Bubba, my big sweet bear who stole my heart

by Cecilia Wu
(Albuquerque, New Mexico)

My sweet Bubba

My sweet Bubba

In October, we adopted a St. Bernard "Bubba" who was 4-5 years old. I saw a picture of him on the large breed rescue and fell in love instantly. Then, I went to pick him up in Colorado. He was so nervous, but came with me right away.

In the next few months, we hiked in the mountains, in the snow and had many great days. In fact, every day was great. He made me SO happy with his stringy ears, his droopy face, big happy panting, peanut teeth (as my husband called them, for he had oddly small front teeth).

He was the most conscientious dog I have ever met. He ate 3 cookies off the baking sheet one day (since his head was the height of the kitchen counter) and when I simply pointed at the missing cookies, he ran to the kitchen table and hid his big shaggy head under the table in shame. He made me laugh a million times and my heart was always full when I hugged and petted him. He loved sleeping on his back with all four paws in the air, especially since this was the prime position to receive a nice belly rub.

However, he soon was very picky about his food. I thought perhaps I was spoiling him with human food. I had been grilling tasty meats for our other dog who was dying of sarcoma (in fact, one of the reasons we decided to adopt Bubba into our lives), and I had been adding tasty sausages into Bubba's dish as well. I decided I would be tough and feed him only doggie kibbles.

Then, we went on vacation for 8 days and upon our return, Bubba was in horrible condition. His caretakers told me he refused all food. He had lost a huge amount of weight and was drinking/urinating like mad. I immediately took him to a vet for a full workup and the diagnosis was lymphoma.

I was so devastated. How could we have two young dogs with cancer? Our previous dog had just died 3 months ago, and now, my poor Bubba. We decided against chemotherapy because Bubba's condition was already advanced, and I doubt he could have understood or withstood the medication. I gave him steroids, and for a few days, he perked up and was his old self. But I knew the end wasn't far away, and when he lost continence, Bubba wouldn't come into the house because he didn't want to have an accident. When he did have one in the house, he was so ashamed and embarrassed.

On his last night, I spent part of the night with him outside and he slept inside with us for awhile even though he wet himself all night. He tried to clean himself and reluctantly came into the house. I told him over and over it was okay and that he was a good boy. The next day, we took him to the vet for euthanasia.

First, we gave him a "happy sedative," and oh boy, he was SO happy. We told him how handsome he was and what a good boy he was. He smiled, panted and gobbled down sausages and treats. Then, as he was gulping down treats, the vet gave him the lethal injection. He died in my arms in between bites of cookies. I believe his last thought was "Cookies!!"

I am having a hard time with this loss, coupled with the loss of our other dog. Ever since his diagnosis and now his death, I have been barely able to eat or sleep. Bubba stole my heart, and now, with him gone, I am finding it hard to talk to people without crying. I know that I am lucky to have had him though. In this world, where there can be so much darkness, I know that there are truly good, sweet, noble souls who are just pure kindness and goodness. Bubba was such a soul.

My grandmother told me that butterflies carry souls, and when I was sitting in the kitchen counter, a butterfly flew around the backdoor and my window. It is too early and cold for butterflies right now, and I know it is just a myth, but for some reason, I felt comforted that Bubba was okay.

Thank you for listening to my story.

Comments for Bubba, my big sweet bear who stole my heart

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So sorry
by: Anonymous

I'm so sorry for your loss. I know exactly how you feel. Just a few days short of 5 months ago we had to put down our male saint bernard Max. It was Easter morning at about 1am. He got bloat and he had it so severe he had a 50% chance of dying during surgery. We thought it was best just to lay him down to rest. It was the hardest thing we EVER had to do!

My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours!!!

Sweet Little-Big Angels
by: Juli

I am so sorry to hear about you losing your sweet sweet boy. He sounds like a beautiful soulful sweetheart. I know that you love him dearly.

We lost our "Buddy Bear" (a Newfoundland) in January and oh my God, I definitely have a big, huge, empty hole in my heart and have so much pain about losing him.

He just stopped eating and drinking one day (but still rolling on his back and playing?) and he had never given up his food - ever, not his chow time! He'd never done that before so I took him to the vet a couple of days later when he collapsed. They said "we got him to walk now and he'll be fine."

I ignored the vet and I quickly took him to the emergency clinic and they said he was very anemic and Buddy needed a blood transfusion and oxygen and they gave him some. But they couldn't find anything else wrong with him! Four days more in the hospital and he passed away because he was so weak.

I'm sorry. We loved him soooo much and he loved all of us with all his heart (you could just tell). He was only 5 young years old and in perfect health until that one dreadful day. I feel like I neglected him in some way and feel so guilty, but I was so particular with his food and shampoo and etc.

I am trying to think of the most beautiful things he did every day, and the cutest way he kept your attention directed on him every second of every day, charming you with those big brown eyes - haha, really! And then I feel better.

He's in Heaven with your Big guy, running around with all his family and friends-----they are needed to console our loved ones when they enter Heaven, I feel. It sounds like your guy had a special soul and I know my Buddy Bear did too.

They're ok, so we have to be ok about it too. We were just put in their lives for a short time they had so they could be the spoiledest most happiest dogs on the planet. Wow, they have a way of getting into your heart, don't they?

We were crazy about Buddy and it sounds like the same for you. And you know, they'll always always be in our hearts and souls and one day we'll all be together, happy and playing again....those sweet little-big angels will always be our sweethearts, won't they?

Thank you for sharing this
by: Tom Stunda

I am going through the same thing and it is breaking my heart. Your story warmed my soul and really made me feel better. I love St. Bernards. I will miss my Maggie!!

The Beautiful, Beautiful Bubba
by: Kari Winters

I had the great pleasure of meeting Bubba when I did a home check for AZ Basset Hound Rescue. He sat on my shoes and leaned against me. He felt like he had the softest, sweetest soul and I'm very, very sad that his beautiful soul had to leave so soon.

Cecilia didn't know that Bubba was sick at that time and he certainly didn't show any signs of illness when I met him. He showed me the house and the yard and I felt like he was saying, "This is a good place. Please approve them to adopt another dog."

I don't know why his time here was so brief, but apparently he accomplished the work he needed to do here. I know Cecilia's heart must be breaking. I know that mine is!!!!

Meeting Bubba
by: Kari Winters/ Shelter Pets Ink

I had the great privilege of meeting Bubba. Arizona Bassett Hound Rescue asked me to do a home check because Cecilia and her husband wanted to adopt a dog from them.

Bubba was one of the sweetest, gentlest, purest souls I've ever had the honor to meet. As Cecilia and I were talking, he sat on my shoes and leaned against me. It felt like heaven.

Obviously he was meant to spend his final days with Cecilia, but my heart breaks to know the pain she is going through. In some ways I almost wish I hadn't met him because it makes my heart ache, too.

Bubba, I know you're in heaven and I hope that you can pull some strings and help Cecilia as she goes through this great period of feeling a hole in her heart. Good-bye sweet prince!


I lost my best friend this weekend
by: wendy g


I understand so well how Bubba big sweet bear stole your heart. My bear Sebastian, or Sebs or Sebio, lovable bear died on Saturday when I had to take him to the vet.

I feel like I let him down, almost like I murdered him, and I deeply regret it even though he could no longer lift himself up and although at 13 I know I did well in having him so long.

I cannot sleep. I miss him, and putting my arms around his big neck and all that fluffy fur and drool. I miss the mess he made with his food and I even miss having to lift him each time he needed to move, even if it was in the early hours and he had to wake me, which he did. I miss my talks with him when he would look at me with those big sad eyes and let me know he understood.

He was my rock as I recovered from breast cancer and the only one I could truly share my fears with. I can't believe he has left me and that it was I who made the decision to make the dreaded appointment with the vet. I hope with all my heart that he is at peace.

He travelled 4,000 miles from England to join us in our new life in Florida and it's so lonely in this house that is somehow not a home without him here. He has left such a void I feel like a kindred spirit and so thankful I have found this site where others understand.

I Really feel your pain...
by: Anonymous

We lost out Skipper on February 11th, with no warning at all. In the morning I filled his bowl with Kibble, having no idea that night I'd have to hide it away because the pain was too great and it wasn't going to be needed anymore. Skipper had drowned while playing in a river that morning.

I have found solace from other pet owners who have lost their loved ones on this site and another, and there seems to be no difference in how much grief one experiences if they had warning or if the death came suddenly.

I can tell you that each week you will find the sad days have come a little less.

Like you, I wonder where that beautiful soul is now; it has to be somewhere because it was so apparent in those big soft brown eyes before they closed for the last time.

My prayers and thoughts are with you,

Gina and the rest of Skipper's family.

by: Pier

Dear Cecelia,

Thank YOU for sharing your story of Bubba. I am so sorry that you have had to endure the loss of two pets to illness.

Bubba seemed like such a precious little 'BIG' guy. You both were very fortunate to have brought so much happiness into each other's lives.

I know exactly how you feel over losing Bubba. I lost my female-mix Margo, in December. When I read stories such as yours, I feel so sad and I always cry, but I know it is somehow considered therapy, for us all who have had the pleasure of having dogs/pets like Bubba in our lives.

Thank you again for sharing your story of Bubba.

Sincerely, Pier

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