HONORING THE LIVES OF FOUR DOGS

When I first read that Peggy’s Pet Place and Pooch Smooches were creating a blog hop dedicated to helping us share our memories of beloved dogs who have gone before us and support our fellow bloggers who are currently dealing with canine cancer, I was (and still am) excited to participate.  Of course, as usual with me, other things got in the way and I never had the chance to write a carefully-thought-out post so I’m “winging it” today.  I’m going to share memories of four dogs, one of which is still very much alive and in remission.  Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures to share, but you’ll see why as you read my post.

PIXIE (July, 1960 to March 1976):

Pixie was my family’s second poodle, and the offspring of our first poodle, Coco.  Pixie and her littermates were born less than three weeks before my seventh birthday.  Their mama was two-and-a-half years old that hot July morning.  So, as you can see, I grew up with Pixie and her mama dog.  They were both my best friends, and for all intents and purposes, my younger sisters.  (When I was older and much less gullible, Mom would tease me that if she had it all to do over again, she’d have had dogs instead of my brother and me.)  Coco passed in the summer of 1971 of liver disease – what it was in truth I do not know as my parents shielded me from that kind of stuff – and poor Pixie grieved for many months before moving on.  I’m sure that was due to our own grief.  But I digress.  In March of 1976, my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She had a great attitude about it, though, and swore she would fight it to her last breath.  Now, I’m about to tell you something that I have shared in comments to other blogs’ postings, so if you want to skip over it I’ll understand and won’t know anyway.  I just love telling this little story because it makes me smile…

A few days after my Mom learned of her own diagnosis, she and my Dad brought Pixie to our then long-time veterinarian for a check-up because she hadn’t been eating with her usual enthusiasm, and Mom had caught a glimpse of something on Pixie’s body that concerned her.  While the vet examined Pixie, he mentioned several possibilities of the cause of her “discomfort”, the last of which was the “C Word”.  “I’m afraid that poor Pixie has breast cancer.”  Before he could say another word, Mom piped up “OH! JUST LIKE ME!” I can still picture the vet’s jaw dropping to the floor in utter astonishment and his remaining thoughts failing him.  He didn’t know what to say at that point, so he said nothing except to suggest that we make Pixie as comfortable as possible and continue to love on her.  I think he may have given my parents a bottle of pain killers for the poor dog.  Of course, I knew nothing of this conversation until two weeks later.  Anyway, Mom had her mastectomy and a few days after she returned home from the hospital, she asked me to take Pixie to the vet and stay with her while he helped her on her way to Heaven.  (The vet tech who had been there for many years and had helped with Coco’s final moments had moved out of state with her husband due to a job relocation.)  It was then that the vet told me of the conversation he’d had with Mom and Dad.  “I was going to suggest that they think about putting this poor old girl out of her misery.  But when your Mom blurted out ‘just like me’, I almost fell over!”  I had to laugh.  It was just like my Mom to do something like that, and I was proud of her for it.  It was also the only thing I had to laugh about the entire day.  Moments later, I was in tears. While we were talking, I held Pixie and calmly said good-bye to her, stroking her sweet head and whispering that we all loved her and that she soon would be running and playing with her mama dog, Coco, up in Heaven.  Once she was “gone”, the tears flowed like a faucet with its valve wide open.  I had to stop at the nearby shopping mall to take my contacts out, clean them, put them back in, and continue the drive home.  Let me tell you, it wasn’t easy driving home with the tears still flowing!

EMMA (October 2004 – ?)

Emma is my Shadow’s littermate.  She is the very-loved and very-cherished canine child of my friends Tom and Beth.  Back in early 2012, Emma was diagnosed with osteosarcoma.  Her prognosis was not good, but Tom and Beth decided to go with amputation surgery and pray for the best.  They couldn’t allow themselves to expect the worst.  I know I couldn’t have if it had been Shadow instead of Emma.  Anyway, since Tom and I no longer work together, I don’t get the chance to ask him about Emma as often as I’d like to; but Beth and I are Facebook friends and I check her page regularly for updates on Emma.  So far, this very sweet, loving Golden Retriever is doing very well.  She has adapted well to life as a tripaw; although I think poor Beth still feels some pangs of guilt now and then.  I love Emma almost as much as I love my own dogs – after all, she is extended family.  And, it’s because of Emma’s diagnosis last year that I became soooooo “anal” about the quality of the food I was feeding her sister, Shadow, and Callie, among other things that I became “anal” about – which drives my poor husband up the wall.

Lacie and Barney

Lacie was a miniature schnauzer who had been “fur-baby” to one of Callie’s and Shadow’s original pet sitters.  She was diagnosed with mouth melanoma last year and passed shortly after the diagnosis.  Poor Jennifer was distraught and still has tearful moments.  I can understand fully.  I still have tearful moments when I think of my own poodle, Kissy, who passed nearly ten years ago from kidney failure.

Barney was a Golden Retriever who had been adopted by another of Callie’s and Shadow’s original pet sitters.  Barney passed from cancer last year as well.  Andrea had adopted Barney when his original owner passed away a few years earlier.  Andrea had been his pet sitter for some time, and his owner was quite impressed with the special bond that he and Andrea shared.  You see his owner was an elderly lady who, after a while could no longer take Barney for the walks he so enthusiastically enjoyed, which – if I understood correctly – is when she hired the pet sitter service/Andrea to help her with Barney.  She was so impressed that before she went into the hospital for the last time, she asked Andrea to adopt Barney and give him a chance to live out his remaining years with someone else that he loved.  Andrea was delighted to honor her client’s request. 

So it is with pride that I honor these four much-loved dogs by joining the Give Cancer the Paw blog hop.  I pray that a cure for all cancers – canine, human, and all other animals – will be found in my and my current pets’ lifetimes.  And I am grateful to all of you who have shared your stories and the results of your research with the rest of us. 

 

Give Cancer the Paw

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13 thoughts on “HONORING THE LIVES OF FOUR DOGS

  1. Donna and the Dogs says:

    Sue, I never did read the whole story about your mom and Pixie in any of the comments I’ve come across, so thanks for taking the time to share it here. It is nice that your mom fought so bravely, and because of her comment, you had a little bit of sunshine on what I’m sure was otherwise a very hard day.

    Great job for “winging it” if you ask me.

  2. Jackie Bouchardj says:

    Thank you for “winging it” and joining our hop! What a lovely post – honoring not only the pups but your mom too! I love to hear stories of pups with osteosarcoma who are still “giving cancer the paw.” It’s what took my last angel – way too young. I hope your tripaw buddy is doing well. Dogs are so amazing on three legs. They’re an inspiration. (Mine inspired me to write a whole novel, in fact!)

    Thanks again for joining the hop!

  3. Peggy's Pet Place says:

    Thank you for joining our hop and thank you so much for sharing these stories of very special dogs and your very wise mom. my mom also has breast cancer and has an upbeat attitude. When we get a diagnosis of cancer, it’s important to make a decision based on that individual dog and sounds like that’s just what you’ve done. I can tell how much you love each of these special dogs.

    • The Golden Life says:

      Actually, I had no say in the decision for Pixie since she was technically my Mom’s dog. And the other three dogs are/were my friends’ dogs so the decisions were theirs; but I do/did love all three of them as extended-family members. How could I not?

      I’m glad your mom has an upbeat attitude in dealing with her own cancer…that in itself is at least half the battle. My Mom — unfortunately — had cancer during an era when there was not yet much research into treating it and so didn’t have many choices other than to be upbeat about it.

  4. Jan K says:

    I knew I would need a box of tissues for this blog hop. Thank you for sharing those stories…I love the one where your pet sitter friend adopts one of her “clients”. I’m glad to hear that Emma has survived and is fighting on. I’m sorry, since I’m new to your blog, I don’t know….did your Mom survive her cancer? That was a long time ago, and I’m sure treatments for dogs as well as humans have come a long way, at least I hope so!

    • The Golden Life says:

      Hi Jan! I haven’t mentioned my Mom that much, except for little snippets of wisdom that she passed on to me. No, unfortunately, she ultimately succumbed in November of 1979, just 2-1/2 months shy of her 57th birthday. She would be approaching her 91st if she were still alive today.

      I could have used a box of tissues myself today reading some of the other blogs in the hop. I still have some to read, too. Have a great evening!!

  5. Dawn says:

    I need a tissue. Such terrible losses. I suspect my dog Sephi may have succommed to cancer. I never had her diagnosed, though, since her situation was severe. 😥

  6. Oz the Terrier says:

    Your “winging it” post paid a lovely tribute to these four dogs. Thank you for sharing their stories. We all must cherish the time we have to spend with one another.
    *Cairn cuddles*
    Oz

    • The Golden Life says:

      🙂 I always LOL when I think about the poor vet. He was a great guy, and one of the few vets in our area at the time who had become a vet because of his love for animals instead of the almighty dollar. He retired at some point after Mom passed away, and it took me a while to find another vet that I — and our last family dog — was comfortable with. My Mom was quite the character, so now when I find myself thinking or saying something she would have said, I feel very proud of myself…like mother, like daughter. 🙂

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