Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My Sweet Tara

Tara is gone. She is now playing with Scarlett, Katie, Mellie, Scupper, Sam and Sam II. Her battle with Lymphosarcoma was short, just shy of 12 weeks, but she was a fighter. Her case was atypical, and there were no guarantees when we started chemo, but we had to give it a shot. After trying three different protocols, the oncologist took her off meds last Tuesday. She has been on "comfort care" for a week. Last night, or really early this morning, she was struggling to breathe, and could barely stand on her own. This morning, we made the hardest decision, but really there was no decision to be made at all. We were not going to have her suffer. She was too good for that.

Everyone has been so supportive through this, and I feel fortunate to have so many wonderful people in my life. The words of encouragement here on the blog and on Facebook are truly what got me through some of the roughest days. My whole family has been wonderful, from going to appointments with me, letting Emma and Cooper out on the days that Tara had chemo and I would be away from home for most of the day, to just being there when I needed them the most.

My work has been wonderful, allowing me to work from home when I couldn't leave Tara, approving vacation days no-questions-asked, and my coworkers picking up the slack the days I wasn't at work. I even got a new boss in the middle of all of this, and I wasn't there until the afternoon on her first day of work because of one of Tara's treatments. How lucky am I to work for a place that understands that pets aren't just pets, they are so much more than that?

OK, I'm really blubbering now, so I will just share some of my favorite pictures of my sweet girl and then go to bed.

Tara the first day we brought her home from the American Brittany Rescue transport. Look how scrawny she was!


When she first came here, she didn't know what toys were, but she learned pretty quickly!


She liked to help around the house, from cleaning out the cabinet where the trash and recycling bins are kept...
Tara in trash
 helping with the dishes.


She was fashionable...


...refined (eating off of a fork)...

...and loved. Loved so very much.

Happy Tara

 I am positive that she is in heaven right now, because if there is a heaven, the worst dog in the world would be more deserving of a place there than the best human.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ups and Downs

It has been a month full of ups and downs. Literally. One day Tara would be covered with lumps...

...and after a treatment at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital, they would be gone.


Now if only they would STAY gone. Everyone following on Facebook knows that Tara is now on her third protocol. The first one worked great, but only for 4-6 days at a time. By the time her weekly appointment with the oncologist rolled around, the lesions were creeping back. They kept coming back faster and more numerous as the weeks went by, so Tara was switched to a second protocol. That was last Wednesday. Things looked good on Thursday, but by Friday the lumps returned. Over the weekend, they kept growing, and more and more kept coming. Clearly protocol 2 wasn't working. Tara went back to Red Bank on Tuesday, and the oncologist put her on yet another protocol. It's Thursday now, and the lumps are getting smaller, but not at the rapid pace that they shrunk up before. Maybe that's a good thing, though. Maybe this time they will slowly shrink up and go away and stay away. Maybe the third time is the charm???

On another matter, totally unrelated to Tara, (who am I kidding, everything I think about and everything I do is 100% related to Tara), remember those posts I did a while ago about getting out of debt? You know, how I took a second job, and I cut up all my credit cards and vowed never to go into debt again? Funny thing about that... It's not gonna happen. I cash flowed the first month of Tara's treatment from my emergency fund (after all, what could possibly be more of an emergency than a sick dog, right?) but that well quickly ran dry, and guess who opened up a credit card?

It's not a terrible kind of credit card, though. It's called "Care Credit" and it's only for medical or dental expenses, for you and your pets. I hate posting about this and including a link, but I thought I would mention it in case anyone else finds themselves in a similar situation.

So, back to Tara. I don't want anyone to think that I'm allowing Tara to be used as a canine pincushion or a lab rat. I hate the fact that she is getting poison in her system every week. I hate the fact that that there isn't one treatment that works for every dog. I hate the fact that Tara's case is atypical, which just adds another element of surprise. (These kinds of surprises I could do without!) That's a lot of hate. But, as long as Tara is tolerating the chemo well with no (or minimal) side effects, we are going to give her every shot (no pun intended) to go into remission.

In the meantime, Tara spends her days hanging out with her brother and sister...
Cooper, Tara, Emma
...taking naps...


...letting the ceiling fan blow her belly hair...


...and modeling mommy's knitting.


Tara thanks everyone for their continued prayers and healing vibes. She says she can feel your support, and it just makes her want to fight all that much harder. Keep 'em coming!