Wednesday, March 15, 2017

End of a Golden Era

We helped Charlie across the Rainbow Bridge yesterday. With the chemo not working any longer, he'd been getting weaker and weaker. His spirit stayed strong, though, and even towards the end he'd work us for treats, getting us up 3 or 4 times at night because he knew we'd bribe him with one treat to go out and pee, and bribe him with another to come back to bed.

In the last weeks, we took him for lots of car rides, fed him lots of treats, gave him lots of love, and generally tried to do anything he wanted. You know, kind of like always... ;)

March 5, 2017
He'd been gradually getting weaker, but a couple of days ago he seemed to really take a turn for the worse. He began refusing food and was uncomfortable and reluctant when we'd help him get up to go outside. He didn't appear to be in terrible pain, but since he'd gotten so much worse in those two days, we were afraid to wait any longer. We arranged for his vet to come to the house and help him along.

Charlie had a high point the last day when our friend Atsu came over to see him and say goodbye -- he barked when she rang the doorbell and wagged and squinted when she petted him. It was wonderful for us to see him so happy and almost normal again for a few minutes. And it was a real gift for him to be able to experience that kind of joy one more time.

Charlie was a challenge to keep up with, and he ruled us with his velvet paw for 12 1/2 wonderful years. It was never really clear who trained and raised whom. We miss him terribly, and will always celebrate the time we had with him.

"We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle; easily and often breached. Unable to accept its awful gaps, we would still live no other way. We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan." -- Irving Townsend

January 11, 2005 - 12 wks

March 14, 2017

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Time for a Little Outing

Can we go?
No, seriously, can we go NOW??
I'm ready. Fire up the car.
I'm beyond ready.  Let's get this show on the road!
Oh yeah, this is more like it!!
I'm happy now.  :)
Thanks, mom!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Good Run

Charlie was diagnosed with histiocytic sarcoma (and a soft tissue sarcoma) in November 2015 and has been receiving treatment since then at Columbia River Veterinary Specialists, a veterinary clinic in Vancouver, WA with a great oncology team. We ended up there because they were the first clinic that could see Charlie, but I can't stress enough how happy we've been with his care there.  Now I would never choose to go anywhere else.

They're open 24x7x365, so whenever there's a problem, they're available.

They have board-certified vets in a host of specialties who call in each other as necessary. When his oncologist thought Charlie's face looked a little swollen, she called in their dentist for a look. Later it was easy for them to plan and coordinate the necessary extraction around his chemotherapy.

All the doctors we've seen there (surgeon, dentist, oncologist) are knowledgeable, helpful, and very generous with their time, answering questions and discussing options.  Charlie's oncologist, Dr. McMahon, has been wonderful with him (and with us), and Charlie agreed -- when we had discussions with her in a treatment room, he was always milling around her, wanting to be petted, and she always obliged.  And the proof of her work is that treatment has held this aggressive cancer at bay for a year, an unexpectedly wonderful result.

Not least by far, everyone from receptionists to veterinary technicians/assistants to doctors at CRVS is SO kind. Typically for chemotherapy, for example, people drop off their pets in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon. Charlie being (sensitive, phobic, cage-bolter) Charlie, we asked if we could hang out with him in the waiting room on those days, and they readily agreed. They always set out a bed (with his NAME on it!), and coordinated the labs, scans, and treatment so we could get through everything in a few hours.  When he had to be dragged go in "the back", the oncology team let him run loose in their special lab room so he wouldn't have to be caged.

I really can't say enough good things about the doctors and staff at CRVS!

Sadly for us now, after a year of success, the chemo has quit working. Happily for Charlie, though, fun car rides don't end up at the vet anymore, where he has to be dragged in the back.

Hopefully we have a few more months together. Now, more than ever, we're making every day with Charlie count.

Patient Charlie

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

BIg snow!