I didn’t know it when I woke yesterday, but it was to be the last day on earth for my sweet girl, Spanky. She was diagnosed with anal gland cancer last summer and surgery was performed. The mass had adhered itself to the colon wall, so it was impossible to remove every cancer cell. I knew it was a matter of time – I was told anywhere from six to 18 months.

Then yesterday, she tore her ACL. I thought we were facing another surgery – until the vet said the larger concern was a new mass on the remaining gland. I was told within 10 weeks, this very aggressive cancer would make my dog horrifically sick. Even with ACL surgery, her leg would not have been healed in that time so I made the most difficult decision of my life. She was not strong enough at 10-1/2 for two surgeries, and the leg surgery was pointless without the cancer surgery. I had her put down so she would not suffer with leg pain, and so cancer could not slowly ravage her body. The idea of her suffering needlessly for even 5 minutes was too much for me to bear.

The pain and sorrow I feel today is beyond description. This is a dog who I got for free from a woman giving away puppies in front of a grocery store and she ended up to be the best dog EVER. I have been around dogs my entire life and I have never seen a more gentle or tender-hearted animal. I cared for her to the best of my ability every day of her life from the day I got her until the day she died. She died in my arms with me singing to her, “She’s my Spanky girl, she’s my honey girl, she’s my sweet baby girl, she’s the Spankiest girl, she’s my missy miss, I love my baby girl, she’s the best girl EVER…” There will never be another dog as tender, gentle or loved as Spanky.

— Donna from Northglen, CO