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Roxy is my boxer girl.  Well, one of my boxer girls actually….I have two girls and one boy.  We bought Kali on August 1, 2007 as a puppy.  We loved her so much and we wanted her to have a friend.  So we adopted Dakota from a local shelter the following year, May 3, 2008. Then summer of 2009 I see this little boxer trotting across our back yard.  She had a collar so I went outside to see if there was a name tag.  When I got close to her I realized she was in really bad shape.  She was severaly malnourished, covered in bugs, and her paws were swollen to three times their normal size.  She was very timid.  She came to me, but stayed at arms length, just enough for me to touch her with my finger tips, and she would not make eye contact with me.  I lured her to my house with food and gave her a place to sleep.  And that’s exactly what she did every chance she got for the next three days.  The day after I found her my husband and I took her to the vet, got her shots and decided if we couldn’t find owners she was going to stay with us.  Needless to say, we never found owners.
We got to work on getting her back in shape.  I actually started to count the number of ticks I picked off her, but stopped at 70.  My husband later told me that he had done the same thing, but stopped at 50.  Fast forward a couple months and the “spot” that was on her left, front elbow had blown up….it was about three inches in diameter.  Originally we thought it would heal on its own, then it just seemed that over night it was huge.  We took her to the vet and was told it was a pressure sore.  Antibiotics didn’t touch it.  I took her back and asked if it could be cancer.  The biopsy showed a Grade III Mast Cell Tumor.
Immediately I switched vets.  Our original vet is an old country vet, and I just felt that he should’ve realized there was something wrong since it didn’t heal.  Of course I don’t blame him completely.  I beat myself up everyday with the “if only’s”.  If I would’ve asked questions immediately maybe we would have caught it at grade II or even grade I and her prognosis might be better…you know how it is….
Our new vet is amazing.  She’s very patient and spends a whole lot of time answering my questions.  Of course the only option was to amputate.  However there wasn’t any guarantees that the cancer hadn’t already spread.  I couldn’t stand the thought of putting her through major surgery and her having to deal with the cancer anyway.  I put her through the first round of tests…blood work, buffy coat analysis and x-rays.  They all came back clear so I scheduled the amputation for the 15th of February, 2010.  But I just didn’t feel right about it.  I struggled so much that I opted for more tests, knowing that if they came back negative I still had no guarantee that the cancer hadn’t spread.  But if they came back positive then I would know not to put her through amputation.  So I had an abdominal ultrasound and biopsy of the liver and spleen done.  All came back clear.  So I scheduled the amputation for March 2nd, 2010.
I obsessed with this whole thing, worried myself until I developed an ulcer.  I checked her everyday for some sign that it had spread still fearing putting her through surgery.  March 2nd came and she had her leg amputated.  So far she has done well.  She’s regained her strength, even though she has less stamina.  We’re hoping against hope that she’s a miracle dog and will live out the rest of her life cancer free.  God willing, we’ll have her for a few more years.
One of the things I will never forget, no matter the outcome, is the fact that it wasn’t until we started paying special attention to the spot on her leg that she started acting like she was truly our dog.  She seems more alive than she had the whole time we’ve had her.  She now plays harder than any of the other two, even though by the vets estimates she is the oldest.  She loves on us more and just seems happier.  Maybe she’s relieved she doesn’t have to go through it alone.  Maybe she’s relieved that we’re helping her.  I don’t know.  But its crazy how even dogs live better when their lives are at stake.

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1 Comment »

  1. Gracie Girl Said:

    on July 27, 2010 at 5:05 pm   

    Hi Leslie and Roxy,

    I love the photos! She is beautiful (all 2 or 3? are). and what a story! You know, Grace is happier than I’ve seen her in a long time too. I was married in November (I think I mentioned that?) and there was a lot of change and she was no longer the center of my word (actually, she was, but she had to share me). While she loves her daddy, she was use to having me all to herself. she and I have had such quality time together and I am very thankful to be able to take a break from work to be with her. In terms of quality of life, it doesn’t get any better! Sounds like Roxy is so thankful and appreciative and you give her all that love right back! Not sure if there are studies on how a happy soul and nurtured spirit can manifest into a longer life with less illness? I hope that’s the case! If so, our dogs will live a long, long time.

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