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Journey of King William III

One Beagle's Quest to Kick Cancer's Arse

Happy Cancer-Free 9th Birthday, Will Beagle!

Filed under: Uncategorized — tresbeagles at 11:35 pm on Saturday, April 6, 2013

Hello Tripawds Nation!

I am Will Beagle’s human mama, and I thought I’d post this week as Will Beagle has hit a few significant milestones since he last posted.  First, he’s celebrating his ninth birthday on Tuesday and we’re happy to report that he’s celebrating this birthday cancer-free.  He visited his doggie oncologist last week with his dad for his three-month post-chemo check up, and the oncologist did not find any signs of cancer returning and is happy as can be with Will Beagle’s progress and energy levels.   Whoot whoot!

Will Beagle also recently celebrated his six-month ampuversary a few weeks ago.  Honestly, we completely missed the day because in some ways it seems like yesterday that we received the cancer diagnosis and WB went in for his amputation surgery.  In other ways, there has been enough time that has passed that we’ve completely adjusted to the new reality of Will’s tripawd status.  But, we’re happy to report that six months out from surgery, little WB is zooming around the house, the park, and the beach, without missing a step.

WB at Dog Beach

 

He celebrated his six-month ampuvesary with an epic trip to the beach, and an even more epic nap on the couch.

WB Napping

 

Recently, I learned that a friend is facing the same decision with her 2-year old puppy.  In talking to her about the situation, I realized I had never articulated what this whole process was like from my perspective on this blog and I realized that could be helpful (although many great tripawd pawrents have done a great job here to walk people through it).

WB has been my side-kick, and my best friend since I first met him in Ohio, when this snuggly beagle boy plopped down in my lap in Ohio, and didn’t move for nearly an hour.  We’ve always had a kismet-like connection over the last 8 years, and he’s been there for me despite life’s ups and downs.  I know that all dogs are special, but they broke the mold when WB was born.  He’s always been a little man stuck in a beagle’s body, charming nearly everyone he meets (in fact, many of my friends now have beagles because of Will Beagle’s personality).  I was devastated when we received the cancer diagnosis because I had to confront the real possibility of a life of falling asleep without Will Beagle’s epic snoring and having my morning coffee without experiencing WB’s mad snuggling skills.

WB Snoring

There are so many uncertainties in this process (what type of cancer?  what treatment would work?  what gives the dog the best option for a high quality of life?  am I  making choices that are best for me or best for WB?  will I choose something I’ll later regret?)  I probably polled no less than 10 vets during the two days we pondered what to do – my vet in Point Loma, the vets at the dermatology clinic that had been treating his paw pad injury, even my childhood vet in Ohio!  What became apparent was:  (1) dogs don’t care if they have 3 legs or 4, (2) it’s a human thing to get caught up on the appearance of a missing leg, (3) often (not always) amputation is the quickest way to get your dog back to being a dog, and (4) it’s something both the dog–and you–will adjust to quickly.  I made the choice to amputate because it was the fastest way to get WB back on his feet again, it gave him the highest chance of survival (due to wide margins around the tumor), and I didn’t want him to go through paw pad removal and the radiation process only to discover that we had not gotten all the cancer and amputation would still be needed.  In other words, I wanted to give him his best shot at a long happy life, and even if it was shortened, one where he’d be able to wander around the beach sniffing everything for the rest of his (perhaps limited) days.

Granted, I was very fortunate to have a dog that came through the surgery like a rockstar, and who was ready to RUN the day after the surgery to get out of the hospital as fast as possible.  But there were definitely difficulties.  The first couple of weeks are HARD.  I think I read somewhere on this blog that it’s like having a baby in the house.  He was in a lot of pain, and did not sleep through the night.  There were more than a few nights that I’d lie down on the floor next to his dog bed attempting to calm him down so he wouldn’t try to jump up on the bed with us, only to fall asleep on the hardwood floor next to his bed (waking up to find half my limbs alseep as a result).  He panted, constantly.  And the brusing and swelling!  It looked so raw and painful.  He was having problems walking, going to the bathroom, getting up and down stairs, etc.  But gradually, he started to get around like a pro, and it was easier.  And I don’t know when it happened, but suddenly, my dog was back!

It’s still emotional.  You hold your breath when he visits with the oncologist, hoping that there are no signs of cancer detected.  You panic when he coughs, wondering if it’s a symptom of the cancer (or he’s just clearing his throat).  You tear up when you find him up on your bed and figure out that he had jumped up on his own despite the single back leg.  You hug him more, and longer, and tighter than you used to.  But when you see the joy on his face racing around with the his ears flapping in the wind chasing after his pals, you realize that the stress, the worry, the cost is totally worth it and to treasure each day wehave with him.

 

Hounds in the Car

 



5 Comments »

181

   fetchon3

April 7, 2013 @ 1:03 am   Reply

“It’s still emotional. You hold your breath when he visits with the oncologist, hoping that there are no signs. You panic when he coughs, wondering if it’s a symptom of the cancer (or he’s just clearing his throat). You tear up when you find him up on your bed, and sort out that he had jumped up on his own despite the single back leg. You hug him more, and longer, and tighter than you used to. But when you see the joy on his face racing around with the his ears flapping in the wind, you realize that the stress, the worry, the cost is totally worth it and to treasure each day wehave with him.”

Absolutely! You said it well. Congrats on the great report! Hoppy birthday, pal!

182

   wyattraydawg

April 7, 2013 @ 6:30 pm   Reply

Hoppy Birthday-Ampuversary Will! Nine is pretty amazing, and it’s even more amazing and COOL that you’ve kicked cancer’s butt! PAWESOME!!!!

183

   jerry

April 7, 2013 @ 6:40 pm   Reply

Congratulations Will! You’ve come such a long way and you’ve got lots of good times ahead, I just know it.

Momma, thanks for sharing your perspective about the amputation ordeal, both here and with your friend. It means a lot for people to be able to read about what others have experienced and thought as they wrestled with this very hard decision that no pet parent ever thinks they will go through. But once you do, once you see how dogs like WB bounce back without a regret in the world, it’s amazing how it really changes your own perspective on dealing with adversity in your own human life, doesn’t it? Suddenly all of our challenges seem so trivial when we see how easily a dog can adapt to such a major change.

Please tell your friend to feel free to come here anytime, we’re here for her. I’m so sorry she’s dealing with the amputation decision.

Congrats again to both you and WB, we’re so happy for you!

184

   Jackie

April 9, 2013 @ 10:20 pm   Reply

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HRH Will!!! I am so very, very proud of your pawrents for staying so strong and sorting through the many options to do what was best for you!! I always knew you were one in a million – Wilma would have attested to that!! My favorite smile moment is watching the video of you tearing up the beach with your siblings! Mom did a great job putting her thoughts and emotions to print!

A long, healthy life for HRH and buds!

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