I noticed my dog, Zoee, seemed to be having a hard time moving around and looked quite sad when I got back from my Washington DC trip last night. I was quite concerned this morning when she didn't hear me get up and begin scratching at my son's door to let her out so she could get to me - the everyday routine. I went looking for her in my son's room. I opened the door and she was lying on the bed but didn't even lift her head to show interest in coming with me. I called her and she came. She was moving even more labored this morning. I was quite worried after she showed no interest in food. By the afternoon, she hadn't moved from the spot where she laid down after I brought her inside this morning. I decided to take her on an errand with me to Home Depot to see if that perked her up. I was thinking maybe she was depressed. When she sat on the passenger seat, I could see that the glands around her nipples were huge and hard and the skin was irritated. I really thought I had figured out what was wrong. She had a skin infection in the past and I thought for sure that this was it. I turned around immediately and returned home. I had Scotty take Zoee to the vet for me.
Not long after he got there I got a text from him. He said they think Zoee has lymphoma. And he said all her lymph nodes throughout her body are huge and affected. I was in shock. She is only about 8 years old. I figured we had a number of more years with her. It appears that she is probably in about stage 3 of lymphoma where all her glands are affected. It could actually be even further along than that but we would only know if we did more testing. The hard part is that chemotherapy and other treatments would only be used to extend her life a little longer and there are no guarantees on how long she would have. The doctor said maybe a year, maybe two if you are lucky but then again it could be less. It is not about curing the cancer. It is about extending her life so we can have more time with her. I can't even imagine putting her through chemotherapy in order to spend more time with her. Some people may consider that humane but I don't. She doesn't have a way of telling me, "Yes, I want to go through all that excrutiating pain and fatique and nausea and fatigue, etc., etc. in order to spend a little more time with you". Since she can't tell me what she wants, I have to make a decision and I just can't put her through that. Quality of life is what it's about. I don't want to see her in pain. It is important that I still see her wag her tail when I tell her I love her and to see her doggie smile. Tonight she actually worked very hard to get up from her bed when she heard my car keys jangling. She met me at the door and gave me that look, the one where she begs me with her eyes to take her. She had a bit of a bounce in her step and I knew she felt well enough to go on a ride. We got our pizza take-out and when we got home she waited in the kitchen for her pizza crusts just like she always does. She actually found one of her Kong balls in the house too and wanted to fetch it a couple of times - a bit slower than usual but she did it.
It appears that we are going to go through some hard times coming up here very soon. I am going to miss her terribly. She has been one of those dogs that you curse because she tries to go on walkabouts every chance she can (sneaking away from the house if you are not watching) and she has anxiety attacks when you take her in the car and she walks us when we try to take her for a walk, but in our home she is at her best. She loves her family always has a smile on her face. She has all her own little quirky things she does which makes her Zoee and I love her for everyone of those.