Story told by Jo Ann Blomquist
It doesn't feel like 4 months since Growler died. Then it seems like forever. I miss him so much. He was such a good dog. So sweet, gentle and loving.
We discovered he had a problem in November 2005. He started having seizures. He had the first one November 7th. Our vet had us keep an eye on him and on November 17th, he had 3 seizures in one day. Our vet suggested x-rays so on November 21st, they did x-rays and discovered a mass in his right lung. Our vet sent the x-rays to Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital. They called and wanted to retake x-rays and examine Growler. So we went down to Colorado on December 8th. They did all the tests and x-rays again. They saw a mass and wanted to do a biopsy. So December 15th, we took Growler back and they did a biopsy. They said surgery to remove the mass was a good idea. So we scheduled surgery for December 20th. I took Growler down to have the surgery. The surgery went well and they removed the tumor and part of his right lung. Everything seemed to be going well. They got all of the tumor and did not see any evidence of any more tumors.
On December 23rd, we went back to CSU to have Growler checked before we went home. The vet told us he had MH.He said it was an incurable cancer but we could try chemo and hope for the best since we had caught it so early. So on January 6th, Growler got his first dose of lomustine. He did fairly well, just had an upset stomach from it. So every three weeks, Growler would get his chemo. About every six weeks, he had to have a complete blood count, a diagnostic panel and x-rays. Growler was a trooper through it all. When our vet did the x-rays of his chest, they didn't have to sedate him, they would just rub his chest and tummy and he would lay on his back and not move.
At the end of June 2006, Growler's x-rays came back showing another mass in his lung. So we went back to CSU on July 7th and they did a complete exam on Growler and told us that the MH was back. Dr. Kow was crying after he told us that the cancer was also in his spleen, liver and lungs. He said we could try chemo again but we decided not to put Growler through that again.
It was a hard decision but Growler had been feeling good since the chemo was over and we wanted his last days to be happy. So we proceeded to do everything Growler loved to eat and do. Jim cooked steaks for Growler so he would eat more and we got soft serve ice cream every Sunday, since that was Growler's favorite food. After a few weeks, Growler wouldn't eat very much at all. He refused steak, hot dogs, and ice cream. Everything we tried he just turned his head away. He was letting us know that we needed to let him go. So I made the call to our vet, Wade, and asked him to come over to our house to put Growler to sleep.
We arranged it for the next morning since it was late evening and Growler was apparently in no pain. He was just tired of fighting the cancer that was wreaking havoc on his body. I spent the night with Growler in the basement, which is where he had chosen to be for the last couple of days. The next morning, I called our friends who all loved Growler dearly and he loved them. They came over to say good-bye. When Wade arrived, I went downstairs with him to be with Growler when he passed over to the Rainbow Bridge where he would be well again. He went very peacefully. The Angel Companions Crematorium came and took Growler. They brought back his ashes and he is with us always.
I don't know how to express how hard this was to write because I miss him so much and love him with all my heart. He will always be my big beautiful buddy.