Welcome to Hardwick House

My Boy Puss

” When you buy a pet, it is like purchasing a small tragedy”

– George Carlin

I plan on doing a lot of posts about my dogs. I figured they’re here, they’re fun, and entertaining so why not? However, there is one sad story I want to share right off the bat. That way, I don’t have to discuss it until….well, until he dies.

A few days after Thanksgiving, I was petting my boy, Puss, and felt odd lumps in his throat. After watching him closely the next few days, I noticed he looked skinny, was begging for food more than the others. Three days after discovering the bumps, I took him to the vet.  The doctor ran some test, but only to confirm what we both already knew. Puss had cancer. Lymphoma to be exact. We had two options.

  1. If we did nothing, no treatment and just let it go, he’d be dead by January.
  2. If we did treatment, with only 2% chance of remission, we could extend his life. but only for so long. A year or two at the most.

Michael and I do not agree with prolonging life just for his or my appeasement. This was about Puss, what was best for him. At the time he was lathargic and wasn’t eating or drinking.  Over the last six months he’d lost 15lbs, a lot for a dog. The hardest thing to hear was the vet saying “He knows he doesn’t feel good, but he doesn’t understand why.” No telling a dog he has cancer to explain away their pain. We asked a lot of questions, got a lot of answers, and decided to do the treatment. If it gave him a little longer to enjoy life pain free, it was worth it to us.

Because of his age and his level of activity he’s responded well. He’s a healthy dog, well, except for the cancer. The vet told us that after his  treatments he may be tired and not feel well for a day or so. Not my boy. He comes home every time ready to go outside and play.  We’ve finished the 8 week weekly treatments are are slowly getting down to the monthly. He thinks taking his pills is a treat since I stuff them in summer sausage. He’s active and back to his old self, even his lymph nodes have gone back to normal. He’s even gained back his weight.

Puss is only 4, 5 on March 31st. He’ll most likely be gone before he’s 6, definitely before he’s 7. The day he stops eating again and starts throwing up consistently signaling his body is shutting down, we’ll put him to sleep. We don’t want him to be in any pain.

It makes my heart hurt to think of losing my dog, especially when he was suppose to be my “replacement” for when his mom, Maggie, my first dog, went. When Puss dies, I fully intend to do an “in memory” for him, posting pics and what not, but until then life will go on as normal. He sleeps on the bed with me and we play. Yes, he still gets in trouble when he’s a bad dog. The best thing for a dog is consistency. If I’m upset all the time or always spoiling him, it wouldn’t be his normal happy life.  Though I know in my head I will soon lose him, I fully intend to make sure he enjoys what time he has left 🙂 My heart can suffer later, until then I want only joy for my boy.

What would you do?  Has anyone else lost a dog to cancer?

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Comments on: "My Boy Puss" (8)

  1. I haven’t ever owned dogs, but I’ve had cats (plus many backyard wildlife critters – see my own post about a possum I saw many times over the last year: http://matthewleeadams.com/2012/01/christmas-lasagna-and-possums/ ).

    My last cat developed cancer in his old age, and it’s like you said – trying to discern what’s best for quality of life. Near the end, and with his personality and the way he still enjoyed being with us, purring and contented, we chose to sit with him at home while he lay with us petting him. It was very heartbreakingly sad, but we decided he would be more comfortable at home than a vet’s.

    He was an Abysinnian-Tabby mix, with the inherent playful curiosity of the Abysinnian as well as the markings.

    I wish the best with you and yours. Pets are a part of the family, when it really comes down to it.

    • I have a cat, she’s old but pretty healthy as of yet. My child hood cats have both died, but not from cancer. Raqad is buried in my parents back yard, like Puss, he was born where I lived.

      Puss does great with his treatments and the ladies at the vets office love him, one of them being a boxer owner herself. 🙂 I work with someone who asked why I didn’t just put him down the day we found out. I didn’t know what to say to someone who thinks like that so said nothing. He’d clearly never had a pet because yes, they are part of the family 🙂

      • My mom’s cat when I was a kid didn’t like going to the vet at all. Since he would fight even being put into a carrying kennel, and then wouldn’t come out (bracing all four feet around the door frame and hissing and spitting), the vet suggested one time we try bringing him with a pillowcase wrapped around his body. He shredded it. She suggested burlap. He shredded a burlap bag. He also bit the mail lady one time when she was talking to my mom and he got jealous. He had a sweet temperament toward my mother. Strangers – and especially the vet – not so much 🙂

  2. Hey ER,
    I know what you’re going through. As you’re already aware I had to let one of my kitties take the long sleep on Thursday. She had been ill only for a few days and whilst treatment had been offered it was really only a short term thing (8 weeks) and she went downhill fast.

    Whilst some people look at home animals as pets, for me they’re not, I don’t have children, so to me each of mine kitties are fur babies. I know thier characters, I know what they like, and for some reason (according to D) I’m a big cat to them as I have the full face beard that they all love to groom. Its hard losing one of them and what you have to do is make the most of them every day.

    Our house has places everywhere for them, we have three huge cat trees in the front room (or Catopolis as I call it), two cat sofa’s, a human armchair that has a soft cat basket on the top and a big sleeping mattress on the seat (its meant for dogs but my kitties love it.) Plus we have a small room that has a fleece on the bed for them to sleep on as well as sharing mine and D’s. There’s also blankets on boxes, window ledges etc so that wherever they go they have the comfort.

    Its great that Puss thinks his medi’s as treats. Louis is the same when she needs them. As to the others I pay more for liquid medication if I can get it and then cover thier favourite treats in them. They won’t be around long enough for them to realise that they’ve been dosed. LOL

    Anyway, have fun, give him as many hugs as you can and remember to get a lot of pics of him to remember him by. I’ve just gone and got a massive set of batteries for my digi-cam to make sure that I can get a lot of ones when mine get over losing thier friend.

    • Thanks Gareth, and my sympathies for the loss of you kitty. I have 2 stepsons that I love dearly but my dogs are my babies.

      I’ve already begun taking lots of pictures, the hubby has been taking them for me also, showing his support 🙂

      Glad your kitties are so spoiled and have so much room to play! I think your other half may have you pegged, the cat whisperer.

      • Perhaps, I always get on with kitties wherever I go. For some reason they all seem to like rolling over and getting bellies rubbed. Mind you what might not help is that if they start getting funny I turn round and tell them not to start as I know that they know they want it. LOL

  3. I think you have the right balance of compassion and courage. It’s not easy, but I pray that knowing what you know it will make the time you have with Puss all the sweeter.

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