I wake up in the morning in a beautiful haze, wearing off the lovely dreams that placed a smile on my face from only moments ago. I hear the kids waking and beginning to gabber to each other. As I come to, I realize there is a sleeping lil pup with his head resting on my legs. Then my heart crumbles and what seems to be uncontrollable tears begin to stream down my face.
This is our 16 month old Brown Lab, German Shorthair Pointer, Pit, Boxer, Visalia mixed with Butterfly Chasing, Frolicking and a whole lot of Love. We adopted him February 2014 from the Humane Society of Boulder Valley. He was amazing. Green eyes. Short brown hair with cute white patches with lil polkadot freckles. He was sweet. He was gentle. He was kind.
We brought him home and he fell into our family beautifully. Potty training was a breeze. He slept and voluntarily took naps in his kennel (seriously. After I would walk out of the kids bedroom from putting them down for a nap, I would find Winston passed out inside of his crate with the door wide open. It really was a cozy bed for him and he loved it). He wasn’t vocal until he learned to bark from my parent’s old and extremely large white lab that came into town from California the month we got him. He seemed to be scared of this noise that came out of his mouth, but soon enough he loved the idea (we unfortunately didn’t). After the kids would go to bed he would find Brian and I, lay close to us and then start “complaining”. Grunting and groaning, as if he had to tell us all about the day and didn’t like that we didn’t personally invite him to join in watching a tv show.
He is a lovely dog. As he got older he didn’t keep growing. When he ended his growing season and he was the size of a small Visalia. Super skinny and super lean. We were anticipating a large dog due to his claimed breads but we became pleasantly surprised at how small he was. It was perfect for the kids. Especially for Emery.
We didn’t have to train him much. He wanted to please. He wanted to obey. He knew who was in control and he loved the roll he had. He didn’t always know his relationship was to Emery (our youngest). We sometimes wondered if he saw this 26 lb lil blond girl as him, an equal. Whatever she did, he needed to do. LIKE… this one time… Emery had fallen in the kitchen. I got on the ground and placed her on my lap. She was crying and cuddling into me. Winston came to the scene. He looked anxious. He turned around in front of me and backed his behind onto my lap as well. Then he started to make a crying sound. :) He’s crazy.
Two weeks ago our house was hit with a flu. It was nasty. And lasted longer than anyone wants. Winston is a pretty sensitive fellow and as we took turns laying in agony, he would lay by us and rest also. A week into us being sick, we noticed he started coughing. I actually wondered if this was something like the swine flu and somehow he got it. As we all started feeling back to normal, it was evident Winston was getting worse. He was tired. He was lethargic. We also noticed he wasn’t being vocal. This past Saturday I tried to get him to play a game with me that typically causes him to start making noises. He did and it sounded as if he had hit puberty and his voice had dropped several octaves. It definitely was horse. I did the mom thing and started feeling around his neck, wondering if there was something going on in his throat. He didn’t hesitate allowing me to prod my fingers all around his neck. Then I found something… and I didn’t know if it was normal. So we watched.
Winston has a very large tumor that appears to be wrapped around his windpipe. There is a second smaller tumor that is growing besides the first. Within 4 days the larger tumor had doubled in size. Brian took Winston to the vet on Monday. Some cells were taken and they didn’t look good. Cancer is assumed. And they think it’s either in his thyroid or lymph noids. The concern with the tumor around his windpipe is as it continues to grow it could cause respiratory distress… we’ve already noticed difficulty. The original vet referred us to a vet hospital up in Loveland. We took him Tuesday and this new vet instantly assumed it wasn’t cancer. Unfortunately as test keep coming back, all the hopefully diagnoses were being eliminated. We are still waiting to hear the results from the final biopsy.
There are lots of tears. So many heart breaks. And so many tough decisions. He is so young still. And oh so wonderful. But he is so tired. He’s exhausted. He doesn’t come greet us at the front door when we come home anymore. However he still anticipates and expects to be invited to come along during drop offs and pick ups in the car for the kids school; I gladly welcome him to join. When Brian called from the first vet visit on Monday I prayed that either God makes this go fast or oh so slow. I had actually anticipated Winston was going to be swept away from us within a couple days. But now I am wondering if we are entering into the slower moments. However… the growth is getting larger everyday. And my heart breaks for so many things. And it breaks the most for our kids.
UPDATE: The biopsy was inconclusive. So we began the first steps in treatment. To make sure it isn’t cancer, we began with antibiotics. And sure enough, it lessened the growth. HUGE relief! It took about a week and the growth was down to nothing! We are so very grateful. So be prepared; there will be lots more photos to share of this pup:)