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Maple came into my life shortly after I lost my dad to cancer. She was a special, silly, darling, sweet eight year-old dog who was just what I needed. She found joy in absolutely everything she did, bounding through life looking for the next adventure (even if that adventure was simply staring up close at a cat who wanted nothing to do with her). She loved spending time with me and was so happy when I got home every day that she’d jump about six feet into the air, even though she had arthritis in her back legs (I always made her stop)!
One day about four months after I adopted her, I noticed a light limp in her front leg. She was always so excited about everything that I assumed she pulled a muscle or tripped while running and twisted something. We went to the vet for x-rays and I thought that the worst case scenario would be orthopedic surgery and bed rest (which would be tough for my active girl). While sitting in the vet’s office, Maple’s sweet, silly personality won everyone over and she was an instant favorite. The staff couldn’t get enough of her goofy grin.
After her x-rays were complete, the vet came in to talk to me. Maple was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. I was in a haze as the vet compassionately explained what that meant. Osteosarcoma is a painful cancer of the bone with an extremely poor prognosis. Her pain would have to be managed carefully until it couldn’t be managed reasonably anymore.
I walked out of the office still in a daze and was able to keep myself together until we got into the car. Then, the downpour came. My special Maple was really truly sick. How could I cope with that such a short time after losing my dad to a painful cancer? How would I make sure she didn’t suffer? Luckily, it was raining pretty hard out and I could just sit in the car with Maple for a while, recovering enough to drive home.
For the next almost two months, Maple got everything she wanted. She got treats she’d never had before, peanut butter covered everything, pizza, burritos, you name it. We went places until she couldn’t comfortably travel anymore. We sat together at night when she couldn’t get into bed anymore. She got her own twin-sized mattress on the floor so she’d be as comfortable as possible.
Less than two months after her diagnosis, her pain became too much to bear. She could no longer sleep without crying out, even with her regimen of pain medication, and I made one of the most painful decisions of my life. I held her when she was euthanized, telling her what a special girl she was. She drifted off in my arms and my beautiful dog was gone.
I feel so fortunate to have had her in my life, even though it was such an incredibly short amount of time. She came in like a whirlwind of energy and gave me a focus after the painful loss of my dad. She lifted me up and made me feel so loved.
Every dog has the potential to be someone’s gift, someone’s loving companion, someone’s most special girl. Every dog deserves that chance. Please consider donating in memory of Maple, let’s give every dog the chance to be someone’s special dog.
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