Adventure Nomad

Adventure Nomad

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Dog Named SanDeE

SanDeE with my wife, Laura, during happier times
Cancer sucks.  It doesn't matter if it happens to a human or a dog.  It not only sneaks up and robs one of life, it does it in a way that causes much pain and suffering.  And so it was with SanDeE...
Taking a break out on the trail
SanDeE was named for the color of her coat, but spelled after Sarah Jessica Parker's character in the 1991 movie, L.A. Story (Big S, little a, little n, big D...).  When she was a young pup, she would fall down a lot.  She fell off a ledge at the back of our house (which gave us a huge scare because probably a 10' (3m) drop) only climb back up shakily.  She also fell into our fish pond, and that's when we learned that Golden Retrievers are natural swimmers.  We suspected hip dysplasia,, and a visit to the vet confirmed this.  A couple of expensive surgeries failed to fix the problem, and on our regular runs, she would lag behind, eventually dropping out of sight, but always appearing a few minutes later, soldiering on and wearing her silly, happy grin.

We had bought SanDeE from a pet store who had obtained SanDeE from a local breeder.  When we informed them about SanDeE's hip dysplasia, they offered to 'replace' the puppy.  But with SanDeE's fate uncertain, giving her up was not an option.
Out for our evening walkie with the doggies
The years passed.  She loved to swim, and swam almost everyday.  In the fish pond, when we had a pond.  Then in a pool when we moved and had a pool.  She never really could walk for long, and eventually we settled on a routine.  When she'd had enough, she'd just stay put and munch on some flowers, and we would come around to pick her up on the way back.
Other than the hip dysplasia, SanDeE had the temperament and character of a perfect Golden Retriever.  She was brave, gentle, loved children and other dogs, and would comfort anyone in distress.

When we brought SanDeE in to see the vet, we had thought she had some sort of indigestion.  But no, it was cancer and the cancer was too advanced to treat and the vet advised us to put SanDeE to sleep.  It was a decision we were not prepared to make, and so we brought SanDeE home with a few days worth of painkillers.  When those ran out, we brought SanDeE back in and the vet was happily surprised to see her looking so well.  This time, we brought back two weeks worth of painkillers.
Santa and her reindeer.  Hehe... Doggies will do anything for their masters!
SanDeE lived for two more weeks beyond the initial diagnosis.  The painkillers helped, and in those two weeks, she had only four bad days.  Two of those bad days were right at the end.  She couldn't eat, not even her painkillers, couldn't move, and the last night she coughed up a lot of blood.  We spent her last day doing he favorite thing in the whole world: Car rides!  Each time we drove somewhere, we would open up the back of the SUV for her to experience something new.  New sights, new sounds, new smells.  She was interested, but we could see that she was in pain.

And when it was time to end her suffering, we kept SanDeE in her happiest of places, the back of our SUV while the vet did her work.  I locked gaze with SanDeE until she closed her eyes for the last time.
SanDeE, world's sweetest doggie, born 18 January 2003, went to doggie heaven 21 October 2013


Mark said...

I am very sad to hear about the loss of your dog. Wish you and your wife all the best and strength.

Chris said...

Sorry guys, losing a pet sucks and yes, cancer sucks.

Unknown said...

Thanks guys.

It's been said that despite knowing the day will come when a pet must go, we are never prepared when that day comes.

At the moment, we are hoping to adopt a German Shorthaired Pointer.