This months Myths and Facts Page is written for you by 18 year old, Amanda Wager, of Bonnyville, Alberta, Canada. Don't be fooled by her age as she has worked extensively with both Horses and Dogs. When it comes to knowledge about animals, she has spend her entire young life learning about them. They are her life's passion.
WHEN THE TIME HAS COME TO SAY GOODBYE
Only by telling my story of my sweet little terrier, Pisser, who was diagnosed with Malignant Mask Cell Tumors can I help others know, "When The Time Has Come To Say Goodbye". This deadly cancer starts first with one or more suspicious growths appearing on your faithful friend. The trouble is, Malignant Mask Cell Tumors (Cancer) affects internal organs as it spreads.
Here then is my story written in loving memory of Pisser. Let me first explain how she came about her personal name. You see as a puppy, Pisser was always full of happiness and energy. Although timid, she would always show her absolute delight whenever I would come home from school. She just couldn't help herself, so she would piddle. She gained her name through this way of expressing herself upon seeing me return. This wire haired puppy was my best friend. She was the most adorable puppy that I ever saw, no matter what anyone else thought. Pisser was a character, her sister Mitzie, would always get in trouble, destroying things with her sharp puppy fangs. And Pisser being the shy pup that she was, acted like she did the damage. But we all knew Mitzie was the one that ate the bright pink lipstick. As it was all over her chin and beard.
Our bond grew as time went on. She was my girl. She loved to chase the robins every spring. We did everything together. Pisser loved car rides, she would get so excited to go anywhere. She was a cuddle bug. She was the type of dog to nose her way into your bed under the covers where it was warm. She followed me everywhere. If I went upstairs, she went upstairs, if I went to bed, she went to bed. We were inseparable.
Then one day I noticed a lump the size of a loony on her foreleg. The lump was very hard and with it appearing so sudden, I took her to the Vet. We had the first lump removed and did not sent it away for further testing. With her lamp shade attached to her collar to keep her from chewing on her stitches, I took her home to look after her. Days went on, she accompanied me to check the mares and foals at pasture. And loved every minute of investigating the round patties left on the ground by the cows! She looked so goofy with that plastic cone on her head. She hated it though and let me know it too. The time came to take her stitches out, one of the happiest days of her life! No more lamp shade!
We continued to play, go to town, and cuddle up in bed. We had the first lump removed in July. At the end of November I noticed some redness under her fore leg. Almost as though her skin has been irritated by something. A couple of days later I noticed a small lump the size of a quarter appear. I automatically thought of the lump as being dreaded cancer. I wanted to prepare myself for the worst case scenario . Days went on, the lump grew, and I found another one deeply embedded in her neck. This one was a heart stopper. It was the size of a large egg. Although large, it was very hard to feel unless you were to touch it in a awkward position. Not even 5 months after the 1st and the 2nd, and 3rd appeared out of nowhere. My poor dog, she was always so thirsty and panting now. I arranged for her to go to the Vet for another examination.
There they found that her lump had spread further down her side almost down to the end of her rib cage. They also warned me that the lump was very close to her lymph nodes/glands. And could possibly be spreading internally. The Vets then took a biopsy to see what was actually in the lump. Well I took my poor wee dog home and waited for the results.
She went through a great deal in her life, but she was always so happy. She of course did not want anything to do with the 1 stitch in her neck from the spot they took the Biopsy. She would scratch, and try to get it out. I did not blame her. But of course I couldn't have her doing that while I am at work so I fashioned my own bandage. I used my little brothers diapers as a bandage. They sure worked. I put it over her chest, velcroed it up across the back of her neck. And cut holes for her legs. So the diaper was really on, well, sideways. It worked like a charm! But she wasn't happy with her diaper and looked at me with disapproval.
Only for 10-14 days I kept reassuring her, then the stitch could come out and no more diaper bandage. I received the results from the Vet 3 days later, "Mask Cell Tumor". A rapid, and very dangerous type of cancer. This tumor was full of histamines. And she could have a release of the histamines causing her to have a allergic reaction. Without an anti-histamine she would die within a few minutes. This lump was spreading very rapidly, and could cause her to become de-hydrated, have no appetite, or energy. Which explained her drinking an unusually large amount of water. Right then and there, my Mom and I decided that if she were ever showing any pain we would let her go.
Days passed and soon Christmas was here. Family home for the holidays, and the house full. As Christmas rounded by, Pisser was as happy as she could ever be. About that time the lumps drastically grew in size. They grew so fast that it left us unprepared for what was to come. The day came where she was no longer a extremely happy little dog, but one who was now in torment.
She couldn't put her leg on the ground, she could not keep anything down, not food or water. She gave up and stopped eating. The signs that her body was shutting down. This happened just so fast, I wasn't ready to say Goodbye. We knew what had to be done though, Mom and I would not let her suffer.
When you have a faithful companion in pain, you will know when the time is right. I was worried that I wouldn't make the right decision, or that we couldn't tell just how bad the pain was. But in our hearts, we knew. We made the call to have her put down. The saddest day of my life. I took my last day with her to cherish every moment spent with her, and to keep every second of her close to my heart. We took her for a car ride, she was so happy going for that ride. And we fell asleep together on the bed. Only this time she wasn't at my feet she was by my side, held close to my heart.
The morning came, she was now in worse condition. Although in pain, she managed to lick my tears from my cheek, and wag her tail. She had always cheered me up when I was sad. Now, suffering herself, she was trying so hard to cheer me up.
At 2:20 P.M. she took her last painful breath, with her loved ones at her side. As we said our final goodbye, we could picture everything as if she were still alive. The only pain now is the pain that is here, for us in our grief. Memories of her will last with us forever. My love for her will always be here. She has no worries now. She is care free and chasing Robins through the fields. I can close my eyes and see her, even as I write this. This was a beautiful day in one way, simply because she was no longer in any pain. We still hear he little feet across the floor, down the stairs, and into our hearts. Her spirit lives forever, in our hearts, minds and souls.
This cancer is very serious, and strikes without warning, spreads quickly, and can happen to any dog of any age. Pisser was only 7 yrs. old when she passed on. She was too young for me to easily accept this, but it was her time.
"Please love and cherish every waking moment spent with your loved ones". You never know when or how fast they can be taken away. I give my sympathy to anyone grieving a lost loved one. My heart goes out to you. Pisser was a wonderful mother, friend, teacher, but most of all my faithful companion. I love you, Pisser.