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trying to cope with the impending loss of Tshuvah
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Taos, NM
Member Since:
12 June 2010
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28 June 2010 - 7:17 pm
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Hi all.  I guess I'm out of the "treatment and recovery" forum now since there is no treatment or recovery for hemangiosarcoma, and such a limited life expectancy.  I'm having a very hard time dealing with the fact that we are likely to lose Tshuvah within the next 8 weeks, and that she could develop a tumor rapidly and bleed out without warning at any moment.  I've even wondered if we should say our goodbyes and help her over the bridge now, rather than waiting for the awful inevitable. Is that crazy?

This is complicated by the fact that I'm leaving for Chicago in a week, taking Tshuvah with me of course.  I'd much rather be at home in her last days and working with our own vet...but I can't delay going to Chicago because of my sister's cancer and treatment needs.


I'm doing everything I can to ensure Tshuvah's quality of life.  Taking her to the park twice a day, making sure she has lots of "meet and greet" time, going for short walks, giving her favorite foods, massages, etc.  I try to stay upbeat and positive with her.  But if she ever looks bored or sad it tears at my heart and I feel like I can hardly bear it.  How to enjoy each moment without dreading the next?


I've started giving her artemisinin because it can't hurt anything, and there's no pain or fear involved in her taking it.  I had to stop the sub-Q saline infusions because she was starting to scream and run away from me, even if I was just leaning over to pet her.  Not a good way to wrap up a wonderful 8 year relationship, so no more poking Tshuvah with needles, not me and not the vet.


I'm not sure what I'm asking for here, maybe just to know that y'all are there and listening and empathizing.  I feel emotionally exhausted.



Beth with my beloved Tshuvah, 10 year old "TaosDog". Provisional diagnosis osteosarcoma on 6/10/10, amputation of left foreleg same day, firm diagnosis of hemangiosarcoma 6/24/10. Set free on 9/9/10.  Treasured forever.

western Washington
Member Since:
7 June 2010
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28 June 2010 - 7:29 pm
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Oh Beth, I'm so sorry.

I guess there's no right answer. We each have to decide. If Tshuvah is not feeling pain and is enjoying life now and if you're not going to be gone too long at your sister's (I'm so sorry about your sister's cancer too) and that the vet is estimating 8weeks time,....

I would super love her and super spoil her during this time.

My first cattledog died suddenly and unexpectedly 9+yrs ago, and I wish I had had more time.

I guess that's all I can say.

Hug and spoil her.

You'll never regret that.

I am a firm believer in quality of life, and it sounds like Tshuvah is experiencing that now.


 Big hugs and yes, sharing tears with you now,



Kona turned 9yrs on April 16, 2010.
Kona was diagnosed Memorial Weekend 2010 with osteosarcoma.
Right rear leg amputated on June 4th. First chemo June 18th 2010
Second chemo July 9th, 2010      Third and final (yea !!!) chemo July 30th, 2010
ONE TOUGH GIRL this Australian Cattledog !

***Kona's journey/fight ended late in the evening of December 22, 2010***

                               We Love you so much Kona….always   

  Bella 9yrs, albino lab/aussie shep/pit?(abandoned in mts as a puppy) deaf & blind (from birth) in one eye limited vision in other.(laid back, ok lazy 73 lbs)

Cotton, 5yrs, albino hound/terrier of somesort/???(abandoned in mts as a puppy) deaf & blind in one eye(from birth), excellent vision in seeing eye. (ball addict…destroyer of Kong balls…yes,etc), high energy 55lbs knots of muscle)

Kona Kai's pup brother and sister as well as her buddy and playmate cat, Shaymous 12yrs (like Seamus), miss her terribly.

Member Since:
14 April 2010
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28 June 2010 - 7:40 pm
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Beth I am so sorry for your dilema. we just got back in town after a 4 day wedding trip and I know exactly what your going through, I was having the same thoughts a couple weeks ago with Gus when I wasn't sure if he had taken a turn for the worse, but he managed to clear that bump in the road. You already have the right mind set with quality of life, but this crap puts us in such emotional turmoil at times that just isn't fair, what a tough call. Could you contact a vet  from a recommendation from someone in chicago and tell them of your situation so that if you need something, they would be familiar with Tshuvahs history. Good luck and everyone involved here is in our prayers 

My buddy Gus had a left front amputation on April 7, 2010 and lived a great life until July 26,2010

28 June 2010 - 7:56 pm
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Beth, I'm so sorry that you and Tshuvah are having to go through this. Oh how I wish I could help in some way. You are dealing with so much and I know you are really really hurting. I don't think it's crazy,  in the end you must decide what is best for your girl but you won't be judge here that I can promise you. I have read your post over and over and just can't find the words I'm looking for. I just feel so sad for you. Please know that you, Tshuvah, and your sister are in my thoughts and prayers. 



Taos, NM
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12 June 2010
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28 June 2010 - 8:13 pm
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Y'all are just the best, truly.


I should have mentioned that we are going to be in Chicago for two months, so it is certainly possible that we will lose Tshuvah while we're up there.  today I got online and found a mobile vet in the area we'll be staying, I hope to talk to her tomorrow.  If we do have to put Tshuvah down while we're away i want to be sure its not in some strange vet's office.


Between a rock and a hard place for sure.  Between impossible and impossible.


Hugs and blessings to all,  Beth

Beth with my beloved Tshuvah, 10 year old "TaosDog". Provisional diagnosis osteosarcoma on 6/10/10, amputation of left foreleg same day, firm diagnosis of hemangiosarcoma 6/24/10. Set free on 9/9/10.  Treasured forever.

Member Since:
28 September 2009
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28 June 2010 - 8:15 pm
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 I am so sorry for everything you and Tshuvah are going through. My heart aches for you both.  Continue to love, spoil and just enjoy ever single minute that you have together. The time to grieve will come but it's not today so please feel the joy for the moments you are sharing, try to leave the sadness for the day that Tshuvah tells you she is ready to end her journey. I pray for you, Tshuvah and your sister.


Jo Ann & Tasha

Tasha 8 years old, First cancer diagnosis 6/26/09, Last cancer diagnosis 9/26/09, Amputation 10/01/09, Loving our girl moment by moment.

Tasha lost her battle and became my Angel on May 4 2011. Forever in my heart….

Edmonton, Alberta
Member Since:
11 January 2010
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28 June 2010 - 8:25 pm
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Oh, Beth, I am so sorry. Sorry about Tshuvah. So sorry about your sister. What a rough time you and your loved ones are going through.

I don't have any words of wisdom. None. This all just sucks. With all that's going on it just has to be almost impossible for you to paste on a smiley face. It would be for me. I'd be taking lots time-outs in the shower to have some good cries.

You are definitely not crazy. You have a tough decision to make. I don't envy you. I know exactly how I would be feeling -- like I was waiting for an axe to fall. 

Enough of my gibberish. Give Tshuvah as much loving as you can and remember, and believe, that whatever decision you make is the right one.

Sending hugs to you and Tshuvah,




Catie -

Birthday – November 4 2003

Amputation – January 13 2010

Crossed the Bridge – June 2 2011

 Catie Caitlin 

Las Vegas, Nevada
Member Since:
14 August 2009
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28 June 2010 - 8:39 pm
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Oh Beth,

This pulls so hard at my heart strings.  I totally understand what you are saying. Do I have answer? No.  And even if I did, it may not be what's best for you.  You've got so much to worry about, especially with your sister.  I may sound cruel but your sister should be priority.  She needs you  more than ever.   I lost my only sibling and brother suddenly just a couple of years ago, so I know how painful it is.  There is nothing that can replace the love of a sibling.  It's like losing something of yourself that you can never, ever get back.  It's the most painful thing I've ever experienced including losing my dad at a young age. 

My Rugby dog died without warning from hemangiosarcoma last year.  His heart bled out in his heart sac, so it couldn't beat.  No symptoms, he just collapsed and finally a few hours later during the testing to see what was wrong, he arrested.  I would have given anything to have more time with him.  But if I couldn't have him a happy dog, I would have only wanted time so he knew how much I loved him.   I would have only bought time to say good-bye.

I'm rambling...

My point - and I only say this from losing my only sibling...your sister needs you and she needs your strength.  If you can be there for both her and Tshuvah, then do that.  If you have to choose, you'll never forgive yourself for not being 100% for your sister.

I send you my best.  And yes, we don't judge.  I just want what's best for you and your family. 

Comet's mom




Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
Member Since:
28 November 2008
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28 June 2010 - 8:48 pm
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I am so sorry you have so much to deal with right now.  Cancer sucks!  Human and animal.  I do not think it is crazy to consider letting her go now.  You have so much on your mind with both she and your sister. I can imagine how difficult it is to think Tshuvah may have a traumatic passing from some complication. Only you will know the right answer, and we will all support whatever decision you make.

You are in my thought and prayers. You have a heavy burden on you, and I feel so badly for you.

((Hugs)) to you.

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

Member Since:
1 January 2010
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28 June 2010 - 9:07 pm
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Dear Beth,

I am holding you in my heart this week.  I am at a loss for words.  You are so strong to be dealing with so much right now.  I think everyone here gave great responses to you - to have to deal with cancer for your sister and Tshuvah at the same time just seems so unfair.  I live in the Chicago suburbs, so if I can help you at all - in any way - while you are here please send me a PM.  I'll send you my phone numbers in a PM tonight.  I'm in the western suburbs, but can drive just about anywhere to have a cup of coffee if you need a friend or a shoulder to lean on.  And our vet does make house calls and is very nice.  I have a dear friend who does not regularly use our vet, but didn't want her lab to get his wings in her vet's office.  So our vet came to her house, where she could sit on the floor with him as he crossed the bridge.  I also have a great oncologist if you need a specialist while you're here - I'll send both of those numbers in a PM also.

Oh - I am keeping you and Tshuvah and your sister in my prayers tonight.

Sending lots of hugs,


Holly joined the world of tripawds on 12/29/2009. She has a big little sister, Zuzu, who idolizes Holly and tries to make all of her toys into tripawds in Holly's honor. And she's enjoying life one hop at a time!

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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28 June 2010 - 9:10 pm
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labradorim said:

I've even wondered if we should say our goodbyes and help her over the bridge now, rather than waiting for the awful inevitable. Is that crazy?


Not at all. How do you want to remember Tshuva. We probably could have waited a few more days, maybe even weeks before we released jerry fro his broken body. But his condition would have only worsened, and we always promised him we would never let him suffer or lose his dignity. My last memories of Jerry include him smiling, I wouldn't want it any other way.

So, how do you enjoy each moment without dreading the next? Ask Tshuva, we have so much to learn from dogs about living in the now. Fear, uncertainty, doubt, regret; these are silly human emotions that do nothing but cause pain.

Many have found Doug Koktavy's The Legacy of Beezer and Boomer to be very helpful in coping with the anticipatory grief you're experiencing. Here is an excerpt from when we first discovered Doug's website.

Please give Tshuva a good belly rub for us, and know that we are all here for you.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

28 June 2010 - 9:15 pm
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I am having trouble coming up with something to say.  I wrote this to a couple of our friends here at Tripawds just a week after I let Maggie go.  They were asking some of the same questions then that you are now.  I hope you don't mind that I copied it here- I can't say it any differently:

I have been trying for an hour to compose this post.  I know how I feel but I am having trouble finding the words…

One of my biggest stressors over the past few weeks was that I wouldn't know when Maggie was done.  Over the past three months I asked her all the time to tell me when she was ready.  Many people have said here that they knew when the time came, but I doubted and worried that I would get it right.

It helped me to have clear in my mind what quality of life was for Maggie, and to decide what conditions were not tolerable.

But beyond all my thinking and planning I knew- just looking at her I knew.  I decided on that Tuesday night that she had reached the end of her battle.

Of course Mag gave me pause when my Dad came to see her on Wednesday morning- she played with him a bit and then went to the park with him.  And the tiniest doubt crept in. But I thought about it and realized that she had had only an hour or two of good time in the past 24 hours, and that was just not enough. 

We all have made gut wrenching decisions throughout this cancer battle.  We decided on amputation, we decided on treatment, and we decided when it was time to stop treatment. We never could have imagined that we would have to make these choices, but when faced with it we found the strength.

If you reflect back on the cancer fight so far you will see how much strength you have gained.  In some ways the cancer journey itself has prepared us for the day when we come to the end of the road.

We have done the best we could, we have made all the hard choices.  Everything we have done, all the decisions we have made, were made with love and only the best interest of our tripawds in our hearts. And because we made our decisions this way we cannot be wrong.

None of this makes the decision easy, I am missing Maggie every day.  But what I do have now is a bit of peace- because I know with all my heart that I was right, I know I did the best I could, and I know Maggie is at peace, snoring a good pug snore on someone’s lap.


For me to continue with Mag meant daily sub-Q fluids, and experimentation with pain meds to try and find something that would give her relief and not freak her out.  And even if we could control the pain, she was hating the fluids and continuing would only buy us a short amount of time. When my vet and I were discussing Mag one thing she said helped me focus- "at some point the treatment is worse than the disease". 

None of what you say or think is crazy.  You love Tshuvah and want the best quality of life for her. Because of this I know you will make the right decisions at the right time.

I hope you can stay in touch while you are in Chicago. You will be dealing with a lot with Tshuvah and your sister.  We will be here to help with all of it.



On The Road

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24 September 2009
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28 June 2010 - 9:27 pm
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Beth, I'm so sorry that you're coping with so much right now, it's a heavy burden that most people couldn't handle. But it's clear that Tshuvah is giving you the strength you need to cope with whatever comes next.

You are doing all you can to follow Tshuvah's lead, she is showing you a whole new side to the phrase "living in the now." All you can do is take each day as it comes, just as she does. You have a good head on your shoulders. By planning ahead and finding a vet who can help should the time come while you're there, you will be prepared and have one less thing to deal with.

My situation was a little different, but when I was very sick, my pawrents and I were also traveling. The best we could do was enjoy each day, treasuring my good days while holding eachother through my not so good ones. All of us knew it was only a matter of time, but we continued to do our best to see the beauty in being alive, happy and witih eachother. Some days were easier than others. When the day came that we knew it was time to say goodbye, it hurt like hell but we were ready, taking comfort in knowing that we did all we could to make the most of the life we shared, knowing that even in death, we would never be separated. 


"As we look deeply within, we understand our perfect balance. There is no fear of the cycle of birth, life and death. For when you stand in the present moment, you are timeless." – Rodney Yee

We are here whenever you want to talk Beth, and sending you and your wise girl lots of hugs.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

28 June 2010 - 9:41 pm
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Oh Beth, I'm so sorry about Tshuvah.  You will do what's right at the right time...but my heart breaks for you.  You have so much on your plate right now.  Keep in touch and remember we are always here.

Pat & Spirit Ruthie

Member Since:
26 November 2008
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28 June 2010 - 11:08 pm
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First, it would be very hard to add any improvement to the wonderful words expressed above, but I would like to add my support at this time. For many of us, we could tell in our companion's eyes that it was time to let go and end our battles. The not knowing exactly what may be going on is a burden that I can only imagine. We will support you throughout this very difficult time. While you have every right to be emotionally drained, we know that you will find the strength to fill these days with memories that will last forever.

Praying that you will be given more time together,

Spirit Cherry's Dad

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