My Sweet Amber Dog

We adopted Amber from Friends of New Haven animal shelter. Here is the original story which should be read before this one https://arose4sharon.com/2019/02/14/rescue-me-part-3-of-a-5-part-series/

Our sweet girl Amber had been licking her front paws excessively for a few days. I gave her a warm bath, cut her nails and shaved her paws however the paw licking got worse. I called my vet and they suggested I bring her in as paw licking is a sign something could be wrong.

On our way to the vets office Amber was very nervous. She was panting like crazy. I turned around to look at her and I noticed there was something on the bottom, right side of her mouth, on the gum line. It was a pink lump that looked sort of like bubble gum. I never noticed that before.

When we got to the vets office I mentioned the mass in her mouth. The vet looked at it and I could tell by the look on her face it was NOT good news. She said, “Amber has a sarcoma in her mouth. We need to test it to be sure”. We made an appointment for a biopsy and also to take as much of the tumor out as possible. That happened within a few day.

We dropped Amber off to get the procedure done. She did very well. 3 teeth had to be pulled due to the tumor but she seemed to be in good spirits. Now we wait for the results.

2 days later, the phone rang and it was the vet. As expected it was very bad news. Amber had a poorly differentiated sarcoma in her mouth. It was growing out of her jaw into the gums. It is an aggressive tumor that grows quickly. Doc said she removed as much as she could but it will grow back rapidly. The options were to remove part of Amber’s jaw, radiation and medicine. Amber is 11 years old. We decided not to put her through any of that mostly because there is no guarantee she will survive.

The next 4 weeks were very emotional for all of us. We kept her as comfortable as possible with some pain medication and hand feeding her. She was able to eat home made sweet potatoes, rice, chicken and some ground beef. The tumor would periodically bleed and seemed to be getting larger. She was sleeping most of the time and we carried her outside to the bathroom as she wasn’t interested in walking. I took her for many, many walks in the doggie stroller which she LOVED. She could feel the wind in her face and I would talk to her the whole time. I let her out on the grass to smell all the great smells outside. She loved that. Through all of this she would still wag her tail and look at us adoringly.

On July 31st, we took her back to the vet for a re-evaluaton. I rubbed her belly the whole way. If you read my original blog on how she and I first met, it involved belly rubbing. Every morning I would rub her belly before she got out of her crate for the day. She would hear my voice and turn over on her back waiting for me to rub her belly.

We arrived at 5:15. Doc looked in her mouth and said the tumor doubled in size, was infected and she also felt another lump in her jaw and her abdomen was swollen. We again discussed treatment however with all the tumors, we made the decision it was time for our Amber to be at peace and out of all the pain she was in. Amber willingly laid on her side. I was rubbing her belly as they shaved her small paw. Tears were streaming down my face as I told her how much I love her and she will be okay. No more pain baby girl. I told her I will miss her forever and I will never forget her. I thanked her for being such a great friend to us.

The needle went into her paw and within 2 seconds I heard doc say “She’s already gone”. It was that quick because Amber was so tired. I held her for 10 minutes before I could leave her there, stroking her beautiful white fur. I got back into the car without her and really had a difficult time keeping it together. I wiped the tears from my eyes and thought of all the great times we had with Amber and drove home.

Entering the house without her was difficult and the other dogs in the house knew something was different. It will take time to heal the heart after the loss of such an amazing friend. Amber left us the same way she met us. With loving belly rubs.

Amber and Marcus

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