Saturday, December 27, 2008

Hoppy Christmas!

The Christmas Holiday at our house was terrific, and Nova was the life of the party. I continue to be amazed at her pawsitive attitude and enthusiasm for life. You would never know that this dog has cancer. Her appetite is up, in fact she "tells" me when it's time to eat, and gobbles it all up, and sometimes even steals Emmy's food, which is unheard of. We went to the local vet Friday for her 7-10 day post carboplatin CBC and just like last time, all was perfect. She entertained the technicians there with a particularly stinky bout of gas, they were all laughing because it was so obvious she had been loading up on holiday treats. Another nice surprise is that skeletal Nova has actually gained 5 lbs since the last visit (she was 103, now is 108). My intention is not to bulk her up too much, but everyone agrees she could use a little more meat on her bones.

Here she is with her pretty Christmas collar, surrounded by some of her new toys from Santa:

Everyone agrees that nothing about her looks "sick". She is really back to her old goofy, snugglebunny self. Sometimes I forget, and then am reminded when I walk in with her at the vet. Suddenly everyone in the waiting rooms starts looking at us with sad eyes, whispering, afraid to ask what happened to her leg, but obviously they are dying to know! You can just see it go through people's heads, thinking, "wow, that poor dog, I wonder if she is dying, no she can't be dying because her owner is smiling and joking, and the dog is wagging her tail so much that her butt is wiggling like a hula dance, nah, it must have just been an accident." People who get up the nerve to ask are always astounded when I tell them about the osteosarcoma. What surprises me the most is that a large percentage of people I've talked to (this is in a vet's office, mind you, so these are people who have pets themselves) seem almost puzzled that I would go to the trouble of making my dog "suffer" through an amputation, treatment, chest x-rays, blood tests, etc. after getting a diagnosis of osteosarcoma. Like I should have just put her to sleep or something, or let her hobble around in pain until it was too much and then put her to sleep. I just don't get it. Nova is not suffering, and I am so thankful each day that I made the decision to do this. That's why I like to visit the Tripawds site regularly, where I can read about all sorts of other "like-minded" dog lovers who "get it".

Ok, here are some Christmas highlight pictures. Nova really enjoyed opening her presents. For years I have always wrapped dog presents in tissue paper, so that they are easy to open. They know from the sound of the paper that the present is for them! One year a relative sent some gifts wrapped in tissue paper, and I found it shredded open under the tree. If it's not a stuffed animal, bone, or something edible, they will just leave it!

Ben is giving Nova a hand here in getting one of her first presents open:

Nova's favorite gift appeared to be this mini stuffed Lion "rug" that I got at Costco. She kept snuggling up with it all day:
Someone for Nova to snuggle with when her sister is not handy!
Nova likes Dane-sized toys, which are often hard to find. She also took a liking to Emmy's Bear "rug". The girls had a blast opening presents:
Lots of meat treats like dried lamb filets and Texas Toothpicks (pig tails), just look at the smorgasbord of delightful, tasty treats!
Christmas dinner for the girls was canned Merrick "Working Dog Stew", which drives them bananas when I open the can. I have to hold my breath when I do it. It wins the award for being the absolute stinkiest dog food in the world, compliments of it's primary ingredient, green TRIPE. UGGGGHHH! To Nova tripe is like chateaubriand!
So much fun stuff!

By the end of the day the girls were exhausted and snuggled up in one of their other signature snuggle poses, the "Yin Yang".

Emmy makes an excellent chin rest for Nova:

Just yesterday (Saturday) after I fed Nova dinner (which she wolfed down), she started making these strange sounds, like there was something in her throat. We had just returned from going to see Marley and Me at the movies, and in the movie Marley's stomach twisted just like Nova's had back in 2007. Of course Marley died at the end, so I was bawling my eyes out and wanting to come home and give my girls big hugs and kisses. And now Nova started making these sounds that had me all stressed that the cancer had spread to her lungs. It's hard not to have these freak-outs about every little thing. I posted a question on Tripawds and quickly received reassurance. I called the emergency number at the oncologist anyway, and after a nice discussion it seemed that Nova was just having a bout of reverse sneezing. Of course by the time I called the Doctor she had stopped making the sounds and was resting with her happy tail going. Isn't that the way it always works, with dogs AND kids!

I noticed another post on Tripawds this morning from the owner of a mastiff named Titan that I had been following awhile back. Titan's owner was recommending a chest x-ray, apparently she recently found out that the cancer had spread to his lungs and he had bouts of reverse sneezing too. This threw me for a loop big time because Titan's and Nova's amputations and treatments were only a few weeks apart. I was so sad that the chemo was not working for Titan, and of course I was concerned about Nova. I think for now I am going to wait until the scheduled chest x-ray on January 7th. The ups and downs of all this dog drama are so excrutiating. I find it so hard to read the "bad news" stories, but feel I have to in order to prepare for the inevitable. I just hope the inevitable doesn't happen for a very long time!


Vicki Tankersley said...

Dearest Suzy & Nova,

Gosh, it's great to hear that Nova is eating well and has gained 5 lbs since the last vet visit. All of your Christmas pictures really look like she had a ball and it's so inpiring to hear she does so well with her chemo treatments.

Like you, Suzy, I do not understand people who think you should just put a dog "down" just because they have a diagnosis of osteosarcoma. I would spend my last dime to help my dog if that was the case and 6 years ago I spent well over $4,000.00 on my wirehaired dachshund, Drucy, to prolong her life and improve it's quality. Some people just don't ever feel the same type of bond with their beloved pets as we do. Like you say, "they just don't get it."

Your Christmas pics are fabulous and it is very obvious that Nova loves her mini stuffed Lion rug! How adorable she is just snuggling with that rug! It looks like Nova and Emmy really did tire themselves out after all the excitement of opening packages. I love the expression you use for their snuggling, the "Yin Yang" pose.

I'm sure those strange noises must have frightened you; I'm glad it was just reverse sneezing. I'll have to check on Titan's update to see about the reverse sneezing he is doing with the lung mets. I do know that reverse sneezing is quite common in dogs, so please don't stress too hard until you have another xray done on Nova.

We hope the inevitable doesn't happen to Nova for a very long time, either; we want her around for a long, long time.

Love, Blazer, Kitty Kimber & Mom (Vicki)

Titan said...

Nova looks so happy. I am glad the girls had a great holiday. I am sorry if I freaked you about Titan. I just want someone to learn from our experience. Nova is in Titan's and I prayers. These tripawds are amazing and what an inspiration. Titan is wagging his tail and looking for the treats. I will have to send you a picture of him with a remax ribbon on. He has been with us since the start of our Remax 3 years ago. So he has become the offcie mascot.
Heidi and Titan