Author Archive: dianeandmo

How much activity is appropriate for my cancer stricken dog?

I saw this post a few weeks ago and it was perfect timing. Mosey was just recovering from a few really bad days…so bad that we actually had made an appointment to send him over the rainbow bridge. Earlier that week, when he was happy and active, we were at the park playing his favorite game of catch/retrieve with a tennis ball. After the bad days were over, our vet said that perhaps we had overdone the exercise. Imagine my guilt…I thought playing and exercise were good things. The advice and tips below came directly from the Dog Cancer blog:

Enhancing Life Quality for You and Your Dog with Cancer: The Joy of Play

by SUSAN HARPER

play-for-dog-cancerWe love it when our dogs want to play. The repeated nudges and insistent offers of their toys are charming, aren’t they?

Just like us, a dog who doesn’t feel well may go through periods of not wanting to play, or being too tired or not physically capable of regular play. Responding to surgery, chemo or radiation treatments, and just the exhaustion of the emotions and perhaps the tension of vet visits affects them, just as it does us. Even our wonderful senior animals, with or without a cancer diagnosis, may appear to be “past” the playful stage of their lives.

We can get so wrapped up in the drama of their situation that we may over-encourage rest and quiet.

“Don’t use your energy, Ziggy.”

“You’ve got to rest and heal, Oreo.”

It’s so easy to forget how important — and actually healing — play can be for us all.

Using Joy to Heal

In The Dog Cancer Survival Guide Dr. Dressler has included valuable information about dealing with our own emotional state.  Our dogs are so sensitive to our moods, the last thing we want is for them to take on our depression or worry.  We need stress relief and joy; our dogs need stress relief and joy.

Your Dog’s Job Is Joy!

In addition, our dogs want something to do. A job. A purpose. Play fulfills this need beautifully. Here are some suggestions to modify the usual games for our recovering pets, and bring back the joy for us both.

Ball Fetch: My boys and girls spent their youth flying down hills and across fields to get the prized tennis ball.  When my senior could no longer walk I discovered he still loved that ball:  I just had to change the game.

I’d sit in front of his bed and tempt him with the ball.  As the temptation grew he’d follow my magician’s hands. Where’s the ball?  I’d bounce it in front of him, closer, further away, closer again. When he started reaching for it with open jaws and bright eyes I aimed the bounces to land just in front of his nose.  He’d catch it and chew with complete joy, then spit it back at me for another go.

Involving my family in ‘keep away’ teasing added to the fun and within minutes we were laughing and my dog was thoroughly enjoying his ball again. It didn’t matter that he hadn’t chased it.  He’d caught it, and the prize was his!

Puzzle Toys:  The pet industry is full of great choices in puzzle toys these days.  Everything from balls in which you can hide treats like the Ethical Contempo Halo Food and Treat Dispense for Dogs, to Nina Ottoson’s Interactive Dog Toy and the Ethical Pet Seek-a-Treat- Shuffle Bone Dog Puzzle.  You can find these and many variations, and we’ve listed a great selection in the Dog Cancer Shop.

The secret to all of these toys, though, is that you play with your dog.  Our busy lives are such that we’re used to handing over a toy and walking away. How much better is it to play the puzzle with your dog? Add your excitement to hers as she wonders where the treat is?

Find-It Games: ”Find-it” doesn’t have to be a high-speed chase game outside.  Simply playing “which hand” adds a dose of joy to the regular “here’s your treat” action.  Showing the treat, then hiding a few in another room and taking your dog in to look together is easy and fun.  Don’t hesitate to ask for the old bargain, a ‘speak’ for a treat or a ‘paw’ for a treat. They love to be involved.

Tug and Tussle: It doesn’t need to be rough play, but this variation of keep-away gets their juices flowing and tails wagging.

Food Games: My dog loves his food, and we hand-feed because of his throat surgery. A few months ago I found myself in a routine.

1. Make good food.

2. Feed good food to dog.

3. Done.

I was just feeding spoon after spoon like a robot.  It was time for a wake-up call!  No longer did the food simply appear before his mouth. Occasionally I would present it just near enough that he’d reach for it.  Or I’d offer it higher, or lower than before, or circle it round his nose. Where would the food be next?

He became more involved and more interested because I was more involved and interested.  He got back at me, too, when he wouldn’t let go of the spoon. Who says dogs don’t have a sense of humor?

Licking and Chewing: Dogs release tension through their jaw, and we know how much our pets love leisurely licking their paws or a nice treat. Using a Kong, or a kong-like toy is a great way to give them long periods of content.  Fill one with a little bit of healthy peanut butter, honey, or some of your own healthy, pureed food that will stick to the inside.  If your dog cannot hold it for any reason, join in and hold it for him.

You can also make tasty ice-licks. I take the chicken broth from my cooking, fill very small saucers and freeze them.  My dog loves licking the tasty, cold treat.  However, don’t leave them alone with it …  once the ice is gone he may forget that the saucer isn’t edible!  Chicken broth ice cubes are also a great treat, and frozen treats are easy to make and keep.

Laugh:  Finally, I found a wonderful and surprising resource; Laughing Dog.  The website explains how dogs vocalize when they are happy, and gives a brief demo on how to mimic their laugh.  Other resources are available along with the research that went into the development.  I regularly laugh with all my dogs, and you know what? They laugh along with me.

These are just a few suggestions to try. And here’s another: remember to bring variation into the environment too. Move your dog’s bed around with the sunshine, because the vitamin D is so important for them. If your dog is often confined inside, wrap her up and take her out.  Go for short drives. Sit on the floor together while you watch TV. Share a bowl of popcorn. Offer different bedding options. Take a nap on the floor with him.

Don’t just tell him how much you love him, tell him how happy you are that he is your dog.

Now’s the Time:

I’ve spoken to so many people who feel as I do; that this journey has actually brought me closer to my dog in ways I hadn’t considered before.  Enjoy the moments. None of us know what’s ahead, but it’s really not as important as this moment, right now.  So thank you for reading, and I hope this helps.

Now get off your computer and go play with your dog!

Happy tails!

About the Author: Susan Harper

“I’m a member of the Dog Cancer Support Team & a Dog Cancer Survivor! Two of my beloved dogs have had cancer, and with the Dog Cancer Survival Guide, Apocaps, and full spectrum help given with boundless love, Shadow lived 10 times longer than his prognosis, and Keymos triumphed, cancer-free for nearly 4 years, passing over peacefully in our arms at the age of 16. As a Member and Assistant Teacher with the Healing Animals Organization (MHAO) I’m passionate to help dogs and their people get through this journey. Early on I asked the Team how I could help, and here I am.”

Thank you Susan…This really helped.

MoseyLove!

Diane and Mose

2.16.14

mosey and me

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Anti Cancer Canine Diet (part 1)

mo, maddie & di 7.2.12When Mose was first diagnosed with cancer I went into shock…grief and shock. My husband and I cried all night and every time I looked at my dog my heart broke. The next day I was angry…and determined to do whatever I could to stave off the progression of the growing tumor. I researched anti cancer treatments and asked Facebook support groups for suggestions. Food and diet were first on the list. So I immediately put Mose on an anti cancer diet.

I found the website dogcancerblog.com which provides a ton of tips, ideas, facts and programs to fight cancer. They sent me a free download with their philosophy on the proper diet for all dogs, but most especially those with cancer. The diet is an excerpt from their book The Dog Cancer Survival Guide. I have implemented many of their suggestions along with learnings from other experts. This post is the first of a series leading to the diet I have implemented for Mose.

We have always fed Mosey what I thought was a healthy diet. A high quality, organic dry food along with “treats” made from wholesome ingredients. He also always got “bites” from our meals. He loved bread dipped in extra virgin olive oil. I am a food blogger and use organic/sustainable, local ingredients in our meals so I was ok with him eating what we ate. Meat, fowl and seafood is grass-fed, organic and grain free and/or wild caught. So I felt pretty comfortable with the diet we fed him all his life. Imagine my dismay when the first thing I read regarding an anti cancer diet was to go grain free.

From the Dog Cancer Diet:

“You’ll see very few grains in the ingredient list. There are also no added sugars. Most grains and sugars are absent because they are not part of a dog’s natural diet. Perhaps more important, most grains can feed cancer. Let me explain. Grains and sugars are packed with starches and simple carbohydrates, otherwise known as simple sugars. Cancer cells love simple sugars. They feast on simple sugars. They grow stronger and faster on a diet of simple sugars. In other words, cancer is a junk food junkie.
Very few dog lovers actually feed their dog pure sugar, but many feed their dog simple carbohydrates without realizing it.
Most forms of corn and wheat break down very easily into simple sugars. If you look at the ingredient list on most commercial dog foods, corn and/or wheat are often first on the list.

Cancer is a junk food junkie. Cancer thrives on a diet full of sugar. Cutting out any foods that are sugary – or that break down easily into simple sugars – is very important. Most forms of corn and wheat break down into simple sugars, and these are often major ingredients in some commercial pet foods and treats.

Even dog lovers who feed their dog homemade food often include carbohydrate-rich potatoes, peas, corn and carrots in their meals. The body breaks these vegetables down very quickly into simple sugars.Because simple sugars feed cancer, I advise you to avoid carbohydrates and sugars in your dog’s diet. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, can be a good source of energy for your dog’s body while she fights cancer. Oatmeal and brown rice are both good sources of energy. There is even some evidence that the polysaccharides in their bran are cancer-fighters!”

taste of the wildSo we have eliminated all grains from Mosey’s diet. I shudder to think that I used to make him homemade treats from organic white, wheat and corn flour sweetened with honey. I thought because I used organic ingredients I was doing a good thing. I am trying so hard to stop feeling guilty. The excuse of “I just didn’t know” rings hollow. I now feed him a mix of dry and canned food from a very high quality grain free brand called  Taste of the Wild. Their philosophy is to create meal blends delivering the proper mix of protein, fruits & vegetables and natural antioxidants similar to what canines would eat in the wild. Mosey needs a combination of dry and canned food because an all soft diet causes very loose stools. (his whole life…not a result from the cancer) This mixture is supplemented with poached chicken or fish, steamed cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale or swiss chard (I will discuss reasons why in a separate post) and flax-seed oil stirred into a 1/4 cup cottage cheese.

The cottage cheese and flax-seed oil blend comes from another source…The Budwig Diet officially known as the

Dr Johanna Budwig Anti-Tumor Diet

The philosophy for this diet comes from Dr Budwig’s belief that mixing cottage cheese with flaxseed oil (called quark) can stop or reverse cancer.

“One of the keys in the Budwig diet is consuming foods that offer nutrients that help cells absorb oxygen. Dr. Otto Warburg received the Nobel Prize in 1931 for discovering that when cells can no longer absorb oxygen, cancer can develop. Dr. Budwig built on that knowledge and was the first to develop a diet and protocol that restores cells to 
normal functioning.

At the heart of the Budwig diet is organic, cold pressed, liquid flax-seed oil blended with cottage cheese or “quark.” Dr. Budwig discovered that when these two foods are blended together, the sulfurated protein components in the cheese, such as cysteine, bond with the oil, making it more water-soluble and easier to digest and metabolize. 
Consequently, more of the essential fatty acids and electrons in the highly unsaturated flax-seed oil reach the cells and have a healing effect on the cell membrane where carcinogens attach themselves. The membrane of each cell is made up of lipids. Flax seed oil can improve this important outer cell lining that is crucial to cell function and division.”  (from canine cancer.com)

The good news is he absolutely loves this diet. Is it doing any good? I hope and pray that it is. There is so much more to an anti cancer diet. Future posts will discuss raw foods, protein, supplements, properly cooking meat and vegetables, proper weight for pets with cancer, ideas for dogs who won’t eat and holistic options. Please note, I am not a Dr or in any way an expert. I review any changes I want to implement to Mose’s diet with our local vet and our oncologist. In many cases we are learning together. Please discuss any changes you want to make to your dog’s diet with your vet prior to making the changes. Different drugs will react differently with food and supplements so be careful!

MoseyLove!

Diane and Mose

2.09.14

mosey and me

 

diane padoven

MoseyLove!

napa farmhouse 1885

red or green?

california girl in taos

The Flint Animal Cancer Center

Many of you know Mosey and I went to the Flint Animal Cancer Center for radiation therapy. He was not a candidate for Stereotactic radiosurgery so we opted for a palliative version. (read more here) but the kindness, professionalism and talent of the team there will never be forgotten. I saw this article today and felt it was worth sharing:

1/29/14

by Coleman Cornelius

A family of devoted dog-lovers concerned about cancer has continued a legacy of commitment by pledging $10 million to the Colorado State University Flint Animal Cancer Center, where the momentous gift will nearly double operational funds in support of renowned work to conquer cancer in both animals and people.

Nan and Brett Stuart, Carnation Milk Co. heirs who live in Longmont, Colo., have donated $10 million to the CSU Flint Animal Cancer Center, the worlds largest center focused on treatment and research of cancer in pet animals. They are shown with a bronze sculpture of their father, Hadley Stuart, and center founder Dr. Steve Withrow.

The gift comes from the Hadley and Marion Stuart Foundation, led by siblings Nan and Brett Stuart of Longmont, Colo., and is the single largest contribution in the history of CSU’s Flint Animal Cancer Center. The donation also will complete the funding of two endowed academic chairs.

With their $10 million donation to the CSU Flint Animal Cancer Center, Nan and Brett Stuart continue the legacy of their father, Hadley Stuart, who is depicted in a sculpture at the center.With their $10 million donation to the CSU Flint Animal Cancer Center, Nan and Brett Stuart continue the legacy of their father, Hadley Stuart, who is depicted in a sculpture at the center.

Since 1983, when E. Hadley Stuart first brought one of his golden retrievers to CSU for cancer care, the Stuart family has provided a total of about $22 million for the Animal Cancer Center’s research and clinical treatment of naturally occurring canine cancers. The center has grown to house the world’s largest group of scientists studying cancer in pets, and much of its work suggests new approaches in human cancer treatment.

“This new gift reflects Hadley Stuart’s legacy and the close 30-year relationship we have so greatly appreciated between the Stuart family and the CSU veterinary cancer program,” said Dr. Rodney Page, a medical oncologist and director of the Flint Animal Cancer Center. “This gift will truly sustain our work, and we cannot sufficiently express our gratitude to the Stuart family.”

Dr. Stephen Withrow, an acclaimed surgical oncologist and center founder, often calls the CSU Animal Cancer Center the “House that Hadley Built,” a nod to the seminal support provided by the late Hadley Stuart and his family foundation. Withrow, a University Distinguished Professor, is transitioning to retirement.

The Hadley and Marion Stuart Foundation was established by heirs to the founder of Carnation Milk Products Co., a family dairy turned industry-leading food company best-known for its condensed milk.  The company’s concern about animal well-being was embodied in the promise of “milk from contented cows.” Nestle S.A. acquired Carnation Co. in 1985.

Nan Stuart supports the Cancer Center's 'translational' work, which sheds light on cancer in pets and people.Nan Stuart supports the Cancer Center’s ‘translational’ work, which sheds light on cancer in pets and people.

For Hadley Stuart’s descendants, concern about animal well-being has largely focused on supporting cancer treatment in dogs and the scientific quest for a cancer cure. Cancer is a leading cause of death in both dogs and people, with many similarities between species.

“This level of support sets the cancer center on a sustainable path as a leading innovator in translational cancer research and patient care,” Page said, referring to discoveries in animal cancer that translate to human medicine. “It creates possibilities for pursuing exciting opportunities in cancer care and cancer research in perpetuity.”

The $10 million gift also will add to endowments for the Stephen J. Withrow Presidential Chair in Oncology, which is held by Page, and the Stuart Chair in Oncology, which is held by Withrow. Academic chairs are mechanisms for funding the research laboratories and emerging discovery efforts of eminent faculty members.

During a recent visit to CSU, benefactor Nan Stuart said she and her brother were motivated to donate $10 million to continue their father’s interest in veterinary training, cancer treatment and leading-edge research at the Flint Animal Cancer Center.

Her own interest is personal: One of her beloved golden retrievers, Keester, suffers from brachial neurofibrosarcoma, a malignant nerve sheath tumor off the spinal cord. A CSU team, known to Stuart as “Team Keester,” developed a new radiation protocol and rehabilitation plan that reduces pain for the 8-year-old dog.

This treatment has been essential because Keester and Stuart’s other golden retrievers are active, award-winning service dogs that are highly trained to perform emergency rescues from swift water and ice. Stuart’s dogs have helped to train thousands of emergency responders through Code 3 Associates of Longmont, a nonprofit Stuart founded to provide professional animal disaster response and training.

Dr. Steve Withrow, retiring founder, calls the Cancer Center the 'House that Hadley Built.'

If Keester were completely sedentary, her quality of life would plummet, Stuart said. The Stuart family – whose golden retrievers “are as important to us as food and water” – has had three other dogs treated at the Flint Animal Cancer Center for hemangiosarcoma, an aggressive tumor of the blood vessels, Nan Stuart said. It has provided the family an inside look at the center’s work.

“Our cancer team is the most fantastic group of people imaginable. It’s phenomenal,” Stuart said.

Like her father before her, Stuart said, she wholeheartedly believes in the CSU center’s mission to treat cancer in pets while also pursuing scientific discoveries that hold promise for curing cancer in all species.

For instance, Withrow developed a limb-sparing surgical technique to treat osteosarcoma, a malignant tumor of long bones in dogs. This technique revolutionized osteosarcoma treatment in dogs and has been widely adopted at human cancer centers, significantly increasing the likelihood that children diagnosed with osteosarcoma will be cured. The work demonstrates how canine cancer research has a far-reaching influence on human medicine.

“The best cancer work,” Stuart said, “is right here.”

About the Flint Animal Cancer Center

  • Opened in 2002, the center houses the world’s largest group of scientists studying cancer in pets, with more than 100 faculty clinicians, staff members and veterinary students.
  • The center books about 6,000 appointments per year and provides an additional 3,000 consultations by phone and email.
  • It has trained more surgical, medical and radiation oncologists than any other veterinary institution.
  • Demonstrating the relevancy of its work to human cancer, the CSU Flint Animal Cancer Center has attracted funding from the National Cancer Institute for more than 30 consecutive years. The center collaborates with the NCI and University of Colorado Cancer Center, among others.

For more information, click here.

MoseyLove!

Diane and Mose

2.4.14

“Dogs Never Die”

mosey & me at park 1.26.14

I saw this post on Facebook this morning. It is from a website called Dog Heirs, a wonderful site full of photos, information, tips and suggestions about all things dog. They say the author of the piece is unknown so, if you wrote it and happen to be reading it on my site, please contact me directly and I will attribute to you.

I found this post to be beautiful, sad and comforting at the same time. Mosey has had (fingers crossed so as to not jinx) seven good days in a row since last Friday’s scare. The horrible thing about this journey is just when you breathe a sigh of relief that your dog is “well”, you are smacked in the face with the realization that it is a temporary happiness. The “winning the battle but losing the war” saying comes to mind. Comforting stories such as this one really help. But be forewarned…you will probably cry while reading…I did.

“Some of you, particularly those who think they have recently lost a dog to ‘death’, don’t really understand this. I’ve had no desire to explain, but won’t be around forever and must.
Dogs never die. They don’t know how to. They get tired, and very old, and their bones hurt. Of course they don’t die. If they did they would not want to always go for a walk, even long after their old bones say: ‘No, no, not a good idea. Let’s not go for a walk.’ Nope, dogs always want to go for a walk. They might get one step before their aging tendons collapse them into a heap on the floor, but that’s what dogs are. They walk.

It’s not that they dislike your company. On the contrary, a walk with you is all there is. Their boss, and the cacaphonic symphony of odor that the world is. Cat poop, another dog’s mark, a rotting chicken bone (exultation), and you. That’s what makes their world perfect, and in a perfect world death has no place.

However, dogs get very very sleepy. That’s the thing, you see. They don’t teach you that at the fancy university where they explain about quarks, gluons, and Keynesian economics. They know so much they forget that dogs never die. It’s a shame, really. Dogs have so much to offer and people just talk a lot.

When you think your dog has died, it has just fallen asleep in your heart. And by the way, it is wagging its tail madly, you see, and that’s why your chest hurts so much and you cry all the time. Who would not cry with a happy dog wagging its tail in their chest. Ouch! Wap wap wap wap wap, that hurts. But they only wag when they wake up. That’s when they say: ‘Thanks Boss! Thanks for a warm place to sleep and always next to your heart, the best place.’

When they first fall asleep, they wake up all the time, and that’s why, of course, you cry all the time. Wap, wap, wap. After a while they sleep more. (remember, a dog while is not a human while. You take your dog for walk, it’s a day full of adventure in an hour. Then you come home and it’s a week, well one of your days, but a week, really, before the dog gets another walk. No WONDER they love walks.)

Anyway, like I was saying, they fall asleep in your heart, and when they wake up, they wag their tail. After a few dog years, they sleep for longer naps, and you would too. They were a GOOD DOG all their life, and you both know it. It gets tiring being a good dog all the time, particularly when you get old and your bones hurt and you fall on your face and don’t want to go outside to pee when it is raining but do anyway, because you are a good dog. So understand, after they have been sleeping in your heart, they will sleep longer and longer.

But don’t get fooled. They are not ‘dead.’ There’s no such thing, really. They are sleeping in your heart, and they will wake up, usually when you’re not expecting it. It’s just who they are.

feel sorry for people who don’t have dogs sleeping in their heart. You’ve missed so much. Excuse me, I have to go cry now.”

 

May 6th, 2015 update,

I received the following email from the “unknown” author. I am so happy to be able to credit Ernest for his beautiful words:

Name: Ernest Montague

Comment: Hi:

I saw your posting of my piece, “Dogs never die.” Thank you for offering to credit it. I wrote this a while back about my old Pit Bull, Bolo, and sent it to several friends when their dogs died. Then an acquaintance posted it on Reddit and it has seemed to go slightly viral. In any case, credit or no, I am so pleased to see so many people touched by something I wrote. 

I still can’t read it without crying, BTW.

“Good Times, Bad Times”

“you know I had my share” Led Zeppelin

maddie, mo and me 11.2.11

 A miracle happened! My husband and I woke up yesterday morning prepared to send Mosey to the angels. He had been listless for the past three days and  yesterday refused food. (If you have ever had a Golden Retreiver you know this is a major warning sign.) We thought it was time…cried all night..and first thing in the morning I phoned our vet to tell her what was going on…get her opinion..and schedule the appointment for last night. The vet was in emergency surgery and I was told she would phone as soon as she could.

Crying, I hugged Mosey, told him I loved him and that I did not want him to suffer. I told him to give me a sign if he was not ready and the sign was to eat something. He had not eaten anything for 36 hours. He spent all morning sighing and/or sleeping and refused food. The vet finally phoned around 1:00 pm. I told her what was going on and she said that she wanted to see him, but that it was probably his time and we agreed to meet at 5:15 pm to send him over the Rainbow Bridge.

I swear to you the second I hung up the phone Mosey stood up…went to his water bowl and drank almost the entire thing. Then he walked over and gave me the Golden Retriever look that says “feed me now!” He ate an entire can of food. (I have been giving him Taste of the Wild along with all the fresh stuff) Prior to this he would turn his head away when I tried to feed him. Later that afternoon he ate some chicken and, while he was not back to normal, was much perkier than before. We went to the vet anyway so she could check him out and he went prancing into her office begging for treats. I swear it was like he heard me making the appointment to end his life and said “Hey Mom..Simmer down, I am not yet ready to go!”

Do you believe in miracles? I do. The vet prescribed prednisone and agreed it was not his time.  She cautioned us that this horrible roller coaster would continue with semi-good days and really bad ones…but said Mosey is a fighter and is not yet ready to say goodbye. Today he is eating, drinking and seems happy. I don’t know how long we will have him but, since I thought I would be without him last night, every future day is a gift.

This roller coaster ride is sad, scary, exhausting, joyful at times, and incredibly stressful. I will take it if it means I will have my sweetpea a bit longer. I have joined a number of support groups for pet cancer on Facebook and many, many people have shared experiences similar to this. With 1 in 3 dogs getting cancer in their lifetime my story, sadly, is not unique. But, hopefully, it will help others going through this for the first time.

MoseyLove!

Diane and Mose

1.25.14

mosey and me

How do you know when it is time to say goodbye?

mosey in broncos jerseyMosey has had such a tough time the past two weeks. We came home from the unsuccessful trip to Ft. Collins and he was doing really well. Happy, energetic, huge appetite. Then a week ago Tuesday he woke up listless and not interested in food. He finally ate but was quiet all day. Wednesday he seemed fine…gobbled up his food and wanted to go on a walk. That afternoon he started vomiting and this continued all night. The following morning he was listless with such a sad look on his face that I really felt he was saying goodbye.

I have joined so many support groups for people dealing with cancer in their pets. Every post says the same thing. “You will know when it is time. Your pet will give you a look and you will just know”  The problem is…I don’t. Last Thursday, when he was so sick, I thought “this is it”. I phoned the vet who asked us to immediately bring him to the hospital . She said that her first priority was to make him comfortable. Once that happened we would make the call. (I cannot seem to say the words…”put him to sleep” “euthanasia.” I just keep saying things like “his time” or “time to say goodbye” but you know what I really mean.) Anyway, they put him on IVs for fluids and anti-nausea drugs. The vet phoned me in the afternoon and said that they had given him some baby food and chicken which he ate and had kept down. She said that if he continued to improve I could take him home that night.

I brought him home around 5:30 pm and kept him on a bland diet and anti-nausea drugs for the next few days. He looked totally fine…back to a big appetite, energy, happy dog. Monday was a warm, beautiful day so we brought Mosey to the park. He ran around chasing tennis balls and looking like his normal self. I was so very happy. But…in this horrible roller coaster of canine cancer…the happiness was short lived. Mosey woke up Tuesday with low energy. He hesitated before he ate, then finished his breakfast but slept all day. Yesterday was the same. Today, Thursday, he has no interest in food, no energy and just looks so sad. I fear this is the end…this is the “he will tell you” bit that I was fearfully waiting for…but I am just not sure. He will eat bits of chicken..as much as I hand feed him. He perked up for a bit when we went to view the progress on an addition we are having built. (He loves the attention he gets from the construction guys). He is still drinking water.  The vet told me he will have good days and bad. Are these “bad” days with good ones to follow? Or is this the end? I honestly don’t know and am so afraid of making the wrong call.

Mosey at the park 1/20/14

They say that a day too early is better than a day too late and I don’t want Mosey to be in any pain. But what if there is no pain but his quality of life is gone? If he no longer enjoys food…or playing…or walks…or chasing his favorite tennis ball? Is that a life? Am I keeping him here for me…or for him?

I don’t know the answer today. But I need to figure it out really fast. I have decided to give it the rest of the day and , if he shows no improvement by tomorrow morning, take him to the vet for a second opinion. It is possible we may be saying goodbye tomorrow. Please pray for us and keep us in your thoughts. Pray that Mosey is pain free and that his journey is peaceful. Pray that I have the courage to do what is right. God…I hate cancer!

MoseyLove!

Diane & Mosey

1.23.14

Chase Away Canine Cancer!

MoseyLove!

Diane & Mose

January 19, 2014

mosey and me

Paying for Cancer Treatment

How to pay for my pet's care

I came across this blog post today…full of important information regarding resources to help pay for cancer treatment. The most heartbreaking experience I can imagine is knowing there may be options to cure or slow down the progression but not having the funds to do so. The blogger encouraged us to share the post so here it is in its entirety. Note, this is not specific to Northern New Mexico but can be accessed my anyone. Good Luck!

“Pets are our kids.  We love them and want the best care possible if they get hurt. The best option is pet insurance but sometimes even that isn’t enough.  Ever since I took the Schoep and John photo I get emails from wonderful pet owners who simply cannot afford an unexpected vet bill and need advice on where to look. There are a ton of resources out there, but the problem is finding them when you need them. I’m hoping this is a nice one stop resource for those who need it.

Unexpected medical expenses pop up at the most inopportune (ok – always at inopportune) times.  It’s not a reflection of someone’s character if they’re not able to pay.  Sometimes weird stuff just happens – and it’s usually right on top of a refrigerator breaking, needing new brakes, or something else ridiculously expensive.

If you cannot find a vet who will let you pay later or let you do a payment plan, there are options such as Care Credit  In addition, if you don’t qualify for Care Credit, there are definitely other ways to fund care.

Online Fundraising:

Want to raise all or a portion of your funds through donations?  Many, but not all,  online fundraisers take a small percentage to pay credit card fees, etc.  Make sure you read the fine print.

 Emergency Vet Care Funds:

Grants, food help, etc

State specific:

This list of emergency pet care funds is not guaranteed, nor do I endorse any of the companies/products/organizations/non profits listed.  This list is also not a comprehensive list, and if you know of others, PLEASE list them in the comments below.  I would appreciate it!  I want to help as many people and pets as I can.  I would also love it if you would share this on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or anywhere else you feel people would benefit from the information”

MoseyLove!

Diane & Mose

January 19, 2014

mosey and me

January 13th, 2014

Image

Mosey and the Ft Collins Oncology staff

Hi everyone,

This is a post I was dreading. We found out last week that the radiation therapy suggested to us is not an option and only a palliative version is recommended. A bit of background:
My 10 1/2 yr old golden retriever Mose started panting heavily at night the week of Thanksgiving 2013. It only lasted a few minutes. I would get up, pet him and he would settle down and go back to sleep. After a few nights I decided to take him to the vet. Everything else was completely normal so I was expecting them to tell me it was allergies or something like that. You are all in this group, so you know the heartbreaking, pit in your stomach feeling it was to hear he had a large mass surrounding his heart. We live in a small town in New Mexico so our vet recommended a specialist in Albuquerque.
Because the mass surrounded his heart we first saw a cardiologist who pronounced Mosey’s heart very strong for his age and determined the mass had not spread into the heart…the only good news we have received. We then met with an oncologist who, after x-rays, an ultrasound and a CT scan, determined the mass was cancerous…either an ectopic thyroid carcinoma or chemodectoma. The tumor wraps 360 degrees around the aorta and is compressing the esophagus. There were also 2-3 lung nodules which means there is some metastatic disease. Mosey was put on Palladia to help slow the growth of these tumors.
The specialists in Albuquerque recommended we try radiation therapy at Colorado State University at Ft Collins at the Flint Animal Cancer Center and they forwarded all his records to them. One of the radiation surgeons called me a week later to say he thought Mose was a good candidate for Stereotactic radiosurgery -the Cyberknife, called because the procedure is as precise as a surgical scalpel. He told me to expect 3 treatments, paced a day apart, to ensure we did not damage any of the major organs the tumor surrounds. The procedure would not be inexpensive, but thank God we have insurance, and that hopefully the radiation would shrink the mass and or stop it from growing further. So. with great hope, Mosey and I made the 6 hour drive from Taos to Ft Collins last Monday to begin treatment on Tuesday January 7th 2014.
 
The Ft Collins staff repeated all of the same tests as were done in Albuquerque less than a month ago. My heart is breaking as I tell you that the results were not good. The mass is bigger than they thought and wraps too tightly around the organs to give him the dose required to do much good. So, our only option is a “palliative” radiation option…one dose designed to help him breathe better and have better quality of his remaining life…which they think is only a month or two. He had the procedure last Thursday.
 
They recommend he stay on the Palladia.
 
I had such high hopes and was so optimistic on the drive up…now I am falling apart. I have him on an anti-cancer diet…a holistic vet has prescribed Chinese herbs to help him battle the disease and I am looking for any/all suggestions as to keep him around as long as I can while ensuring his quality of life remains good. And I should tell you that, other than the panting, his energy level and appetite were quite strong until today. He has been very listless, tired and, while he has eaten both his meals, it took him a long time to finish…normally he gobbles up every bite  in a short time. They told me he would have good days and bad…today is his first “bad” day.
He is my same loving goofball that he always has been. I am not ready to lose my boy. Any thoughts or recommendations would be so appreciated. What else can I try?
Thank you all so very much.
 
My best,
Diane and Mose

The Hugs and Belly Rubs Project

Mosey at 2 1/2 months

Mosey at 2 1/2 months

I started a Facebook group page called The Hugs and Belly Rubs Project. When Mose was diagnosed with cancer I was told to “love him and give him lots of hugs and belly rubs”. I decided to flood him with love by asking everyone I know, and everyone I meet, to hug him and/or give him a belly rub. I am going to photograph and post the images on the page to keep a permanent record of just how much he is loved So don’t be surprised if you are asked to hug him!! Or, if you already have photos of Mosey getting some love from you, please post them.

Please join the group and share your photos of your own beloved fur babies getting hugs and belly rubs for all the world to see.

Note…the group is not for any other purpose than sharing the photos. Thanks and please join. You can also post your photos here in the comments section of this post

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