Dogs Should Live Forever I've Decided

Coop: a profile

It's been one of those weeks and it's only Monday. I fear for the rest of the week at this rate... I'm scared. 

After a long, exhausting and emotional-coaster-of-a weekend we got a call-back from the vet that my dog has a malignant tumor on his leg that is going to cost us a stupid-lot-amount of money to have removed, and even then, the vet says it will come back, because this particular breed of tumor always comes back and scientific data blah-blah and statistics pooh-pooh-pooh and he's a Boxer so "I'm afraid blah-di-blah-di-blah... Blah." 

Still, we will have it removed because, duh, what choice do we have? We love him. He's our baby. And when it comes back? We'll just have to have it removed again. And again. Because we just do. At least until the doctor says to stop... 

Because you can't just keep removing the same tumor over and over forever, apparently. Something about it having tentacles or something I don't quite understand. But for now? We are told he will be okay. The cells haven't spread and he may have a good year (or so!!!???) of stinky farts and slobbery kisses in him yet. And besides, in that time he might just drop-dead of something totally arbitrary that has nothing to do with Cancer because sometimes shit just happens and that is that. Pets die. Dogs die. Beloved family and best friends die. Usually when you least expect it. 

Still, I'm heartbroken. I feel like this tiny little girl with no secret powers to heal or fix or help her pet dragon. Cooper was my first baby  and it breaks my heart that this is only the beginning of a journey of expensive surgeries and bandages and cones around his neck so he won't bite at his stitches. 

Sometimes shit sucks balls, man. Plain and simple. 



Backpacking Dad | 6:11 PM

Before our daughter was born, before we were even thinking of having kids, one of our cats grew very ill. She dropped a bunch of weight and just wasn't loving life at all. The vet said it was a very advanced case of renal failure, and that we should put her down. One or two places in the country could do kidney transplants, but there were no guarantees and she was pretty bad off. We should go home with her that night, say goodbye, and then put her down the next morning.

We took her home, said goodbye, and then my wife (and this is just one of the many reasons I love my wife) said "I don't accept this."

We brought her back to the vet, asked him to keep her alive long enough for the drive up to the animal hospital in Davis, and then we spent weeks, and thousands, stabilizing her enough to bring her home to wait for a transplant.

She lived for another year and a half on that messed up pair of kidneys, and we spent a ton of money keeping her in sub-cu fluids and needles and gave her medicine twice daily and gave her fluids twice daily and it ate us up emotionally.

But we did it without hesitation, because that's what you do. Even for your pets. Especially for those pets you have that are your first children.

toyfoto | 6:26 PM

Why, for Dog's sake, do turtles NEED all those years?

Surfer Jay | 6:31 PM

Indeed it does, indeed it does. Big, fat hairies…

I concur, I like your decision, they should live forever. What is money when a member of your family is in dire distress? Although, I know how costly vets can be because my father is one. Rather than charging someone for having their dog fixed or spayed, he labels it a ‘bilateral hysterectomy’ so that he can charge more. I have seen many people torn between the expense of various operations, and the unthinkable alternative which happens all too often.

On a good note. My father recently removed 12 tumors from my 18 year old dog. She was looking like one big ass tumor. And she’s had them for years. So there is hope, even with malignant tumors. Relish the time you have now, and remember the good times of slobber facials, racing around the yard and pee on the rug.

Rachael | 6:35 PM

Sad about the pup, but he will be good for a little longer. We have 2 cats, one is 8 and one is 7, and I sometimes wonder how old Sam will be when they die, and think about the fact that he's never known life without these two cats who taught him how to pet gently.

Mrs. Cline | 6:44 PM

all our thoughts with you and your family and pup at this time. husband and i are thisclose to buying a dog, and really want a boxer because they are so misunderstood. they are really loving, caring dogs and they just don't get the respect they deserve. i don't even have a pup yet, but feel for you during this time. heres to many more stinky farts and slobbery kisses!

Anonymous | 6:55 PM

Sending so many thoughts of healing Cooper's way and to you, strength. Hang in there. Do what you have to do. Babies are babies, human or not.

Mama Seoul | 6:58 PM

We have a boxer, too. She was our first baby.

Before we moved to Korea, we had her spade. She was supposed to take it easy, but you know boxers, as soon as she got in the door she jumped all the gates in the house and popped all of her stitches. We also wimped out on the cone the first time, but after we had her resutured, we stayed strong and made her wear he cone.

Roxxy is sending good dog thoughts to Cooper for his surgery!

minniemama68 | 7:00 PM

I am so sorry. We've been owned by dogs for years. Multiple dogs, like 4 at a time. Our Clara just died, and 3 of our other 4 are in double digits. I wish I had some little piece of wisdom I could share with you--something that would make everything ok, but I don't. It hurts. The whole thing sucks. But you have to remember you gave a great animal a home, you love him, you care about him, he is your family. And who knows, maybe he will defy the odds and get better. Hope is a great thing. Enjoy him now, love him now. God bless and good luck.

Anonymous | 7:05 PM

I'm so sorry. I just lost the cat I'd had for seventeen years after a long struggle and lots of money. But every penny was worth it for the extra time I had with him.

Sending good thoughts your way.

Anonymous | 7:10 PM

Shit. I'm sorry your baby is sick. I am fully prepared to campaign for dogs living forever, so lets make some signs and go picket somewhere.

Brooke | 7:56 PM

I'm so sorry to hear about your pup! Animals have a way of telling you when it's their time, and if your pup isn't giving you that vibe yet, trust your instinct and do what is the best for all of you right now. We held out as long as we could with our first "baby", and she definitely told us when her time was up (and I was 8 mos. pg). We had her for only 10 short years.

Anonymous | 8:12 PM

Ok-- you have an option -- I had a friend whose dog had a tumor on his leg and instead of cutting it out, they used this thing called black salve. Or rocky mountain salve, and its topical and will actually remove the tumor by the roots, completely safe: no return. If you want to know more, let me know.

Jennifer | 8:14 PM

I'm so sorry to hear about your dog! I hope he will surprise you and the vet and that the tumors don't come back! Wishig you lots of luck!!

Anonymous | 8:21 PM

Yeah, that salve sounds cool--and also don't underestimate the power of a good homeopathic consult. My 12 year-old dog had developed a heart condition, doc said there was nothing to be done but keep her comfy. She was miserable, could barely go on walks, blah blah blah. I consulted with a homeopath, and within 3 days of her taking the remedy, she started acting like a pup again. So--I know she'll still be gone one day, but not SOON, and her quality of life is fantastic once again. Oh yeah, flower essences can help, too! Try Anaflora essences. For reals!

kittenpie | 8:32 PM

Oh, hon. That's tough. One of my cats died just a couple of weeks ago, but it was easier because she just DIED. I mean, there was no decisions and nothing I could do to help prevent it or fix it. Which is less heart-rending, I think. I never know how people can make those decisions. I'm so sorry that's where you're ate right now. Courage, my love.

Anonymous | 8:51 PM

My heart goes out to you and your family. My first baby is a boxer too. She will be turning 12 next week. We have had many ups and downs with her over the years. Many lumps removed, 2 ear surgeries, and a big bout with kidney disease. The vet told us 2 years ago when she fell ill with kidney problems that she was probably not gonna make it much longer. Well here we are 2 years later. Boxers are strong dogs. Cooper will fight hard for you. Just give him lots of love and take him to the park anytime he wants. That's all they need.

Anonymous | 9:05 PM

i'm sorry rebecca. i work in the animal care field so i know how terrible this is for you guys. hopefully the vet gets it all and there are no mets for a very long time.

i have a special place in my heat for a boxer too, i wrote a tribute to him on my own blog. he wasn't lucky enough to have someone love him as much as you love cooper.

i know your baby will have a great recovery. because he will. because he has to. hugs for you.

Anonymous | 9:51 PM

Oh gosh...I am so sorry. I would be beside myself if my sweet puppy was ill. My heart goes out to you all. And I agree- you do it, because your dog is your baby.

Anonymous | 10:44 PM

Man, that's tough. Glad to hear you are going to have it removed and keep the fella around. Sounds like a good dog.

Anonymous | 4:18 AM

i am so sorry. i have had my boxer for about 2, maybe 3, weeks now and there are so many times we wonder if it's worth it. the puppy stage, the expensive mange meds...

and now to hear about the grieving when it's time for them to go. it seems so much easier to give her up now and never know what it's like mourn her. better to have loved and lost? i'm just so scared of the hurt. i'm sorry you are going through this. ~jjlibra

Miss Melissa | 4:21 AM

Poor Coop. And poor Bec too. :(

Sending loving, healing thoughts your way sweet girl.

Anonymous | 6:51 AM

Oh, I hate that. I"m so sorry. I know what you mean about "he was my first baby".. Before children I had a mini Yorkie for years and after my first was born she was hit by a car. I honestly don't think I could have handled it if I had still been single and child-less. Does that sound bad?

emilie | 7:48 AM

Oh Rebecca, this is the worst. Our family dog, Maudie- my best friend & confidant in the pure hell of high school, the keeper of secrets and licker of tears- she developed several tumours, the same spiel- " we can remove BUT the cells will reproduce, they'll grow back, but, maybe, perhaps, if we're lucky, etc...". Well, we DID have them removed and they DID grow back, but we had 18 more months of long walks in the woods and swims in the lake. We fed her special peanut butter toast in the mornings and steaks and chicken breasts weekly and showered her with toys and snuggles and we said good-bye when she was no longer interested in these things. Animals will let you know when they're done, then you have to listen. I have two cats now, and my parents have adopted two dogs, and I love all these new animal friends but Maudie will always be special because we understood each other to the very end.

Anonymous | 7:58 AM

I'm really sorry about your pup. Mine means the world to me and he is 13 now and thankfully after getting his Crohn's disease in remission ($$$$$$$) he is doing really well and will live forever! I hope the best for your furry friend and maybe the tumor won't come back. These animals are definitely worth the heartache, I wouldn't change anything!


The Mommy | 8:03 AM

We lost our fur-baby when she was only 3 to cancer which didn't present itself until it had already completely taken over. It was masked by some other issues. There was nothing we could do. So, I know how you feel and I'm sorry. So very, very sorry.

caramama | 8:25 AM

I'm so sorry to hear this. That just sucks. Sucks. Sucks. Sucks!

Our beloved beagle had some lumps, and we finally got them removed after I was sure that one was getting larger. Yep, it turned out to be cancerous. Our vet did a great job of removing all of it, and so far it hasn't come back. And the cancer did not spread.

Now we have to always watch for lumps and have any lump removed, always with the fear and worry that another will be cancerous and perhaps have spread.

But you know what? So far, no more cancer! She's happy and healed from the last lump removal and as sweet and snuggly as ever. And she is worth every expense and every day with her is better than without.

Good luck with Cooper. I hope that he surprises you and the cancer stays away. :-)

Tiffany | 8:32 AM

Shit does suck balls.

Anonymous | 9:09 AM

I'm so sorry , Bec. I went through a similar situation with one of my cats, but in his case we could do radiation treatment instead of surgery. Just be with Coop throughout. He'll know you're there and that will make all the difference to him.

My thoughts are with you.

Ashley | 9:31 AM

I would feel lost if that was happening to one of my furry babies and wouldn't hesitate to have the tumor removed. I'm sure he'll be okay! Keep thinking positive!

Fairly Odd Mother | 10:03 AM

You poor thing. I can totally understand your decision and can only hope that the estimate of 'about a year' is seriously lowballed.

My story is very similar to Backpacking Dad's although I only 'bought' Zack two lousy months. But, they were two lousy months I cherished every moment with him and would have done the same thing again. I guess the 'silver lining' is that despite three kids and a crazy household, I was able to really focus on my well-loved, but often forgotten, pet and help him move on to that better place in the sky.

Wendy | 10:27 AM

God, that's so sad and terrible. I hope y'all have a long time before it's the doctor says stop. Our thoughts are with you.

Anonymous | 10:27 AM

So sorry about your dilemma. Our cat recently went through a bone cancer issue that resulted in an amputation. It was sad, but still a little funny.


You guys are awesome. Thank you.

clueless but hopeful mama | 12:46 PM

Oh this sucks. My furry baby, my first baby is only (almost) three and I can't stand the thought of her getting sick and eventually dying. (*fingers in ears* LALALALALALA) I know it will happen way sooner than I can ever accept.

I so feel for you and your baby.

Windy | 1:01 PM

I know exactly how you feel. Two years ago we spent 800 to have a hairball removed from our pet rabbit, I know, a pet rabbit. Anyway he died a week later from complications from the surgery. It still has been and always will be "worth" it. Our pets are more beloved than most humans.My thoughts are with you.

Anonymous | 3:25 PM

Sorry to hear that. He's beautiful. We also have a boxer and aren't they just the best?!?

When will the surgery be?

Unknown | 4:32 PM

I lost my beloved 16 year old kitty just over a year ago and still every day I look at her picture on my desk and mourn a little.

The other day at the dog park I got all excited because I met a very healthy looking golden retriever who was 14 years old...that could mean I could have my baby boy for another 6 years!!!

it is so hard to lose them but imagine life without them in the first place . It would be boring.

Anonymous | 6:53 PM

I am so sorry to hear about your pup's illness. I do understand. My first born child is now a 12-year-old ornery cat named Athena. I even had a baby shower when I got her. I have warned my hubster that if anything ever happens to her, he should pretend our child has died and treat me accordingly. I hope the surgery is successful and that tumor surprises you by never returning.

N | 7:09 PM

I will be praying for your doggy. It'll be a very tough road ahead but as you say, you can't just stand there. It needs to be done.

My beloved yorkie baby of 15 years died Sunday night. I miss her terribly. I haven't stop crying.

apricoco | 8:15 PM

Sorry about cooper. I've been there, done that, cried those tears and more. There is no easy way to deal, you just have to go one day at a time. Just like when best friends die. Virtual hugs.

Knit in the Northwest | 11:53 PM

Oh Rebecca....

Ruby stopped breathing the other morning and it really threw me for a loop. (AND into the car and to the emergency clinic.) Pets can teach us a lot about ourselves. I really hope that things work out for the best and she suffers little. They money thing sucks. Maybe there is a diet you can put her on that will reduce her chances of getting it again? I dunno - I know stuff like this is tough and doesn't seem fair.

Anonymous | 5:55 AM

A few years ago our dog, Maddie, was hit by car... my husband was out of town, I was having a helluva time with the kids that morning trying to get them ready for school, and I didn't realize she had taken off. We had an electric fence and the wires must have gotten bumped, so it wasn't working. We actually had 2 dogs, and both were hit, but one survived... I still feel awful about it, it was my fault.
It's damn hard losing a pet, I cried for weeks.
Good luck with yours, I hoe he'll be ok.

Binky | 5:58 AM

I have to agree with Toyfoto's comment.

I hope Cooper is feeling well and that the tentacles keep their claws off him.

I Am Woody | 8:13 AM

It is amazing how those saggy, slobbery jowls worm their way into our hearts. It may sound strange but my boxer, Dixie, is my best friend. She is always there by my side, always willing (and excited) to go anywhere with me. A lump forms in my throat at the thought of losing her...

Meg | 8:27 AM

That sucks ass man. Our beloved pets should be able to live for as long as love like...forever.

Hope he's feeling ok and that the tentaculous tumours don't overcome everything else.

Anonymous | 8:45 AM

Have you considered other options? You could get a second opinion from a vet who specializes in cancer. Another thought, and it is not as awful as it sounds, is amputation. I have two friends with dogs who had legs amputated. One is a very large standard poodle. He had a tumor that sounds like what Cooper has. He now runs and jumps like a maniac and he's been cancer-free for two years! the other dog is a Jack Russell terrier. She lost a leg after being struck by a car. She runs and catches frisbees and has tons of energy. Neither dog seems at all aware that anything happened to them, once the stitches were out and the wounds healed. They make adjustments much better than people do.
I hope things work out whichever option you choose.

Prasti | 11:55 AM

sorry to hear about your dog (he looks very sweet). i know how you feel. we lost our dog dec. 2007 because of a tumor in his leg. by the time we discovered what it was, it was too late to have it removed and his leg would need to be amputated. he was 11 years old. i think we accepted the fact that it was soon his time to go. best wishes for his surgery.

Anonymous | 2:29 PM

My thoughts are with you and your beautiful Coop. We said goodbye to our chocolate lab last year, over three years after we received the "he doesn't have much time left" speech. Thank god for second opinions. The second vet confirmed the first diagnosis, but prescribed a different treatment that made a huge difference in our dog's health and quality of life.

Surfer Jay--Does your dad really use semantics so he can make more money for a spay or neuter? Not judging you, I was just shocked when I read that.

Anonymous Considering Giving Up Her Boxer Puppy: If you love your dog, you must be committed to caring for him/her for better or worse, including puppyhood. If not, then please consider giving your dog a new home. But in my opinion, it is better to have loved and lost. The life I had with our lab was truly enriched and I feel blessed to have known him. Good luck.

Mom101 | 8:29 PM

Oh no. No no no. We love Cooper.

Emily is pulling for him. Well, mostly she's farting but I think in bulldog parlance that's a sign of canine camaraderie.

Laura | 9:12 PM

So sorry to hear about your sweet dog. I'm going through this with one of my cats right now - cancerous tumor has returned. It sucks - you feel helpless. Cats should live forever too. Stay strong and give him lots of love everyday!

Anonymous | 4:31 AM

What they said.

To Coop: Live well, lick often, and enjoy all the hugs. We know you!

Kim | 9:20 PM

I'm so sorry.

We lost a boxer to mast cell cancer that started as a tumor on her leg. She was her bouncy, wiggly, loving, licking and farting self until the very end.

We miss her terribly, but are forever grateful for the joy she brought into our lives.

BTW, our three new Boxer Babes think Cooper is a hottie!

Anonymous | 10:37 PM

The dog mortality thing has always gnawed at me. I've got a couple wolves myself. People compare it to having a kid, and there are indeed similarities. But there's something significantly different about the love we have for a dog and the love we have for a kid.

The difference lies in the factor of inevitability.

With a child, we can find peace in statistics. Sure, the kid could die in a car wreck, or get a terminal disease. But the odds are that they won't. So we have the luxury of finding a zone of peace in these odds, allowing us to discard the horrid thought of loss from our consciousness, refusing to think about it. Sweep it under the rug.

With a dog, there is no such zone. Unless we ourselves die in a car wreck, or get a terminal disease, the fact of the matter is that we will live to see a day where we must endure the loss of our little one. It's a reality that will never seem entirely fair.

Yep; it sucks balls. Plain and simple. Let's just trust that it's all worth it, and never forget that the loss of a dog comes with it the privilege of giving another furry soul a life it may otherwise not be able to have it weren't for us.

Timing is everything.

Jaelithe | 9:49 AM

I'm sorry I'm late to say this, but give your dog a hug for me, okay?

And then give yourself a hug, too.

Amy Urquhart | 9:19 PM

You're being good doggy parents. Of course you have to have it removed and continue to deal with this, it's what pet-lovers do.

This post is timely because our family's retriever was just put to sleep. My step-mom had his ashes returned and had paw-prints made. He was a good boy, but full of tumours.