by Chris Wallin
(Collegeville , PA, USA)
I lost my 11 year old yellow labador four days ago to cancer (Osteosarcoma). Rudy wasn't only beautiful on the outside but he also had an amazing heart. There wasn't a mean bone in his body. Rudy was diagnosed a little over a month ago. I had no idea it would take him so soon. Because of the location (ribs) and his age the doctor didn't recommend surgery so we went the palliative route, oral chemo and pain medication. Things were going as well as can be expected until we went back early because the tumor was getting bigger. The oncologist recommended another chemo (Carboplatin). I think I hate that drug as much as the cancer. When we took Rudy home from his treatment he was happy and showed no signs of side effects until a few days later where it became harder and harder to get him to eat until finally I was feeding him with a syringe with a high nutrition liquid diet. After consulting with my local vet I brought him back to the hospital where he was being treated. They did blood work and the whole time I was thinking they were going to give him fluids and I could take him home. When the doctor came in the exam room I knew it wasn't good. Rudy had become anemic and she said I could give him a blood transfusion or put him down. She didn't recommend the blood transfusion because she said he was so sick. It haunts me to know if it was the chemo or the tumor that made him so sick so soon. What made it worse was that my wife was 2000 miles away on business and I had to call her with the news. When we decided to put him down my wife and mom cried as I put them on speaker phone to say goodbye to Rudy. When I hung up and was alone with my best friend I tried not to cry but I couldn't stop the tears. I told him how much I loved him and he licked the tears from my face. I hope he was telling me it was ok! When the doctor and nurse came in they explained how things would go. As I held Rudy's head in my hands and the doctor gave the last injection I felt the weight of his head in my hands. My best friend was gone and I felt such an emptiness that I can't even begin to explain.
My parents live close to my wife and I so Rudy would go back and forth to both homes and he loved it. We would joke that we had joint custody of Rudy. Our hearts are broken and I hope in the days, weeks, months and years to come that the wonderful memories I have of this great dog makes me smile when I think of him but right now I just miss my BIG BOY terribly! Those memories make me sad! I'm 52 years old but I think I just became a man. I love you Rudy.