Today would have been Shooter’s 14th birthday and was our short term goal for survival. He only missed it by 3 weeks, but it has been a long 3 weeks. It has gotten quieter in our house as he was a talker and had very vocal opinions about everything! Frosty can chase the ball with out being barked at and occasionally beat up :-). Papi can have room to lick the dishes when they are put down on the floor. Rosie can sit in the front seat of the truck when we go on trips. We have room on the bed. And not one bit of it feels right. But, we are going to focus on the positive – Shooter is pain free, running on four legs, with his favorite brother Cutter and loving on my Dad (his favorite person ever). What a great way to celebrate his birthday. In his honor, the Three Amigos agreed (OK…I forced them) to have their picture taken with Frosty wearing Shooter’s Super Hero Survivor cape from the Relay for Life, Rosie wearing his Tripawds bandanna and Papi, well Papi is just plain celebrating!!! Hey – his namesake and the Red Sox are going to the playoffs!!!
I have been pondering a lot during these weeks wondering was kind of sage wisdom I can pass along to someone else that may read Shooter’s blog and came up with a few:
1. If you have a herding breed dog – please get them tested for the MDR1 Gene before allowing your vet to give any major drugs. Collies have the greatest chance for this gene, but Aussies and Mini Aussies have a 50% chance and others such as GSDs, Heelers, Sheep Dogs all have a chance. The test is cheap and done through Washington State University. For more information, you can Google it and get the whole list of breeds and drugs. This affected how Shooter’s first chemo drug (Vinblastine) was given as it is on the list.
2. If you have a dog that is highly allergic to things, please handle reactions quickly and don’t allow them to escalate. After learning more about Mast Cell Turmors, I honestly believe that Shooter developed them because he had severe reactions to spider bites and we had a vet that didn’t respond in an urgent matter and it took us over a week to bring the swelling down in his face and ears due to incorrect treatment. Aussies do not commonly get these types of tumors and if they do it is usually a dog with severe allergies.
3. That brings me to my 3rd thought – as so many on here have told me and many others. Be an advocate for your dog in whatever kind of treatment they are receiving be it for cancer or something else. Vets are wonderful people, but they are not always right and if they are a good vet they will listen to your concerns and act on them to make sure your dog or cat or horse or whatever receives the best care they can possibly get. They can’t talk so you must.
4. Last, but definitely not least, enjoy every single minute with your furry kid. You just never know when that last lick, belly rub, snuggle, silliness, etc… is going to be the last one you have between you. Remember the good times and feel good for the fact that you provided them with the best home and family they could ever have. They were love and you were loved.
I’m sure there are lots of other things I’ve learned, but they are pretty common things that we all learned from coming to Tripawds and being supported in our journey no matter how it has ended.
Thanks to everyone here and thanks for letting me hang around and help out when I can.
Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Shooter, Happy Birthday to you! We miss you!