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Goldie- Not kidneys. Cancer

(25 Posts)
horsemadmom Thu 15-Sep-11 23:19:50

Hi All,
The blood work came back and it is even worse than we thought. Our sweet old boy has cancer. We have decided not to do biopsies because he can't tolerate anaesthetic and it won't change the outcome. The other symptoms were an opportunistic infection. He's very anaemic. We are keeping him comfortable and out of pain and letting nature run its course. This is very hard on the kids.
Has anyone been through canine leukaemia or lymphoma? Is there a point when your dog told you it was time?

thewizenedone Fri 16-Sep-11 10:02:54

Hello horsemadmom, I am so sorry you are going through this. I had a Boxer Rosie some years ago diagnosed with Leukaemia there were irrc two types one that responded well and could be managed with meds, and could possibly give another 2 years of quality life, the second type, - the one Rosie had- less so, we did try all the treatments, chemo etc, but it was obvious that we were prolonging the inevitable, we were trying to tempt her with all her favourite foods, maybe a bit here or there, but usually no interest. She wasnt even 8 and one night she just lay there looking at me, and I just knew it was time, we also had her mum, when we came back from the vets she didnt look for her daughter just looked at us. We also recently lost a second dog to cancer, again, the morning she was pts we couldnt accept that she was ready. By afternoon I just knew. You will know when the time comes, I cant really explain it any better than that.

I am sure you have already thought of this but can you get the vet to come to you when the time is right ? it is so much less stressful both for you and Goldie. The first few weeks will be very hard but in time you will remember all the love and laughter you have shared and will know that you did the very best thing for him.

Thinking of you and your family at this sad time

CoffeeIsMyFriend Fri 16-Sep-11 10:36:49

We lost our 10 yr old GSD to prostate cancer a couple of years ago - despite him being 'done' it was just sheer bad luck. We were told he had about 6 weeks and when the time came we knew it. He had a look in his eyes and it was the hardest decision we have made as a family, but we knew it was the right time.

I think it comes down to quality of life, you have to think would your dog want to be like this? Ours was peeing and didnt know when he was still dribbling/stopped and you could see the distress on his face - not that anyof us made a fuss or got cross, but he knew it wasnt right. sad

I am so sorry you are going through this.

horsemadmom Fri 16-Sep-11 10:56:33

Thank you, Wizenedone.
I'm so sorry about your lovely dogs. Boxers and Goldies seem to have high rates of these cancers. I'll ask the vet about coming to us. He really likes her. Since we can't do the diagnostic biopsies to confirm whether it is lymphoma or leukaemia (had a minor procedure on his ear last year and crashed under the general within minutes), we really are just looking at palliative care. Steroids can have some nasty side effects in some dogs but will try them and hope they make him more comfortable.
One rather practical question- Did you do a back garden burial or cremate? It's awful to think about but I don't want to make that decision when we are at our most vulnerable.
I'm hoping that we'll know when it's time. Right now he is sitting in his favourite spot by the back door and limping down to the grass when needed. I put out a mat so he would have a soft place but he just ignored it and found a different patch of concrete until I took it away. His food remains untouched but he wags his tail with cuddles. At least he has a happy, sunny spot for now.

coccyx Fri 16-Sep-11 14:08:34

thinking of you and your dear 4 legged friend.x

thewizenedone Fri 16-Sep-11 20:32:43

Hi Horsemadmom,

sorry for the delay in replying, been at work. With Rosie we had her cremated but her ashes were scattered, as were her mothers at the pet crematorium. Molly was pts at home, they left us to say goodbye to her and she was cremated, her ashes returned, when we have our forever home, or can afford a place in cornwall where we spent many holidays with her, she will be scattered, cant quite let her go yet. in the meantime she is "here" so to speak with photos and the sympathy cards. The vet coming to the house was the best option. Trust me and Coffeeismyfriend when the time comes you will know.

How old are the children? I ask because I read a story recently where a vet pts a dog, afterwards the owners were talking about how sad it is that dogs have such short lives compared to ours. Their child said " I know why that is. Oh why they asked, well people need to live a long time to learn how to love and care and be kind to each other. And dogs already know all that, so dont need to live so long". Out of the mouths of babes as they say.

If you need to chat feel free to PM me I will help with whatever my limited expererience can do.

horsemadmom Sat 17-Sep-11 18:49:19

Our lovely Goldie passed peacefully today with the help of our kind vet. He couldn't stand up at all today and had to be carried by two of us out to the garden to wee. I just knew it was time.
We spent the day cuddling him and feeding him little bits of his favourite foods. He had the sun to warm him and the kids gave him a good brush. We all held him and told him how much we loved him as he slipped away. It was the gentle end he deserved.
Thanks for all of your advice and help.

thewizenedone Sat 17-Sep-11 19:10:02

Hello, it sounds like a peaceful end for your boy, Its hard now but it will get better in time. He was surrounded by his family and I am sure in the days and weeks to come you will be comforted by the knowledge that you did all in your power to ensure his passing was a gentle one.

Be kind to yourself.

take care

smartyparts Sat 17-Sep-11 19:35:39

Sorry for your loss, horsemadmom. I agree - it will get better with time.

Your post struck a chord with me as our lovely old dog's back legs gave up and I used to have to carry her outside and prop her up on them to wee/poo.

We lost her last month, and now with hindsight, it was a relief to end her suffering. Our vet wrote us a lovely letter.

CoffeeIsMyFriend Sat 17-Sep-11 20:34:13

I am so sorry for your loss of your beloved dog. The old cliche of time is indeed a great healer.

Will be thinking of you. sad

Madondogs Sun 18-Sep-11 13:28:29

So sorry for your loss xx

horsemadmom Mon 19-Sep-11 12:11:17

Please tell me I won't cry EVERY time I hoover! His hair is just everywhere. His smell is on my hands. It's bad enough walking through the door to an empty house....

frostyfingers Mon 19-Sep-11 13:54:40

It will hurt for a while, but gradually you will be able to remember all the good times and the fun. When you lose a dog I think what really makes you sad is all the memories associated to the time you had the dog - children growing, moving house etc etc.

horsemadmom Mon 19-Sep-11 14:03:24

I really hope so. I'm amazed that it actually feels worse than when my childhood dogs passed. Maybe because he was with me all day while the kids were at school?

CoffeeIsMyFriend Mon 19-Sep-11 15:52:10

It does get better. I hated seeing the dog bowls when I got back. sad

DH just washed them and put them and most of his stuff in the shed. I kept his collar and tag in the coat cupboard for a while.

Just typing this brings back that feeling again. Give yourself time and space to grieve.

bumpybecky Wed 21-Sep-11 21:21:42

I'm so sorry sad sat here crying! we lost our lovely dog in January, her ashes are still in the kitchen waiting for me to be brave enough to say goodbye again

it does get easier though honestly, CIMF is right though, it will take time - be kind to yourself

horsemadmom Thu 22-Sep-11 00:59:46

After a few truly awful days where I couldn't seem to do anything but cry, the fog is lifting. I had a lovely ride on a very intuitive horse who just knew that I needed consolation. The impulse to greet the Goldie when I come home hasn't ceased yet and when the floor creaks in the conservatory, a part of me thinks it's him. I think the turning point came when I realised that he really hated to see us upset. He always thought it was his fault and would dance in mad circles and attempt to stroke us with his paws- ouch. He would have been beside himself to see me crying.
I've started the procedure to adopt a rescue dog. It will take a couple of months and by them we should all be ready to love another dog who really needs us.
His collar is over the doorknob and I stop and smell it before the kids wake up. I've thrown away everything else so we can start fresh. The hair will take a long time to go as it seems to be everywhere- even between stacked CD's. I think it's because he won't ever really be gone because we loved him so much. He was gentle, funny, kind, well mannered, soppy and just the right degree of daft. I loved him so much.
Thank you all for your help. This time last week, I had a beautiful old Golden Retriever .....

CoffeeIsMyFriend Thu 22-Sep-11 06:29:05

try to remember the good times with him, I found that helped me. The funny things he did, the weird n wacky little quirks that only he had. smile

oh yes, the hair - it does get everywhere and I still find some now in boxes of things that I get out of the attic! how they got up there I will never know, but it reminds me of him and makes me smile that we still have him around.

I totally 'get' that feeling of coming home to a nondog house and we hated it, I lasted 3 weeks before we got another dog - it was fate if you believe in that, but thats how it seemed when we got our Loofa.

take care of yourself.

MackerelOfFact Thu 22-Sep-11 11:36:29

"The hair will take a long time to go as it seems to be everywhere- even between stacked CD's. I think it's because he won't ever really be gone because we loved him so much."

Oh that just made me cry! So true. They are never truly gone.

I lost my lovely lab nearly 2 months ago and it hurts but it's getting better. I am making a photobook from all the lovely photos we have of him and we have a memory box of his collar, bowls and toys.

coccyx Thu 22-Sep-11 11:42:50

I still have a blub about my old hairy. friend Buster. he was an old gentleman and still miss him years on.
your next dog will be very lucky .

horsemadmom Thu 22-Sep-11 12:11:08

Thank you all. It was all just too fast.
Youngest was crying at the bus stop this morning. Comforted her, said goodbye and then burst into tears myself. Then went to work...

You are all so sweet and it has really helped and supported me as most of my friends are non-doggy and don't quite get it. Strangely, they all LOVED the Goldie.

silentcatastrophe Sat 24-Sep-11 18:30:11

How horribly sad and shocking for you and your family to lose someone so fast. We have 2 older dogs and we aquired a third, in part because we wanted to mitigate the loss. I don't think it'll work that way. There are now pet bereavement charities who can lend an ear. At last it is being taken seriously. Thinking of you.

Mytholmroyd Tue 27-Sep-11 00:06:23

My sincere sympathy horsemadmum - I know just how you feel - we lost our seven year old flattie to histiocytic sarcoma last week - all still in shock it spread so quick. DD been crying at school. Now lost both our retrievers in the space of a few months but at least the other was 15. House is eerily quiet. Never not had a dog at home. sad

horsemadmom Tue 27-Sep-11 09:39:09

Dear Mytholmroyd,
So sorry that you are in the same situation. The only thing that has got us through is to remember how unhappy our Goldie was when anyone in the house was upset. The quiet is the worst. Also, I find that the rhythm of my day is all off. I no longer have to organise my day to be home for him. It isn't a relief.
They just seem to plummet when the cancer advances to the extent that they are symptomatic. Maybe nature is kinder to them than us humans. She doesn't leave them to fight in pain until the end but takes them mercifully.
I wish you strength and good memories.

Mytholmroyd Wed 28-Sep-11 17:45:27

Sorry not to reply yesterday - bit overloaded at work.

Thank you for the hug and sympathy - same back to you. Love Goldies too - lovely empathetic dogs.

I cant get it out of my head that she just gave up when her lifelong companion died - she didnt even enjoy her walks anymore and never really left our side to explore but maybe it was the cancer in her shoulder as she did perk up a bit once we put her on the strong painkillers. We were on the point of getting another pup to cheer her up (well not JUST to cheer her up - we have always had two but it seemed too soon to replace our much loved elderly dog). Too late now. Wish I had done it earlier.

DS1 who is five said "mum can we get a tortoise next instead of a dog?" to which I replied "you cant cuddle a tortoise though -why do you want a tortoise?" and he said "because they live a very long time and it wont have to die" sad

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