Today I had to say goodbye to my best friend, Flip. This was one of the hardest and saddest days of my life, and while I am trying to process these unimaginable feelings, I don’t want to just move on with my life without doing something to honor him. I don’t know what that will be just yet, but in the meantime, I want to share part of his story on why he is absolutely the best dog there ever was.
Immense Sadness + Gratitude
I am sitting here going back and forth between immense sadness because it feels like there was never enough time, but also having so much gratitude for the huge impact he had on my life. And not just my life, but all the foster dogs that have come in and out of our home.
How Flip Got His Name
Flip got his name because before he was rescued, he had been in a crate that was too small for him. He wasn’t even able to get up and move around so his paws atrophied. He literally had to “flip” his paws up to walk.
The day Kelly and I met Flip over 10 years ago, at a donation drop at Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue.
The night I brought Flip home, he seemed to decline as each hour went by. We ended up in the ER having the talk that he likely wouldn’t survive because he was diagnosed with distemper. For whatever reason, I said we had to at least give him a chance and I put down my credit card to give him 24/7 care which I had no idea how I was going to pay for. Luckily Flip survived and we’ve been best buds ever since. It turned out to be the best money I ever spent.
Flip Saved My Life
Several years later Flip literally saved my life. And not figuratively like he gave me a bigger sense of purpose, which he also did, but Flip knew that I was having a stroke and alerted me before I even knew what was happening. I could feel something was starting to not feel right and when Flip kept aggressively jumping up in my lap, something he never does, I realized how serious it was. We were able to call 911 and get help immediately.
Diagnosed With Cancer
A few months ago I announced Flip’s retirement from helping out with all our foster dogs. I thought it would be a much longer retirement. I had no idea at that time that he would soon be diagnosed with osteosarcoma or bone cancer in his jaw. It felt like a ton of bricks had dropped on my chest when we found out.
Flip has had a handful of cancer scares and with his age, I knew it likely wouldn’t be a good prognosis. We saw an oncologist who initially had hopes that with radiation, we could have 6 months to a year or two with him. This gave me a sense of relief that we still had some time left to go home and do all the things we loved doing. But once we got the results of the CT scan back, we were hit with more bad news.
In addition to the cancer in his jaw, it was also in his skull and going into his brain. While it hadn’t metastasized to his lungs yet, it was likely already in other parts of his body. With this information, it was obvious that the time we had left would be short.
Flip’s Cancer Progressed Quickly
My daughter Capri showing Flip some love in his final days.
Flip’s cancer progressed so quickly that we didn’t even get to do things like go to the beach one last time, or an epic game of fetch. It quickly turned into hospice care and we ensured he felt comfort in his final days.
We gave him all his favorite foods, cozy warm blankets right out of the dryer, and as much love and praise as we could. After a few short weeks, we knew that he was ready and even though we weren’t ready, it was still the right decision to say goodbye.
We were fortunate to be able to have a veterinarian come to our home so Flip could feel as safe and comfortable as possible and be with me on my lap until the very end.
I Would Give Anything To Be Playing Fetch With Flip
I would give anything to be playing fetch with Flip on the beach one last time, something he loved SO much and we didn’t do enough of. I love you Flip, thank you for being the absolute best dog. It was my honor to love and care for you.