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Toby's Tale

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Quiet on the homefront…

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It’s been one week and two days since the surgery and he’s getting along very well.  We got off to a little slower start today.. He was panting when he awoke around 6am and that was disconcerting because I thought his pain was subsiding.  I gave him some meds and we had a quiet morning.  He coughed a couple of times, which made me worry but I haven’t heard him cough again since so hopefully it doesn’t mean anything.  His appetite wasn’t very good but eventually he ate.  I guess some days are better than others.  Let’s hope for a good one tomorrow.


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Hump Day

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Almost one week has passed since the surgery and we’re doing pretty well.  The Fed Ex truck pulled up this morning with the delivery of the new harness and Toby ran/loped out to the truck barking and wagging his tail!  Yeah – another visitor.  Haven’t tried it on yet but I think it will come in handy for trips in & out of the car, rough terrain, etc.

Sleeping and enjoying being home with his Mommy…  This has been good for me too.  Regardless of how this turns out, I will always remember this time.  Lot’s of cuddling and kissing – WOW, we’re even more crazy about each other than before – if that’s possible.

Yeah – Visitors!

Ahhh that feels good!

Ahhh that feels good!

Thank you Aunties Lauren and Shelly for the wonderful treats

you brought me.  I love you guys!

So Far So Good

It’s Sunday afternoon and we’ve had a good weekend so far.  He’s been enjoying restful nights and uneventful days.  Watching us go about our lives and following us everywhere (some things never change).  While I was working outside this morning, he had to be in the middle of it!

Sporting a new tee shirt, hanging out in the yard with Mom..

I'm sporting a new tee shirt and although it has flowers on it, it smells like my mommy and I love it!

While rubbing him yesterday, I discovered a knot on his back foot (heel)…  Naturally, I’m worried but can only deal with one crisis at a time.  I’ve been researching supplements for dogs – I’m interested to hear opinions and information.   For now, we’re so happy to have him home.

He loves his Dad!

He loves his Dad!

His Dad loves him too!

His Dad loves him too!

All of this massaging feels so good - I need a nap now!

All of this massaging feels so good - I need a nap now!

I hope he’s as pain free as he looks in this photo.

Homecoming!

We awoke to face the homecoming of our precious furrbaby.  I’ve been anxious all day.. After a half day at work, I arrived at the clinic around 2 – I was worried about what I’d see.  After a consultation with Dr. Portie regarding the wound, pain management and mobility, I braced myself for the worse.  As traumatic as it is, I’m in awe of his resilience.  He hopped into the room and was VERY happy to see me.  He hopped through the lobby and toward the door.  I was so surprised at how mobile he was.  I had visions of vet techs lifting him on a sheet but when we got outside, Dr. P opened the back of the SUV and he jumped right in.  I had a dog bed in the back to pad the landing – glad I did because he face planted himself into the pillow.

Buck met me at home and we unloaded him.  It was pretty dicey but after a stumble, he hopped into the house.  Went to one of his favorite spots and flopped down.

He ate like a pig (homemade dogfood) and drank lots of water.  A trip outside a while later was successful – yeah!  That’s one thing I’ve worried about but he seems to be able to squat and balance just fine.  We laid in the grass for a while enjoying the warmth of the sun..   I think we’re all relieved to have this major operation behind us but the rehab will be challenging.

He’s resting comfortably now – getting up from time to time to relocate and readjust.  We’ll put a tee shirt on him to keep him from licking himself but for now, he’s crashed on the cool concrete floor.

Although I will be home with him for as long as it takes,  I wonder whether or not he will ever be able to use a dog door again? Since he’s missing his front leg, this may not be a possibility anymore.  Regardless, we won’t even be able to address that for about 3 weeks.

Thanks again for your kind notes and calls.  I love you all!

Today was the day

We started the day around 5 am when I was awakened (like I had actually slept..?) by the constant licking and chewing sound that Toby was making trying to remove the stitches out of his leg.   I took my pillows and comforter and relocated to the dog bed on the floor next to my bed.  I laid with him for about an hour – stroking him on every part of his body just trying to make him relax.

Today was the day – I couldn’t believe it was here.  We spent the next couple of hours preparing… At 9 am, I dropped him off and went to work.  I was basically useless but my clients/students were very supportive.  Today was excruciating long…  I knew the surgery was suppose to take place around noon and by 4 pm, I got the word that the surgery went well.  He’s resting in ICU at the wonderful clinic where the procedure was performed.  Thanks to Dr. Glen Portie at Sunset Canyon Veterinary Clinic (Austin,TX) – he was awake and alert just a couple hours after the surgery.   Even though Dr. Portie is somewhat cocky, in a strange way – his confidence gives me comfort…. There’s no one else I’d rather have caring for my dog.

I asked if I could come see him – they said no.  They’re concerned that if he sees me, he will think I’m there to take him home.  If I leave and don’t take him, it will be harder for him.  I get it… I just can’t wait to be with him.

He said if he does well through the night, he can come home tomorrow.  Even though I’m freaking out, it makes sense to have him here…  He’ll rest so much better in his own environment.   I find my self crying one minute and feeling relief the next.

My friends and family have been so great today.  Thank you all for your support.  I love you more than you know!

Surgery Tomorrow

This journey began last week when a friend of ours was talking about his blond Labrador being diagnosed with bone cancer. He described the symptoms and my husband was concerned because they sounded familiar. The next day, he took our Golden Retriever Toby in to have his front left knee checked out because it was swollen and he was limping slightly. He had to leave him there and wait for the call. When the vet called, the news was almost too hard to believe – he consulted with another vet and they both diagnosed bone cancer. They sent a fluid sample to the lab and had to wait a couple of days for the results. I spent the next two days crying my eyes out, planning the end of his life. Since we lost our female Golden (Sophie – 5 yrs old) last summer to liver cancer, the possible loss of Toby feels like too much to bear.

When we got a call from the vet on Saturday to give us the results “probably sarcoma”, we explained our fear that it had spread to his lungs because of the panting. He said to bring him in immediately for a chest xray, and to our surprise, it came back clear. The vet explained that the panting was due to pain, and from what he could see, he didn’t think it had metastasized. He further explained that the xrays of his leg showed the bone was still viable and didn’t appear to have any of the symptoms that are present with osteosarcoma. He even when as far as to say he would “bet 2 of his 3 children that it’s fibrosarcoma”. From what I’ve learned, it’s a less aggressive form but amputation is still necessary.

The results of the biopsy came back today confirming “sarcoma” but the pathologist couldn’t or wouldn’t specify whether or not it’s osteosarcoma or fibrosarcoma. Apparently the sample wasn’t definitive enough. I know we pissed the tumor off because his knee is swollen, retaining fluid, red, etc..  I’m trying to keep him from licking it but that’s not working well. Once the limb is removed, they will be able to tell us exactly which type.

I’ve had trouble sleeping for the past week – I’m afraid the next few days are going to be more of the same. I have to stay strong – regardless of what happens. Tomorrow will be the beginning of our tripawd life. Pray for us.

Waiting for the biopsy results.

We find out today which type of sarcoma Toby has. His amputation is scheduled for tomorrow. I’m very grateful for all of the support I’ve found on this site. I’m scared and this site always makes me feel better. Thanks!


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