|A bit surreal
||[Feb. 7th, 2009|06:52 am]
This week has been one of the most nerve wrecking. Anyone that knows me well knows that I am a big animal lover and the protective mom to not only 2 human kids but 3 furbabies as well. All of our past pets have been saved from the pound or from rescue, including Brutice. Pony, our english mastiff, has been the only exceptation.
We did a ton of research and talked with numerous breeders before selecting one, we then drove over 1200 miles to pick him up as i did not wnat him "shipped" to us and the breeder did not use this method anyway. I can not tell you how perfect this dog fit into our family from the very begining. Sweet, tolerable, protective, he was everything we had wished for especially with having a small child at the time.
Pony was dx with arthritis about a year ago and was placed on supplements. this did not seem to affect him besides him being a bit stiff every now & then. Flashforward to last Friday. I took him in to our reg. vet for a check up & because I had noticed a small lump on his right leg near his paw about two days before. I had assumed it was the arthritis acting up as I was told this would happen and it did not seem to be affecting him at all. The vet took x-rays and came back with the news that he has Osteosarcoma, a very aggressive bone cancer. The lump on his leg was a tumor that had already ate thru the leg bone on one side. I'm crying as i write this just because it is still very hard to know that my baby was in pain and was still allowing the kids to be their usual selves with him, granted they are not mean but Zilla can be a bit rough at times.
Our options were that chest x-rays came back clear we could amputate the leg. We were told this might give us 3 weeks, 6 mo., 2 years. There were no guarantees that he would even be able to walk on his own after the surgery. Our other option was to put him to sleep. Chest X-rays & blood work came back clear & we set a tentative date to amputate for Monday. He was given pain meds to help make him comfortable over the weekend & sent home.
I didn't sleep or eat for 3 days straight. Everyone I spoke to said to just put him down, my mother told me that I was being selfish in wanting to keep him here. She shut up when i told here that putting her to sleep when she had cancer wasn't an option, I know that sounds harsh & it was but I think it got the point across to her how much this dog means to us.
Over the course of the weekend his foot started to swell to an insane size, I knew we had to do something. I wanted evidence that he would be able to support himself on 3 legs after the surgery. I knew that he still had good, quality life in him and i felt that i had to give him a chance to prove it. In my search I have only come across 2 other english mastiffs that have had front legs amputated. Pony was much larger in weight (currently at 195)then 1 of them, the other, it has only been 5 mo. since surgery but she is doing well.
We followed thru with surgery and even though I had seen pictures and knew what to expect it was a total shock to see my baby standing there, half shaved, stitched, drugged & staggering about on 3 legs. The first night was a bit rough as he was still highly medicated kevin was having to pack him up & down the steps to take him outside to potty, a feat not easily done with a 170 pd. dog. Second day I guess he had something to prove & when we came home & opended the door he bolted out & down the steps by himself & went playing about all over the yard. It's been 6 days now & he is doing great. He does get tired quite easily & has lost a lot of weight (he's down to 140), which will actually only help him, but he is back to his normal self, enjoying belly rubs, our first car ride will be Wed., & quality time with his family.
Even if this only allows us another 6 mo. with him I feel the decision was well worth it, he has been invaluable to our family & I don't feel that it was his time to go yet. Please let anyone know that is facing the decision to amputate, own or adopt a tripawed pet that if my big moose-headed baby can do just fine, they will never regret the decision.
I have included some links but please be forewarned that he has not fully recovered and the bottom two do show is incision site, it's nothing gross but..
This is him just this past summer, playing in the sprinkler & barking at the watermelons in the garden, for some reason he thought they were going to get him
These are him yesterday, he does have elevated food & water bowls, they are inside. these were placed outside to entice him to come out. A peice of cheese ending up doing the trick instead.