August 29th, 2012

hound of heaven

Grim news

Sassafras's decline has been precipitous this week. She hasn't eaten more than a nibble in the last couple of days. She seems listless. Her legs don't work right. Deanne went out and got her a new kennel to start a new regime with her. I tried to talk her out of it, but she was insistent. As the primary caregiver for our pets, she is determined to manage Sassy's care and help her get better.

Today, Deanne had to go to Indy, so I agreed to take the dog to the vet. After listening to my description of her behavior, he wanted to do an x-ray and some bloodwork. He told me to come back for her at 6:00 o'clock. Deanne got home about 5:30 and packed up to go to Wilderstead overnight. We'll talk by phone later on this evening, and I am to bring her up to speed on Sassy's situation.

Well, here it is. The x-ray showed something ominous, so the vet did an ultrasound, too. Sassy has a grapefruit-sized tumor in her liver, which is very high and probably pressing on her spine. She also has a baseball-sized tumor in her spleen. This means that the cancer has metastasized and is spreading; this kind of cancer often attacks the heart as well.

Treatment options are limited and mostly very expensive. Average survival time after surgery -- if we went that route -- is only 19 days. The vet had a dog in his care with the same kind of cancer whose owner opted to take it to Indy for chemotherapy; the dog died three weeks into the treatment. By doubling her prednisone, we might give her a couple of good days, maybe a week or so, as the steroid would help shrink her tumors; however, after that, she would rapidly decline again. If left untreated, she probably only has five or six weeks to live and would simply starve to death from not wanting to eat.

I said I would double her prednisone and take her home. I'll tell Deanne the score when we talk this evening. But I'm guessing what we're going to have to do is to consult our calendars and set a date -- at least, provisionally -- upon which we will say our good-byes and take her to the vet to be put down, after which we will take her home to Wilderstead to join Fuji and Cuthbert in the Hallows.

Sassy felt pretty good once I got her back home. I gave her a broccoli bone and she ate it all up. I figure she gets the full princess treatment for the time being: whatever she'll eat, and as much as she'll eat, and phooey on what's "good" for her.

I've been expecting this for a while now, but I don't think Deanne's wanted to hear it. Now it is upon us. Pray for us in the days ahead.

My poor Pink Puppy Princess. I only have a short time left in which to remind her she's the Onliest Doggie I've Ever Loved.