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Life is so precious...

Hello my friends..

I haven't been taking photos or working on any material over the few weeks as my beloved pooch and my best friend (Millie) was diagnosed with lymphoma. Millie was a Blue Heeler/Kelpie cross and has been the light of my life. She started throwing up the last week of January, not consistently, but I figured that she got into something in the backyard or at the barn; at this time she seemed her energetic self. It got to the point were she couldn't keep anything down and she had bad diarrhea.. so I took her to the vet right away.

After waiting a couple hours, the veterinarian had done blood work which revealed her WBC count was high; her submandibular (under the jaw) and popliteal (hind legs, above the elbow) lymph nodes were enlarged. She recommended an aspirate which is taking a sample of the lymph fluid to test. The results were consistent with lymphoma.. however they were not able to tell me what type and stage of the lymphoma, so a referral was made to an oncologist in Langley. This all happened January 30th.

I brought Millie home, and over the next couple days she became very sick. She lost her appetite, still had some diarrhea and was so weak.. it was absolutely heartbreaking watching your best friend go from her energetic, sassy self to needing help getting up the stairs and jumping in the car. I estimated she lost about 3 pounds in 3 days.. needless to say I cried A LOT, I was sooo sad.. I took the whole week off work to do my best to take care of her.

I ended up taking her back to the hospital on Wednesday, February 2nd, as she was getting very dehydrated I knew the care she required was more than what I could provide for her. She was there for 48 hours. During that time, I was able to get an appointment with the oncologist for Sunday the 6th. Her vitals were stable, and her blood work hadn't changed a whole lot in that 48 hours so the veterinarian was okay with me taking her home, and bringing her back the next day for a follow up check.

I had done a lot of research on diet and holistic supplements that could help her.. at this point there was inflammation in her bowels and her bilirubin was high which was an indication that her liver was struggling to function as a secondary affect of the cancer. I bought everything and anything that could help before I picked her up.. and as usual she was excited to see me.. they also sent me home with a ton of prescriptions..

That night I cooked up some sole, potatoes, carrots and broccoli. She was in the kitchen with me, smelling all the good smells.. prior to this she would be sleeping on her bed, so it seems she was feeling better. When I offered her food, she was so hungry, the poor thing gobbled every last piece. I was so excited she ate a meal, and praying she would be able to keep it down; and she did!

The next day was Friday the 4th, and my baby girl was more herself. Wagging her tail, being sassy and the bossy girl she usually is to our other dogs. It was so nice to see; she also ate another meal in the morning too!

I took her in for her check up, and things were still somewhat stable, her bilirubin had gone up a bit but not significantly. I was concerned about our trip to Langley that she wouldn't drink enough water while driving so they gave me a bag of fluids and showed me how to administer it subcutaneously.

The rest of Friday and Saturday went great! We had so much fun together.. we went to the barn, saw the horses and her friend Mo (the barn cat), stopped a few times on the drive down to Langley for a pee break and to smell all the smells. Once we arrived at my moms, she knew where we were.. she could smell the farm.. and she got so excited! Millie and Crystal (my moms dog) had a little play time and then a cuddle with my mom in front of the fire. Sunday morning we had a cuddle, got up, I made a coffee and we went for a walk down the long driveway. It was a beautiful day.

Millie has always had a special place in my heart.. I knew the day I met her as a puppy that she was the one, we had this undeniable bond. Her spice for life and the love she gave was something I don't think I'll experience again. I've told her everyday 'mummy loves you very much' and we'd have a hug and I'd give her a kiss.. it was our thing..

Once the oncologist completed the exam, in her findings, Millie's case was diagnosed as Stage 5, type A and B Large Cell Lymphoma which is very aggressive and spreads very fast. It was affecting her liver and spleen, and was questionable if her bone marrow was affected as well. Her bilirubin had gone up again so she was diagnosed with liver disfunction.. on the path to liver failure. Despite the news, after seeing how she was feeling better the last couple days, I was optimistic we would have a bit more time together however, considering how fast she went downhill in the last week I was also ready to let her go if she was ready.

When she came out of the clinic, she was happy and wagging her tail. We jumped in the car and off we went. We stopped a few times and she was trotting around happy as can be, face to the beautiful warm sun. I had her in the passenger seat so I could hold her paw and rub her ears on the drive.

One of our lasts stops was just before Merritt, I pulled off the highway and found a perfect spot to watch the sunset, and we sat together..

As I pulled into Peachland, I could see her breathing and heart rate was very high so I called the my veterinarian in Kelowna as I was quite concerned. Once they completed the re-evaluation exam, we discussed the options. My poor baby wasn't doing well. They could have kept her overnight and given her a huge dose of steroids but knowing the diagnosis of the cancer, I knew it wasn't going to get any better even with chemotherapy the prognosis was poor.. the prescriptions would be very hard on her liver. Considering the last few days we had together, I didn't want her to spend another night in hospital and I owed it to her to do the right thing after all the joy, love and happiness she has brought me..

I feel as though she knew her time on this earth was coming to an end, she was so strong the last few days to spend time with me and see all the people and poochies she loved. Her life and the memories I have I will always cherish. We had a great two years and four months together. I've been asking my self why all week or if it was something I could have prevented.. unfortunately there is no understanding at this time what causes cancer in dogs.. I keep trying to remind myself I did my best, and think of the life we had together.

My baby girl passed over the rainbow in my lap the way she always laid in my lap since she was a puppy, she was so comfortable.. I will love you forever and always Millie, until we meet again..


Life isn't always fair, at times it may seem cruel.. animals have a way of leaving a mark on your heart and soul, hug your four legged friends tight my friends.


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