Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Susan Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide.
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End of Life Care in Dog Cancer

The end of life stage can be very hard on everyone. It often is gut-wrenching to see your dear companion start to say goodbye.

Like any weighty decision, sometimes the emotions involved can paralyze our ability to choose.

During these times it is so important to gain some clarity by seeking support in counselors, support groups, spiritual leaders, old friends and the like.

For more on gaining some clarity during these difficult times, see The Dog Cancer Coping Guide.

If a decision is made to try to make your dear friend comfortable during the departure stage (as opposed to letting him or her go), I would like to go over a few items.

a. Diet: at this point we forget about the standard dog cancer diets. Most dogs in this state don’t want to eat much and appetite stimulants (B complex, prednisolone, anabolic steroids, cyproheptadine) don’t do much to help. Go ahead and tempt your dog with the good (tasty) stuff.

b. Pain control: essential. Try Tramadol, amantadine, NSAIDs like Metacam or Deramaxx, gabapentin, fentanyl patch, and long-acting morphine.  Combinations must be used, and these drugs require veterinary supervision.

c. Hydration: you want to give your dog about 1 ounce per pound in a 24 hour period. So a 12 lb dog gets 12 oz over 24 hours. Try flavoring with a little low sodium broth or bullion. Have your vet teach you how to give subcutaneous fluids if you can’t hand-hydrate.

d. Prevent bed-sores: decubital ulcers (bed sores) happen in large dogs who don’t move much laying on hard surfaces. Roll your dog over, by rotating the legs under the belly/chest to flip, at least every 8-12 hours. Pad the surface well.

e. Prevent urine scald and fecal soiling: sponge bath at least two times daily if your dog cannot make it outside.

f.  Improve life quality: bring your dog outside, go for a drive, massage, brush, stroke, talk to, sing to, tell your dog his or her life story from start to finish, and play with toys if possible.  Apologize for anything and everything you could have done better. Touch therapies and acupuncture are options too.

This is a very tough time. However, if you are able to take the time to do things the right way, your dog’s goodbye can seem more like a farewell for now, my friend.

All my best,

Dr. D

About the Author: Demian Dressler, DVM


Dr. Demian Dressler, DVM is known as the "dog cancer vet" and is author of Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog's Life Quality and Longevity. Visit his blog and sign up free to get the latest information about canine cancer. Go to http://DogCancerBlog.com.

  • patty

    DR. D
    I FIND THIS ARTICLE SO HELPFUL. I HAVE A 14 YEAR OLD SHIH TZU THAT HAS
    BEEN DIAGNOSDED WITH LIVER CANCER.MY HUSBAND IS HAVING A TERRIBLE TIME
    DEALING WITH THIS. HE SIT’S AND CRY’S, I KNOW TAZ CAN SENSE SOMETHING IS WRONG. I WILL PASS THIS ARTICLE TO HIM AND HOPE THAT HIS SPIRITS WILL LIFT FOR TAZ’S SAKE. SAY A PRAYER FOR US AS THIS IS THE MOST DIFFICULT TIME IN OUR LIFE. WE HAVE BOTH LOST OUR FATHERS BUT THIS SEEM’S TO BE MUCH HARDER TO DEAL WITH. MY HEART GOES OUT TO ALL THAT MUST GIVE UP THEIR BEST FRIEND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Renee Harper

    My Molly is a 11 year old yellow lab. I found out she had a massive cancerous tumor in her spleen almost 4 months ago. The regular vet told me to “go home and take pictures”. I took her to an oncologist here in Portland who is wonderful and she did surgery and removed it. Otherwise she had maybe a day to live. Now 4 months later she has started having seizures. It has spread to her liver and possibly her brain. I only live hand to mouth so afford $500 a pop chemo was not an option for us. This tore me up. BUT we did get 4 more months and have just started (5 days in) a low does (MUCH cheaper) at home chemo she gets every 48 hours. This will not cure her. Just trying to slow it down and make her comfortable at this point. Today she has gotten quite weak and isn’t wanting to eat much. I’m trying to stay positive for her. She is my everything for 11 years now. I’m 31. I don’t know what my adult life would even be like without her. May sound crazy but I miss her already. I don’t know if I have days or weeks or what but I’m trying to make it as positive and happy as I can for her. This is the hardest thing I think I have ever done in my life. Thank you for this article.
    PS good luck to you Patty.
    I’ll pray for you guys too.
    Please pray for us.
    reneedeanne@gmail.com

  • patty

    today is sunday august 2nd, as i have already blogged about taz having
    liver cancer. he is so much worse today. if things go as planned, we
    will be taking him to our vet tomorrow august 3rd,5:30 to have him put to
    sleep. i can hardly type because of all the tears. my husband and i both are loosing it but we can’t let him suffer. he just looks at us with those black eyes and you can tell he want’s help. please say a
    extra prayer for us. we plan on having a proper burial for him and have a headstone made for him. some people may think we are crazy but
    he has been our baby and best friend. renee thanks for your response, my heart goes out to you. life will never be the same for any of us anymore. thinking of all of you dog owners, DR D, thank you for being such a caring human being. this world needs more people like you. love and prayers to all. patty, john and our beloved TAZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • T

    I read all the articles and they are all so touching and hard to read. I had to put one of my boxers down in November and now I am trying to make the right decision for his companion. Phoebee will be 13 in October she is full of cancer her appetite is starting to slow down and she sleeps most of the day. She tends to wander at night time the past few weeks going in every room in the house. She is starting to throw up her food in the evening the last three nights. And I can just tell she does not feel well. I don’t know if I should just let her go on her own or take her and have her put to sleep. It is so hard to let go of your friend. But, with your pet you do have the option of not letting them suffer and I thank god for that. My other boxer Buster just started having seizures three weeks ago and they think it is a brain tumor. So we are really going through a rough time with our little brown children. And then Abby my 6 year old boxer has a tumor that just appeared. We had four now down to three but, all have health issues. They are special all you can do is love them and enjoy every second that you have with them. Thanks for the wonderful article!

    • Dr. Dressler

      Dear T
      Thinking of you and your loved family members.
      Best,
      Dr D

  • mary

    My almost 14 year old large mix breed dog has a fungus on her lungs and a tumor in her chest cavity which showed up on an x ray. Vet stated that it is probably cancer. She is still eating and drinking-trouble getting up but right now she is still with me. I have no desire to keep her alive longerthan she wants to be-but my vet wants to do a sonogram, bloodwork…. . Am i nuts for not wanting to put her through that? AND how do I know if she is in pain?

  • Stephanie

    I appreciate all the stories. My handsome and sweet 3 y/o Pitt named Patterson was diagnosed 3 weeks ago and we removed the tumors only to have three more pop up before he even recovered. I can’t put my sweet boy through countless operations and now chemo is said to maybe be able to prolong his life for some months. I cant afford chemo so I have decided to let him live his life and keep him loved and happy as long as possible. Since deciding this, all I do is cry. Patty has started having seizures so I know it’s not good. I pray for all of you and your doggies. I know I love my boy like a child and he is my best friend that goes everywhere with me. I will miss him very much and will be very lonely for awhile.
    Stephanie

  • virginia campana

    Tinha uma Pinscher que faria 13 anos dia 31/10/10.Foi diagnosticada com cãncer de fígado .Só fui saber que algo estava errado pois ela teve uma convulsão.Fiz todos os exames pedidos, constatou-se um tumor de 7 cm, ela comia normalmente, dormia bem e teve a vida praticamente normal.Quando completou 1 mes do diagnostico, ela acordou impaciente, tomou dipirona, tramal, alcort(No mesmo dia)e a drenagem da barriga já estava com sangue.Opteu pela eutanásia.As vezes me pego penssando que sou malvada, e fico muito triste, eu errei em fazer esta opção??

  • Andrea M Adams

    The one constant in my life for the last 13 years has been Keiko, my akita. She has seen me through the best and the worst. She never judged me. She always has loved me unconditionally. And she even saved my life one night when a man had me at knife point. We have traveled the country together and had many adventures. Now my heart is breaking because I have to send her on a journey by herself. How do I explain to her why I can’t go along? How do I explain to her brothers why “Big Sis” isn’t coming home. She is such a proud and noble dog. So, I have decided to let her go while she still can hold her head high. I might have keep her at home also were it not for her furry brothers. I think watching her slowly decline would be to much for them. Reading all of your post has given me hope that I am doing what is right for her and the other dogs. I will never forget her and my love will go with her on her next adventure. I love you Baby Keiks and I will see you again!

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Andrea,
      thinking of you and Keiko during this time of departure. All my best,
      Dr D

  • Mary

    Hi to you all. I write this as I sit with Guiness my mongerel, with lots of Suluki
    (and their love of pillows- its true, look it up , its a breed trait) And we are aproaching the difficult months. I appreciated the Dr’s comments above- My ol mate has mouth Cancer, he had a large tumor removed 3 mnths ago and we know its grown back but so far its not effecting him too much- he’s 11 1/2 and its hard to see just how big its got as it is right at the back of his mouth behind his rear molars at the bottom and he’s not keen on opening his mouth big but dispite a special diet and lots of supplements we know it has grown back quickly . He also has lots of lumps and bumps all over him so I am fairly sure it may have spread to other parts althought its the tumour type that doesnt usually metasise .. He’s tired and we are just waiting for the day when he cant eat any more or seems to be in pain.. we are having lots of quality time -but its hard to believe he wont be with us much longer… I love the bit about ‘telling him his life story’ and ‘apologising for what you could have done better’ I wnt to the graveyard today to put flower on my fathers grave- he died 4 years ago.. I told Guiness that Grandad would be waiting to see him so not to be scared.. How bonkers am I?? Thanks for listening..M x

  • Parminder Cheema

    Bruno is ten years old and was diagonosed with hemangiosarcoma about 6 weeks ago. Me, my brother and my sister opted not to have a splenectomy and chemotherapy done because we felt it would have been more for us then for him. It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make in my life. Bruno has slept next to me every day since he was six weeks old. He is my everything. My favourite thing in the world are afternoon naps on the couch with him. So far he has had two ruptures but he has recovered well from both. Today I came home from a night shift and he greeted me by grabbing one of my flip flops and goading me into chasing him around the house and i obliged happily, we have done this for the last ten years. I will make sure that the last few months (please god give him months) I have with him are filled with walks, top sirloin steak and naps with me. Bruno has taught me to cherish every moment with the ones you love and to never take them for granted. I feel like there is a hole in my heart…… Love you Bruno.

  • Mandy

    Hello. My Weiner dog Oscar was diagnosed with cancer a week ago. They showed me pictures of the mass. Its the size of an avocado. They say its pushing on his lungs and heart. He has no idea anything is wrong but for the fact that he has trouble breathing. This past weekend I dubbed it weiner-a-pallooza! A good fun time. He had a blast. Ate anything he wanted played with a new toy and got lots and lots of pets. Watching him be so happy and playful its hard to believe that his fate is so grimm. Its hard to think about. I found this blog and feel like I am not the only one out there. So thank you for the kind words you posted.

    Mandy

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Hang in there Mandy. Might be worth your while to read the Guide which can help with this stuff, unless of course you have already.
      All my best
      Dr D

  • Jodi

    My 10 year old boxer Remi has several tumors growing outside of her and two of them are quite large. The one that causes her the most aggravation is on her front paw. It looks like a huge pink toe growing out of her paw. She still runs and plays but I can tell now that she is slowing down. Her abdomin is getting harder and she is starting to lose continence. I know its just a matter of time now. she has been a great girl and she is still my right hand when it comes to keeping the rest of the pack in line. I will do my best to make her comfy and loved as she goes. Just wanted to put those thoughts out there and share.

  • Suzanne

    Thank you for this post. We had to let our springer spaniel Molly go in January 2012. She had 2 surgeries to remove mast cell tumors on her leg and we were worried she’d have to have the cone around her head until the end; but finally she healed and she had a good 4 months until the very last day. I didn’t know what to expect; she lived her life in fast forward and it just seemed that all of a sudden, there wasn’t enough time. My heart still breaks but I am so thankful she was in our life for nearly 10 years; I’m thankful for the emergency vet that was able to help us let her go in the middle of night. Thank you again for your post.

  • Rhea

    Hi Doc.

    Firstly thank you, i followed all your advice regarding my (now) 14 year old Pom/fox terrier mix last year regarding her tumours.
    She has now suddenly lost weight and save for water and tuna (and a bit of liver) she refuses to eat. she still runs around and barks etc. the vet has felt a cyst in her bowel area and has said that it may be cancerous.
    We do not have access in South Africa to some of the technology you use, but what would you suggest we do to treat her?
    She really really is a special child

  • Chalay

    My boyfriend and his mom have had their 7 year old boxer since he was 2 months old. We took him to the vet a month ago because had wasn’t eating or moving around regularly as he usually does, his eyes and gums were yellow. They did blood work and found out his numbers were very high and others very low. He has liver cancer and has just recently pretty much stopped eating. The vet said he is in no pain, gave him a steroid shot and said he will tell us when he thinks it’s time to say goodbye. I am personally having a very hard time dealing with Thelma situation and ALSO trying my best to be there for him and his mom but she’s been crying by his side for weeks now and my boyfriend refuses to talk about it but I can tell he hurting, that dog is their most treasured friend and family member. I live with them and my question is how do I handle this situation I’m in right now and I really, really need to know what to do when the day comes that it’s time to say goodbye!

  • Rhea

    We have just had to say goodbye to my beloved Honey. Turns out that the specialist determined that Honey never had cancer, her vet misdiagnosed her twice, it was kidney failure in the end. i am not angry, just happy that for 15 years my baby shared our lives. Thank you Dr D for your online advice on Honey in the past. This blog does save and extend lives. thank u

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Rhea,
      So sorry for you loss. Your positive attitude is wonderful, keep the good memories in your heart.
      With sympathy, Dr Sue

  • Camille Bowers

    My beautiful white German Sheppard Blossom, has been recently diagnosed with cancer. She had a large lump on her side about a couple of years ago we noticed, and the vet said it was probably in her muscle area and much to much to operate on this tumor. Then only about 3 weeks ago we noticed she wasn’t using the bathroom, walking around straining, constipated. We took her to the vet and they gave her some stool softeners. A week later, she still had a very hard time, so they told us to give her enemas at home. After 3 or 4 tries at that(and what came out was noxious), she would not let us touch her, crying in pain. Took her back to the vet and this time they thought it was her anal gland, impacted and probably a tumor inside. So they scheduled a surgery for the next day, put her under, and when I called on my lunch break, the vet said they couldn’t do anything, she had cancer and give her 6 months to live. Since then, she still can’t poo and now she is peeing all over the house. She also threw up a few times. The vet said make her as comfortable as possible, put her on pain meds and anti-biotics also gave her a steroid shot. She pants and drools excessively. She is 10 yrs old. When she looks at me with those big amber eyes, I just want to cry. She backs off when I try to pet her now, like it hurts her. It’s very sad, she is such a good dog, and I love her so much. She goes back to the vet this Wednesday for a recheck, on what I don’t know. It just seems she really went down hill since they put her under the anesthesia. Wonder if this is normal. I don’t know what to do. I feel for every dog owner who goes through this horrible cancer thing. I have another dog, Jack Russell Winston, he is 15yrs. and has really slowed down also. I just hope and pray I don’t get a double whammy. I really don’t want another pet again. Like children, my time is over, too heartbreaking. Thanks for listening.

  • Joan

    I have a 9 year old Golden who was just diagnosed with a very bad mast cell tumor on his right hind foot. It has spread to his lymph nodes and there are other tumors on his body. He isn’t showing any illness at this time. I have started him on prednisone and herbal remedies to keep him as symptom free as I can for whatever time we have left. We just went to our lake yesterday ( his favourite place in the whole world). I cried the whole way home though knowing that he will never see the lake again. I have read all the stores above and know how you feel (this isn’t the first time for me). We have all been very blessed to have these friends of ours to be in our homes and give us such great love and support. Now it is our time to do whatever we can to make this last journey of theirs as comfortable and happy as we can. My heart goes out to you all….

  • Nat

    My 7 yr old dog rottweiler Lucy was diagnosed with osteosarcoma last month from a limp and the vet has said she only has 2-3 months to live. Her weight and health had Dramatically decreased, she takes tremadol 3 times a day.It’s been so hard, at first I was crying every night to sleep and it’s now hit me again that she is going to pass away soon and I have to go back to college this weekend. I love her so much, too many people judge Rottweilers instantly which is such a shame because Lucy wins over every person she meets. She’s everything a dog owner could ever want And we have grown up together and it kills me to think what my daily life at home would be like without her their to keep me company. It’s incredible how pets can touch people’s hearts sometimes more than people and the pain owners will have to endure when they pass away. I don’t know how I will cope, this is so sudden and she is still so young.

  • Renira

    Hi

    My family and I are dealing with the loss of our 10 year old baby, Grizzly, a German Shepard cross. We had to let him go on the 24 November, so its just been a few days. He was diagnosed with spindle cell sarcoma on the 1st of November and things just spiralled out of control, so fast. We made his last days as comfortable as we could but there was nothing we could do to save him…it still feels like a dream, a nightmare.
    He was perfect…in every way and had so much of love and happiness to spread around…

    Thanks for the article..
    And…my condolences to everyone that lost a baby to cancer…it hurts like hell!!!!!

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Renira,
      sending you our condolences for your loss of Grizzly.
      Remember the good times you shared…
      Dr D

  • Alister

    Thank you for this article and your blog I am currently losing my best friend and companion of more than 13 years to an aggressive bone cancer and also has bad arthritis. I have been keeping her happy and comfortable and will say goodbye to her on Friday from when she will be a part of everything new again and free of her pain, I just want to be fair on her and of course do the right thing which can be so hard. I am thankful she has got more than her avg years being a large breed ridge back staffy cross and was spoilt rotten for all of them but still devastated regardless. :(

    My heart goes out to anyone losing their loved ones and advise anyone with pets to check their food and treats are not imported as they generally radiate all such products.

  • DIXIE PEASE

    HI im INEED OF HELP 2 WEEKS AGO I HAD 2 HIFGT BREED WOLF WELL A WEEK AGO MY MALE WOLF WAS FALINNG DOWN AND JUST VERY WEEK AND OLD HE WAS 18 AND DOCK TOLD ME IT WAS TIME IT IS SO HARD AND NOW I THOUGHT MY FEMAL WAS MORNING BUT TODAY I WENT TO DOCTOERS BECASE SHE WASENT BRETHING TO GOOD AND THEY TOOK XRAY AND YES THERE WAS TUMERS BACK IN OCT THEY TOOK OFF A BIG BACE BALL THING ON HER BREST AND IT SPRED THEY SAID WELL NOW SHE HASENT EAT SENCE BEFOR HE DIED FOR THE LAST 3 DAYS SHE TAKES LIKE 5 LILBITES A DAY UTS SO VERY HARD NOW HER TOO SO I GOT ON THE COMPUTER AND FOUND THIS SITE I WANT TO THANK U BECASE I JUST WANT TO MAKE HER COMFORTABLE AS POSABLE AND U HELPED SOME THANK U DOES ENY ONE KNOW IF I CAN DO ENYTHING TO MAKE HER BRETH BETTER I LOV HER SO VERY MUCH AND WANT THE BEST FOR HER I KNOW ITS ABOUT THAT TIME SHE JUST IS SO TIRED AND WEEK SHE JUST DONT WANT TO GET UP ENY MORE I HAVE TO HELP HER UP TO TRY AND GET HER TO GO TO BATHROOM IM VERY GREATFUL FOR THE DOCTOR TELLIMG ME I CAN TAKE HER HOME FOR CUPPLE DAYS BUT I KNOW ITS ALL MOST TIME I JUST WISH SHE WOULD EAT WHAT TO DO JUST DONT KNOWU KNOW I HAVE 5 CHUHAWA PUPS THERES ONE THAT JUST WONT LEAVE HER ALONE AS A MATER FACKED SHES RIGHT NEXT TO HER NOW LAYING DOWN SO VER SWEET I THINK THE LORDS SENDING HER TO HER TO HELP SOUNDS FUNNY BUT I DO BELIVE IM SORRY THIS IS HELPING ME VENT JUST A LIL I WANT TO THAK U FOR UR ADD AND THANK U FOR LETING ME WRIGHT THIS AND ITS JUST SO HARD TO LOOSE UR BEST FRINDS THAT LOV U NO MATER WHAT THERE THER FOR U AND LOVING U I LOV U BEAR AND ILL SEE U SOON AND I LOV U PRESHESS UR MY HEART MOM LOV U 2 LIFE WONT BETHE SAME

  • Charlotte

    I just found out today, after about 9 months of false treatment that my dog Tia has Lymphoma Cancer at the side of her neck. They say she has two weeks left (if lucky), and i’m going to do as much of this as i can (as for im only 17). I always sing to her and talk to her. She falls asleep when i do. I hope i can have more time with her, we only just started connecting as best friends. Because me and her are like sisters, I’ve had her for almost 12 years. She is just like my older sister (horrible, smelly and annoying) but about 10 months ago we finally became best friends. I know nearly everything about her cancer now, and every morning when we both can’t get back to sleep i explain it to her, and i tell her how i wont let her suffocate to death. When i know that the time is here, i will tell my dad. She seems to understand me. They also say “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, this is a true fact. But ever since I’ve started re-teaching her we’ve had a great bond. She’s the one reason my family sticks together. Because my mum abandoned us, she turned into a mum, kind’of anyway. We got pet cats, and we can’t tell them off because their hers haha. She tells them off, then tells us off for telling them off. She’s a strange girl. Me and my dad said, if wolves can live long by just eating meat and herbs, then why not feed her like a wolf, and treat her like a princess. The cancer she has is so aggressive, the labs couldn’t identify the actual type of Lymphoma, the cells just died right infront of their eyes. Thanks for the article, it was beautiful (:

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Charlotte,
      Thank you for sharing your experience. I hope it helps others going through similar experiences.
      Best
      Dr D

  • ann

    I AM WRITE TO ASK QUESTIONS THEY TOOK X-RAY of are shih-tzu and that was few week go and everything was good now i took her back to have her recheck and they did other x-ray and it show up that livercancer lung are basicaly cutin 1/2 of the breathing tumor is on lungs ,and she 17 year old ,and put her on meds but she still drink water and eat soft food because her teeth ,i would like to know what i can do to save her, please help me if you can .

  • Liz Glover

    Hi I have a Sheltie mixed her name is Coco
    She was dianosed with mast cell cancer back in Nov she had her leg amputated
    In Nov! She started healing and then got vertigo
    2 weeks after amputation. She healed from that and
    We found two more tumors recently. Yesterday
    She was eating and drinking and using the bathroom
    Today Feb 14th she stop eating and drinking
    She has no energy at all she’s been in one spot she’s has not
    Moved. Vet has her on predisone she won’t even wag her tail
    I’m heart broken Coco has Been in our lives since
    2000 our children were young ! Now their 22,20 and 18
    They are just so upset now we need to know if its
    Time. Coco has only Been on Meds for two days we force feed her and force water in her what should we do we’re just lost :(

  • Lona

    I feel for everyone who has written here. I have been caring for my sweet 10 year old boy Sam as he has been dealing with lymphoma since his diagnosis late last June. I have been blessed to be able to provide any and all medications suggested by the oncologist who is caring from him, but to be honest I would happily give everything to find a cure. He is my world. He has been having chemo since diagnosis, was in remission twice, but does have some enlarged nodes again. We thought we were going to lose him 10 days ago when he took a serious step backards 3 days after a dose of LSPAR. Now we think that may have been tumor lysis. We just aren’t sure. I had been able to maintain his weight until very recently with canned AD, lots of homemade chicken and rice, chopped chicken livers, eggs and any tidbit he cared to have. He loves my homemade spaghetti and meatballs! He hasn’t tasted dog food, except for the AD, since he was diagnosed, and most of the time I hand feed him. I am blessed to be self employed and able to take the time he needs to care for him and take him to his doctor visits, which are about 50 miles away. I am now basically at the point where I have turned my house into a “puppy hospice”. I am determined to care for and love him in any way I can, and most importantly to keep him comfortable. I cannot bear the thought of having to end his life, and pray that he will pass quietly. I don’t know if I can make that call. He is truly part of me. I have loved other animals of all kinds, domestic and wild, but Sam is special. We have a unique bond; he found me and adopted me in 2005, and I simply cannot picture my world without him. I was diagnosed last year, and am now cancer free. I would happily trade places with my boy. I will keep you and your loved dogs in my prayers and ask that you do the same for me.

  • Lona Bishop

    I lost my sweet Sam yesterday. He started crashing Thursday night, and Friday he had trouble getting up. We were able to help him outside twice that day, and then he actually ate TWO cans of AD for dinner. He asked for food. But during the night things changed. I slept little, and felt him deteriorating. By Saturday morning he was suffering with very difficult breathing and was unable to get up or move. I held him for hours, talking and loving him, gave him some meds to help with confort, and held him as a blessed equine vet who lives around the corner came over and gently helped him cross the Rainbow Bridge. No local small animal vet in this area does house calls and I refused to have Sam’s last moments be of being sick in the car, (he got car sick very quickly). God sent this wonderful young woman to us and I will always be grateful. Sam is buried in a beautiful casket in the yard, between two big trees next to the screened gazebo where he used to sit for hours waiting in vain for the critters who made dens underneath to come and volunteer to be his treat. I have ordered a headstone for him, and buried him covered with a soft blanket and with the last chewie that he wouldn’t let go of Friday night. There is an aching hole in my heart. I cannot stop weeping. I will treasure the sweet, fun and funny memories always, and am grateful that his best friend Brandy is still with me.

  • Lona Bishop

    I can’t believe it but my girl, Brandy, was diagnosed last week with histiosarcoma. We just lost Sam February 23rd. I cannot believe this has happened. My poor sweet girl.

  • Jewelyn

    This article is one of the most sensitive, beautiful piece of writing I have read on how to share your dog’s last days. I can identify with everything you said because I kept my GS alive for 5 months longer than the 3 weeks given when diagnosed with Lymphosarcoma, we had a ball those last months. She ruled my life, she called me when in pain, she made me laugh, she ate better than I did and the last 2 weeks of her life I slept next to her so she wouldn’t feel alone. One of the most rewarding times in my life, thank you

  • Jean Burkhardt

    This article meant so much to me. n March 18 2007 I lost my dear Dobie mix Patty to lymphoma. During the 3 months from diagnosis to her passing-I lived each day to the fullest with her. Gave her love and support and any meds or food she required. Even though it’s been over 2 years-I still miss my girl and cry for her@

  • Barbara Wallace

    Thank you so much for a beautiful article. I cried when I read it as it is all too true. I lost my Bichon Demi to adenocarcinoma now alomst 3 years ago, and I adopted much of what the doctor is saying. You know, feed them what they want esentially. When there is no appretite and it is on the downside, I found special ffods like yogurt and cheese as well as some nice broiled chicken breat with broth were soothing to not only me but I know to my Demi who had little other joy in her last few weeks.
    I would take her out in the car , so she could feel the wind on her face as she sat beside me and indeed I did talk to her and tell her what a beautiful and good girl she was and oh so much how I loved her and would see her again…
    I believe treating our family members as we would our 4 legged ones,that they know and are at peace in their passing. Thanks all for allowing my post Barbara

  • Ana

    It is a beautiful article! I lost my lovely Africa, a 10 1/2 year old Giant Schnauzer to squamous cell carcinoma on July 16, 2009. It was a long battle, the first time she had toe cancer was six years ago,we had a great time for many years until July 2007 when she developed another tumor in her right hind leg, the toe was amputated, but happened again in the other toe in the same leg a few months later, it was also amputated, but it spread to the whole leg, and finally, it spread to her skin, the oncologist removed one tumor three weeks ago, and by thursday 16, there were many more,and the leg was in very bad shape, in spite of a long treatment. We decided to let her go,she was in pain, and she was not enjoying what she usually enjoyed, eating and playing, her favorite thing was riding in the car with all windows opened so she could bark at people or just feel the wind, on thursday, I had to help her to get in the car, and she just laid there, not interested in looking out, or poking her head between the front seats. The oncologist said she had two weeks to live, at most, the other option was amputating her hind right leg from the hip. Her life quality was going south, so we made the hardest decision ever. My heart is broken,I miss her terribly, the silence in this house is unbearable, and even knowing we made the best decision for her, we still feel awful.
    I stayed with her through the process, talking to her, thanking her for being such a wonderful companion, and apologizing for the anything I might have done to her, I asked her to go in peace…
    I know I will never find another dog like Africa, she was the best!

  • Dr. Dressler

    You did it right!
    Good work. Maybe you two will meet again…
    Dr D