Our dog is dying of cancer. It wrenches my inner-most soul to even admit that I know his days are numbered. A dog that I love more than most people. The dog that wasn’t meant to attach to me has been diagnosed with cancer, and his days are numbered. And, they are few.
My husband has joked to people that the healing I’ve sought for Butch, our beloved Yorkie, is far beyond what I would seek for him. I’ve spent hours researching all of our options for treatment and for comfort. Death is a horrible thing for any living creature, big or small.
Butch came to us nearly 5 years ago. Upon adopting him, we found out that he was positive for heartworms. The cost of treatment put us out of our comfort zone for spending. But, as we commented several times, we loved him … and we needed to save him. I can’t imagine if we had decided differently. The love of this dog (who, believe me, is sometimes also the biggest pest) has made a lasting mark on our family and on the memories of my two kids.
Butch has been THE perfect dog for our family. His personality is so low-key. He loves to sleep, and is content to do whatever. A ride in the car is like winning the lottery and a piece of cheese to snack on will make his life content for months.
Three weeks ago, we found out that Butch had a non-operable, cancerous tumor growing in the roof of his mouth. It is growing rapidly and goes from his palette to behind his eye. It is very aggressive and as we are seeing now, is beginning to deform the shape of his jaw and causes his left eye to slightly bulge.
A veterinary dental specialist is the one who initially advised us on Butch’s condition, and from there we sought the advice of a veterinary oncologist. She was able to give us several options: radiation – which would prolong his life by 6 months at best, be painful to the dog, require him to be hospitalized 5 days a week for weeks at a time, and cost $6,000 out of pocket; chemotherapy – which could get rid of the tumor entirely at best, but no guarantees, can have severe side-effects, could stay at home for treatment, and costs $200-300/month out of pocket for as long as we chose to do it; or we do nothing – and he has about 60 days to live.
We chose to do chemo. So far, Butch has taken 3 doses of the 8 that we purchased. He has had no adverse side effects, although we can tell that he’s in some pain. Dogs that are in pain get very quiet and lose stamina. Butch no longer jumps on the recliner and often won’t stand on his two hind feet in excitement for cheese. We’re taking these signs to heart and offering him lots of tender love. We are heavy on making eye contact with him and speaking to him about how much we love him, and offering soft, gentle petting and cuddles.
We have also been using DoTerra Frankincense. Almost immediately, we noticed the bulging in his eye reduce. Frankincense is known to have cancer-curing properties and we figured we had nothing to lose in trying it. We’ve put a few drops on cheese and he’s never turned his nose to it!
Another visit to the veterinary oncologist will come in about 10 days. I’m assuming that she will do another scan to see if there is any shrinking of the tumor. At that point, I’m sure that we will access our course of action. As a family, we decided early on that we would not be selfish. Our ultimate goal was to make sure that Butch was as comfortable and as pain free as he could be. None of us want to speak of having to put him down, but even more than that – we don’t want to have Butch live in pain.
So, we pray and we will continue to pray for the healing of our Butch, and for our unselfishness in the decisions that are yet for us to make … now or in the future!
1 Timothy 4:4 “For everything God created is good, for it is sanctified by God’s word and prayer.”