Zena Warrior Princess 25/10/03 - 20/09/13
I stumbled across this forum the other day after researching why our beloved Zena was taken away from us so suddenly.
After a bit of research, it was obvious that she succumbed to Hermangiosarcoma located in her heart, which unfortunately was diagnosed on the morning of her passing.
It is still hard to comprehend the speed at which this silent killer can take away such a strong member of the family.
I would like to take the time to share my experience of our first family dog in the hope that this brings greater awareness and knowledge to others about this disease and will help those who go through the same situation to look back on the good times.
Here goes nothing...
Zena (Warrior Princess) was born on 25 October 2003 and joined the family not so long after birth, as a gift from a family friend. Who would have thought that this would have been the greatest gift we would have ever received to date.
Throughout her whole life, all she did was bring joy, not only to the family, but to everyone close to her.
She loved all the little things in life. We also had to watch out when saying the word "WALK" around the house because as soon as she hears the word even slightly mentioned, she is jumping at alert and sitting at the ready next the door.
It always amazes at how smart and strong Zena was. She rarely displayed that she was in pain, and always went out of her way to greet you, sniff you, lick you and be with you.
About 2 weeks ago, my partner and I took Zena on a walk along the beach. This was not a long walk by any means, but we did notice that all of a sudden, she was lagging a bit behind on the leash.
For Zena this is very uncommon as she would always be a couple feet in front sniffing everything and anything in her path. We loaded Zena up in the car and noticed she was looking directly in front at the wall of the car and was not responding to our calls or touch (completely oblivious).
We brought her home and she staggered slowly to her bed and laid down. We all noticed that something was not quite right, but thought it was just maybe her old age catching up to her and she needed rest.
She did not touch her food until a couple hours later, at which point she began drinking water quite heavily. All of a sudden, we thought she must have been dehydrated.
The next day, she was 100%. Jumping around in the backyard showing no symptoms whatsoever.
Fast forward 2 days, and I again took Zena on a very short walk (less then 10 minutes) up the street. She again began lagging a bit behind on the lead and eventually stopped and sat down and would not move. At this point, I knew something was definitely up, however still did not fathom the gravity of the situation.
A day passed and Zena again is back to her normal self, eating fine, drinking fine, playing ball in the backyard. We passed it off one more time again as just being tired from her age.
Then comes the morning of 20 September 2013. My dad woke up first around 6:30AM. The dog was her normal self, sitting up, peering through the window, watching her master go about his morning duties before work. He must have left the house by 7AM.
I wake up around 7:30AM and start preparing for work. At this point I see Zena through the window, lying in her bed as per normal. I walked to the window and noticed that her tail did not wag.
Never in my life have I ever been within a meter of Zena and her tail not wag. I open the door, go outside and Zena is just staring at me blankly with those eyes. As I go to pat her again, her tail did not wag one bit.
I had a feeling something was up, but again, did not understand the seriousness of the situation. I mention to my mum to keep an eye out on Zena and I did the one thing I have never done before work, kissed Zena and actually said "goodbye" just in case.
At this time, I didn't think nothing of it, but the way she was looking, I had that feeling deep down, that something might happen. For those with a GS, I'm sure you all know what I am talking about when the time is close.
10:30AM - I receive a call from my mum. She said to get to the vet ASAP.
I arrive, the fluid/blood has been drained from Zena's heart and stomach. The vet noticed a mass in the atrium of her heart and this caused a pericardial effusion (fluid build up in the sac surrounding her heart).
The prognosis was very poor for this condition. We decided to put her down then and there. My mum, dad and I where all patting her through this time, which was by far the toughest moment I have been through.
The speed at which this cancer managed to bring down such a strong and beautiful family member was scary. What is worse is knowing there is really nothing that can be done to help.
It is crazy to think that over this time, Zena did not let out one sound. Not one whinge, not one cry. She just lied there, watching, wanting to get up, but just not having the strength to do so.
If you knew Zena, you would know how much it would have hurt her knowing she could not get up and greet you at every instance.
I just wanted to share this with you all as Zena was my first family pet, and was by far the biggest hit my life has taken over this time. I'm just glad that it all happened within such a short period of time, and that her suffering was very short-lived.
Only by reading this forum have I come to know how common this cancer is and how quickly it can act.
Zena touched so many hearts and I just want to share with you some pictures so you could see just how beautiful she was.
My heart goes out to all others, who have had to experience this over their life-time.