Sabrina, Tyville Madison
12 January 2002 – 20 January 2011
(if you don’t mind, I’m cutting and pasting what I wrote on the GH board on Ravelry.)
I can’t believe I’m actually typing this. Sabrina had been having some leg troubles the past 6-7 weeks. We’d tried a few things – anti-inflams, muscle relaxants. When we had the dogs in for their dentals on Dec 8th, our vet took back and hip x-rays of Sabrina because of her unexplained limping. They looked really good.
She wasn’t getting any better, so I had our vet refer us to the vet clinic at the university for a second opinion/more in-depth exam and diagnosis. We got an emergency appointment to bring her in this morning. We expected it was going to be a soft tissue injury or else her lower back.
Since the weekend when I contacted the vet to ask for the referral, Sabrina had declined. She couldn’t get up on the couch any more, when she was laying down, she had to do so very carefully and slow with that hip and just couldn’t seem to get comfortable.
The way the vet clinic works there (because it’s a teaching hospital) a 4th year student does the initial exam, then she takes the dog to one of the practising vets (this one was an orthopaedic specialist) and presents her diagnosis and the two of them then did a further leg/hip exam. We waited out in the waiting area (down a few hallways away) and we could hear Biner screaming from there. Gah. They kept her in there, then came out and talked to us and said it could be a torn ligament, it could be that isoblahblah muscle that goes from the top of the thigh around the hip/pelvis, or it could be something else. They’d need to take an x-ray. I said “osteo?” and they said that was what they’d be looking for on the x-ray.
So they said to go have lunch and come back or they’d call us when they’d done the x=rays. We were at Denny’s halfway through our food when they called. They said the x-rays showed something we needed to talk about so could we come back right away. I knew as soon as Bill clicked off his phone it was bad. We walked into the room and they had the x-rays up and I could even tell it was cancer and it was aggressive and all through that leg. They x-ray’d both her legs like she was laying down, then they did a second, closer one of her left leg. The right one was all bright and firm looking, the left was was dull and grey and mottled. They said they could do further tests to determine what exact kind of cancer it was, but that would mean taking a bone sample. No. No more pain. She said it was very aggressive.
Based on what the vet said, we don’t think we could have done anything else. She said that the options were to amputate, then chemo and hope it hadn’t spread. She thought Sabrina would have had another 4 months of a good quality of life if we did that. The other option was radiation; no better odds. Just seeing her stress (and hearing her) during the examinations, we couldn’t do that to her.
They told us the options and we decided to not have her be in any pain any more. She was groggy from the sedative they gave her for the x-ray. They took us to a room and we had Apollo in there with us. They wheeled Sabrina in on a trolly/table thing, they had a nice fleecy blanket under her and one on top. As they wheeled her in, she lifted her head, bleary eyed and gump-tongued. They let us have as long as we wanted with her, then we called them back in and they gave her the shot. We petted her and told her she was a big brave girl, she looked up at me, then she was gone. I couldn’t have let them do that and us not be there. It was so hard, but I didn’t want her to be afraid.
The house seems too empty, especially the couch where the Princess reigned. Apollo is a little out of sorts, too. On the drive back, he snuggled up to Sabrina’s jacket in the van.
Since we’ve been home we’ve both had crying jags and just sitting here tearing up. I don’t know, maybe it’s better that it happened so fast like this, instead of us putting her through the trauma of coming back home, her not being comfortable and pain-free for another couple of weeks? We were completely unprepared for this; we thought it was a muscle or else her lower back. I think we’re both in shock a little bit.