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Sep 15 2013

Angelversary – Reflections on the year

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My last posting was when the cancer returned.  Although I stayed active in the forums and chat, after losing our boy I just couldn’t find it in myself to update this blog.  It seemed so final.  But today, on this one year anniversary of his passing, it seems only right to close out the story.

Zeus had his amputation on December 1, 2011 when he was 11 years old.  He strained his back a couple of weeks after the amp, so his recovery was about two weeks longer than most.  One month later he began chemo – six rounds of Carboplatin.  An upset stomach after the first treatment was treated with Cerenia and from that point on he was given a Cerenia injection at the time of every subsequent chemo.  That seemed to do the trick and he suffered very little side effect, with the exception of increasing lethargy since the chemo effects are cumulative.  Apparently sensitive to the chemo, his WBC count was too low after the first two chemos to stay with the three-week intervals, so we switched to four weeks between each treatment and that worked well.  Eight months after the amputation, and one month after stopping chemo, we tried to begin the metronomic protocol.  After only one dose he was extremely sick to his stomach.  Knowing that most dogs tolerate the MP with little side effects (and with bloodwork showing abnormal levels), our vet suspected some underlying cause.  An ultrasound confirmed that Zeus had a couple of large tumors in his abdomen, specifically affecting his liver and spleen.  We began Prednasone which seemed to help his energy level and overall quality of life, but we knew that it was just palliative treatment.  On September 15, 2012, ten months after his diagnosis the prior November, our baby crossed the bridge to be with his big brothers.

I have grieved the lost of every dog that we have adopted.  But this was even harder than most as we develop a different kind of bond with our tripawds.  I know that I don’t have to explain it to anyone on this site.  It took a long, long time to return to any semblance of normal.  Not only did I miss Zeus’ presence in our lives, but we had to adjust to being normal people again – not carrying a dog up the 16 hardwood steps to go to bed – not going to the vet monthly for treatments and tests – not spending two hours every Sunday home-cooking the cancer diet for the week.  I found that I had too much free time, my house was too clean and, sadly, my house was WAY to quiet.

So, at this one-year date I still grieve and my heart still hurts, but in the end I have peace.  See, Zeus won.  He beat cancer.  Most of you know that he had a lung met and a “suspicious spot” on his liver at the time of diagnosis.  We all know that those facts gave him a grim prognosis – our vet’s best guess was six weeks.  But he lived ten months and they were ten fabulous months!  It was scary to take the chance, but we gambled and amputated anyway.  One look in his eyes and you could tell that he was still so very happy and so full of life.  We refused to take that away from him.  Any dog lover knows that dogs have a very strong survival instinct and we didn’t feel that it would be fair not to fight as long as he told us he wanted to.  So that is what we did.  We took off the leg, we started chemo, we switched diets, and we spoiled the hell out of him.  Until he told us it was time.  And, when he did, we helped him to go to a place of happiness where he could be healthy and run free until our time to join him.  I still hurt every day.  I still tear up once a week.  I miss him terribly.  But he won.  He loved every minute of that ten months and left on his own terms.

After his passing, many dear friends from this site blessed me with cards, flowers and memorial gifts made in Zeus’ honor.  Every one was extraordinarily touching and meant more to me than words can express.  One flower arrangement was accompanied by a card that read:

“Bear up, my child, bear up; Zeus who oversees and directs all things is still mighty in Heaven”

This is a quote from a Greek poet, Sophocles.  It seemed so right and comforting.  The love, compassion and support of  this community is indescribable, and to this day I am thankful for you all.

My Little Gentleman, you must be the most beautiful Angel Dog in the heavens.  I miss you so much that my heart physically hurts.  Your love, never-ending patience, and complete devotion made me a better person.  I learned from you and because of that I live every day of my life with a determination to make a difference.  Your love for life and lack of worry have instilled in me a desire to live happily and to make every minute count.  Your life on this earth touched me and touched your daddy and we are forever grateful for the time we were blessed to be your guardians.  Now, I know that you are our guardian.  I look for you in the stars and I listen for you on the wind.  I know you sent us a sign – we knew it was you as soon as we saw it.  I still to this day pray that you and your brothers are the first things I see when my time comes to join the Heavens.  Until then, my precious baby boy, rest well and play hard.  You will be forever in our hearts.  Love, Mama and Daddy.

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9 responses so far

9 Responses to “Angelversary – Reflections on the year”

  1.   tracyintacomaon 15 Sep 2013 at 9:37 pm     Reply1

    A beautiful, touching tribute to your Zeus. Thank you for sharing it with us.
    Tracy and Angel

  2.   benny55on 15 Sep 2013 at 9:46 pm     Reply2

    Zeus, “Angelversary”? Yeah, that suites you perfectly Do the Angels sing to you on your “angelversary”? Are all your fellow tripawds (well, I guess everyne has four legs now. Although I understnd some of you “opt-out” when the fourth legs are passed around. Some are just perfectly content with three!) giing you presents and helpng you blow out your ca dles? Are you eating chocolate cake and ice cream with sprinkles?

    While you’re celebrating there, we celebrate your life here very single day. Your mom s here continuing your legacy of love. Throuh her, you are still here inspirng us and passing out a huge dose of hope to so many! Of course you still make us smile when we see your pictures That special grin of yours…what a trip!

    Your mom said she wants to live her life in a way that makes a difference as a way to honor you. INGO…BANGO…SHE NAILED IT! We are all so much richer for having her as our friend on this site. She makes a difference with every post sne writes. I knw she helped me tremendousl when Happy Hannah and I first joined this site.

    Yeah Zeus, you darn right you won! NOTHING touched the essence of who yo are! NOTHING broke your spirit and NOTHING can ever break the soul deep connection you have with your mama and daddy.

    Yes, you are in the stars…and the wind…and the sea….and the sun..and moon….you are omnipresent and never really left. Nothing dimnishes your presence here in our hearts. And in ou hearts you will always be.

    Zeus, you will NEVER be forfotten. You continue to live a life that is still maki g a difference. Thank you for allowing us to be on this i finite journey withyou It’s a privilege.

    Angelversary celebration going on big time over here! Oh my goodness, I just heard thunder! Are you all setting off fireworks up there for your party? I think I just heard a whoopee cushion!!

    Lisa, thank you for the loving tribute. We all love him too…and you!

    From our hearts to yours,

    Sally and Happy Hannah

    •   Champon 07 May 2016 at 4:03 pm     Reply3

      You , better than most, know the struggle I’ve been through to get to this moment. Thank you for being one of the first to purchase the book. It’s on its way to your front door! Oh, and thank you for your stinegthnnreg prayers along the way. I’ve felt them everyone.

  3.   Michelleon 15 Sep 2013 at 10:23 pm     Reply4

    Zues will never be forgotten. You are a great person to stick with the site and help others. Happy Angelversary Zeus.

    Michelle & Angel Sassy

  4.   Dakota Dawgon 15 Sep 2013 at 11:21 pm     Reply5

    I did not know your boy but I love him just the same. He is one of those who just burrowed into the hearts of so many here and will never leave.

    Zeus the mighty and extraordinary, well-loved and never forgotten. You lucked out with your family, just as they lucked out with you and Merlin. Wait for them like the devoted companion you were, sweet boy, but make sure to have fun while you’re waiting.


  5.   fourminipupson 15 Sep 2013 at 11:49 pm     Reply6

    A perfect tribute. Everytime I see his picture come up on the banner I smile and even though he was before my time so many of us look up to him. Thank you for staying around to help everyone that comes here for support and compassion.

    Luanne and Spirit Shooter

  6.   jerryon 16 Sep 2013 at 3:54 pm     Reply7

    Aww Lisa, this is a beautiful tribute. You and Greg were so courageous in moving forward with his amp, and because you were, you all proved that the odds CAN be beaten. What a legacy to leave both within your pack and in this community. Countless people have been helped by, and will continue to be encouraged by Zeus’ inspirational story.

    It’s so hard to believe it’s been a year. Zeus’ presence is still felt strongly here, and will always remain. We miss him dearly and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your participation from within and afar. The world is a better place for all Tripawds thanks to you.


  7.   kathylon 17 Sep 2013 at 4:59 pm     Reply8

    I knew Zeus’ Angelversary was near and has it really been a year? I remember you seeing the rainbow and I also saw a rainbow that same weekend — coincidence? Maybe, but I prefer to say maybe not. There are a core group of Tripawd supporters who are always there for others and Lisa you are in that elite group. You shared your story — and your recipe, but most important you care and speak from the heart.

  8.   travisrayon 18 Sep 2013 at 12:10 pm     Reply9

    What a beautiful tribute to a true tripawd warrior, albeit of the most gentle kind. I am so glad to hear you are at peace. Yes, the pain will continue to abate over time but will also pop up at unexpected moments, when you least expect it.

    You say …. “I look for you in the stars and I listen for you on the wind. I know you sent us a sign – we knew it was you as soon as we saw it.” Reminding me of this lovely poem by Mary Oliver….
    The First Time Percy Came Back

    The first time Percy came back
    he was not sailing on a cloud.
    He was loping along the sand as though
    he had come a great way.
    “Percy,” I cried out, and reached to him—
    those white curls—
    but he was unreachable. As music
    is present yet you can’t touch it.
    “Yes, it’s all different,” he said.
    “You’re going to be very surprised.”
    But I wasn’t thinking of that. I only
    wanted to hold him. “Listen,” he said,
    “I miss that too.
    And now you’ll be telling stories
    of my coming back
    and they won’t be false, and they won’t be true,
    but they’ll be real.”
    And then, as he used to, he said, “Let’s go!”
    And we walked down the beach together.


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