This story is a continuation of my dalmatian, Patch and his illness. 

We went to the Doc for the 5th time in a month yesterday.  The Doc confirmed that it is lymphoma.  We had felt spots in his throat that were growing~these are his lymph nodes.  Doc also felt behind his legs and in his groin area where more lymph nodes are and confirmed growth there too.  He also felt Patch’s spleen and liver and informed us they are enlarged. Patch has lost 5 pounds in the last month~doesn’t seem like much but he is eating all of the time-his meds increase his appetite and water intake.

This is so difficult to even type right now.  I have researched lymphoma and found out that Patch is in Stage IV.  I also discovered there are many drugs and treatments out there for dogs with lymphoma.  I have so many questions-aaaahhhhh! I feel that Doc doesn’t pursue further treatment possibly because of Patch’s age, the cost, and how far along the cancer is-I don’t know!  I asked the Doc “When will I know it is time”?  He responded with “Patch will let you know”. 

Patch doesn’t seem that sick~He wags his tail constantly and eats regularly.  I know he isn’t in any pain right now.  He doesn’t tremble or cry in pain anymore-thanks to the current meds.  I just can’t help but think: Should I be doing more?  Do I need a second opinion?  I just want to scream…and all I do now is cry-and cry-and cry.

I have been deciding on a Plan of Action for when the time comes.  Do I bury him?  Do I cremate him and keep the ashes? Do I cremate him and scatter his ashes?  I value other’s opinion on this decision and have talked to some friends and family.  Jedd still won’t tell me his thoughts.  This is really bothering him too.  He and Patch have been together for almost 3 years and they are so close.

I have a friend, wvbocere, I met via WordPress that is going through the same thing.  We really didn’t realize that our “children” are battling the same battle until yesterday.  I believe her dog is further along in his battle and I am seeing our future through her and her baby. I hope she doesn’t mind I do this. Here are the links to her dog’s story:

Reflections on a Dog’s Final Days 

A Difficult Journey

They are in need of thoughts and prayers too.

Thanks to everyone that have sent their thoughts and prayers our way.  We really appreciate it.  It means so much to us!


17 Responses

  1. You will know when it is time – it is hard to explain before hand but somehow they let you know. Shadow died 15 months ago and I had her cremated. I planned to scatter her ashes but have ended up keeping them in a container with her photo propped up in front of it. Just do what feels right. Shadow stopped eating in the two weeks leading up to her death – that was so not like her. I took photos of her on what ended up being her last evening (I didn’t know it at the time) and when I looked at them later there was a really intent look in her eye as she gazed at me – as if she was giving me a farewell message – she knew it was her last day even though I didn’t. Those photos still make me cry to this day but I treasure them so much. Make the most of every minute with Patch (as I’m sure you do).

    I have many photos of Patch-but not of us together. I have asked a friend if her husband (a photographer) will take some photos of Patch with us so we can have them. I believe my decision is the same as yours was. I just wish Jedd will tell me he agrees. I hope that when the time comes he goes peacefully…and I don’t have to take action…Thanks for you thoughts and prayers! WOOF!

  2. I’m so sorry about Patch. I lost one of my most cherished childhood dog. She died with Lymphoma as well. Patch will let you know when it is time. Do what feels right for you and patch. I will be praying for you as I know how bad it hurts.

    WOW~Busty-lymphoma too. This must be pretty common.

    Thanks for your thoughts and prayers!

  3. Meredith, I am so sorry about Patch’s diagnosis. I am glad that we met so that we can help each other through this. It’s so difficult, and like you, I cry constantly. At first, I think it worried the dogs, but now they seem to understand. 😦

    As for what to do after he is gone, we will have him cremated. We had my childhood dog, also a boxer, cremated after he died suddenly from a heart condition. His urn is on our bookshelves with a photo of him, and it’s nice that way. It’s a very personal decision, though.

    And no, I don’t mind one bit. I am so sorry again, and you can send me an email any time.

    Thank You! I am so glad we met too! Thanks for your input too! Will be emailing you…WOOF!

  4. Oh honey, I don’t even know where to begin in expressing my sorrow for what you are going through. I’ve been there as well. We’ve buried 4 animals. Two dogs. One we had for over 11 years and she had kidney failure. She was such a trooper and never had an accident in the house until the last two days she lived. We could tell by the look in her eyes that it was time for her to go.

    I’m tearing right now thinking about it. She had become a part of our family. Took to “mothering” our little boy, guarding our house and loving us just when we needed it. She was an absolutely beautiful dog (with many hysterical and PITA quirks LOL).

    We lived on 1 1/4 acres when Samantha died and we buried her in the backyard with a tombstone made from a large rock that I painted her name on.

    It took over a year for our little guy to stop crying for “Sammie” when he was tired or sad.

    Do what is right for you on the cremation, burying, etc. Right now just enjoy him. He’s not in pain and honestly that is the probably the best thing you can do for him right now, as hard as that is to hear.

    Yes-thank goodness he isn’t in any pain. This is the first pet I have had as “all my own” except for two cats, but they just disappeared. And all of my animals on the farm with my ex-boyfriend…but they aren’t with me now. Patch is human ya know-lol…making this much more difficult.

  5. So sorry about the diagnosis. In deed, Patch will let you know when it is time. I struggled with this when my 14 yr. old dog, Bailey, began to decline. We woke up on Good Friday, 2006 and she could not stand up by herself. She just looked at me with her sad eyes and I “knew” it was time. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do and I still cry about it today.

    I struggled with the decision of what to do with her body. I think I was in shock and denial. My vet told me he would hold her body until I decided what I wanted to do with her. I didn’t have enough money to have her cremated and couldn’t bear the thought of burying her by myself so I let the vet bury her in their “pet” cemetery.

    In retrospect, I wish I had made the decision to have her cremated, but I tell myself that it was only her body…her spirit lives on. We have her photos all over the house. My sister even painted a portrait of her which is displayed in my daughter’s room – so she is still “with us”.

    Please know that we are thinking about you at this difficult time!


    Thanks-I have been thinking hard about what to do and I will cremate him, since I do not own my property. I need to find someone who will paint a portrait of him…did your sister paint this picture before or after she died?

  6. Missy and I are grieving with you and I’ll be praying for you and Patch as you go through this together.

    I went through this last year when Missy’s littermate Mollie was diagnosed with an intestinal tumor, specifically an adenocarcinoma. At her age (20.5 years) and with her cardiac problems, putting her through an operation which may have caused more problems than it cured was just not an option. My best decision came to providing hospice care for Mollie until she was ready to let go. She let me know probably 3-4 days before I was capable of seeing it, I was so caught up the fight to help her live. But on Oct 11, DH and I took her into the vet’s office to take her last nap. We had her cremated along with her favorite toy (a stuffed duckie) and she currently rests in a box on top of a bookshelf, where she can look down on DH and me. Moreso DH I suspect, since she was his “meowstress” (long story for another time).

    Anyway, one of the things that I found helpful through this time is that I went to Yahoo Groups and put in search terms which applied to all of Mollie’s medical issues, her age, her high blood pressure, her cancer. I found that there are e-groups on Yahoo that are very specific to what was going on with Mollie and they were able to help me sort out what was best for her when the vets (she had several, including a cardiologist and an oncologist ) would present me with options and ask me to make a decision. The groups I was in were composed of people like us, pet moms and dads who were either dealing with the issue and others with past experience in what we were dealing with, with thoughts, ideas and wisdom born from loss to share with others.

    Please give Patch a scritch behind the ears from both of us.

    Curious and Missy the Cat

    Hey Curious and Missy~Thanks for the suggestions to go to a forum about pets…will do this. Also thanks for telling me your story. I am gonna do what you did and get one of his upteen babies and have it cremated with him. This is a great idea.

  7. I’m so sorry. We lost our poodle Chloe in April 2007 and we still miss her.

    Gina~So sorry for your loss. I’m sure you will always miss her. I had a black lab named Chloe-with my ex-boyfriend. He still has her. She is a mess…but no longer with me now.

  8. I am so sorry to hear about Patch. I had no idea. I didn’t read all of the comments, it’s too hard to do with tears in your eyes. I too have lost a beloved pet. When I grew up, we always buried our dogs. You just pick a spot in the garden that patch loved, maybe underneath a shady tree or around flowers where he used to lay. That is the natural thing to do. He is where he loved to be. On days that you really miss him, you can go there and be with him.

    I was pretty sure you were unaware of Patch’s situation. I’m still unaware of the whole thing-so crazy. I really wish I did own my property and there would be no questions asked-I would bury him in the back yard. Unfortunately, I rent my house-so I have decided to have him cremated with one of his babies and keep the ashes in a beautiful container. The hard part will be if I have to take him to …you know. Hopefully he goes peacefully in his sleep-it will makes things a tad bit easier emotionally…just a tad bit. Patch’s favorite place was in the car-going for rides daily and sometimes 2-3 times daily…I just can’t bring myself to scatter his ashes-like out of the car or something.

    I just wish Jedd would tell me what he would do-stubborn man!


  9. Whew! Again-I know I have said this a billion times: Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and prayers. Please keep them coming.

    wvbocere~thinking of you right now *sniff*

  10. Hi M,
    Hope you’re having a good day. My sis painted the portrait before Bailey died. It was actually given to me as a Christmas present when she was about 6 yrs. old (I had no idea she had done it – you can imagine my surprise when I received it). It’s awesome and looks JUST like her!

    Hey~Just woke up from a nap. At night I sleep in the living room beside Patch-usually not sleeping…just listening to him breath~not good for my days though…especially since the kiddies come back on Monday~I teach Kindergarten-btw.

    I would like to have a portrait of Patch~need to look into that~I’m sure someone could do it from a photo-don’t ya think? Looking into that now…


  11. Sorry to hear about Patches. I too have had a dog die of lymphoma. I have a post about feeding dogs with cancer that you may find helpful, Feeding Dogs with Cancer

    I wouldn’t give the steroids again. It’s definitely a difficult time and I send you positive feelings. Just enjoy your time with him as much as you can — make the most of this time with him. You’ll be so glad you did.

    Dogs Naturally
    Sand to Glass

    Thank you Diane! Thank you for your concern, emails, and feedback too! WOOF!

  12. Sorry to hear about Patch. I recently lost my mini schnauzer back in April 2007. He was sick off and on for about a year, but he would recover. You will know when it’s time. My dad described it as, “when he can’t be a dog anymore.” It’s sad, but it’s the truth. My dog was unable to sit or stand on his own and even if we helped him he would fall. My dog lived nearly 16 full years. I’m grateful for his longevity. Prayers that your dog fights the lymphoma.
    Of course, it never hurts to get a second opinion. There could be some very effective treatments out there to prolong his life and happiness. Wishing you all the best and big hugs!

    Thank you shadesofpink. So sorry for your loss too! Thanks again!


  13. When Doodles had his tumor back in early November and we had to make the decision to say goodbye, it was an obvious decision. I didn’t take him to the vet until noon that day, but all morning my heart was breaking because I knew it was time for him. Going to the vet only confirmed it for me. We chose to have Doodles cremated, and I split the remains between myself, my mother, and my brothers, that way we could each say goodbye in our own way.

    When it’s time for Patches to say goodbye, he’ll probably find somewhere in the corner of the house or yard and not want to move. He quite possibly might make a potty mess somewhere, even though he knows better. He will want to be alone on his last day or two, only because he doesn’t want you to see him suffer. He won’t be like his normal self. That’s when you know it’s time to say goodbye.

    Oh, sheesh. Now i’m crying. I’ve done pretty well after initial grieft stage of losing Doodles, but now the remembering makes me a little sad today. No worries. Grief is part of life, and I cling to the happy memories and try to let go of the bad.

    I’m praying for you sweetie. You’re needing strength and peace as you go through this.

    Whew~I am crying too…He will want to be alone?~that will be a tough one. So sorry for your loss, Doodlebug.

    Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.
    I feel that discussing this with others is helping me and might make it easier…probably not-when the time comes…but it is helping me now.

    Thanks again!

  14. Dearest Doodlebug
    A big hug to you.

    My beloved dog left this earth because of lymphoma also.

    I have had many dogs.. but that one.. ahh! that one… years later I still cry.

    So I am aware that you are in intense pain.

  15. What an impact animals have on people. I still miss my yellow lab who passed away 6 years ago with cancer. Equally, I continue to cherish the 12 years that we were together. She was a sweetheart and so loving. Treasured memories that I wouldn’t trade for the world. I was blessed beyond words. I’ll be checking back in on Patch here in the next few days. Stay strong as you wait for the results. I’m sending up a little prayer once again right now for continued strength. Walk towards the sunshine Patch, and the shadows will fall behind you. Until me ‘meet’ again.

    Such kind and beautiful words! Praying with you! I will keep you posted!

  16. Oops, typo! That’s suppose to be…Until we ‘meet again.

  17. I’m so sorry to hear about your doggie….I just got the horrible news that my beautiful 10 year old yellow lab Maggie has been diagnosed with a high-grade lymphoma. I’m finding this super difficult to even type, but reading through your website has given me a little something just knowing that there are other people out there going through a tough time. Thanks for even putting this site together and I’m wishing you peace and tranquility too! I’m sure your dog Patch was just as loyal as my Mags…. :o(

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