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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Warning, Long long post!

Has soft tissue sarcoma. It's agressive, went from a 2 cm lump in his back knee area to a 4-5 cm lump in a weeks time. My vet could not see him til Nov 24 so I took him straight to big hospital in mtl for fine needle biopsy (at a ridiculous expense).
Next step is oncologist and ultrasound Nov 2nd. I can't actually decide if I should hope it has spread so we can let him live out the next few months and then euthenize before he experiences illness or pain, or if I should pray that he can have surgery, which will be painful, stressful and horrible for him and stressful and expensive for us.

Rufus is still the same as ever, an incredibly joyful, exuberant and very high energy boy. He can still chase his ball for hours on end, still jumps like a kangaroo at the door, still eats car seat belts....
He will be twelve in January...I never imagined losing him before he was sixteen or so.
Vet does not want me to start any supplements that might help until after he has seen the oncologist. Her reasoning made sense, it's the same principal as certain meds not going well with grapefruit. But if anybody has words of wisdom I would appreciate it.
When I wrote cancer in the search engine here it brought back memories of Marilyn fighting uterine cancer, Nanci's husband and his pancreatic cancer...and my sister fighting breast cancer. Happily she is 100 per cent cancer free and doing great!
If any of you have a better relationship with God/s than I do, please send up a prayer or light a jost stick on his behalf.
Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Oh no, not your lovely boy. Hoping for the very best results from the oncologist so you can have plenty of adventures still.

Sending lots of love from me, Chance and Molly who would have loved to have been his partner in crime on some of his fabulous walks.
Thanks so much. As I write this my sister and mum are launching his ball for him down our big lawn at the farm. If it gets lost in the weeds they are directing him , no no no, yes yes yes....then the excited barking starts when he drops it at
their feet and my sister cannot launch it fast enough for him.
He is going to leave a massive sized hole in all of our hearts. His other mummy is in Singapore with her hospitalized 96 year old mum. It's surreal to be on Skype discussing digging a "just in case" grave before the ground freezes and snow comes, but we don't want to have to cremate him. We want him beside our cats and old dog Max and there are so many roots and rocks in that part of the forest I think I'll find a nice boulder to cover him with as his grave might be too shallow.
We intend to line his grave with all his favourite balls, he has many! Sorry this is so morbid but planning for the absolute worst helps me process the whole thing easier.
That is why I have been googling prosthetic legs and dog wheelchairs, because one option might be amputation. I know it can work for a calm steady dog but I'm not sure if it makes any sense for a bonkers, athletic dog like Rufus. What a horror it would be to put him through that to have him wither away with frustration, pain and depression. Does anyone know if full on dogs can bounce back From a surgery like that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So sorry his other mummy is away at the moment too which I am sure makes it all that bit harder. I totally understand the practical planning though. I am very much the same and try to plan for all possible scenarios.

Glad to hear he is still enjoying his ball and yes dogs are awesome and can adjust amazingly well - I have a friend with a young German shepherd who lost a front leg as a tiny pup and she is the happiest girl you could imagine who loves chasing her sister and lets nothing hold her back at all.
Sadly it will not come to that. This morning he has a new lump on his flank, a lump on his chest that the dr. Thought might be a lipoma that is now growing too. No way I will put him through general anesthetic for ultrasound and anything invasive. I'll keep the oncologist apt to discuss pain meds palliative care, diet, supplements, but I'm afraid his days are numbered.:cry:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
We've had glorious walks all these last days. It truly has been one of the best falls ever for leaves, sun and temperature. What a treat it is to amble along in the leaves letting him snort, chase his ball, chew up sticks and enjoy life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
An long update after today's long vet visit.
First up was a chest x-ray, no sign of cancer in lungs. Next was ultrasound, spleen, liver and lymph nodes all were fine (aside from a small cyst on one lymph node that vet felt was unrelated). The surgeon palpated the lump (which has not grown) and while it is mostly unattached there is a "root" which could cause issues.
So on to the biopsy and blood tests. He is fit for surgery, thank goodness, but also had one elevated liver enzyme. If he does have Cushing's it must be very preliminary stage because he has no symptoms of it.
Biopsy results will come in five days or so. If it is grade 1 they will remove the lump and prognosis is good. If it's grade 3 they'll remove the leg and he might need chemo. If it's stage 2 then they could treat conservatively and keep the leg, amputate at a later date if needed (30% chance) or treat aggressively and take the limb. Each surgery is 4000 $. Today's diagnostics were 2000.$. That will bring total cost after surgery to 7000$ for a near twelve year old dog that might or might not have early stage Cushing's.
My heart feels badly bruised. I will do anything for him, but he loathed the ordeal. Rufus is a sensitive soul, not a stoic sort at all. What I would give for a crystal ball that would show him at age seventeen enjoying life with all of this behind us.
In the meantime HOs mum is 96, trying to recover from covid, hospitalized in Singapore for coming on three months, with a gastric tube, catheter and often oxygen. She, (partner) Skypes with Rufus (and me) twice daily and needs him to be healthy and alive. Near twelve years of joy and bliss with him and now these weeks of horrible worry and stress. Life is a wild ride sometimes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you both so much for your kind words.
Endings are never easy I guess.
Let's focus on more positive things. I'm deeply immersed, and have been for many years, in choosing dogs number five and six. I want to get two, about six months apart.
Here are my criteria...long lived, healthy, smart, normal spines, non brachycephalic , rugged, low to no shedding, natural swimmer, high pack drive, medium prey drive, and medium protective instincts, not too small (we have carnivores galore here) and not too big...I like a dog I can hold on my lap in a pinch. A regular, run of the mill mutt would be my first choice but puppies like that are very hard to come by here. As much as I want to get one from a shelter I don't want the headache of dealing with somebody elses issues. I want dogs I can trust 100%.
Getting along with children, other animals and farm animals in particular is a must. I could commit to about two to three hours a day of serious work, walking and training.
We rarely, if ever, leave our dogs, and they sleep in our beds so separation anxiety is a non issue.
A cockapoo ticks every single box. If people have other ideas I should consider please tell me. I like the looks of duck tolling retrievers and Australian cattle dogs, but I'm not sure if the later likes to swim?
Rufus is sleeping pushed up beside me in his cone. I hope people don't think I am heartless discussing his replacements. I know he wants us to be happy and I know that when our last dog Max died we nearly became unhinged with grief. Some people like to have a dog and some people need to have a dog. I am definitely in that group!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Oh no!!
Rufus sends her lots of love and licks. Is it related to her pancreatitis or something else do you think? You have good insurance right, so can hopefully do all that can be done.
Yup, Chance is exactly what I'd like. Just a beautiful, stable, nice dog. We have twenty six geese so I'm not sure if the border collie part would have her herding them incessantly?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The tumour is grade one! It means he can keep the leg, that there is only a small probability of recurrence! To say I am relieved is an understatement. His surgery is Nov 16th. He goes in the morning and has to stay over night. It sickens me thinking of him waiting in a cage. Poor boy will be beside himself with stress. But at least he is not losing his leg!
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
He is at the vets, having his surgery today. I'm waiting for news, feeling quite sick to my stomach. I had to sign saying I did want CPR should his heart stop. His heart cannot stop, for i will die if anything happens to him. Poor little man looked at me in shock, "you are leaving me here, I hate it here, why would you do this?" I kissed his fuzzy little snout and told him to be brave, that I was doing this for his good ... Then I held back tears when I told the tech to put his fleece on if they take him out to pee as it's snowing here today. I wonder if they understand that these dogs are our family, not mere pets? I am not religious, but please God/s...take care of my little man today and every day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Thank you both!
I'm a nervous wreck as I sit by the phone. Everytime it rings I jump. My son called to discuss a broken water heater circuit and my daughter called to tell me the car she was carpooling to work in smashed into another vehicle because of the heavy snow here today. Thankfully nobody was hurt!
I thought the surgeon said he would call when the surgery is done but in hindsight maybe they call after the days surgeries are all done? I can't imagine them calling at five pm and saying that the surgery he had this morning was problematic?
Oufff, surgeon finally called. It all went well, he is awake and fine. He had to remove a bit of muscle and Rufus will need a two week no running convalescence. I can't go get him til tomorrrow. The bed seems so horribly empty without a dog hogging much of it.
 

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Thanks second, all is well. He is home and beside me on the couch. We have antibiotics, antinflammatory meds and painkillers. Im hoping he'll settle soon and sleep. Right now he is clearly not comfortable, but he just had a two hour ride, after thirty hours trapped in a cage in room with multiple dogs being "tortured". I wonder if dogs can get PTSD?
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
I hope so. I think you are right about the anesthetic, I can still smell it on him. In the vet hospital I watched other worried pet parents bringing in and picking up their furry babies. The remarkable thing about all this is not that each dog is cuter, smarter, or better than any other. It's that in most cases the bond is like cement. The dogs trust their people, and the peoples lives revolve around their dogs. It is very touching to see and I wish every dog on the planet had love like that.
I am not a tv person. Fourteen days snoozing beside this furry boy might do me in. I'll do it of course but it will be a big challenge. No jumping, no stairs, no running...only a short walk for toileting three times a day. I'm beginning to think I should have persevered with his crate phobia when he was a young whippersnapper!
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Rufus had an ok night. Most of it he slept well but at four am he woke up was restless with a lot of panting. I took his cone off and gave him a massage which seemed to soothe him. Eventually he went back to sleep. The vet tech had explicitly said not to move up his pain meds...I'm confused about this, but I guess one has to weigh pain against potential liver damage?
This morning he ate all his breakfast, had his meds and a successful toilet outing. Surgery can cause constipation so that was a big relief for me and no doubt him too.
Enjoy your healthy dogs everybody. Make sure each walk is a joy for them. There might come a day when walking is difficult and the memory of thousands of wonderful ambles will have to suffice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Yes please, I'd love to learn more. We've played hide and seek for stuff (people and my keys) but I need sedentary ideas. I might try to make a diy snuffle mat. Any ideas for that would be welcome too.
How is Molly doing?
 
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