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  • Writer's pictureFenley Grant

A Dog's Life

Updated: Dec 24, 2023

I've been quiet on the page of late due to my Lilly's health.

Our Lilly--A Retired Racer Greyhound, Rescue Dog, and All-round Best Girl

Lilly's health journey began at the end of July. She started to limp. We took her to the vet in early August when the situation didn't improve.

They took X-rays and diagnosed her with degenerative arthritis. For the next four weeks, we took her in for injections, and she received joint supplements.

No change. In fact, she got worse and wouldn't put any weight on her front left leg.

They suspected cancer and referred us to a veterinary oncologist. We didn't even know such a specialization existed.

It does.

We couldn't get in to see them until September 22. We were there all day. She was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. Our choices were to leave her in pain until the cancer took her, euthanize her, or have the leg removed. They dumped these options on us on a Friday night. They wanted to keep her over the weekend.

Um, no. We took her home for the weekend.

We chose to have her leg removed on September 25th. We picked her up from the hospital on the 27th.

Three weeks of round-the-clock care followed. My husband and I traded off nights of who would sleep on the couch to watch over her.

At the end of the recovery period, we were exhausted, but she could walk. We set up what we called "The Runway"--garage-grade runners that let her maneuver the kitchen floor tile's smooth surface.

Lilly on "The Runway"

She did very well. She even started to chase squirrels in the backyard. Until...

Over Thanksgiving, she faltered and favored the back right leg. We feared the worst--the cancer returned like they said it could. We'd decided against chemo since Lilly was 12 and had already been through so much.

We took her to the vet on "Black Friday". No cancer detected. They felt she was overcompensating in order to balance herself and had strained the right rear leg's muscles.

Since she improved, we figured that was the case.

On December 12th, she was chasing squirrels. By noon of December 13th, she'd collapsed, unable to use either of her back legs. She spent all day of the 14th at the vet's office.

The cancer returned with a vengeance and had spread to her lungs and possibly her spine. They gave us steroids for her to use over the weekend to see if she could regain the use of her legs.

The steroids didn't work, and her condition degenerated. On Monday, December 18th, we had to make the decision no pet owner ever wants to make, and our Lilly passed peacefully around 3:30 in the afternoon.

We are devastated. We are heartbroken. We are mourning the loss of our sweet girl.

Luca, our other pup, doesn't seem to realize she isn't coming back. As we all adjust to life without her, we choose to remember the fun and fabulous dog she was before cancer took her from us.

Lilly "Roaching"--or as we preferred to call it--Lilly doing "Upside Down Girl"

Lilly with Luca--my editorial assistants

Lilly being her sweet self, sitting by me and staring at me with love.

Run free, my darling girl. You are so missed.

If you have fur babies of your own, hold them tight. We never have enough time with them.

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