a puppy {sorbetto covering his gray beard} and his messy joy shines through.

The past six days have been a blur. Le Beau and I feel lost, empty actually. Feeding Le Pug started our day and letting him out one more time completed it, for over a decade.

We picked up his ashes, got him an urn fit for a king, and are creating a memorial garden in our 100-square-foot back yard surrounded by a stone Buddha, monkey grass {his favorite}, and flowers.

I’m rereading Grieving Mindfully which helped me through the loss of my Gramma in 2012. It states, “to love is always to open oneself to the grief of loss. However, this loss is not to be confused with the loss of love. Grief is the experience of loss in love.”

We grieve because we loved. And to have loved is a beautiful gift.

While googling “how to deal with the loss of a dog” yesterday, websites encouraged creating a legacy through writing stories, poems, or letters, along with making a memorial, scrapbook, or planting a tree.

That’s why I set this up as Part 1. I’d like to process pieces of the grief experience here, while also sharing stories of love and inspiration. And there are many!

Why? Because this allows me to share the journey with you while honoring the memory of someone who made 1/4 of my life incredibly special. Bisous. x

46 comments

  1. Lisa says:

    Kimberly, I am so sorry for your loss – it hurts my heart. But now your little angel on earth is a real angel watching over you and le Beau.

  2. Debbie says:

    Oh, Kimberly, this post just broke my heart. I can’t even imagine all that you are feeling and there are no words that could make it better. I’ve come to love Le Pug through your books and your posts, so in my own way I’m also grieving his loss with you and Tim. The only consolation is knowing that you were all so lucky to have been loved by each other for the time that you had. Sending love…

    • Kimberly Wilson says:

      Debbie, indeed, sharing the love has been an incredible gift. I guess that’s why the loss is so intense. Thank you for your kindness x

  3. Anna Luisa says:

    Dearest Kimberly and Tim,

    I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Louis. He was such a cutie and he provided so many fun times and memories for all your blog followers. Thank you for sharing your beautiful relationship with all of us.
    Anna Luisa x

  4. Jayna' says:

    I am sending {{{{warm vibes}}}} to both you and your beau. <3 My dog and sister to my daughter Halo passed away the day before Easter. It was so painful to say goodbye…although we had a little warning and the pain she was in was exquisite…it didn't make it any easier.

    My prayer is that you move into the gentle space that will allow you to grieve fully, while being present for yourself. Much love and many blessings.

    Jayna'

    • Kimberly Wilson says:

      Thank you, Jayna. So sorry for your loss, it is so painful to say goodbye. I appreciate your prayer and kindness. x

  5. Kelsey Z says:

    I’m crying for prince Louis, but so glad to see you turning this into a mindful growth opportunity. So sorry for your loss, le pug will live on in our memories.

    • Kimberly Wilson says:

      Thank you, Kelsey. He was such a prince and, thank goodness, will live on eternally in our memories. We miss you in Arlington! x

  6. Kimberley says:

    I couldn’t even finish your post without tears streaming down my face as I feel such a tremendous loss for you and Tim. Le Pug was an integral part of your lives bringing much joy and love to you each day. His loss leaves a hole that seems to get only get deeper feeling like you can’t breathe. It’s as if you can’t bear to realize what has happened. And I’m sorry.
    But as each day passes, I hope you find some sense of peace knowing that you gave Le Pug the best of everything and he knew that. He was loved, truly loved, and that’s the greatest gift one can give to another. Le Pug had the best 10.5 years because you made sure of that.
    Please know that we all share in your grief as this loss is devastating. No matter what I or any of us say, it still hurts though. We, your readers, send you love with our arms wrapped around you both.
    May Le Pug run on the greenest grass without one seizure or health issue as he crosses over the rainbow bridge.

    • Kimberly Wilson says:

      Thank you, Kimberley. His loss does leave a big empty spot, but we relish in knowing he was so very loved. I appreciate your kindness greatly x

  7. patty says:

    Kimberly and Tim, This makes me cry:( I never got to meet Louis but felt like I had since following your blog and pod-casts for the past 8years. You have all been an inspiration and continue to be. Sending you light and love for your healing journey.
    P.S.You are one of the most loving pet owners I have ever come across!

    • Kimberly Wilson says:

      Thank you, Patty. We appreciate your light and love and I’m grateful for your kind words re: our pet “ownership.” Truth be told, I think he owned us. He definitely ruled us! 😉 x

  8. Eva Wright says:

    Kimberly I am so sorry for your loss of the sweet little guy Louis. He was so precious to all of us and everyone that is a part of your world. Pets become family. They are like our furry children.
    Hugs and prayers for you guys to get through this time softly.

    • Kimberly Wilson says:

      Thank you, Eva. I love the idea of getting through the loss softly. That’s beautiful imagery. x

  9. Sarah says:

    Kimberly, this is heart breaking. Le Pug was part of the tranquility du jour community and we’ve all come to know him and love him. I can only imagine how you and Tim are feeling. But you are right, we grieve because we loved and I doubt we would ever regret that love. Louis was a special guy and keep sharing ways that you are remembering him.

    • Kimberly Wilson says:

      Thank you, Sarah. Definitely no love regrets despite the pain. Appreciate your kind words and sentiments. x

  10. Nina says:

    Kimberly,
    I am so sorry for your loss. I already loved him from so far away. And, yes, the grief is the price we pay for our connection. But I always think if we had an eternity to stay it would be like nothing in the end and so I prefer the bittersweet way we go.
    Big hugs Nina

  11. Lorien says:

    Dearest Kimberly – There are no words that I can express to soothe your heart…but I am sending you and le Beau peace, love and healing energy. I am so sorry for your loss.

  12. Nancy Beck says:

    And so it starts. I’m at work and crying. My next customers are going to think my parent died. But I am remembering now our recent loss of 2 dogs, one suddenly and one we also had to make the decision on quality of life not being there. I keep remembering tiny things that bring back the memory off that great loss of love. But nothing can take that memory of love away and I feel so grateful for having experienced so wonderful a feeling. In these days and times we must remember to take love in whatever form and for however long we can. I wish for you sweet grief.

    • Kimberly Wilson says:

      Thank you, Nancy. So sorry for your loss as it is incredibly painful. Appreciate the wish for sweet grief, that’s beautiful! x

  13. Alisha Wielfaert says:

    Kimberly,
    I’m so so so sorry. Just read this with teary eyes for you and Tim. I’m sending you all so much love. Animals fill our lives with so much and I can’t imagine what it’s like with out him there.
    xo
    -Alisha

    • Kimberly Wilson says:

      Thank you, Alisha. Louis always enjoyed seeing you. Yes, they are such a gift and it’s incredibly empty without his food-snatching spirit. x

  14. Denise says:

    I was so saddened to hear of the news. Louis will be missed dearly. I remember coming to your first retreat at the cabin after telling you I wanted to meet Louis and he was one of the reasons I came. I had my car door open as I was talking to you and didn’t notice Louis had jumped in and shut the door. You started looking for him and the next thing we see is his sweet face looking out the driver’s side window at us. I was embarrassed to say the least.

    Sending lots of hugs your way.

    • Kimberly Wilson says:

      Denise, I love this story because I remember it fondly. No need to be embarrassed, I loved it {and so did Louis}. Getting into people’s cars {especially the UPS van} brought him great joy. Thank you for your kindness. x

  15. Erin says:

    Hi Kimberly, I’m a long time reader and first time commenter. Sending you so much love and comfort and hoping that your heart begins to mend soon. You gave Le Pug a beautiful life– we should all be so lucky to be loved like that. Hugs!

    • Kimberly Wilson says:

      Thank you, Erin, for reading, commenting, and suggesting we gave Le Pug a beautiful life. It means a lot! x

  16. Linda says:

    Thank you for allowing Louis to become a part of our lives and to enter my heart in a special way..weaving throughout.

    • Kimberly Wilson says:

      Thank you, Mama Wilson. He always loved his Gma – especially when being served homemade treats! x

  17. Jo Macdonald says:

    Beautifully shared Kimberly. I am so sorry for your loss. Having followed your blog for many years Le Pug has been a part of my life too, albeit from a distance. He will be sadly missed by so many. Sending much love x

  18. Julia says:

    Kimberly, there really are no words. My heart aches for you and Tim right now. Louis was family to so many people like me. I pray for comfort during this difficult time. Grief is the price we pay for loving. But loving is a great part of life. Bisous!

    • Kimberly Wilson says:

      Thank you, Julia. He was part of the family and loved being around the community. Loving is a great part of life indeed. Love to you x

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