Tasha, Now running the Great Iditarod in the Sky

August 14th, 2009 | by Sqotty |

I laid Tasha to rest on Saturday.

She had been suffering from arthritis for some time, but we didn’t know to what extent. Early last month, the folks at the pet clinic we go to took some new x-rays. They spotted the worst case of arthritis they had ever seen in a canine. There was one particular bone spur that was the major problem. Arthritis, in and of itself, is painful, but manageable. Unfortunately, there was more. There were some off patches around her organs, especially the kidneys. They wanted to run a sonogram, so we scheduled it for a day during the following week when I could drop her off. I was concerned, but not overly worried. Save for the arthritis that was causing her pain and some loss of mobility, she was lively as can be. What else could be wrong?

They called me with the results. She had cancer, and by the looks of it, it was lymphoma. To be precise, she had three large tumors, one was softball sized and wrapped around an artery (or too close to do anything about it). It was very advanced, and very aggressive. It also explained why she hadn’t been eating very much and was losing weight.

There were not many options. Chemotherapy is available, but not always a sure thing, and might add some months to her life. But combined with the arthritis that was also affecting her, I had to wonder if that was a good idea. I also have a friend who last her service dog to lymphoma earlier this year, and she had tried the chemo, and it didn’t help. Add to that not being able to explain what was going on to a dog, and it was time to make a decision.

The clinic provided me with a fresh supply of pain medication for Tasha, and I took her home and monitored her health, mobility, and noticeable pain. The meds helped manage the pain, most of the time. But she was still turning her nose up at her regular food. Well, the rules had changed, and she went on a special, no more rules, diet. I would scramble eggs, with some sliced turkey mixed in for breakfast, and in the evening I would fix up some rice and ground beef for her. Sometimes she would get canned food. At first, it made a difference, but eventually she began to turn her nose up at this food as well. On the morning that I took her in the clinic for the last time, she wouldn’t even eat her favorite dog treats. Deep down, I knew it was time, and I think she knew it was as well. It still broke my heart.

Tasha was, in many ways like Katya; gentle and loving with adoring eyes. She always wanted to be huddled up with her people. She was a 65 pound lap dog who loved to sleep on the bed with me, but adjusted to being banned from the bed when I married Sue.

Now Tasha is with Katya, living every husky’s dream of running the Iditarod. But my heart still aches, and she is missed.

Here are a couple of my favorite pics of the girls.

Tasha and Katya

Tasha and Katya

Tasha with Bunny Ears

Tasha with Bunny Ears

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