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Three-Legged Dog

Four days after diagnosis, I already couldn’t stand watching the tumorous, slowly exploding bone in my dog’s leg break and cause so much pain from osteosarcoma.  Duncan is now 107 lbs, down from his usual overweight 115.  The vet initially discouraged amputation because of his mass, but it seems like he is not using the bad leg anyway. 

The surgery was yesterday and so far the recovery has surpassed my expectations.  My three-legged wonder is walking, using the bathroom and going down stairs with no trouble.  I am already seeing confirmation that the amputation will give his last months a pain-free and meaningful existence.  I know this isn’t a life-saving measure, but I can’t help but wonder if this will at least give a miracle a chance.

I found out last week that my dog is dying from osteosarcoma in his hind leg. I grieve for my four-legged yellow 115 lb lab-looking ball of sunshine. I curl myself up at night, just like him, on the floor and bury my head into his soft coat. I take a deep breath and inhale his familiar unique scent. And then I cry. I bawl as I think I will no longer be able to smell him. I am rock-bottom sad. So effected in fact that I no longer enjoy myself around him.

That was last week. For four days I did this. Monk’s actions have been saintly. He let’s me cry on his shoulder, soothes me when I break down at odd times, and sleeps near me. Kind of like the dog himself. My inners ache with the feeling of losing a family member to cancer. I wonder if it’s the same with a human? But I notice I ache the most when I see his pain. When he’s laying motionless on the couch, staring straight forward, unable to sleep. A dull, constant resounding pain through his body can be seen by looking into his eyes. I love this dog and he is slipping away from me quickly. Too early and there is nothing I can do about it.

After the initial days of straight grieving, I realize I have to shape up. I am lucky, a lot of dog owners lose their pets with no warning signs. I must play when he plays, swim in the river with him while he still can, and devote my time to making the rest of his life meaningful and happy. He would and has done it for me in a heart beat.