Meldrick the Whippet


Post by Poodle


My whippet, Mel, was diagnosed with oral cancer last spring. You know the film called There Will Be Blood? I had my own version of that at home. When the vet says tumors are vascular and can bleed a lot, believe them. It grew slow and steady for months. As bad as it started to look the vet said things that grow slowly aren’t usually painful until they get too big. The body gradually adjusts. He said we’d know when it was time. When it started to grow quickly everything changed. The bleeding just got to the point where I couldn’t keep up with it. I was cleaning up constantly. You can’t bandage a mouth. His breath had been getting worse too. All I could smell was that and blood. He started having trouble eating. The tumor began growing out of his mouth. It was time. We made the call for that final trip to the vet. He was a fighter but it was time to stop battling. I’d like to think Mel understood.

Farewell Meldrick

Meldrick the Whippet

Up to then I had been coping with everything but I have to be honest and tell you caregiver fatigue is real and I was an emotional wreck towards the end. Anger, tears, frustration, more tears… every day. I turned to my perfumes for comfort and an attempt to smell something other than Mel’s mouth. I didn’t want to connect any favorite scents with watching my dog die so I used up samples during the daytime. I felt an odd sense of happiness with every empty vial. I was trying to do a “no buy” for other cosmetics as well and use things up. I think in retrospect I should have rewarded myself a bit more. I did eventually cave and buy a new lipstick. Or two. I always reach for incense in stressful times and Avignon and Cardinal were there for me as bedtime scents along with Baiser Vole which really works like an aromatherapy wonder on me. They’d take me to a happier place as I drifted off to sleep.

Watching that tumor grow was a constant reminder that some things are beyond our control. I now have an understanding of how a person can get diagnosed with cancer and die a few weeks later. I took photos of Mel 10 days apart and the change was scary. These things are aggressive and fast and there was nothing I could do to change it. Often, it’s that helpless feeling that tears you apart inside.

Meldrick the Whippet 1

The takeaway from this is if you’re caring for someone or something it IS hard and frustrating. It will wear you down if you’re not careful. Make time for yourself even if it’s just a few minutes before bedtime. Have a good cry if you need to. Treat yourself even if it’s just a cheap lipstick or perfume. Hug the ones you love. Find a way to hug yourself if there’s no one to hug you back.

Take care of yourselves my fragrant friends.


59 comments on “Meldrick the Whippet

  1. Sue Mills says:

    Hi Poodle.
    Thanks for telling us about your Meldrick. If it helps at all, I really do think that pets understand when it is time. Our old dog spent what proved to be his last day moving between myself, my mum and my dad; we all had a very strong sense that he was checking that we were OK. Movement was difficult for him then, but he was determined, and spent an hour or so with each of us in turn, cycling through the day, putting his head on our laps or pushing against our legs, making sure we acknowledged that he was there, that he was OK and we were OK.
    A normal day for him by this time was sleeping at the foot of my parents’ bed, but he knew that this was no ordinary day. He was way ahead of us and doing what he could to know that he was leaving us safe and sound.
    I wish you rest and tears, sleep and relief.

    • poodle says:

      Thanks for sharing your story Sue. I think they are more in tune with what’s going on than we are. The other dogs also seem to cope much better with loss too.

  2. Marion says:

    Sad hugs. They are so loving and devoted and unfairly with us for too little time. It’s right what you say about forming associations with perfumes, but Mitsouko and I have been through so much in the four decades since I found her, that I will wear her for the worst and best of times. And good old patchouli oil, from the health food shop, I find amazingly comforting. I have no known associations, but even if I wear it during a down time, I don’t remember the down. Don’t understand that because everything else will instantly astral travel me somewhere.
    I hope another lucky creature finds you one day. ((((())))
    PS I’ve lipsticked my way through my traumatic divorce for the last two years !!

    • poodle says:

      I’m glad you’ve got Mitsouko to see you through. Eventually I’ll have a perfume like that I’m sure.
      We’ve got a few other lucky creatures to distract us. Not planning any other additions for a while.
      Lipstick is wonderful therapy.

  3. Dubaiscents says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I just wanted to
    say that I went through a similar ordeal with my Italian Greyhound, it came on quite suddenly and the vet said that often these tight lipped hounds suffer from so many oral problems including cancer (I had two IGs and both were constantly in for teeth issues). Just know that you did the best you could and Mel had an amazing family watching over him until the end. You can see how happy he was in the pictures! It will get easier. Lots of hugs!

    • poodle says:

      The whole thing started with a dental cleaning. The vet thought his gums were irritated from the tartar. Then it didn’t heal and the rest is history. Sighthounds have awful teeth. We had greyhounds before and they were the same way. Yes, Mel was happy. He was usually under a blanket perfectly content. I’m okay with things because I know we did the right thing at the right time.

  4. I’m so sorry. Mel was beautiful. It’s always hard losing a pet. A part of my heart goes with every pet I lose. Prayers for peace.
    Angela Pritchard recently posted…Four Tips From Seasoned BloggersMy Profile

    • poodle says:

      Thanks so much. He was a pretty boy.
      That’s part of the deal when you bring them home you also bring home a little piece of heartache.

  5. Steve says:

    Ahhh, sweetie, I am so sorry for your loss. We don’t want to see our babies get old and we certainly don’t want to see them suffer through disease. I have no doubt that under your care Mel had the BEST life possible and that’s he’s now resting comfortably and watching over you with love and puppy protection. xoxoxoxo Steve

    • poodle says:

      Thanks my darling Houndy. I went from caring for Mel right into dealing with Stanley and his new issue. No rest for the wicked.

  6. Fanny says:

    My condolences for your loss.
    Know that you were a safe haven for him and you did all you could.
    It is so true that caretakers fatigue is real.
    I wish you peace of mind and your grief to be less painful in time.

    • poodle says:

      Thanks Fanny. My hubby is still taking it hard but I’m doing better. I think there’s a bit of relief knowing that he’s not suffering. I don’t think we waited too long but you never really know what they’re feeling.

  7. Holly says:

    Aw Poodle, I remember this story from your posts on NST about what you were going through with Mel. What a cutie he was!
    I think that when you’re a caregiver you are in a whole other zone, and it’s simply overwhelming much of the time. I remember a neighbor standing in my driveway while I was caring for both of my parents and advising me to get a mani-pedi and I could not imagine what on earth she was talking about. (insert shriek) Of course now that my parents are gone, I understand that she was simply suggesting I do something to take care of myself. That’s something that I have learned I haven’t done enough of in my life, and it’s a blessing to have finally figured it out.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story here. I hope that your heart is healing after such a heartbreaking time in your life.

    Sending love and a big hug,
    Holly xo

    • poodle says:

      Isn’t it funny how it’s so hard to stop and take a moment for yourself sometimes? And it’s usually when you need it most that you just don’t do it. I guess with age comes wisdom because I’m learning it now.

  8. Jackie b says:

    I am so sorry that you have lost your mate, cancer is evil and I too have lost a dog and a cat to oral cancers. You did a great job being the carer.
    I don’t remember thinking much about seeking comfort from my perfumes, but in retrospect it might have been a way to shift the focus for a minute.
    Best wishes.

    • poodle says:

      Cancer is evil indeed. This one just wasn’t one we could beat.
      Shifting focus can be comforting too. If a scent can take you to a happier place even for a minute that’s helpful under those circumstances I think.

  9. Tara C says:

    I am so sorry Poodle. Sending you lots of hugs, as a fellow dog mom I understand how hard it is to see your baby suffer. May his memory be a blessing.

  10. australianperfumejunkies says:

    Loving you across the sea.
    Crying like a baby for you.
    Portia xxx

    • poodle says:

      Don’t cry! If you do, make sure you’re wearing waterproof mascara. Another life lesson I’ve learned through the past few years.
      I love you more.

  11. Kandice says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Mel was a beautiful fur baby. I agree with others that they know when it’s time to go, sometimes before we do. That doesn’t make it any less hard though. I also want to thank you for your piece in general. I am in a caregiver situation for my elderly parents which has intensified in the last few months. It has been extremely difficult and draining. Thanks for the reminder that it’s still important to care for yourself too. Blessings and peace to you and your family.

    • poodle says:

      I wasn’t the caregiver for my dad but I saw what my mom went through and it is not an easy task. Parents are tough because I think part of us just thinks that they’ll always be able to do what they have always done and when they can’t it’s frustrating and sad and tough to see. Things sort of go full circle and we end up acting like the parents for them in their later years. It’s extremely draining and you need to be kind to yourself. It’s easy to get worn out and run down, then you’re not much help to anyone. Stay strong and take some mental health breaks for yourself. Sending you hugs.

  12. Fifi says:

    Poodle, I’m so sorry about your precious Mel. Sometimes people aren’t able to handle witnessing the end of a life. Mel was blessed that you were with him to the very end, a true friend, as he was to you.

    • poodle says:

      It’s tough to be there at the end but I need to do it when I can. I find it to be oddly comforting. I know for others it’s upsetting. When I worked for the vet there were plenty of folks who couldn’t be in the room but were happy that we were able to be in there for them.

  13. Azar says:

    I’m so sorry. Thank you for the lovely photos of Mel. And thank you too for reminding us all, through your grief, to take care of and value ourselves as well as the loved ones in our lives.
    Azar xxx

    • poodle says:

      Thanks, Azar. I think we all need a little reminder at times of what really matters. It’s easy to get lost in the chaos of things.
      Hugs back at you.

  14. Lauren says:

    Hi Poodle –

    I’m very sorry for your loss.

    -Lauren (aka Olga on Twitter)

  15. Sun Mi says:

    Dear Poodle,

    My deepest sympathies. I am an ardent animal lover, but the last trip to the vet is heartbreaking – even when you know it is the right thing to do. I know you will cherish his memories, and I’m sure he had a wonderful life with you.

  16. Robert H. says:

    Oh Poodle! I am so very sorry! We love our four-legged family members SO much, it is a real sucker-punch to the gut when it’s time to let them go. Ugh. And yet, the love, joy, and joie de vivre they bring to our lives is unmatched. We always seem to say we’ll never go thru it again, but we do because they make it so damn worth every moment! Hugs to you dear one.

    • poodle says:

      Ain’t that the truth! I hope it’s a while before I have to go through it again. This was the second in less than two years. Ugh. All the fun is worth that bit of pain in the end though.
      Hugs to you too!

  17. empliau says:

    Poodle – hugs across the internet. We love them so much, and losing them is so hard. I am sure he understood. When it’s time, we take care of them so they don’t suffer. Someday soon I hope you’ll remember the love without tears or pain – be good to yourself till it happens!

  18. Neva says:

    What a beautiful dog. I’m very sorry you had to go through all the pain and I wish you strenth for the future days and months. Sending also a perfumed hug!

    • poodle says:

      Hugs to you too! He was almost a show dog but he had a retained testicle so the breeder couldn’t show or breed him so we actually got him for free. He was a pretty boy.

  19. Tara says:

    So sorry to hear this poodle. Being a caregiver is so emotionally and physically exhausting you do need to look after too, but I guess there aren’t always enough hours in the day. At least perfume was there for you. I turn to incense in times of stress too.

    Big hug.
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    • poodle says:

      Incense is amazingly calming isn’t it? I love it. I was totally drained in the end. You are so right. There aren’t enough hours in the day and I think that’s why I just tried to make bedtime as soothing as possible.

  20. moira says:

    I lost mine…in a pool of blood no less…8 years ago and I still miss her. It was an exhausting 7 months of care. I don’t regret it, but there have been toxic people in my life that have damn near done me in with their need. Never again. Why is it so hard to really take care of ourselves first? Took me a long time to learn that one. Now I have boundaries, bitches!! haha

    • poodle says:

      The pools and puddles of blood are something I can relate to. I found that hydrogen peroxide works wonderfully to get the stains out of just about everything.
      We never regret that care of those who appreciate it but it’s the ones who don’t that are the toxic ones I think. It’s exhausting either way but those needy demanding people strike a different nerve. You keep those boundaries in place. Those bitches will wear you down if you don’t. 😉

  21. rickyrebarco says:

    May your beautiful baby rest in peace. I adore whippets, such sweet loving creatures and sometimes crazy, too! I had 2 much loved very large, whippet sized Italian greyhounds, the last one dying very similarly to yours, sudden illness and I had to reach the tough decision to say goodbye to him as well when he was starting to suffer. Take some time to cry and feel all those feelings.

    Mel’s love and your wonderful memories will stay with you forever. Hugs across the water!

    • poodle says:

      I just love all these hugs I’m getting.
      Italian greyhounds are so cute. Mel was probably the laziest dog I’ve ever seen and he also had plenty of crazy quirks. I think all the Sighthounds are a special kind of crazy.

  22. I’m so sorry for your loss. Our fur babies wriggle their way into our hearts and families and when we lose them it is such heartbreak! Our much loved dalmatian went to Heaven a couple of years ago and we couldn’t bring ourselves to get another dog – it hurts too much when they go. Instead, we look after our friends’ dogs when they go away on holidays. This could be something to think about until you’re ready to commit again. I know the pain you’re going through. (If Bagga’s not waiting for me at the Pearly Gates, I’m not going!)
    Waltzing Matilda recently posted…Meldrick the WhippetMy Profile

    • poodle says:

      I’m not planning on adding another at the moment since I’ve already got a puppy who’s almost a year old now and more trouble than any puppy I’ve ever had along with an older dog who got very sick a few weeks after Mel died and I now get to treat him for Addison’s disease for the rest of his life.
      I know some folks who feel the same way you do and don’t want to go through that ending again. I don’t blame you. I’d like to think that Bagga will be waiting for you and mine will be there for me when we get to those gates.

  23. cookie queen says:

    I’ m so sorry Poodle. Taking a few minutes to breathe in times of pain and sorrow is important, it stops the batteries running down. Remembering to do it is the thing.
    Sending love. ❤️

    • poodle says:

      It’s very hard to remember to do it. Very hard. Then you feel so guilty when you do take a moment.
      Lots of love to you too.

  24. Saffyishere says:

    Meldrik is no longer suffering.

    • poodle says:

      Thanks Saffyishere. That’s one thing that is comforting to know. He looked pretty awful in the end and I’m trying to forget that part and remember what a handsome little guy he was.

  25. BB Mc says:

    So sorry for your loss, Poodle. At least Mel is no longer in pain and suffering. I have two dogs, one just turned 5 and the other turning 6 in November. Our fur babies are our family members, not just our pets. We fought hard when the local council alleged them of attacking a cat at 10pm when they have never ever been roaming. There were threats to not just declare them dangerous when they had not done anything but also to take them away and destroy them. Mel had a good life with you and you have both loved and that is the most beautiful thing one can wish for. Hugsxx

  26. poodle says:

    Oh that makes me so mad when it’s okay for the cats to be out and about but if a dog is out and does what dogs will sometimes do they should be put down. Grrrrrr. We have a cat in the neighborhood who loves leaving dead chipmunks here, there, and everywhere but that’s okay I guess.
    I’m glad you battled and won. Give those pups a hug from me.

    • BB Mc says:

      Thank you Poodle, extra hugs from you given to the pips 😀 Although Council revoked, they sent us intimidating letters and stalk us. Apparently all it takes is a pointing finger, since there was no evidence, no vet report, no dead cat, nothing. What an excellent way to rid people’s dogs Downunder.

  27. I’m so sorry for your loss, Poodle. Mel was a gorgeous dog, wasn’t he? I know you could go through all of it because of your love for him, but I also understand how exhausting it must have been. Now I think you should do something for yourself, pamper yourself.
    Sending you lots of love and hugs. xxx

    • poodle says:

      It wasn’t easy. I did actually go and get a much needed and long overdue haircut last week. It was nice to sit down and have someone play with my hair for a while.

  28. Nemo says:

    Thank you for sharing Meldrick’s story. I am so sory for your loss! He was a beautiful, gentle-looking dog.

    • poodle says:

      Thanks, Nemo. We had a pretty good 12 years and I’m grateful for that. He looked far more innocent than he actually was. He had a sneaky side to him.

  29. hajusuuri says:

    Hugs to you, Poodle. Somewhere in dog heaven, Mel is smiling at you and thanking you for being a good mama.

  30. Undina says:

    Dear poodle,
    It’s such an awful thing to lose somebody you love. Pets become such a part of us that it hurts even to think of them not being with us – let alone actually say our goodbyes.
    I’m so sorry for your loss and for what preceded it. I hope you have a lot of great memories of Meldrick. Take care of yourself!
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  31. Jillie says:

    Dear Poodle, I have only just read this and I don’t know if you will see my comment but I wanted to give you a big hug. I can’t really express the sadness I feel. Meldrick was so lucky to have you and you him, and although it’s no consolation it’s because we love them so much that it hurts so badly when we lose them. Hugs.

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