Kirby photos

May is Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Kirby running just a few months before

Kirby running just a few months before

Dogs get cancer at about the same rate as humans and it accounts for almost 50% of disease-related pet deaths a year. One in four dogs will develop a tumor of some sort in their lifetime.  The symptoms can range from a visible lump that is changing or growing, chronic vomiting or diarrhea, chronic weight loss, abdominal distension, oral odor, straining to urinate, lameness, cough, swollen lymph nodes or unexplained bleeding.

May is Pet Cancer Awareness Month and it made me think about my sweet Kirby.

Kirby was the best therapy dog and always happy

Kirby was the best therapy dog and always happy

When I adopted Kirby no one knew his exact age but he was thought to be eight years old. When he had emergency surgery the third day I had him, it was determined he was “at least ten.” Over the next four years he had many surgeries on his knees, hips, eyes and bladder. He came through each one strong and had very smooth recover periods.

He had just recovered from two knee surgeries and was pain free and able to run on grass. Such a happy little dog. Then a couple of months later I noticed a rapid weight loss. He was losing his appetite and just not looking like himself. I took him to our vet and they went through a long list of tests.

It was discovered he had a mass on his liver. His tiny liver. We were referred to the same clinic where he had his orthopedic care but this time it was to meet with the oncologist.

Kirby had lost the light in his eyes

Kirby had lost the light in his eyes

Kirby was thought to have cancer.

After more testing we knew the diagnosis and the prognosis was not good. For so many pets a treatment is introduced and they have an excellent chance of surviving their cancer. One of our fellow therapy dogs was thought to have just a few months but with treatment is still with us almost two years later.

Kirby loved being held

Kirby loved being held

But with Kirby it was not to be. The cancer had spread to several of his tiny organs and the best course of treatment was palliative care – canine hospice.

Kirby was only with us for four more days.

Kirby took one final car ride, something he loved doing

Kirby took one final car ride, something he loved doing

So this month let’s remember all the animals we have lost to cancer and all those many more animals that are thriving with the improved care and treatment options available today.

 

These photos are not posed

Benny the day I met him

Benny the day I met him

 

When I adopted my dogs I never consciously looked for dogs like ones that have been in my life before. Things just seem to occur at a moment when life intertwines and the right dogs find me.

One week after Coco passed away, Benny came to us. When I adopted Benny he looked nothing like Coco. He was so different. But over time they seemed to morph into such similar dogs.

The same thing is happening with Kirby and Petey.

Coco in her favorite "pose"

Coco in her favorite “pose”

Petey came to me the week we lost Kirby.

They were pretty similar both being small grey poodles.

But Petey had no teeth and was much smaller than Kirby.

Benny today in HIS favorite pose

Benny today in HIS favorite pose

And his facial shape was very different.

But now they look so similar if I don’t name the photos I can’t tell them apart!

I don’t know why this happens but I do know I choose dogs based solely upon personality and temperament, not looks.

Kirby as I will always remember him

Kirby as I will always remember him

Kirby as happy as can be

Kirby as happy as can be

I look in their eyes and look for that spark that says “I need to work. I need to be with people. I need to learn.”

This really is Petey!

This really is Petey!

So when I now look back on the early photos of Benny and put them side by side with Coco, and look at Petey and remember Kirby, I know there is so much more helping me create my family each and every time.

This is Petey - can you believe it?

This is Petey – can you believe it?

The right dogs always find us, even when we are not looking.