my own juju

So I used to have a sister, and she really loved animals.  A lot.  She had seven cats, a hamster and some little frog things.  She also worked at a horse rescue, which is how she wound up with so many cats.  I’m not quite clear on why people would bring cats to a horse rescue but they did, and if she felt like any of them wouldn’t do well  at the stable, she’d bring them home.  One of them was named Tripod, for reasons that should be obvious.  Anyway, she thought everyone should have a pet because they are just so blasted good for you.

She was really excited when we decided to get a dog, now our family was complete.  And then my brother and girlfriend (now wife) decided to get a dog too and that just topped things off.  They even named their dog after my sister, Toots.  That was her nickname when we were kids.    My other sister always had dogs, she’s got four kids and kids and dogs just go together, except they don’t have a dog right now.

So here’s the juju part:

Diane’s birthday was August 16th

Tate’s birthday is August 16th

Toots’ birthday is August 16th.

Is that cool or what?

P.S.  Tate is sleeping on his new bed with his head hanging off the side and his tail just wagged.

My New Bed

Mom and Grandma made me a new bed over the weekend and I really like it a lot!  It’s ginormous so I can really stretch out (although I still like to hang my head over the edge sometimes).  And it’s not so soft and lumpy as my old bed, plus the cover doesn’t tear when I scratch it up.  Although I kinda wish it did, that’s more fun and I’d like to be able to pull the stuffing out.

Got the idea here:

Okay, so I'm not crazy about the flowers

About our Decision

This is for my friends that might visit from elsewhere.  Not that we need to explain ourselves, but hoping to inform the general public about canine cancer.

1.  This website is for people like me, faced with a shocking diagnosis (Tate’s only 4!) and while amputation may be as horrifying for you as it was for us, these fine folks are living with it.  It is their “normal”.  And their dogs are happy and living wonderful doggy lives.

2.  My siblings and I watched my sister die of cancer.  She was able to make all her own decisions and died with dignity and grace.  We believe dogs deserve the same except we have to make the decisions for them so we’d best take it seriously.  So “take him out back and shoot him” doesn’t really work for us.

3.  Chemotherapy for dogs is about remission, not cure so the drug level and side effects are much lower.  If Tate gets too sick, we may decide to stop and just keep him comfortable and pain-free.

4.  If you own a dog (or a cat, ferret, gerbil, hamster, etc.), give him an extra hug today.  : )

5.  Special thanks to all of you with happy tripod stories and for those of you that are praying for us.  God gave us this burden for a reason and we’re doing the best we can with it.

Decision Day

After sleeping on it and a long chat with Tate’s regular vet, we’ve decided to go ahead with the amputation.  Tate’s vet explained that it is not all that unusual to not be able to get a definitive diagnosis from a core biopsy from a bone, he had a similar case recently that was proven to be (whatever he thought it was) when they checked the amputated leg.    And he’d already spoken with Tate’s oncologist about the path report and our conversations yesterday.  He’s all over this!

So it is scheduled for Tuesday morning, 8:00.  Tate’s surgeon called tonight to explain a few things, and said she wants to prepare us for Tate’s appearance post-surgery.  Thanks to Tripawds, we already know about that but what I really want to know is if my little boy is suddenly going to start flying the flag, raising a tent, and waving his magic wand.  : )


Okay so we waited a whole week to get Tate’s biopsy results and boy they put a lot of work into this but in the end they say it is probably synovitis.  However they can’t rule out cancer, i.e., a severely inflamed histiocytic sarcoma.  Nothing definitive either way and they did three separate sections and stains, that’s why it took so long.  And then they got a second opinion and both concurred.

Tate’s oncologist does not think it is synovitis, the bigger picture indicates histiocytic sarcoma or maybe he said malignant histiocytosis, I can’t remember.   I have too many big words crammed into my little brain.  But he pointed out there is loss of bone on both sides of the synovial membrane, the surgeon’s observations point to synovial cell sarcoma, Tate has no previous history and plus he’s a flat coat.

Right or wrong, I asked them to send the samples to Colorado State University.  I said we really do not want to chop off his leg and then say, “oops.”  He is being so patient, he said “I understand completely” but I know he is worried about time.

In the meantime, I let Tate run around with a great big stick this morning.  I could just picture Tate’s whole medical team going “oooohh nooooo! FRACTURE RISK!!!” but I just had to let him be a dog for awhile.

Where We Are Today

We should get Tate’s pathology report in the next day or two but his oncologist believes it is likely malignant histiocytosis…not good.  We are going through the anxiety everyone experiences at this point and this site has been a real blessing to us.

In the meantime, Tate is recovering nicely from his surgical biopsy and has been a very good boy about not bothering his incision so thankfully we don’t have to resort to the dreaded e-collar.  And while Pill Pockets are wonderful, he likes Velveeta just fine and so we solved the Tramadol problem.

Some Background

Well, in early January, Tate was roughhousing in the snow with his BFF, Loretta.  Nothing unusual but that night he woke up crying and couldn’t put weight on his left hind leg.  The next morning, Dad took him to the Vet Emergency Center, where they said it was either an injury or maybe hip dysplasia.  They gave an rx for Rimadyl and said to come back for x-rays and surgery if it wasn’t better in a few days.

In a couple days it was better, he didn’t need the Rimadyl and was fine.  But about a month later, we took him to the park and noticed him favoring the same leg but no other signs of anything wrong.  This was right after the huge snowstorm that just about everyone in the whole country had so we thought he just irritated the original injury playing in the deep snow.  Took him to the vet as soon as we could get in.  That’s when things went south.

X-rays showed lesions on the bones in his hip joint.  That was about 3 weeks ago, and everything since then is a blur of tests and second opinions and research and figuring out how to get Tramadol into him.  Poor Tater-Tot.