Loss and Gain

by DFS-Pet-Blog on September 8, 2009

When I brought Rudder into my life last November, it was just 3 months after I lost one of my Newfs, Baci, who had just turned 11. Baci was diagnosed with bone cancer in June of 2008. Bone cancer is a common canine cancer, especially of big breeds.

Sweet Baci enjoying the sun

Sweet Baci enjoying the sun

I did everything I could for Baci, including taking him to a university vet hospital for palliative radiation, since bone cancer is very painful. The vet originally said that he only had a month until pain meds would stop working and I would have to make that awful decision. He lived two months from diagnosis and his quality of life was just starting to wane when I decided to have him put to sleep. It was very difficult, losing this dog, because he and I bonded from the time I saw him in his litter at 5 weeks. I still have a part of him in my heart, and in his littermate, Dulse, my now 12-year-old Newf.

Dulse is still very healthy, although he has had bad hips since he was a puppy – he is a walking advertisement for Joint Care, Omega-3 Gel Caps, and keeping lean and fit. A lot of people want their giant dogs to be GIANT, even though sometimes it means the dog is obese. Not so with Dulse, who is a lean 95-105 lbs.

Dulse, for the first time without his brother

Dulse, for the first time without his brother

Dulse seemed a little lonely after Baci was gone, so I thought a puppy would do the trick – next spring. Then Dulse’s breeder said she had an 18-month-old in need of a home, so in November I brought Rudder into the pack. He is bigger than Dulse – taller, and weighs in at about 135 – but he was used to being the submissive dog, and Dulse, within the dog pack, has always been dominant. (I am, of course, the Alpha of the house – you have to be with any dogs, but especially with big breeds.)

And things have worked out so far. The only problem is when Dulse decides he needs to assert his dominance. Rudder submits, often rolling over on his back to show his acquiescence, but he often gets up fast, knocking over old Dulse in the process, but then Dulse gets right up and goes about his business.

Got your back, bro

Got your back, bro

Other than those times, and an occasional rawhide or toy taken away with a growl, it is working out famously and both boys seem to enjoy having each other around. I have also bonded with this wonderful, big-lug-of-a-Newf.


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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Monica S. September 8, 2009 at 3:57 pm

Hi Barb. Thanks for sharing your story. Its so hard to lose a close friend like Baci was to you. Your strength and courage are an inspiriation.

Hunting Dog Collars Online September 9, 2009 at 1:13 am

That was a very inspiring story. It can touch one’s heart. I know, its very hard to lose a friend like Baci. Your story will be a great inspiration and challenge for other pet lovers.

Marlene S September 11, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Barb,you shared these details with me verbally, but reading your post touched me all over again. All dogs should be so lucky as to have the devoted love and care that your “big boys” receive. Thanks for sharing the painful but inspiring account of Baci’s passing and finishing it off with the joyous news of your bonding with, yet, another Newf.

Jean Orch September 16, 2009 at 1:51 am

I am so sorry for your loss.

Barb S. September 16, 2009 at 8:06 am

Thanks, everyone, for your kind words.

Nancy A. September 16, 2009 at 10:50 am

I am so sorry for your loss. I had a Rottie and at the age of 9 was diagnosed with bone cancer. The vet said she had only 6 weeks at most and I began feeding her every healthy thing I could think of such as spinach, etc. She lived for 4 months until I had to made the decision to put her down. It has been 7 years now and I still miss her. Would you believe I went from a 125 lb. Rottie to a Miniature Poodle? My problem now is feeding her portions for her size and not a Rottie. Oh, she does make my granddog, Sydney a black lab, mind when they visit. Your babies are beautiful.

Barb September 16, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Thanks, so much, Nancy, for the kind words. I, too, am sorry for your loss. It sounds like you did everything you could. The years make it a little easier,but it is still painful to lose a special canine friend.

Miniature Poodles are very smart dogs- I bet you are enjoying her a lot. I could just see her making Sydney mind her- that must be hilarious!

Janiece Adams September 16, 2009 at 10:42 pm

I too have lost my 6year old Black Chow. One night there was a bang on the floor and I turned the light on & she was just getting up, she had lost her urine so she must have had a seizure of some type. Took her to the vet the next morning and he couldn’t find anything wrong.Well that same night she couldn’t stand or walk. She started seizing at midnight. I held her as tight as I could, she would rear back look at me and cry. It was all I could take,so I called my Dad at 6AM, he called the vet and he said to bring her right down. When we got there the vet gave her liquid valium, but the seizures just got worse. She cried so loud and looked at me with such fright in her eyes, like come on and help me. The vet ended up giving her 5mgs of valium in the iv. He had no phenobarb liquid so we decided to go to the next towm 28 miles away to get it. By the time we got there I could tell my beautiful Chow (Shasha) was no longer with us. We got back to Hysham MT one hour later and she was already in a box sitting on the back step, so I couldn’t even hold her hug and give her one last kiss and tell her how much I love and will miss her. I had her cremated in Laurel Montana. It was ,middle of winter so that was all I could do.. They sent a real nice sympathy card with a heart split diagonal , is with my Shasha the other on my necklace I wear most days. I’ve lost many animals in my 54 years an d it just gets harder and harder each time I loose another. I still have two cockers both 12-15 years so I’ll be lucky to have them last the winter.Also a pom-chiuahua 5 yers already. Cat 18 -20 years and two outside cats I love as much as my house animals. Sorry this is so long, but alot of people don,t like these kinds of stories. To this day 1 year later Dick (VET) still has no idea what went wrong. I did notice the more she cried and louder her eyes had pools of blood around the iris of her eye. Please if anyone has and I dea what happened to my baby please get in touch with me. I would appreciate any info from anyone, maybe with this letter it could save someone else’s beloved pet. Thank you ever so much. Janiece Adams Hysham MT 59038 janieceadams@rangeweb.net

Barb September 17, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Janiece- Your story touched me deeply. Having just lost Baci a year ago I can relate to what you are feeling. When we open our hearts to animals we make ourselves vulnerable. There are so many good times, but, unfortunately, since we will likely outlive our pets, we also have to deal with loss.

Even in these days of advanced veterinary medicine, there are still times when no exact cause can be found. Seizures can quickly become a life-threatening situation and it sounds as if your veterinarian did everything that could be done. It may seem that if you just knew why, the sorrow of your loss would be easier to bear, but as you know from your many other losses, it probably would not make a difference. All you can do is to keep the good memories of Shasha alive. Good luck, and know that there are many of us out here who know what the pain is like.

Olga September 25, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

I lost my husband 10 years ago September 22nd and then 3 years later lost my Minature Schnauzer who was just 12 years old to a heart condition. So after much heartache and depression and anxiety I found a black Miniture Schnauzer who just took my breath and heart away. Jesse and I walk every day (Sunday we take the day off) about 2 miles so every time Jesse went to the vet they remarked about how health and beautiful he was. Last July 14th Jesse got a little (looked like a beetle) lump near his stubby tail and I noticed he kept going round trying to get it and finally just sat and wouldn’t get up. After I check it out (I thought it was a bug and I could just pull it out) it was bloody so i called the vet and he said bring him in – he took it out and in a couple of hours Jesse was home. I said to the vet, “it can’t be cancer (after he said it would be biopsied) can it it?” And he said well he’s young but we can’t rule it out. It came back positive for cancer…canine soft tissue sarcoma. I have just started to put Jesse on no grain food. He’s doing fine and I don’t see any signs of anything, but its a scary thing.
I am so sorry for your loss and understand completely how terrible losing a loving pet can be. Thank you for listening and I tell you all this only because I know you who have pets are the only ones who can understand.
Olga at Olereb77@aol.com
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Barb S. September 25, 2009 at 3:57 pm

Olga- it sounded like it was scary to hear that diagnosis, but I am happy that Jesse is doing better now. These guys sure wend their way into our hearts.

Thank you for the kind words, Olga and everyone who commented.

Lisa October 4, 2009 at 7:55 pm

I’m sorry for everyone’s loss. I’m glad we have this forum to talk about it.
**Janiece, Thank you for sharing your story. I related to the unknown cause for your dog’s crying & seizure’s. My childhood dog, Snooty, had something unknown wrong with him from birth. He was the only puppy that lived through their first year of life out of a litter of five. His siblings had died strange unknown deaths. At a young age Snooty began having small seizure’s and the vet’s had no explanation for them. They were mild seizure’s, no pain involved. He would become disoriented & walk around in circles. We’d sit on the floor with him so he wouldn’t run into anything. He recognized us, knew we were there. It was like he was drunk. We’d pet him & talk him through it. They’d only last a minute or two. He’d be perfectly normal afterwards. When he was about 13 years old my Mother was out walking him when he fell to the ground into what can only be described as the worst seizure possible. Wrenching his head back & screaming/crying. My mother was so upset. The vet said he had an enlarged heart. He told us Snooty wouldn’t be with us much longer. I went to visit Snooty at Mom’s I knew it’d be the last time. Just his happiness to see me caused a seizure. It was really hard to watch. He would lose his bowels. So I gave him his last bath. Our last moments to say, “Good-bye”. A couple days later he passed away at home. We don’t know if all those years he was having heart problems. We only know what happened in the end. We were happy his suffering was over. We’d just started making plans to put him to sleep. He had a long & loving life. He gave so much love & visa versa. I feel him around me sometimes. He’s greatly missed. * RIP Sir Snoot “Snooty” 1978-1991 *

Barb October 6, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Lisa- Snooty sure sounds like he was your “heart dog”. Even though it was over 15 years ago, you are obviously still feeling the loss. He sure was lucky to get to live with you.

Pet Apparel October 27, 2009 at 5:19 am

I’m sorry for the loss of you dog. And congratulations for having a new member of the family.
I know that in losing someone it’s hard to move on, but having rudder both you and Dulse can move on and start anew.

Steven Leo

Patricia E. Cherubini April 4, 2010 at 8:47 am

I lost my friend Bonnie Joe back in the 80’s still think about her. She was a black/tan pug who did make it to 15 years old. Had to have her put down due to cancer. Doctor said he could remove the cancer but that it would come back and that she was in pain so I did what I thought the best for the friend I so dearly loved. She is resting in doggie heaven. I’m sure.

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