Monday, June 29, 2009

Oji...June 12, 2008 - June 9, 2009


Well, I hate to finally have to write this, but Rest in Peace, Oji.

As many of you know, back in March, Oji was diagnosed with lymphoma. We were stunned. I mean, here we had the best dog ever, and he gets cancer? What's up with that?

One morning, while scratching him under his chin, I noticed that his lymph nodes were swollen. I scheduled an appointment with the vet, figuring that it was just an infection of some sort. Unfortunately, when they did the tests to rule out cancer, that's precisely what he had.

A week or so later, they took out one of his lymph nodes for a more definitive diagnosis, which confirmed that it was B Type lymphoma, and already at stage 3. Typically, dogs who contract it last only a month or so longer. Lymphoma being uniformly fatal, we decided not to spend thousands of dollars on chemotherapy which would still have the same ultimate results. However, nor did we want to just do nothing. So, we picked a middle ground and used a holistic therapy that our vet recommended. It had to be prepared with cooked meat, rice, and vegetables, so for a while, he was eating as well or better than we were. In fact, usually, the night I made a big batch of "Chicken Oji" or "Beef Oji," we would also eat it for supper. It is now one of our regular meals (or would be if we had a kitchen...that's another story). And after supper, ice cream.


We took him back up to Decker Creek a couple of times, and I let him off the leash while on our walks through the property. He had a great time...he got to run around, and he actually came back when I called him. I was so proud.

Oji did great up until the last three weeks or so. He stopped eating his food with the Neoplasene (the holistic stuff) in it, so we tried a shot of prednisone to perk him up. It fought back the symptoms for about a week before we needed a second shot. That one lasted about five days. We gave him two more before he had a particularly bad night. After I gave him a bath, he began to have very labored breathing, having to extend his head and neck to get a clear path for the air. A couple of times, his eyes began to slowly close, and we thought we would lose him right then. Eventually, he found a way to get sort of comfortable, and got a bit of sleep. He would get up periodically, though and cough or pace around. I could tell that the time was near.

We were getting ready to start a long overdue kitchen renovation in a few days, and after discussing it, we decided that it would not be fair to Oji to put him through the disruption of his quiet home with the noise, people coming in and out, and general destruction that would happen. So, after talking it over with Melody's cousin, Micky, she agreed to come to our house to put Oji to rest.

That day was a surprisingly good one after what we experienced overnight. We went for two good walks, he ate two hamburger patties and some eggs, and even got to chase some birds at Bella's daycare (caged parakeets...he got the feathers flying. Hilarious!). He had a good last day. video

When it finally came time, we took care of him in our living room, on his favorite blanket, surrounded by people who loved him.

Now, the house and our hearts have a dog shaped hole in them. We always expect to see him, just behind us, or at the window watching for us to come home. The curled up blanket on the bed, out of the corner of our eyes, looks like him. He's gone, but we are constantly reminded of him.

He was everything we wanted in a dog...sweet, quiet, well mannered and funny. He could be petulant, and every time I gave him a bath, he would sulk for a few hours and avoid me. He would chew on his pillow when he was tempted to chew on us or something of ours, including Bella. He eschewed all the toys I bought him except the rope and a blue washcloth. I remember so well how he would grumble and look up at me with his brown eyes as if to say, "Geez...could this guy be any slower? Let's go already!" In short, he was an incredible dog, and a great member of our familiy. He is missed terribly.

Oji, you were with us for far too short a time. You gave us unconditional love, and I hope you know how much we love you and miss you. Thanks for being our best, first dog.