Update 4/3/2015 - Sadly our sweet girl Xena has crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Her knee blew out and there was no relief for her bad leg even lying down. She got almost 2 years of love, activity and fun because of Sam's Senior Dog Rescue Project Program and her wonderful family.
Xena, rescued from Animal Regulation through C.A.R.L.'s Sam's Senior Dog Rescue Program, was diagnosed with bone cancer in her right rear leg and her prognosis wasn't looking good. Marcia Cronk and her family are Xena's 'hospice' foster family.
Thank you to Marcia and her family for taking such great care of Xena. It takes a special someone, in this case a special family, who is willing to take care of a senior dog who is diagnosed with bone cancer.
Marcia emailed pictures and an update on Xena from when Xena first came to live with them to after surgery to remove her cancerous leg.
A little history about Xena from the time that she found us to present day.
I first saw Xena on C.A.R.L.’s Facebook page, which someone had forwarded over to me. C.A.R.L. was looking for someone to foster this girl, and the foster was needed immediately. She had been diagnosed with bone cancer in her right rear leg and was expected to live for about 4 months. C.A.R.L. wanted her to go to a place where she could be comfortable for her last few months. I saw the picture of Xena and thought that this is the kind of dog that I can help to keep comfortable and relatively pain free during the time that she has left.
We went to visit Xena a few days later, knowing that if C.A.R.L. would approve, we would be bringing her home with us. Xena was a very stoic dog. She had not put any weight on her rear leg for some time. Her leg had very little muscle mass and it was obviously painful. C.A.R.L. had taken her to the vet and she was on pain medication, but that was about all we could do for her besides keeping her comfortable.
Xena came to a house that has a lot of animals. Chickens, small dogs, large dogs, tortoises, caged birds, CATS, and little neighborhood kids. Xena came in to the household and immediately fit right in. She chased the chickens and ran as fast as the other dogs in the yard. Xena knows what "no" means, so it didn’t take her too long to understand that chicken and cat chasing was not ok! She is a quick learner and settled into the family quickly.
Xena seemed to be very comfortable at the house. She loves to sleep upside down or sprawl out on the bed or couch. On days that she seemed to be more painful, she retreated to a portable kennel and slept in there until she felt better. Her days were spent playing with the other dogs, chasing lizards, sleeping and visiting neighbors and family. She kept up with the other dogs, even with the neighborhood dogs who would come to our house to play. She knew how to protect her painful leg and, besides her keeping that leg protected, it really didn't slow her down at all.
We started to see some change in Xena about 2 months into fostering. She was sleeping in her crate more and started panting a lot. Her eyes looked like she was painful. We had a standing appointment with the vet the Saturday before Easter. When the vet saw her, she commented about how big the tumor had gotten in just the month that she was last seen. I asked about taking her leg, and the vet said that she thought it would be best for Xena. They wanted to take the leg as soon as possible. I called Sharon and she had everything worked out for Xena's surgery to occur on the following Wednesday.
Xena went in for surgery on a Wednesday. The vet was prepared to take her home with him if she didn’t recover well from what the vet described as a difficult surgery. When we called to check on her at 1pm that day, the receptionist said that the surgery went great and that she was already sitting up in her kennel. They said that she should be ready to go at 5pm that day. When we got there to take her home, she was visiting the receptionist staff and clients in the main lobby. She had already gone for a walk and was ready to come home.
After a few days of rest, Xena started to get around a lot better, was not as painful around the incision area and was anxious to play with the other dogs. She continues to improve every day and it really does look like she is years younger than when she first came to live with us. It was a difficult decision to take her leg, as we weren't sure how far the cancer had spread. We hoped that the surgery would at least take the pain from the cancerous leg away.
About a week after the surgery, her biopsy came back as a soft tissue type of cancer, not bone cancer. We expect her to have many years with us. Thank you so much CARL and Camino Animal Clinic in Thousand Oaks for your care, expertise and kindness. Xena is a great friend and she is going to do great being cancer free.