This is Lady. She is 12 yrs. old. I actually took her in to get spayed about 4 -5 yrs. ago. When I took her in, she was already an older, unspayed female and she was developing mammary tumors. This is really not uncommon. We’ve had a lot of older females getting spayed that already have mammary tumors. It is a huge benefit to get your animals altered when they are young!
It was hard to tell if Lady’s tumor was benign or cancerous at the time. The vet told us that if it was cancer, Lady would have about 6 mo. or so to live. I explained things to the owners to watch for with her health-losing weight, getting lethargic, the tumor starting to grow, etc. I told them if these things stated happening, to call me and I would help them. Hopefully, it was benign and Lady would do just fine.
I didn’t hear from these people and when we went to check on Lady several weeks later, we found out that the people had moved! Their phone didn’t go through anymore either. We hate it when this happens, because we hate losing track of the dogs we are helping, especially the ones with medical conditions that we try to stay on top of. We could only hope that they would get hold of us if something happened to Lady or if they needed help with some food or something. That was 4 yrs. ago.
Chain of Hope received a phone call last week from people saying that their dog was sick with cancer, that it was time to put her down and they needed help. I wasn’t familiar with this address, but these people obviously knew about us. It wasn’t until I got over there that I recognized the guy and Lady! I hadn’t seen them in so long!
Lady had a large tumor hanging down that had ulcerated. It looked awful. Lady was doing ok-she wasn’t in a lot of distress like you would expect, although I’m sure it was painful. The owner told me what had happened. He said that Lady had done very well for about 4 yrs. with her mammary tumors. He said they never grew, bled, anything. He said that she had always gotten along fine, had a good appetite, etc. Then he told me that about 2 weeks ago, this tumor started to grow and it grew fast. He said she was still eating and acting ok and then the night before it had burst. Lady was getting thin. He said that she had not been eating well the last 2 weeks or so. This was not good-this tumor was out of control and was most likely cancerous. He said he felt like they should let her go and I told him that I would take her in and have her euthanized for them.
The family said their good-byes and we loaded Lady up. This was all very sad.
I drove Lady through the McDonald’s drive-thru and got her a couple of plain McDoubles. I drove her to the vet and as expected, this was a very grim situation. They felt that it was cancerous. Lady also had about 5 more mammary tumors under her that had grown. It was time to let her go. She ate her cheeseburgers like a champ and then just quietly went to sleep with her head in my lap. What a beautiful girl. I was glad that she had gone on to have some happy years with her family.
As sad and as hard as it is, I think one thing that Chain of Hope has made a huge difference in is offering humane euthanasia for the pets of people that have no money and/or no transportation. Either those are the issues, or they’re from the old school that think that pets just die however and that’s the way it is. We have educated many owners with older or ill animals on things to watch for when they are getting to the end. We’ve taken their animals to the vet, bought their pain medications for them. and made ourselves available at any hour-day or night. People know that they can call us and we will get over there, no matter the hour. We have held far too many animals in our arms and in our laps while they left this world, than we care to think about sometimes. But this work is so necessary in the inner city. When you think about what used to happen to so many of these animals-they would just lay there and die-it’s disturbing. There was no doubt many times that the suffering was prolonged and painful before they finally passed. We don’t like to think about that, but it’s true.
Chain of Hope has provided a peaceful, quiet euthanasia for many, many animals over the years that have been suffering. So many people have stood there and cried, hugged us and thanked us. One thing they always say is “I didn’t know what to do. Thank you for coming.” When your animal is suffering and you have no money and no way to get them anywhere, it is a frightening and hopeless feeling. Thank you for your support so that we can offer this to pets and their owners at the end of their pets’ lives. I thank God for the strength we have to be able to do this. It is never easy.