Thursday, February 17, 2011

RIP Chewie

It never occurred to me that Chewie would die when I first posted his pictures on my facebook page and this blog.  I know  none of us live forever and dogs have shorter lifespans than humans.  But the average toy poodle life expectancy is 12 years.  And if a dog is healthy and well cared for, they can live 14 or more years.  Somehow, I always expected Chewie to outlive the normal expectancy.  But that was when he was 9+ years old and before Thyroid cancer.  

We first noticed Chewie's bark starting to turn hoarse.  Then during his annual vet visit, the Dr noticed a slight thickening  in his throat.  Turns out that Thyroid cancer in dogs is very rare and most often strikes Beagles.  How my precious Chewie got it is a mystery.

He loved to play with everyday items as much or more than toys.  His favorites were empty water bottles and balloons. He would play "vollyball" with a balloon until it popped.  He was so obsessed with balloons that we reserved them for special occasions, like his birthday or Christmas.

When I made my office he was sure my chair was reserved just for  him!

Thyroid cancer is not only rare, but it is an aggressive and ugly cancer in dogs.  There is no cure.  The only treatment is to surgically remove as much of the tumor as possible, but know that they will not get it all.  Then chemo treatment to try to slow the metastases, but eventually it will metastasize and the dog will die.  Because this cancer is so rare, there are no qualified surgeons in our area - the closest one is hours away in another state.  Some dogs don't even survive the surgery.  If I had an aggressive cancer that I knew would kill me regardless of treatment, I would opt to forgo treatment to allow as much quality of life as possible in my last days.  I could do no less for Chewie.  So instead of invasive surgery and chemo, we opted to make his last days as comfortable and pleasant as possible.

He loved to spend time outside in the afternoon sun.  So we tried to spend a little time each day out there with him.

We took lots and lots of photos of him, while he still felt good.  

This is my favorite picture of him.  The dappled sun highlights his coat as he looks up to my husband.  Don't you just love the cute bushy tail in the foreground? 

Chewie was a lap dog, but he was always in control.  He chose the lap and he would always have just a tad of resistance as you held him.  He would put his paws on you with a gentle pressure to let you know he was holding you too.  

I knew the end was near, one day last week when Chewie wanted me to hold him.  This time he provided no resistance and only wanted to be cuddled and comforted.  

As Chewie's days came to an end, he struggled to eat and breathing became the final struggle.  I am very grateful that the Dr at the emergency vet hospital was kind enough to let me hold and comfort Chewie in my arms as he administered the lethal dose.  This cancer has been so uncontrollable it was comforting to at least be able to make his death as intimate and loving as possible.  I will never forget how finally peaceful his limp body was as I handled it over to the  doctor.  Thank goodness he is no longer suffering.

Rest in Peace, Chewie.  

9/11/00 - 2/13/11


  1. I'm so sorry for your loss. I've had a few pets succumb to cancer and you did the right thing, by not subjecting Chewie to all the stress and sickness associated with treatment, especially since there isn't much that exists for treatment.

  2. Right now, I can hardly see to type this...Crying my eyes out for you...We lost our loving, faithful 12 yrs old dog 2 months food poisoning...a very good quality dog food manufacturing co let too much vitamin D slip into the was lethal. I am so sorry for your loss and know first hand that it will take some time to heal.....thinking of you!!

  3. So sorry to read about your lovely pet. Just know that Chewie will always be with you in spirit and in your heart.

  4. Betsy,

    I am so sorry to read that you have lost your furbaby. It's a very hard experience and one that I share with you as I lost mine not so long to the same thing. It will take time and if like me there will be times when you will swear she is there with you. Be strong and just focus on knowing she is out of pain. Here is a site where you can set up an online memorial for her if you like.
    Best of wishes and will keep you and Chewie in my prayers.Joni

  5. I'm so, so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful tribute you wrote. Peace my friend.

  6. Chewie was a beauty and is now over the Rainbow Bridge and your little angel is watching over you, waiting to one day be reunited with you.

  7. Our hearts go out to you deeply. I too lost my "heart" almost 2 years ago and still to this day I can't live a day without thinking of my little boy and how we miss him. He lived to be 17- which is great even for a Yorkie!

    Your tribute brought tears to my eyes- it was just lovely. I hope, in writing your beautiful tribute to Chewie that a small bit of peace and comfort came to you. Time will bring more of the same but we never ever forget the love, laughter and comfort our beloved pets bring to our lives. God Bless you and I know Chewie is running and chasing balloons in a new place full of sunshine and treats.

    I blogged regarding this topic and maybe I can bring some comfort to you in my words. I've included the URL below.

    With love and sympathy,