First I want to thank all of our friends and family for the outpouring of support we have received. We are very fortunate to have such a wonderful and supportive tribe. I’m certain that there are some people that don’t really understand what the fuss is all about and probably think “It’s just a dog.”, and I want to let you know that I appreciate that you haven’t spoken up. Not everyone gets the relationship we have with our animals, but they are a part of our family. We have brought them into our lives and try to give them a happy and healthy existence. Our commitment to them is that while we are not perfect, we will try to be good caregivers. We find the relationship with our dogs to be very fulfilling and rewarding and we hope that they feel the same way, at least to the extent that they are capable.

I would say that we have battled cancer in our dogs before but “battled” isn’t really the right term here. Our furry family has been decimated by cancer.
Pepper was the first to go, she was diagnosed right after Thanksgiving back in 2010. She was one of the happiest and sweetest dogs I have ever known. When we brought her home as a foster dog, she wasn’t particularly found of us. Not aggressive in any way, just aloof and indifferent toward us. Over time she totally warmed up to us, and my fondest memories of her are when she would climb up on the couch with me and plop her head on my chest, just under my chin. She had lung cancer and there just wasn’t anything we could do for her, other than keep her comfortable and prepare ourselves to make the call when the time came. We ended her suffering just before the New Year, and we honestly probably held on a little longer than we should have. I’m grateful to our vet who advised us that it was time to let her go.
Cancer 1 – Us 0
Tasha was the next to go, unexpectedly and very suddenly just a few months ago. At 5:00 pm she was healthy, active, and completely normal. By 1:00 am we got the call from the surgeon that there wasn’t anything they could do to help her and we had to let her go. I miss her, and the pain is still raw and fresh. At random times I am overcome by a wave of grief at her absence. Time is helping and more often than not, when I think of her I smile. I remember her incredibly gentle nature. Her fondness for paper products. The fact that I could give her a cotton ball and she would eat it like it was an awesome treat (NOT Leslie’s favorite thing for me to do). She had grown up with Kota, and occasionally the two of them would play. I have wondered about how Kota perceives her absence. Tasha loved water. Any kind, any depth, mud puddles, rivers, lakes, ponds, it didn’t matter to her as long as it was wet and she could get in it. We had hope when we took her in for surgery that we would fall into the magical 20% that meant they could repair the damage and we would get to see her wake up, that we would have a scary story about the time when she almost died. Obviously that wasn’t what happened. Even now as I type this I can’t hold back the tears. We didn’t have a chance to prepare, we didn’t get time to come to terms with losing her before she was gone. She was just gone. Her last hours were not good, she was obviously uncomfortable, weak, and probably scared. She did perk up and seem pretty close to normal when we left her for the last time. I hope she understood as much as she could (I am a little surprised how hard this is for me to get through) that we tried our best to make the right decision. I don’t know if we did, we felt she was strong and healthy enough to make it through, we gave her a chance but I know I was being somewhat selfish. I just didn’t want to give up on her, and for any of the stress and discomfort I caused her that was unnecessary I am sorry..
Cancer 2 – Us 0
Kota. No. Not again. It is not FAIR. Kota has been having some nasal issues for a little while. He has always been an excited sneezer, but since we have moved out to Oregon it has gotten a bit worse. He started sneezing more frequently, and harder (poor little bastard bangs his head on the floor sometimes, and I admit to giggling a little when it started). He then developed some wet noises in his nose, a bit of a rasp. We have been consulting with our vet about it for a while, trying different treatments for allergies, running through the typical stuff with only mild improvements. So we finally decide it is time for a CT scan and a scope to really figure out what is going on in his nose and hopefully fix it. Preliminary diagnosis was fungal infection (70% – 95% certainty depending on which vet you asked) awaiting confirmation from biopsy and blood tests. Fungal infection negative, biopsy result confirms it is cancer. No curative treatment, possible radiation therapy as a palliative option to help relieve symptoms, possibly increase survival time by a month or two. Without treatment expected survival of a few months. Radiation therapy has potential negative side effects, including blindness, damaging of the tear ducts, among others. At this time we are leaning toward no radiation therapy and to provide other types of treatments to make him feel better (pain meds, decongestants, herbs, etc). Essentially going into hospice mode where as long as we can maintain a good quality of life we will, but once he seems to be too uncomfortable, or has too hard of a time breathing, or stops eating because he can’t smell, or whatever progression the disease takes, we will choose to end his suffering. As sad as it makes me to know we only have a short time with him left, I am incredibly thankful to have SOME time. Kota is old for a dog his size (gonna be 15, and YES he is going to make it to 15) so we have been preparing mentally for something to happen. But cancer? Again?
I am making it a personal goal to enjoy these last weeks with him. He is still our little man, although a bit slower and grumpier than he used to be, and I REFUSE to let this disease steal away the last good months with him. I will celebrate his life, I will play with him and make him happy. He deserves no less, and if I were him I wouldn’t want to have to see a bunch of sad faces crying over me during my last days. I can think of no other way to show cancer that, yes you are going to win in the end, but you are NOT GOING TO BEAT US.
Cancer 3 – Us 0
Fuck you cancer.
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