This is me...

This is me...
I'm having a mom moment....

Monday, February 25, 2013

Today Sucks

Today totally sucks. 

I am finally starting to feel a little better after my daughter brought home a nasty stomach bug last week and the day started out normal enough. Unfortunately, whatever joy being able to eat again might bring is overclouded by the fact that my dog, Cooper, is sick.

Cooper is a Tibetan Spaniel. He was born February 5th, 2001 -- exactly 9 months before my oldest son. He just turned 12 years old and now I may lose him.

He doesn't seem sick.

Last month, he had some bleeding from his butt.  We thought that the groomers may have nicked him with the clippers.  Then he had another incident, and we thought it may have been hemorrhoids.  The bleeding was fairly minimal, and it always stopped.  This morning, I let him out to do his business, and when he came in there was blood everywhere.  I called the vet and took him almost immediately.  I was thinking hemorrhoids again, or maybe an infected anal gland.  It was neither of those. 

It is a mass, and a fine needle biopsy showed malignant cells. 

He has an anal carcinoma -- a cancerous mass on his butt.  It has ruptured.  Our vet here doesn't know that she can get it all so she is referring us to a veterinary surgical center in Tennessee -- 2 hours away.  I called and they said that their surgeries START at $2,000 so it will definitely be more than that.  After that, he may need chemo.  They will not know if it has spread until they remove the mass, biopsy it, and know what to look for.  If it has spread, then the chances that he will survive are slim. 

I am heartbroken.  I love our dog.  My husband loves our dog.  My kids love our dog.  I want to do what is best for him, but the cost and pain that may be involved in this treatment has me questioning what the best thing for our family is. 

I know what I would tell someone who was faced with this decision -- I would tell them that 12 years for a dog is a good life.  I would tell them that he wouldn't want to suffer through a surgery and possible chemo when he may not survive.  I would tell them that the money involved is too much when the outcome is not guaranteed to be a longer or better life.  I would tell them that it would be better to let him go peacefully and cherish the memory of him than to spend thousands of dollars and have him endure the pain of surgery and recovery.

That is what I would tell a friend who was faced with this decision. 

For their pet.

But this is MY dog.

Other than the bleeding, he shows no signs of being sick.  He seems pretty happy and not in any pain.  It doesn't seem life threatening.  But the bleeding won't stop.  The vet tried silver nitrate, but it didn't last.  My car looked like a crime scene after the ride home. I had to put a diaper on him when we got home. 

And as bad as it makes me sound, I don't know if I can spend the money.  We are closing on our house in a little over a month and we don't really have thousands of dollars to spare.  I hate to say that out loud (or type it) but it is the truth.  Spending the money on this surgery would not prevent the closing on the house, but it would seriously deplete our emergency fund and we do not know what any follow up treatment would cost.  Do I put the financial security of our family at risk?  My head says no, but my heart says yes.  Cooper IS part of our family. 

I am heartsick over this and I don't want to make this decision. 


Shelley Williams said...

You are correct it is YOUR dog and you love him in the same way as a child or other family member. I would tell you fight it. I would tell you that God will see him and you thru this. You know by now I would spend my last dime to save my fur babies. But no one but you and your family can make this choice. Is Auburn an option? I wasn't sure if they were and may be less costly for the produre. You, the family and of course Cooper will have my prayers. Whatever you decide you and he knows how much you love him and the awesome life he has led thus far! ((Hugs))

Xinh said...

I know how you feel. I've had my dog for 14 years and the thought of not having him around makes me cry. In the end, you will do what is best for you and your family. And no one will judge you for the choices you make. I'm not a person who prays but I will keep you all in my thoughts.

Counting Caballeros said...

Thank you, Shelly. If it were just my furbaby I had to worry about I would spend every dime to fix it as well, but I have 4 kids to worry about. If I spend all of our emergency money on Cooper, and then one of my kids gets sick, or breaks a bone, or anything then I wouldn't have a way to pay for it. If interest rates were to shoot up and the house closing cost more than we have planned, then we would be stuck. And I will not put my dog through chemo because it will make him sick and miserable and I could not make him understand why. This is heart wrenching. For now, I plan to meet with the specialist and see what he or she says and go from there.

Counting Caballeros said...

Thank you Xinh. Right now, I am the bad guy. The kids heard me and the husband and they think that I am too cheap to save our dog. Sooooooo not the case. :(

Heather Shanton said...

It's hard to make a rational decision with all the emotional overload. We've spent thousands of dollars on our various horses, dogs, cats, goats etc. Spent $4500 alone just to save a horse's eye. BUT he was young and full of life ahead with no other health issues. If you really believe that this cancer is curable then by all means but my opinion is that the vet will agree that this is just the beginning of a long road of treatment with only one outcome.

Sandy Bloom said...

Posted this on your wall, but I wanted to make sure you saw it. I have been exactly in your place.

My 12 year old Dog had the same thing. The bleeding stopped because the cancerous mass grew and blocked the opening. This caused him to have the urge to defecate, but nothing was there. Poor baby was hunched over straining, legs shaking. They offered the same surgery and chemo with same possible outcome. He may die anyway and will have suffered along the way. He was my first "baby" before I had my real babies. I was devastated, but he was already suffering and I just knew I had to let him go. That was the hardest decision of my life. That was 12 years ago and I am crying while typing this. I miss him so much, but have never doubted that I did the right thing. You want to keep them with you for as long as possible, but if I put him through all that it would have been for me - not him. Take care. I feel for you and your family.

KC @ genxfinance said...

Aww, poor Copper. But yes, sooner or later, you got to have to decide. There's no one else who's going to do that for you. Good luck!