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RIP Handsome Sam

I’ll be honest, I was really dreading writing this blog because it hurts my heart to think about it. Our sweet rescue dog Sam, who we just got in December, passed away 8 days after being diagnosed with nasal cancer. This type of cancer is very rare in dogs (only 1-2% of dogs get it) but it is deadly. Sam was just 7 years old.

On Super Bowl Sunday, Sam had a slight nose bleed (which is very uncommon for dogs). The next day, he had a dental cleaning so our vet decided to take an x-ray. The x-ray showed that there was something wrong but in order to tell exactly what it was, he needed a CT scan. He was referred to specialty vet and the CT scan showed there was an aggressive malignant mass in Sam’s nose that was growing through the bone into his brain. We were told he only had about 3-5 months to live. WHAT?!? As you can imagine, we were totally heartbroken. This was so hard to wrap our heads around because we had JUST gotten him in December—just two months earlier! He fit in with our family from the start and we had fallen in love with him. My mom always said that he and our other basset hound Toots were like bookends. I just couldn’t believe it. We all felt so depressed.

Sam acted pretty normal for 2-3 days after his diagnosis but then one day it was like a switch went off. Sam started pacing in our house like an animal in a zoo. It’s all he would do—if he wasn’t pacing, he was sleeping because he’d exhausted himself from the constant pacing. He had no emotion, wouldn’t look anyone in the eye, his tail never wagged, he kept getting stuck in corners, and it was like he wasn’t even “there.” He started “listing” to one side, having accidents in the house, and couldn’t get up or down stairs without assistance. It was just AWFUL to witness.

After a week of this (and trying specialty medicine), my family and I made the difficult decision to put Sam down. In our house, we strongly believe in quality of life, not quantity. We are lucky to have a family friend Dr. Sandra Soucheray who owns a mobile vet service (Dr. Soucheray’s At-Home Vet Service). She came to our house with her assistant and Sam crossed the Rainbow Bridge at 3:00 on Feb. 23, 2017. I was petting and hugging Sam as he left us. It was as dignified of a death as we could hope for. If you are ever in the unenviable position of having to put your pet down, I highly suggest having a mobile vet service come to your home. We felt it was the greatest gift we could give to Sam, even though it broke our hearts to do it.

Though I didn’t get much time with him, I wouldn’t change a thing and I would do it all over again even though there were many tears. My family and I are just happy that we could provide this sweet and loving boy a soft place to land in his final days.

I sincerely hope Sam’s story doesn’t deter anyone from adopting a shelter pet. Some people have speculated that maybe this was the reason Sam was surrendered to the Humane Society. In reality, it is HIGHLY unlikely that his former owners would have known about his condition because he appeared totally healthy so there would have been no reason to get a CT scan (besides the fact that CT scans are over $2,000). Like I said, nasal cancer is extremely rare. This was just a fluke thing. We are thankful that we were able to give him a warm and loving home for his final days.

RIP Sam, you will be deeply missed! “Love is deeper than sorrow.”

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