It’s so hard to say goodbye.

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Sarge has slowed down in the last few months, but has faced each day like a warrior.  The night before last he was clearly distressed and we actually thought we might lose him.  He became unresponsive very quickly, his gums were white as paper and he had no strength.  We laid with him for hours thinking he was passing.  We stayed with him all night long and he actually pulled through. Still unable to stand we took him to his amazing vet first thing in the am.  Based on his symptoms I suspected he was bleeding somewhere.

The examination revealed my suspicions were unfortunately correct, he had a massive amount of blood in his abdomen.  At that point we had to make decisions.  Option 1 was to get an ultrasound that might show where the blood was originating, but the place that could do the ultrasound would not be able to do it until the next day.  Option 2: take him to surgery now, but he was so weak the vet said even with a blood transfusion he had a high chance of not making it through the procedure, option 3 was immediate euthanasia and option 4, we take our hero home on hospice to be with his family.  Dr. Heintz assured me that Sarge was not in pain, but was very lethargic.  His lungs actually sounded good, so he would not struggle to breath.   We could give him gabapentin (pain) and valium (anxiety) as needed.

As many of you, being a tripawd parent means that we have dealt with decision making struggles many times before.  Amputate, or not, chemo or no chemo, what diet is best, what pain meds, what have I done, did I make the WRONG choice for them, etc….  this is not a new world for us.  In the back of our heads we all at some point have thought, if they could just tell us what they want us to do!!! We also know our babies have a desire to fight and we want to give them a fighting chance.

All day yesterday and into the evening, Sarge was to weak to lift his head, much less stand.  I syringe fed him broth and water, as he was too weak to drink from his dish.  He woke up panting about every 4 hours, so I would crush his meds and give in a syringe with his favorite chicken broth.  At 6 am he started panting but was wide eyed and head raised high!  He started to stand and we had been carrying him out to potty but this time he managed to hop out 80% on his own!  He also ate a normal breakfast, right from the dish!

I know all too often, even with human patients, they will rally before passing, but I am blown away with his vigor and valiant strength in this moment.  He even musters the strength to wiggle that precious nub of his, the all too familiar boxer Elvis pelvic wiggle.

We will continue our vigil by his side and I will update as things progress.   We would have never dreamed Sarge would still be with us 3 years post osteosarcoma diagnosis, and although I am beyond thankful for every moment we have had him, no matter the time it’s NEVER long enough with our furbabies.

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Author: c1nicolei

Sarge has been the the love of my life since we rescued him in 2007. He was thought to be a carcass on the side of the road in our community park. As I walked over to look at the pitiful dead dog, I soon realized he was still breathing, barely. We rushed him to the vet and although severely malnourished and in a terrible state, with TLC he miraculously pulled through. Snap shot ahead to 6/2014, we decide to go outside to play fetch, he was so excited and full of energy, doing his typical bouncy boxer pelvic shuffle. He took a nasty tumble and the sounds that followed was nothing short of heart piercing. My heart stopped, because I knew it was bad, very bad. I am a PA, not a veterinarian, but I knew instantly the leg was broken badly. I splinted him and rushed him to the vet. What initially was going to be an orthopedic surgery to repair a broken radius and ulna, quickly turned into, "Your dog sustained a pathological cancer, we think he has osteosarcoma". I could not even hear what I was being told. How could this seemingly happy, healthy, FULL of life dog have CANCER?? The BX confirmed my worst fears. This whole process took over a week. In that time I researched every aspect of canine osteosarcoma I could find and I had already made up my mind, we were going to fight this, not for me, but I knew he was not done living!!! Making the decision to amputate was not one taken lightly. We ensured there were no macro mets and that his blood work looked stable. I also decided if we amputated we would also do chemo. Sarge had his leg amputated 2 days ago and I am amazed at his hour by hour improvement. We start chemo in 2 weeks. I will keep everyone updated and love reading stories on here that give me hope that he will be able to be a happy, pain free normal Sarge!!! This is when we joined TRIPAWDS! What a wonderful, reassuring supportive community! I love you TRIPAWDS!

8 thoughts on “It’s so hard to say goodbye.”

  1. xoxoxox Thinking of you all. Sarge you have kicked butt. I know you will be met by many Warriors and Princess Warriors when you make your crossing to the bridge.

    Michelle & Angel Sassy

  2. I shed tears with you as I read this and my heart hurts with you…….but I also celebrate Warrior Sarge with a standing ovation for such an incredible life of love and joy and courage! Sarge TRULY is a Warrior and I have been so privileged to be with him on his VICTORIOUS journey!

    Sarge always has, and always will, do things his way and on his terms. He certainly has shown everyone that statistics don’t mean squat arpund here!

    There is more I’ll say later. For right now though,all I can do, all any of us can do, is hold you tightly in our hearts and help you celebrate Sarge home.

    Surrounding you with our love

    Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too

  3. WOW…. I am so happy to celebrate our hero Sarge with you! Indeed he has kicked some serious cancer booty!!! Hugs and more prayers for more good days ahead!
    Alison with Spirit Shelby in her heart

  4. Love that face! I hope this is a SUSTAINED rally for Sarge and you are SO right about there never being enough time. Izzy stayed with me for nearly two years post diagnosis and truly, old age (and long term prednisone) is what caught up to her in the end … but even if she’d lived 5 more years, I would feel cheated out of time with her.

    Sarge clearly loves you so much and I am so glad he’s perked up. Love on him as much as you can for as long as you can … every moment is a gift!

    Amy & Angel pup, Izzy

  5. So sorry to hear this news, but how wonderful that you have been able to care for and love him, and continue to do so during his transition. Saying good bye is incredibly hard, but also such an act of love for our pack mates.

  6. Awh sweet Sarge, I am so sorry that you are having to go through this with your kiddo – and just so glad that you are going through this together. There is nothing more precious. Sarge is loved and celebrated and cherished and we should all be so lucky. Just love him up every moment. We are thinking of you and sending love and hugs. Thank you for sharing this part of your journey.
    ❤️Amy & Rusty

  7. Oooooohhhhh you guys our hearts ache for you and Sarge right now. The pawspice time is a tough one but you should be so proud of yourselves for being in tune with his needs and wishes. It’s very very hard to get to this point but all of you are handling it like true warriors.

    Please know that you are all in our hearts and we are thinking of you. If you want to talk, we are always around. Meanwhile please tell Sarge that he is a true hero of this nation, and always will be. We love him dearly.


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