Eight weeks ago I took my beautiful Papillon to the vet with a strange looking growth on her belly, and he told me it was breast cancer. I never heard of a dog getting breast cancer! She was 13 ½, too old for chemo, so he suggested surgery to cut it out and hopefully give her a couple more years. Since I loved her with all my heart, since I was used to her ways, since I desperately wanted more time with her, I agreed.

While doing surgery, he found a lymph node infested with cancer and took that out, too. The next day I picked her up and brought her home for recovery, which was slow. But I knew her age was against a quick recovery, so I didn’t worry too much.

Finally the time came to remove the stitches, which she was her usual brave self about, no fighting or fussing with the vet tech who did it, and back home we went. For a few days after that she was her usual perky happy self, then one day she was definitely sick. Back to the vet we went and he put her on steroid pills. Again she was happy and perky for a few days, then I noticed that she was having an awful lot of sick days where she just laid around and sometimes didn’t even bother to bark and run to the door when we had company.

And how was I? I was a mess. I was beginning to lose hope that I would have her for a year or two more. I was on red alert all the time. I watched her and felt my heart sink with every whimper in the night, with every episode of hard breathing, but my hope lay in the fact that she did eat well during the day because the steroids made her ravenous. But she never bothered to get up once she had eaten, she always wanted me to carry her outside to the potty or back to her favorite spot in the computer room. There were times in that room when she slept so hard I couldn’t wake her up. What was wrong with my precious little girl?

Last Tuesday she could barely stand up. Wednesday she cried out when I picked her up. Thursday my sister came over and she told me straight out that JoJo was really sick and we needed to put her down.

So I called the vet and made an appointment for him to see her in the hopes that he could increase her steroids or do SOMETHING. I just couldn’t bear the thought that there wasn’t any more hope.

Thursday at 6:30, with my sister and my son and daughter in the room, the vet told me we had to put her down. He said the cancer had come back and showed it to me on her belly and inside her thigh. She stood up on her weak little legs and let us all kiss her and make over her and I tried not to cry in front of her and then she laid down and put her head down sideways on the blanket the vet had put over the cold table. He told me I could hold her while he put her to sleep but that he wouldn’t advise it because I was such an emotional wreck over all me and my little girl had been through, so I chickened out and kissed her little head one more time and told her Mom would be right back like I always said when I had to go someplace, and her eyes closed. The vet made arrangements with my son to take her and bury her next to my Bella girl, and then we left.

I will never see my beautiful baby again. Screaming and crying has not brought her back.

(Dedicated to my heart dog, JoJo, who went over the Rainbow Bridge on 9/5/13)

© 2013 Just Lynne - 9/9/13

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