After a bleak week where we practically had the priest around administering the last rights, Ruby has rallied. What a fighter.
The story is that after her recent oral surgery the vet told me she was worried about the thickened tissue inside Ruby’s mouth and that it looked cancerous. She took a biopsy of the tissue and sent it to pathology.
I was told the results would be back in a couple of days and as time marched on with no word, I assumed the results were negative and there was no reason to be alarmed.
But then came the phone call from Ross, Ruby’s vet, and he told me she had a highly malignant melanoma in her jaw and that that is the worst place for a dog to have a tumour and that there is no treatment and that it is highly aggressive and that it will spread to her lymph nodes and her lungs.
That knocked me around. I knew she was hesitating when she was eating and she didn’t look very happy but I had no idea things were as bad as he stated.
That was Thursday. By Saturday she had dived downhill and I needed to collect some pain relief and antibiotics from the vet for her. I wasn’t able to get there before they closed so the vet said he’d leave them in an after-hours box for me to collect. After work, I took the 50-minute drive to the vet’s practice, opened the white box and can you believe, it was empty. I turned around and drove home again and 45-minutes later had eight people for dinner.
By Sunday Ruby was looking really dreadful. She hadn’t had anything to eat or drink and there was a lump on the side of her face where the tumour is. I took her to the emergency vet who gave her some antibiotics and pain relief but said she had very little time left as the tumour was so aggressive.
The next morning I took her to see Ross, who apologised for the missing medication in the white box. He said the pathologist had been to collect some samples and had accidentally taken Ruby’s medication with him. Disaster! He checked Ruby and said she looked extremely unwell and suggested the time was nigh. But the children hadn’t yet said their goodbyes and so understanding my predicament, he gave Ruby a general anaesthetic so he could check her mouth and clean up the tumour so she wasn’t biting down on it when she tried to eat.
I collected her later that day and he said that what he had done would last about three days.
I spent the next few days sobbing. It was just such a shock. In December I was told she was in such great shape we’d have her for three or four more years. Then last Thursday I was told she had cancer and by Sunday I was being told she needed to be put down. It was difficult to comprehend.
But Ruby has always been a very tough and resilient young lady. All week I watched for signs I would need to take her to the vet for that final visit. I knew if she stopped eating and drinking, that would be the time. Here at Hotly Spiced it’s been like feeding a toddler where you cook up all this amazing food only to have it rejected. And what’s enjoyed one day won’t be eaten the next. And then there’s the business of trying to get her tablets into her and I’ve tried grinding them, crushing them, chopping them and disguising them. Anything to get her to have her pain killers.
Meanwhile she’s been so loved and adored. She hasn’t had a minute alone. I’ve barely left the house and if I do I take her with me. She’s been taken on her favourite outings like a trip to the beach, and we’ve taken her to our local restaurant where dogs are allowed if you’re at an outdoor table.
I think all the love and attention has been very therapeutic because we thought today might have been the day. When I told her we were going for a ride in the car she enthusiastically ran to the front door with her tail wagging. That was a little too cheery for someone marching off to their execution.
Ross couldn’t believe how good she was looking. Yes, her mouth is very sore but she was walking around the surgery and sniffing all the smells and when she was put on the scales she hadn’t lost any more weight. He said that with the way she’s looking she should have a couple more weeks left in her. As long as we can keep her pain under control.
He showed me how to give her injections so I’ve come home with a packet of syringes and some medication for her. She’s slept most of the day but has surprised me by eating two platefuls of finely chopped barbecue chicken (the livers sauteed in butter then mixed with chicken stock and blended in the Nutribullet were rejected).
So Ruby remains in a very serious condition and her prognosis is terrible, however, she has given us a beautiful surprise by rallying. And that’s good because we’re loving every minute she’s with us.
A mighty thank you to everyone for your beautiful messages in my previous post, Ruby. They were comforting to read and it’s lovely to know just how much love we all share for our four-legged friends.