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Bad News

Well, nothing like getting back into the groove of things with bad news…

Took Puss to the vet last week, his lymph notes were getting a little large again. They checked him out, took some blood and said that while his white count was down he may have caught a cold, or have allergies. But if that wasn’t it, there was another option: Rescue Therapy. Basically that means we start treatments all over – once a week. We just got down to once a month.

Well, today was his actual treatment day. The prognosis was not good. As I already noticed, his lymph notes are already bigger than they were last week. They suggested we start the “Rescue Therapy” next week.

I came home, slow tears running down my cheeks. I don’t want to make my dog go though anymore treatments and he may not even respond this time around. So, after much discussion with Michael, though it’s mainly my decision since he’s my dog, we’re going to keep going with the monthly treatments till he’s gone.

They’re giving my boy 2 months at the most. Something inside me says it won’t be that long.

My heart is breaking.

The Great Escape

Michael’s best friend comes over every other week to drink, hang out, and just have a good time. It’s always just the two of them while I sleep upstairs, buried under dogs. When his friend still lived in town, he’d leaved through the back gate of our fenced in yard, until one day he didn’t quite shut the gate. Michael woke me up at 2:30 am saying that all the dogs were gone. It’s was the puppies one year birthday exactly. I freaked. Though they were vacinated, none of them had collars, not even ID tags.

The older dogs, the girls Maggie and Baby, you could see from the house, sniffing around the neighbors trees. One yell and they came trotting back home like nothing had been wrong, “What momma? The gate was open.” The boys, however, were no where to be seen. They’d been out for an hour.

I jumped in the car and drove in the direction that Michael’s friend would have walked home, thinking maybe the boys had tried to follow him or his scent. I drove slow, really slow. About half way there, I thought I saw a dog in the center of a side road I passed but by the time I’d reversed to check it out, the figure was gone and I convinced myself it was my wishful imagination. Finishing the drive past the friends house, I went back the same way I’d come. What if that figure really was one of my dogs?!? I couldn’t just let it go. Right where I’d seen it last time, there it was, the shadowy figure of a dog but it was too dark to tell which one it was.

I pulled over and called both names. Nothing, and when I’d start to get close, the shadowy dog would skitter away. After about 15 minutes of chasing a dog, I finally got a glimpse of white reflecting the moon, it was Paulie. I went for him again, but he was terrified and not coming anywhere near me. I watched as he darted under a bush and an idea hit me. I plopped down on the curb and waited, continuing to gently call his name, my back to where I knew he was. Eventually I heard the soft shuffling and I carefully turned to look, he was coming towards me, crawling across the ground on his tummy, shaking. I turned back and continued to talk to him until I felt his nose bump into my rear. Reaching back I petted him, told him he was a good boy, then scooped him up and carried the already large dog to the car. He sat in the front see just like this – As though he couldn’t be more happy than to just sit in the car, relaxing after a long scary night all alone. My only question now was, where was his brother?

I called the pound and the local dispatch to report Puss missing since it was becoming daylight. I continued to look for him but never found him. Animal control called, saying they’d had a report of two boxers running around on the other side of our 15,000 population city. No way that was him, he was alone.

It poured rain, I cried. The sun came back out, I calmed down a little but was still worried about my boy. We didn’t find Puss right away. In fact, we didn’t find Puss until my husband Michael went to work that night at 5 o’clock. All the way on the other side of town, right where the pound had said he was, apparently Puss had found a friend during his escapade.

Michael pulled the car over at seeing my boy Puss drinking water still in the gutter from the rain that morning. One word – Puss – was all it took for my perky puppy to come running to his owner. So unlike his brother! Puss had loved his day of adventure and to this day I don’t know what he did or how he survived crossing one of the busiest streets in town with out getting hit.

That day I bought all four of them collars and some very cool personalized doggie tags off Ebay’s King Pet Tags – They are really cool and I got ALL of my information on them including full address and phone number. 🙂 So the Boy’s birthday present? Their very own great adventure, I don’t plan on letting them have another 🙂 I don’t think Paulie would want one!

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?

Beware of Boxers

 “Boxers are like potato chips, you can’t have just one.”

– Animal Plant, Dogs 101

I never liked dogs. In fact, I despised them, feared them.  I didn’t even pet the ones my friends owned which of course made them want to be around me all the more. Then, I met my husband. Shortly after moving in together, he started talking about getting a dog. But not just any dog. He wanted a Boxer. He swore I would love a Boxer, having owned a couple before we’d met. I wasn’t so sure.

Two weeks before Christmas, we drove 30 minutes to buy one of two puppies the seller had left. Looking at the two 5 month old females romping around the pen, my husband chose the one with the small white spot on the back of her neck. Maggie, my clearance puppy. The one who started it all.

On the way home, with Maggie in the back seat, we stopped at Petsmart to buy her a collar and leash.  My husband ended up carrying her out, collar on, leash attached. It took one week till she willingly got of the couch. Two weeks to get the courage to climb the stairs to our bedroom, but mere seconds for her to jump onto the bed. Potty training with Maggie was not what I’d call a fun experience but that’s a story for another day.

A month after Maggie’s arrival home, my husband calls me and said words I’d already come to know well, “I’m bringing something home for you.” I only needed to know one thing, “Is it living?”. Baby joined our family that night.

My husband had owned Baby once before but one day an ex gave her away while he was at work. Her current owners saw my husband, knowing that she’d been his once before, and asked if he wanted her back. They were moving and unable to keep her. How could he resist. And Baby made 2.

Many years later, hubby and I, deciding Maggie was simply too cute not to have puppies, we bread her with another Boxer. The plan was to keep the one that looked the most like Maggie, be it male or female though we both hoped for  a girl. Nine weeks later, Maggie gave birth to three beautiful boys. Of which we kept two. That’s right. Two.

 My boys, Puss(fawn) and Paulie(brindle). Yes, Puss. Both named after Soprano’s characters, Big Pussy and Paulie Walnuts were born in a birthing box we built from scratch. Puss first, Paulie last, they were fat little sausages. Maggie was an excellent mommy. They’ll be 5 March 31st.

So, Puss & Paulie make four. Four Boxers, ranging in weight from 55 to 91 lbs, wearing out sofas left and right, sliding on linoleum, and eating 100 lbs of food a month. Owning four dogs is an adventure, one I never thought I’d have. Now, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Okay, that’s not true. I still want a Mastiff 😀