Sarge’s Memory lives on…

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A day has not passed that I have not thought about what a gift Sarge was for our family.   We miss him daily!

 

As I work in rescue, I was notified that there were boxer mixed puppies in need of urgent placement.   When I looked at the pups, one had a face that looked so much like Sarge.   Although the answer from the husband was “NO”, this happened:

Meet Bogey, a golf term for “One Over”, and as my husband says “one too many”.   Needless to say, my husband is now in love with Bogey too.

This little guy could not be more different than Sarge.  Sarge was so calm and laid back, Bogey is like a kangaroo on amphetamines.  We love him none-the-less.

 


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Angel wings

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My heart is breaking but Sarge is at peace.  We took him with us to Tulsa this weekend and he enjoyed another road trip.  Sarge absolutely loved going Bye-Bye!!!  He had an amazing day yesterday and hopped all over the yard and ate all of his supper.  He has had good days and bad since it was determined the cancer had returned.  I knew the time would come, but he kept fighting and beating all the odds, so we kept helping him live to the fullest.  Even though I knew his time was coming to an end, I still was not ready.  His breath became labored and he desperately wanted to get up this am, but his weakened body refused to cooperate.  I laid on the floor with him and he passed peacefully in my arms.  My husband and I buried him by the stream in the yard where he spent so many joyful years playing, chasing his dog friends, gardening wth Mom, watching embers fly into the air from the fire-pit and enjoying life to the fullest.  My heart is completely broken, as I know he was not ready to go, even in the end, it was clear he wanted to live.  Heaven gained a special angel today and hopefully he will be waiting on me, like he always did, till I come home to be with him.  May Sarge be an inspiration to all those that battle osteosarcoma and may his story continue to live on.  Thank you to all those on the tripawds forum that have ALWAYS been there to offer advice, an understanding ear or to cry with me when no one else seemed to understand.   I love each and everyone of you for being there for our family.

Sarge never ceases to AMAZE

Any of you following this thread know that 9 days ago, Sarge collapsed and became unresponsive.  Over the night, his dad and I laid with him, not expecting him to survive the night.  He was pulse-less and barely breathing, but not in pain.

He made it through the night so I took him to the vet.  The vet determined he had a massive abdominal bleed and ordered an ultrasound, but it could not be done till the next morning.  Sarge pulled through another night so Wednesday, a week ago, we went in for the U/S.  He was still too weak to even stand.  The U/S confirmed that he had a bleed from a tumor on his spleen and also had lesions on his intestinal area and prostate.  Lymph nodes involved as well.  :o(

On the way out, Dr. Heintz handed us a box of chinese herbal medication (yunnan baiyao) and said it may help with the bleeding but that Sarge may be too far gone.  What would it hurt?  We took Sarge home to keep him comfortable.  Mind you, Sarge is a big boy; 100lbs of love and joy.  Tim and I slept with him and worked our schedules so that we were always by his side.  He was never alone. We syringe fed him chicken broth and water and carried him out with a sling to potty.  I was taking the capsules and mixing with the broth to administer.

Saturday he acutely stood up on his own but was still very weak.  We continued to give the herbal med, 2 pills 2 times daily.  Today Sarge is hopping out to potty on his own and eating and drinking out of his dish, no longer having to be hand fed.  He even begged for his evening walk tonight, so we took a very short stroll.

There are not words to express our shock in his miraculous turn around!   Thank you for your prayers and ++++ thoughts.  We understand his cancer is terminal, but for today, Sarge is a nub wagging happy pup!!!   Love every moment with our precious boy!!!

Sarge update

We went to have his ultrasound yesterday to evaluate where the abdominal bleeding was coming from.  In typical Sarge style, he was excited to greet the veterinary staff and had his excitation nub wiggle going in full force.  The tech that has done his chemo for the last 3 years had not been in clinic the day before yesterday and joined Sarge on the floor for cuddle time.  It seems we are not alone in our admiration for this amazing boy.  She told me that he was their poster child for osteosarcoma treatment.  He never had to be sedated for xrays, chemo or other diagnostic studies.  Sarge is a “perfect patient”!

Unfortunately, it was confirmed that he has a lesion on his spleen and he appears to have moderate involvement of the prostate and multiple lymph nodes; all indicative of cancer.

This information just reassured us that surgical exploration would be futile and put Sarge through unnecessary pain and stress.

Sarge is under 24 hour watch and we are not leaving him alone.  He is unable to get to his food or water, but we are bringing him his dishes and he is still eating and drinking with vigor.  We are also carrying him out to potty, which he is still doing like a champ!!!  100lbs of dog is NO joke, glad my hubby is strong, could not do it on my own!

I hope I am doing the right thing by allowing him to chose when it is his time to hop onto the rainbow bridge.  He is not in pain and is comfortably spoiled in this time.  If he stops eating and drinking and his comfort level is in question, we will move on to other options.

Your love and support here on the forum has been instrumental in our 3 year success.  I knew so little about canine amputation and osteosarcoma before this journey started and without this amazing site, we would have felt utterly lost. We love you and send our deepest appreciation and heartfelt gratitude to each and everyone of you that have been there for us during this time.

We pray that Sarge can continue to be a ray of hope and inspiration, even after his passing, to all current and future tripawds facing all the daunting. yet inspiring, life events that this journey brings.

 

It’s so hard to say goodbye.

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.

Sarge ushers out 2016

Osteosarcoma is the farthest thing from this handsome boys mind.  When humans, battle cancer the ordeal is often described as “brave, heroic or courageous”.

The beauty of going through this with my best furry friend, is that never once has the word cancer crossed his mind, he has never wasted one moment worrying about when or IF the big “C” will return.  Sarge just faces each day with a vigor for life and an excitement for the little things like going for his daily hop, chewing on his favorite bone or squeezing one of his personally selected toys from the pet store.  Sarge also has developed the post chemo gift of becoming a picky food eater and will turn his nose at his high dollar grain free food if there is not fresh chicken or eggs placed lovingly in the kibble.

These added months and years have been a welcomed, albeit shocking survival story.  He has beaten all the odds.   Only 10% of dogs with osteosarcoma live this long past diagnosis.   I wish I had his canine ability to not worry, to just wake up to each day with joy (and a wiggly butt) unaware of the potential dangers that could come each day.

Here is to survival, here is to “ignorance is bliss”.

Praying 2017 will ring in more happy healthy days for Sarge and all the fur babies out there kicking osteosarcomas butt!

We love you!

 

We are still here!

We have been dealing with a family tragedy for the last 6 months.  My dad was diagnosed with stage IV cancer two days before Thanksgiving.  He passed mid January after an arduous battle involving chemo, radiation, multiple surgeries and finally hospice.

Sarge was an eternal support, and often my Dad would say that “If Sarge can beat cancer, so can I!”  It will be 2 years in June since Sarge was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma.

Being in the medical field, I know all the to well the horrible battles I have seen patients with cancer fight, but to watch your loved ones go through the process is something I could wish on no one.

Sarge, as most precious pets, has sensed the pain in our family and would go to visit dad.  Sarge was always so gentle with dad.  My dad was always the toughest, strongest man I knew, but towards the end was in too much pain and too weak to even walk.  Sarge would just sit by him and lean his head into his lap.

Now, Sarge is my daily comfort.  There has not been a single day that I have not laid on the floor with him, buried my face into his side and cried.  He senses my need for his comfort and has become more of a “Velcro dog” than  normal.  Our fur-babies have definite radar for not only our physical being but also our emotions.  They have an innate ability to “get us” like no human could even understand.  Without long talks, expressive words or explanation, they just get it, with an intuitive nature that is surreal.

There is no way to appropriately repay this precious boy for all he does for this family, but toys are his favorite! Sarge LOVES his toys, and he could pick out any toy his doggy heart desired.  He gets free roam to shop and choose his toy.  He is not quick with this process and will make very careful selections of his toy-to-be.  He tends to choose the loudest squeaky toy, or ones that talk, much to his dads chagrin. This bunny did not squeak, but it talked like bugs bunny, and every-time he would squeeze it, it would say “Ahhh, Somebody loves you!” and make the Bugs Bunny sound.  Yep, his dad LOVES this one too!

Easter Sarge