This email is a difficult one to write. Mac and I said goodbye to Bayley yesterday at 12:30pm and allowed his little soul to go to heaven where there is no cancer, no pain, and only His goodness. The tears have yet to cease. If you have been reading his blog http://www.thecummingscrew.blogspot.com/ you may have heard that he hadn't been feeling well lately. He came out of remission back in May (two months before his chemo was even scheduled to be finished) and since that time we have tried every possible chemo protocol, diet modification, and medications to get his lymph nodes to shrink. Its been a roller coaster of emotions because we would get so excited the day after chemo when they would come down just a little in size but then a day later his neck felt like he had swallowed a tennis ball. About a month ago we witnessed Bayley having a seizure (which was probably not his first) then two weeks later he vomited blood, a week after that a bloody nose, and then last Tuesday bloody diarrhea. He had another seizure on Friday morning and I had to beg him to eat breakfast. We were making ground turkey, rice, and boiled chicken for him for the last month or so. Friday night Mac and I spent the evening videotaping him doing his gamut of tricks....he all of a sudden looked great Friday night, as if he wanted to give us one last playtime. Then suddenly on Saturday morning, he refused to come downstairs in the morning and could not eat or drink all day. The poor boy was vomiting all day and laid on the couch in pain. We admitted him to the hospital that evening for IV fluids and medication to help the nausea and when we picked him up at midnight he was hungry. Again, another roller coaster of emotions because we thought that maybe he just had an upset stomach and he'd be alright. Then 5 am rolls around and the vomiting started again. Refusal to eat and dehydration led us to the hospital again yesterday morning for more fluid and medicine but nothing helped. He laid lifeless on our kitchen floor and could barely breath because his nodes were so enlarged. My parents were with us, my sweet friend Heidi, as well as Mac's brothers. We laid on the floor with him telling him how much he has touched our hearts and made us more loving people. We told him that it was alright to leave us (we actually begged him to stop breathing so we wouldn't have to make the decision) and that he had another journey to begin. I told him that there were probably little children in heaven that needed a dog and because he was so special that God chose him. Bayley had this unworldly ability to make everyone fall in love with him, even those who don't like dogs, his gentle demeanor, his selfless heart, his big brown eyes...he was irresistible. Even in his final hour he wanted to please us and make sure that we didn't think he was in pain....when we got to the vet to end his suffering, he got a quick burst and was able to walk to each of us to say goodbye and he even ate 4 treats!! He hadn't eaten in 2 days, it was like he just 'knew' it was time. It was a calming experience and Bayley looked like an angel. Mac and I laid with him, said our final whispers, and held him tight as he entered God's Kingdom. We will never forget our Bayley and pray to God that he gives us strength to deal with the pain. Our hearts are aching right now. I have the day off from work and Mac just called and said he's on his way home from work because he just can't do it. We realize he's a dog but he truly meant so much more to us....he was our daily companion, our unconditional friend, our creator of laughter and joy, but most importantly he was our son.
We decided about 2 months ago (when Bay was feeling great) that Bayley needed a companion and that we wanted our new dog to know Bayley and learn his characteristics so we put a deposit down on a puppy. The pups were born last Monday, the day Bay received his last chemo treatment and the day before he started to get sick. The puppy should be in our home late August. We just hope and pray that our hearts are mended.
Bayley's 6 short years filled our hearts with more happiness than we could have ever achieved without his big brown eyes staring at us every morning from the edge of the bed and making even the worse days bearable. There is nothing quite like the feeling of coming home every day to such a loving animal. Our home is quiet now and I keep waiting to hear Bayley scratch or breath or to hear the sound of his collar shake with his dog tags. All of a sudden our lives are different now and to tell you the truth, I hate it. I just finished reading The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom and the first chapter starts off " it might seem strange to start a story with an ending. But all endings are also beginnings. We just don't know it at the time" Mac and I are currently trying to convince ourselves that Bayley was a special chapter in our lives and that with his death, we are about to begin our next journey, one that is filled with unparalleled memories of a dog we fondly called, Bayley.
We love you all and thank you so much for all the love and support you have given us over these last trying 6 months. Pray that Bayley's running around right now through fields of milkbones, swimming in the ocean waves, and eating filet mignon. He deserves only the BEST!
Sincerely, Rebecca and Mac Cummings
He was my special boy and I miss him so very much.
This picture was taken a couple months ago at our old house...just being silly.
Right after we moved in. You can see his little buddy, Seger, sitting between us...they were best friends regardless of size.
Bayley loved swimming in my parents pool! My brother Shawn came to visit in June and Bayley was on a mission to steal the volleyball, he would actually jump up and out of the water to get it.
This has been a difficult week for Mac and I but we really lean on eachother for strength and sit around at night remembering all the silly things that made Bayley who he was. On top of the stress of losing our loyal companion, Mac's Uncle Chris was placed in hospice this week for his battle with pancreatic cancer. It just seems like we are surrounded by the ripping effects of cancer and we have been slowly watching our loved ones suffer from this cause. We need to support our national cancer research organizations both human and canine (Morris Animal Foundation Canine Cancer Cure Contributor) as well as the appropriate approach towards stem cell research. Life is a gift and our time here is short. Praise God for all His glory and honor Him through your love, respect, and patience with others. Bayley's 6 years were short, but in those 6 years he proved that God does not discriminate nor does He turn His cheek. Bayley's love was unconditional and constant. Bay's mission and message:
"...so see to it that you really do love each other intensely with all your hearts." 1 Peter 1:22