Polly was born December 19, 1997 in an empty horse stall next to my horse's stall where I boarded him at a farm. She was a pudgy little thing, and got even more pudgy when all her littermates died over the first few days. She looked like a little bear cub. The owner's were not what I considered good dog owners, fact in point by her birth in the first place. Her father was Rottweiler, and her mother a Golden Retriever. I cared for Polly and her parents every day when I was there to tend to my horse. When I decided to move to a different boarding facility, I asked if I could have Polly. I knew if she didn't leave with me, she would die a young death. She was 9 months old when I took her home. Had never been in a house, let alone house trained. And she never had one single accident. She turned out to be the most loving, loyal companion anyone could possibly hope for. She loved absolutely everyone and never knew a stranger. She went everywhere with me and was always by my side. She was also always healthy considering her rough start in life.
My nightmare started at the beginning of March. Polly was always a chow hound. Would eat anything and everything. Even things she shouldn't. She started not wanting to finish her breakfast. I chalked it up to her knowing she was getting a bone before I left for work. Then she started not wanting to eat her breakfast at all. Then as the days went on, she started doing the same with her dinner. When she started that it was the weekend of March 14th. So all weekend I cooked chicken, rice etc. and she was eating that. Monday morning I decided something wasn't right and took her to the vet on March 16th. They did a physical, couldn't find anything wrong, pulled a CBC and a urinalysis. Tests came back pretty much normal except for some protein and granular casts in her urine. She started to deny the home cooked meals, so back to the vet on the 18th. The took her blood pressure which was normal and decided to start her antibiotics. Things started to decline further, mostly just with her eating, although she never denied treats. But she was very slow in the morning, didn't want to get up and come downstairs. They sent me to a specialist for an ultrasound and chest x-rays. They found a mass on the ultrasound just above her bowel. The specialist said he couldn't tell if it was a cyst, abscess or tumor and said he did not want to wait to remove it in case it would rupture because it looked as if it was fluid filled. She was scheduled for abdominal surgery the next day, March 27. I was concerned about having surgery because of her age, but he said she was a strong girl and would do fine. She did, she sailed through surgery, but they couldn't remove the mass. It had seeded itself to her bowel and would be risky to remove because they would have to remove about 20 cm of intestine. Risk of infection and peritonitis would be high. So we opted to have biopsies done of the mass and her intestine.
Intestinal biopsy came back normal, but the mass came back a bit inconclusive. Either Histiocytic Sarcoma or Lymphoma. The oncologist wanted to send the biopsies to UC Davis for "stains" to differentiate the type. Until then he wanted to start chemo in case it was Lymphoma since all her internal organs were fine, including lungs and the mass was just localized. I agreed and on March 31st she had her first chemo. Many ups and downs. She came out of her surgery wonderfully and was up and around and active enough that at times I had to watch her activity level because of the staples in her belly. She was having bouts of nausea and would vomit intermittently but it would only be once a day and then she would be fine for a quite a few days.
This past Friday April 10, 2009, I came home from work early and she seemed lethargic. I called the oncologist and he called me back and said he got the reports back from UC Davis. She had Histiocytic Sarcoma. The worst case scenario. It's a very aggressive cancer and there really isn't any treatment if the mass can not be removed. I told him her symptoms and he said they should not have been from her second chemo shot that she had on Tuesday and to keep an eye on her. He said if things declined, euthanasia was the only option. Well, they declined rapidly Friday night. If she got up and tried to walk, she collapsed. She laid in the same spot all night. I laid with her in the kitchen all night Friday night and made sure she had water and she ate. But I knew she was declining quickly. I really didn't know if she would make it through the night. She did, but I made the decision to end her suffering. When my regular vet saw her, she felt she was bleeding out internally. She went very peacefully, she was ready and it was time.
She's been my life for 11 years. Always with me, always happy and smiling. She's been through a lot with me and was always by my side to lick away my tears and make everything ok. The love of my life. I miss her so much.