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I rest my forehead against hers and feel her body heat radiating through her fur and penetrating into my skin as I listen to her breathe. I've done this hundreds of times before, but now it's different. While I've always cherished these moments, now I'm counting them. My girl will be gone in a few weeks, succumbing to an untreatable cancer that we cannot stop.

When our vet told us she had about a month or so if all went well, we were devastated. But she also could go in a day, or a week, should the large, cancerous tumor on her spleen burst open and begin to bleed. If it was just in her spleen, we could have her undergo surgery to have it removed, nurse her back to health like we’ve done so many times before and keep living on. But it's not. It's a monster that's also in her liver and has invaded her abdominal cavity, attaching to her stomach as well. Even with surgery, her chances are no greater than 5%. When we asked if we should per her to rest right away, the vet’s response was “No, she's happy, right? She doesn't know she has cancer, you guys do," and “It's relatively painless, all considered.“ YES, she IS happy. She smiles all the time, has a hearty appetite and happily eats her dinner (even reminds us when it’s time with a look our way, then a brisk walk toward the kitchen, then the stomping of little feet and an impatient groan when we’re not fast enough). She then begs for cookies afterward for a job well done.

She's not in pain right now, and if and when she is, we can help her along with pain management until it’s her time to go. Instead she sleeps lazily in her favorite spot in the sun without a care. The only thing she knows is that she's a little slower than she used to be, but that's mostly due to her advanced age of almost 12. True to the breed, our girl is the toughest, most intimidating, yet at the same time the kindest and smartest German Shepherd. She's not only our companion, but the guardian of our home and property and our fierce protector. She still walks the perimeter of our property every day, sniffing out and sizing up anyone or anything that may have crossed into our yard overnight. She's also our dear baby delivering sweet kisses to take away our tears when we're feeling sad or laying by our side for hours or even days when we are sick.

I’m not sure what's worse - knowing her fate, or not knowing. With our boy, Lars, cancer on his heart took him within hours of diagnosis when he was 10. Literally a day after he collapsed at home, we had to say goodbye. We didn't know our fate then and didn't have a chance to think about it too long in advance. In some ways, although still incredibly hard to lose him, it may have been a little easier because we didn't look at him like a ticking time bomb.

On the other hand, these sweet moments with her - pressing my forehead into hers, listening to her breathe, stroking her fur, watching her tail happily swish and sway as I talk to her - have taken on a deeper meaning and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. When she lets us know it’s time, even though crushing to us, we will uphold our end of the bargain - what we promised to eventually do for her when we brought this wonderful girl into our lives.

For now, I consciously tell myself to remember every second, store it in my brain so I can keep her forever, because very soon she’ll be gone. I read a quote somewhere recently that said, “Our dogs give us the happiest days of our lives, and also one of the worst.” So true. And while I know that certain kind of awful pain is coming, I am grateful for these special moments with our Good, Sweet Girl - Our Tarra.

Attached is a picture of Our Girl Tarra – On security duty monitoring any and all activity on her street. Overseeing her domain - Just like any good Shepherd would do!
 

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I am so sorry but am glad you have some time to spend with her. Doing all the things that she loves. Thoughts and prayers are w/ you and your family and Tarra.
 

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I'm so sorry for what you're going through. I've been there myself and it's awful to not be able to do anything to help them. Sending good thoughts and hugs your way.
 

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I'm so very sorry, but I'm thankful for you that you have some time with her. When the vet discovered Diablo's cancer 3 weeks ago, he had stopped eating & drinking and I would only have taken him home to suffer - I made the decision to send him to the Bridge that day, before there was any suffering - I'd have given my left arm to have him with me even one more day. Thoughts & prayers coming your way.
 

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Enjoy the time you have with Tarra even though it is not the easiest thing to do. It is very sad to watch someone you love so much start to decline. Sending positive thoughts and wishes. I like the photo of tarra guarding her kingdom!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thank you so much everyone for your kind words and thoughts. It's so very comforting. They leave us far too soon. She is in fact overseeing her kingdom. My hubby and I and all of our neighbors are her "subjects,"
SuziQ- I know it's of little comfort, but you did exactly the right thing when you needed to do it. A great dog mom. I'm so sorry for your loss. Know that your baby is always with you. Best wishes to all. Thanks again.
 

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we will uphold our end of the bargain - what we promised to eventually do for her when we brought this wonderful girl into our lives.
It takes strength to do as you say and I have respect for your words...perhaps it is the most noble gesture one can do for such a magnificent creature at the most difficult moment. I wish you strength when the time comes.

SuperG
 

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So sorry ... this is always the hardest part of life with dogs. At least you have some time left try and get some better pictures, something I tend to over look because you know they are always going to be there. :(
 

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I know how hard this is for you, just lost my girl last friday. It really is horrible that their lives are such a small fraction of ours, they mean so much but have to leave us so soon. Your girl Tarra might only be around for a short while longer but try your best to do as much as possible with her. Like Chip said take TONS of pictures, videos too. Spoil her rotten with food she likes. I will be thinking of you and Tarra
 
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