Saturday, April 15, 2006


We took Tia to another vet yesterday for an ultrasound. Dh was still hopeful the mass was pancreatits, or something treatable. Decided not to wait a full week, because we couldn’t stomach the wait, and if it was something treatable, we needed to get her help asap. Deep down, I knew it was bad news.

The doc did the ultrasound, the poor dog lying on her back with the cold alcohol over her tummy. And he pointed it out… and my heart just broke. We took her back to the room and he told us, (he was a very nice vet, having accomodated us at the last minute) that it was a tumor on her liver, there were white spots on her liver and an enlarged lymph node.

He said the only way to tell what kind of tumor it was was to do surgery. If it could be cut out, then it would, and maybe she’d have a year. If not, she had maybe weeks (about 12 at the most, maybe”)

He told us to go see our regular vet, who does surgeries. And he was very sorry he didn’t have a better prognosis for poor Tia. He's an oncologist, and when he told us she had weeks left, I knew there were no other options left.

When he left, Frank just held Tia and broke down. I held Frank. Then we managed to get back into the car. I told Frank I don’t want surgery. I don’t want my baby to have any more pain, or suffering. What’s the point? I just want her to be happy. She hates the vet. She hates hospitals and when she had her eye operated on, she was miserable.

We’re taking her to our regular vet Monday to find out what our options are, meaning, what meds she can go on to make her comfortable, and if we need to put her down when she gets bad.

Frank is very upset when I talk of putting her down. He had to put down his last dog, and it killed him. He’s hoping she’ll go peacefully in her sleep. Me too, but I don’t want her to suffer. The irony of losing my dog to cancer is this…a month after mom died of cancer spreading to her liver, frank bought me Tia to comfort me. A cute little six week old puppy we nicknamed Ewok because of her black mask and brown fur. We brought her home and she chased Tiger around the living room table joyfully. He was petrified of her.

And now Tia is dying of liver cancer. Ten years later. Tiger is confused. He keeps sniffing her, and wanders around the house. He knows something is wrong. I keep petting him and trying to assure him all will be okay. Even though it won't be okay

At home yesterday, she was our regular Tia. She went for a walk, ate a dog biscuit, jumped on the couch for a while to watch TV, laid in my lap. She even went into “her” chair and was howling at invisible squirrels, wagging her tail, her “defender” mode. The Shih Tzu who would defend her home from intruders by licking them. She ate some food, but not much.

She got up a couple of times in the night… and once she just sat there, quietly looking at me. I held her in my arms and she licked the tears off my face. I’m having such a hard time trying to act normal around her. Anyone who says dogs don’t sense emotions never met my dog. She knows me inside out. She knows when those snuffling noises come, it means mommy is very upset. So I try to cry in private, not around her. All I want to do is hold her, and comfort her.

I just can’t stand this…DH says we’ll get through it together, like we have with every other tragedy in our lives. Liver cancer…it’s…too much.

I don’t know how long she has… I’m guessing a couple of months at the most without surgery. A week from tomorrow is my birthday… and tomorrow is Easter. We’re not going to church. I don’t think God listens to my prayers.

I don’t know why this is happening. Why cancer? It is like a kick to my gut… I’ve watched friends and family die of cancer, and now my beloved Tia? It’s not right…

I can’t stop crying. I stop and then start all over again. I’m on the Bad News diet… haven’t eaten since Wed. afternoon, just a slice of bread to calm my stomach so I can take Advil for the massive headache I have from constantly crying. I’ve lost five pounds since Wednesday.

Tuesday they are finally starting work on the roof, six months after the hurricane dumped the tree on it. I have to take the dogs to my FIL’s because the pounding on the roof will drive them nuts. Tia likes it at my FIL’s, so that is good. I guess I’m going to have to take it one day at a time, cherishing every day she’s still with us…in fairly good spirits, roaming the back yard as she did yesterday, hunting through the garden railroad, sniffing out bugs and lizards. My Tia, who gives so much love and wants so little in return.

I have to believe there’s a heaven that lets dogs in…and when she goes, she’ll be there with my mom and the babies I lost through miscarriage, and my mom, who never was a dog person, will take her for the long walks she loves, feed her tons of dog biscuits, let her roam around a huge yard, greet everyone she sees with a wildly wagging tail, and howl/talk just like Frank does now. And there's no suffering or pain, just dog treats, lots of love and cuddles, and everything she deserves, this good dog of mine who gives me so much love.


Pamela said...

I found your blog quite by accident and have been reading ever since.

When I read your last post I got tears in my eyes. My heart goes out to you. It really does. I know what it is to lose a beloved pet. Hang in there.

Mary Stella said...

Bonnie, my heart breaks for you, Frank and Tia. I look at Moe getting older and am happy for every day we have together. At 11, he's up in years for a Brittany.

I don't know if this helps, but I believe that the afterlife is not just for people, but also for animals. My previous dog, Bailey, is up there with my mother, father and all our other dogs. Tia will be there with your Mom. If she doesn't pass in her sleep, you'll know when it's time to ease her suffering and let her go.

Bonnie Vanak said...

Thanks Pamela... I appreciate it. I'm doing better today. i guess I'm just accepting it.

Thanks Mary, I'll be okay. Ironically a friend's dog isn't doing well and I told her my biggest fear was having to face that awful decision. I guess we never know what we must be forced to endure, huh?