Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hang in there, Cassie Girl, and come back home

Have you ever gone through life wondering if the decisions you are making at the time are the right ones?  Have you ever loved something or someone so bad and made a decision health-wise on their behalf knowing it could go either way and if the odds aren’t in your favor, you had to live with that decision the rest of your life whether it haunted you or not? My Cassie  Girl has cancer and it’s malignant. Cassie is my 13-year-old Cocker Spaniel.  After years and years and years and years, I decided to get another dog.  She was a stray and just so happened to be a cocker spaniel, my favorite breed of dog.  Of course, I’d never had one before so I had no idea the health issues cockers have (just spent over $4000 to have my male Cocker’s eardrums removed because of a nasty ear infection if that gives you any idea).


I named my new dog Chelsea.  Chelsea stuck around with us for about a year before she died in my daughter’s arms from unknown causes.  I cried for days.  My boyfriend surprised me later with a new puppy.  She was beautiful, so sweet, adorable, sore from being picked up all the time adorable, and I named her Cassie. True Love Cassie was the sweetest dog I ever had.  She never bit anyone, except one time she nipped at the neighbor’s pants legs for coming too close, but talk about loving.  The most loving dog you’d ever seen. Cassie never really had many health problems as she grew up over the years.  Not like Max who decided to take a swim in the channel and came back with a nasty ear infection that only got worse over time until we had to get his eardrums removed.  But you know, that dog can still hear.  Just dumbfounds you.  Not real good, but he can hear. Casse and Max were supposed to be lovers until we found out Max had no idea which end was up so Cassie remained puppyless.  We had bought Max to mate with Cassie but it wasn’t in the cards and frankly I’m glad.  We’re not a puppy mill and never had any plans to become one.
Picture 121
While Max grew up to be the cantankerous one, Cassie was content to sleep in the floor beside you.   Such a sweet sweet dog. As Cassie got older, she started showing signs of old age, like incontinence and limping (figuring that was arthritis), but overall the dog was in exceptional health despite her age. A few months ago, she developed a lump under her mammary glands.  A few days later, the lump bled but we managed to get it under control and she seemed fine.  About a month or so after that, she developed another one but this one didn’t bleed nor go away like the last one.  It just kept getting bigger and bigger and developed what looked to me like several lumps in one. My original decision was to let her go.  Let her live her life as happily as we could make it.  But then, something struck home.  If I didn’t at least save her, she was going to die and I was going to have that on my conscious and I knew I couldn’t live with it. So I called the vet, made the appointment and the diagnosis was he wanted to remove the lump; however, it was the holidays (Thanksgiving) and he was going to be out of town.  So we set up the appointment for today, about two weeks later. The wait was long and horrendous.  I kept telling Cassie to hold in there, that I was getting her help soon.  I didn’t want it to erupt like the last one…just a few more days, I’d tell her. I was lying in the floor wrapping presents last night and I took a few pictures of her.  Just in case.  And video.  Just in case. Just in case.  Didn’t the doctor reassure me she had over 50% chance surviving this?
I wake at 5 am and she’s lying on the bed beside me. I reach over and rub her golden head.  She looks like she’s smiling. I get up and take a shower to make that 7 a.m. appointment.  She’s waiting for me downstairs so I put her collar on and let her go pee before we make our journey.  Afterwards, we battle the wind and I put her on the passenger side.  There’s a little bit of snow out my back door and I wondered if it had snowed last night. As we’re traveling to the doctor, I realize it did snow.  In fact, there was a police leading a convoy (us) down the highway so we don’t get in an accident.  I reach over and pet Cassie’s head and she kisses my hand. We finally arrive and she’s really excited to be there.  I’m figuring she smelled other dogs in the grass or she was just glad as heck to be out of the car. The doctor is waiting for us behind the counter.  It’s a little after 7.  He’s not smiling.  He walks around and feels Cassie’s lump.  “It’s grown,” I tell him. He’s not the same as last time I saw him when he made me feel it was just a matter of taking out the lump and it was all over. “You know it’s cancer, right.  And you know it’s malignant.” I don’t even remember responding to tell you the truth.  By this time, I’m starting to cry.  I’m fighting it, but not winning.  I knew it was cancer, but why wasn’t he just taking her back there and doing what I’m paying him to do and being positive about this??? “I know you can’t guarantee anything,” I tell him, “but what are the odds?” He said he didn’t know.  He knew the damn odds last time I was there, why was this time different??? “You know you have the choice to just take her back home and let her live out her life,” he says. I freaking didn’t know I had a choice in the matter!  Take her back home?   Why freaking why?  I want her to be saved, not go home and let her die!!!! So I’m standing there with a choice.  I can take her home, let her live her life as peacefully as possible until this thing explodes all over the place or I can let him try to save her knowing full well I probably just ended her life right then and there. That’s the way he made me feel. “Take her.” It came out.  I don’t know who was talking but that’s the decision. He took my number and said they’ll call. I get in the truck and bawl my head off.  If that was the last time I will see my Cassie Girl, I’ll have to live with it the rest of my life.  And I never got to say good-bye. But you know, there’s a force out there.  And I prayed to it over and over with tears streaming down my face so hard I couldn’t even see out of the windshield, but if there’s any hope at all, any way my Cassie Girl can come back home to me today, then I’ll know that it wasn’t her time and that I made the right decision.

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