Chloe was the first pet my family ever had. We had small things like hermit crabs, tons of fish and birds but never a “real pet.” When I was 20 my mom was convinced to bring home an adorable little, chocolate, American Cocker Spaniel.
At the age of 10, the vet found a spot of skin cancer around her paw. We caught it early and with surgery and a few anti-cancer vaccine shots, she was cancer free…we thought. This cancer had a high rate of metastasis. In many dogs the cancer would travel into the lungs; however we were told if we did the vaccine shots we had a good chance of killing the infected cells before that could happen.
We were wrong. About three weeks ago Chloe started to change. She wasn’t eating well, she was losing weight and was lethargic. She had good days and bad days but we were determined to figure out what was going on. We took her to the vet and they began running every test they could think of. Her chest would be the last they check because we just had an X-ray done in the middle of June and it was perfect. None of us, including the vet, thought there would be cancer filling up her lungs.
It happened so fast. She went to the vet last Tuesday and she seemed like she was getting better, even scarfed down a ton of food while she was there. By Friday though, her breathing became extremely labored. Saturday morning the “last resort” X-ray showed what we had been dreading for the last two years…a chest full of cancer.
We were devastated. The vet, who we have gone to for years and trusted extremely, between tears, told us there was nothing we could do at this point. The worst news any pet owner can hear. I rushed up from South Jersey to spend one more night with my little pup. The last hours were brutal. We had an appointment Sunday at 10 am. I walked into the house to be greeted by her one last time at 2pm Saturday. The countdown began. Every time I looked at the clock I would calculate how many hours I had left with her.
She was so sick though. I was shocked when I saw her because I had just been up for a visit and she was acting completely normal. Now, she didn’t want to move too much, had trouble breathing and going to the bathroom and refused the treats and bone I brought her.
I slept one hour that night. She was so uncomfortable and kept changing positions –and she was breathing so heavily I knew she was having trouble getting oxygen in. I stayed awake and pet her, telling her it was okay and that we were going to get her out of pain soon. Our vet told us animals will tell you when it is their time to go –and Chloe was definitely telling us. She would stare at us strangely and would place her paw on my arm and give me this sad look through the night.
Sometimes Chloe was such a pain! Her barking, crazy behavior...and how we could not trust her around Lucia drove me bonkers sometimes...but this dog was so very loved. We humanize these pets and they become like family and when they leave us, they leave a void. She will be missed. It is unclear in the Bible whether or not our pets will be up there with us...but I would like to think so.