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Josie The Greatest Dane

Josie's Journey with Osteosarcoma

Josie The Greatest Dane

The Only Love Money Can Buy

March 12th, 2010 · 11 Comments · Uncategorized

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I bought Josie 6 years ago. She was a birthday present to myself. She turned 6 on February 24th. Next to my daughter Brittany she is the love of my life! I had always wanted a dog….we always had a dog when we grew up, but never one of my very own!

A lady told me once….”they are the only love money can buy”. She hit the nail right on the head….

Sunday March 7th 2010….a day like every other. I took my two danes Josie and Gully for their daily walk. We usually go to a local 68 acre park with trails, hills, river frontage, mud, clay and lots of other dogs. Today the girls ran and played off-leash like they always do. We met up with other people and dogs along the trails and the girls romped and chased for about an hour.

We headed back to the truck and loaded up. Wisconsin winter is coming to an end and their feet, legs and bellies display the melting snow mixed with the underlying dirt, yes, they are a mess. Once we arrive home they hop out of the truck and I wipe them down with a towel. As I am wiping down Josie, I noticed she has a small lump on the wrist area of her front left leg. I feel immediate panic due to the fact that not too long ago her sister died from leg cancer.

Being Sunday I decide to wait until morning to go to the vet. It doesnt seem to be an emergency…..

Josie is starts limping later that evening…I wonder….did she get stung by something? tear her ACL? She didnt cry during the walk….what could it be?

Monday March 8th 2010 We wake up and drive to the vets office arriving at 8am jsut as they open. Josie is still limping. I explain my concern and Josie is looked at within a half hour. I have been a wreck all morning and cry sitting in the waiting room. As soon as the vet looks at her wrist she expresses her desire to take Xrays. She explains that due to her breed she could have “osteo….something…..”. I dont know what it is, but I know it is cancer. They take my baby girl for Xrays and an aspiration. When I come back to get her she is drowsy from being sedated but happy to see me and Gully.

The vet puts the films up and expresses her educated opinion….”Osteosarcoma” is the word. Bone cancer. She refers me to Madison to the teaching hospital for either amputation or a limb-saving surgery. She suggests that we call and schedule an appointment for next week when the test results come back, she says “You can always cancel it” . We leave….with that…an anti-inflammatory, pain meds and a brochure. We know nothing else…..

I call the hospital and tell them that I was to make the appointment for “next week”. They offer me a few different dates but I opt to take the very first one. Monday at 10am.

I drag the mattress from the spare bedroom onto the floor of the living room. I want to sleep with her, snuggle her, hold her and I dont want her to put any undo pain on her leg. She loves the convenience of walking into the bed and snuggles with me….I wonder if she knows…I talk to her and softly stroke her lump….telling her that it is okay, that I will take care of her.

Later that night I talk to the owner of Bella (Josie’s sister who passed away recently from bone cancer). It is our first conversation. We dont know one another but we talk for over an hour. I cry, she consoles me. She expresses the deep hole in her heart from losing Bella. She tells me that what ever choices I make, I will second guess them, but that I will do what is best for my Josie. I ask her one last question….something that has been bothering me all day…”Would you wait until Monday to go to Madison or would you call and get in sooner?” Bella’s Mom advises me to call tomorrow, exactly what I thought….she tells me to do what “I” think is right.

Josie is sleepy from the pain meds. She slept all day, she is drowsy and not herself.

Tuesday March 9th 2010 I wake up and speed dial the teaching hospital. The answering service has the phones until 8am. Finally I get through. The next available appointment with Oncology is tomorrow at 11am. I take it.

I decide not to give her the pain meds today. She is not limping and it is nice to see her up and about. She is almost her old self again. We take two short leash walks and just enjoy being together. I cry constantly….I dont want her to die…..I love her so much.

I dont get much sleep tonight. I am so worried about her and what we will find out. We will have a 2 1/2 hour drive to Madison.

Wednesday March 10th 2010 Today is my 44th birthday. It is not a happy birthday and I dont want anyone to even say it to me. 6 years ago I got the best present ever….today, it could be the worse birthday of my life. How ironic is it that today is “that” day?

I pack some dog food for the girls and an overnight bag for myself just incase we need to stay over. My daughter lives in Madison, so we will get to see her and can stay at her apartment if needed. We arrive early and the girls are excited to smell all the smells around the vet hospital. Josie is doing great today, barely limping but still has the lump.

A student assesses her and then we meet the oncologist. She expresses what they will do, sedate her again…..they need more Xrays to rule out lung mets and take some blood. This could be bad….

We wait for the results of the Xrays and find out that they are negative!!!! I cry over and over with each consult….from student, to oncologist to the surgeon. I tell them something they probably hear every day…”She is my baby”.

They suggest amputation. They do not do the limb saving procedure my vet told me about. I express my concern about her being a great dane without a front leg….is that even possible? They refer me to this website….

Four hours after walking in the door of the vet hospital I am driving to meet up with my daughter. We cry, we laugh, we discuss all the options. We nap, snuggle, kiss, spoil and love Josie together, I can not decide anything without her input. Together we decide through many many tears that amputation is the best option.

Thursday March 11th 2010 Separation day is scheduled for March 16th 2010 at 11am. After spending the night at Brittany’s apartment we drive home. All three of us nap in the living room on our mattress that afternoon. Josie wakes up and is limping a bit more. She licks her leg a few times so I decide to give her another pain pill. She is sleeping now. Resting….I tell her not to worry, I will make sure she is comfortable. I will always do what is best for her, not me.

Josie….I love you! You are the greatest dane!

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