My Trina was a toy fox terrier, 9 years old. At the end of July, 2007 she was having trouble with her knee so we went to the vet and got some arthritis medication. She also had her yearly work done along with a mini panel of bloodwork and everything was normal.

On Friday, August 24 when I got home from work she was obviously not feeling well….she seemed fine on Thursday. She was standing and staring at the wall. She wouldn’t relax in my lap, and wouldn’t lick my hand. When I put her down she went to the window and barked at my daughter’s friend who was coming up the sidewalk. Her bark was very hoarse. She then went to her water dish and had a drink and collapsed. So, I scooped her up, grabbed one of my older daughters (I have 4) and we took her to the emergency vet in town.

After hearing the history the vet did an x-ray and bloodwork. We waited in the waiting room a long time for results. When they called us back they said that they ran the blood twice to make sure the results were accurate and that Trina was much sicker than she appeared. Her blood sugar was in the 40’s and her albumin was low and she was in danger of bleeding out. I asked how can that be, everything was fine a month ago and she said she didn’t know, it just happened, and it could be pancreatitis, but she needed an ultrasound, etc, and more specialized care and since it was the weekend we needed to go to a more advanced veterinary hospital about 50 miles away.

Well, off we went with the x-ray and records to the new place. They had to give her dextrose right away because she couldn’t stand on her own and obviously said they would need to keep her. They would do the ultrasound, etc, on Saturday.

Saturday I cried all day long and my husband kept saying it would be ok, but I said no I have a bad feeling about this. When they called with the ultrasound results, everything was screwed up. Her liver, kidneys, stomach, intestines, adrenal glands, pancreas were all inflamed…basically everything but her heart and lungs. There were no tumors, so cancer couldn’t be ruled in or out. They asked if they could send out more specialized blood and urine work which I agreed to. They also started talking about liver biopsies and other surgical explorations but I couldn’t address that. I couldn’t even think of putting her through the pain of surgery without a better idea of what was wrong.

On Sunday morning, her primary vet called and said that while the ultrasound report was bad she had seen worse and though cancer couldn’t be ruled out she felt that Trina had a reasonable chance for a decent recovery, and she assured me she wouldn’t say it if it weren’t a good possibility. So, my hopes went up a little. She said her biggest concern was the blood sugar levels which they couldn’t get past the 70’s. She said they would come up better if Trina would eat. I told her that it was no surprise that she wouldn’t eat because she always hated the vet and had never been in a cage in her life. I offered to come and take her outside and feed her to see if we could get her to eat. The vet said that would be great, to bring whatever we thought she would eat. So, we packed up some chicken breast and some watermelon, which she loved, and went to the hospital.

When we got there, they had just started some IV fluid so we couldn’t take her out, but when she saw us she perked up and was happy and she scarfed down that chicken and watermelon.

While we were sitting and visiting, the vet came by and said they got some results back from a blood smear and they knew what was wrong. She said Trina had acute lymphoblastic leukemia or lymphoma. I said how can that be, she was fine a month ago. The vet said it just happened sometime, no one knew why. The choices we had were to see the oncologist or humane euthanasia. I freaked out.

In questioning the vet about the chemotherapy (when I calmed down), she said that she had never seen a remission in a case like this. It might buy her a little time and it might not but we couldn’t really hope for remission. She would have to come in weekly for treatments. Well, we love her dearly and couldn’t see putting her through the trauma of frequent vet visits and treatments that probably wouldn’t work so we chose the euthanasia.

In order to be fair to my daughters, we went back home and waited all day until they all got home from work, etc, and explained the situation and the decision to them so that they could choose whether to come say goodbye or not. My oldest is at school out of state, but 2 of the 3 came along. The one that had been with me when this started decided to stay home.

At the hospital, they brought her to us. After a weekend of treatment, she was acting normal and very glad to see us. We played with her and cuddled her and had a family prayer over her, thanking God for the precious gift we had been given and asking Him to take her back in His warm embrace and keep her until we’re all together again. My husband and youngest daughter left and me and my other daughter talked to her for a few more minutes and then called the vet in. I held her in my arms and told her how much we loved her and how good she was and that she would be in heaven and we would all be with her someday.

She got cheated out of her full lifespan and she was so good. I feel so guilty and cry all the time. I feel like we should have known, should have done something sooner. And me, who doesn’t even like to swat a fly, signed the death warrant for my precious little friend. I kind of wish I would have brought her home while she felt a little better. But, she would have been so sick again so soon I just couldn’t put her through it, as painful as it was for me I thought it was better for her to not serve our selfish needs by making her stay. Now,I’m not so sure. How could this happen? What did we do wrong? Was it the arthritis medicine, the food we fed? There has to be a reason, but this is not for us to know, I guess.

It was like she got hit by a car. We didn’t have the process of an extended illness, or watch her get old. It was just upon us so fast….only 2 days.

I have cried myself out, felt guilty, and questioned God as to why he could take a precious little friend, my soulmate. I’ve had lots of dogs, but she was so special to me. She could read my moods so well and was always with me. I can only believe that God just couldn’t do without her any more and needed her back. Even now, nearly 3 months later, I can’t tell this story without breaking down.

We had her since she was 8 weeks of age, an arrangement totally from God. We came across her when we weren’t looking and she stole our hearts. Isn’t that the way with many of life’s most precious moments?

Thank you, Mark, for this forum.

Lisa from MI