The Love Sponge
One of the great loves of our life passed away on January 22, 2008 after a two-week struggle with a cancerous lesion in his abdomen.
'Jake' was our black lab that my wife and I had gotten as a pup. We treated him as if he were human; an amazing love sponge.
Life was wonderful with Jake UNTIL he began throwing up violently. It continued for over a two-week period any time we gave him food and water. We could not figure out what was going on, so we took him to our Veterinarian at South Ridge Veterinary Hospital in Kannapolis NC. Dr. B. suggested we give Jake ice cubes and Pepto bismol to see if that would calm his belly and keep him hydrated. Doc thought it might be bacteria or an obstruction in his bowel from eating something he shouldn't have. That did not work. He threw them up immediately after consuming them. In fact, he threw up everything we tried to give him. (Doc thought it could be some bacteria or maybe he ate something unusual, as labs are notorious for eating all they can get their mouths on.) We were at wits end when we finally took him to stay over at the vet’s office, but the weekend was quickly approaching, which meant that the vet’s office was going to be closed. Jake needed 24-hour observation; Doc B. suggested we move Jake to the local emergency vet; so he could keep a close eye on him. That's when I called our friend Monty and his wife Nik. Monty and I worked together in Law enforcement years ago. I told him what was happening. Monty told Nik and she asked if she could stop by to see him. The Doc and I graciously agreed, as we were at a loss and could not stand seeing Jake suffering. Nik met Doctor B, my wife and I at the emergency clinic where she told us that she was going to kneel down and put her hands-on Jake sides so she could "feel" what he was feeling and see if he would communicate with her. Jake wiggled with joy at the attention he was getting from her. Then he settled down as Nik focused harder to inspect him more closely. He laid there quietly as she honed-in on his body, as if he sensed that she needed him to be still. Doc B stood back and asked what she was doing, so I told him that she could touch him to "see and feel" what was going on inside his body. Kind of like an x-ray machine and add in the "feeling" part. Nik turned around at that moment to say that she could see what appeared to be a white piece of plastic; about the size of the end of her pinky finger, with a needle in it. She said that Jake was mad about it and she could him see him chewing it. The Vet confirmed that he had just chewed his IV out of his leg that morning and they had to replace it. Nik then said that this was good confirmation and that being on track with his thoughts allowed her to go back in to sift more deeply through his body. She closed her eyes again, with her hands-on Jake again. She then communicated that she could see and feel an angry mass in his stomach. She felt that it was putting immense pressure on his abdomen and when he ate, this angry mass would reject all that Jake was swallowing. She gave the doctor an idea as to its whereabouts and kissed Jake, gave us a hug and told us that she would help anyway she could. She had only been there for about 15 minutes. Doctor B. thanked her, and she left.
Dr B. set up an appointment with a specialty vet that could do an MRI and CT scan as well as an ultrasound. They did the MRI on his stomach first because the Ultra Sound was booked up that day. The MRI was done. The results came back showing a mass -- a thickening in his stomach lining. The next day the Doc suggested we go back for an ultrasound. -- The Vet called to confirm that they found a mass of cancer in his stomach and that they could not do anything more for him. That Vet suggested put Jake to sleep.
We followed up with Dr. B. who wanted to try one more thing. He wanted to see if the mass was in an area of his stomach that could be saved; take out the mass if it wasn't too big or see if it was in an area that he could live without. The Dr. said that if it was bad, while Jake was under anesthesia on the table, he could put him down instead of waking him up.
Before the surgery, they let us take Jake home to spend some time together. Jake was thrilled to be back at home. I know we were just as thrilled to have at time with him! Jake was as rambunctious as he usually was and ate up every bit of attention we gave him. (The vet techs were calling him their "Love Sponge" -- and he really was. He loved to be petted and touched.) We called Nik and Monty to tell them that the surgery was going to take place that afternoon. They came right over. We wanted to see if Nik could communicate our feelings to Jake, so we did not leave anything unsaid, just in case the surgery did not go as we were hoping it would. We wanted him to know that he did not do anything wrong and we were not punishing him. Nik communicated what we were each thinking and feeling. It was very emotional. Jake knew how sad we were, and he understood how difficult it was to "not" feel that way under those circumstances.
Amazing that dogs experience life much like we do. We took Jake back to the Vets office for the scheduled surgery that afternoon. Doc went in and found that the mass was so large; in part of his stomach he could not live without-being in one of the worst possible places; he called me to make the decision to let him go. They put Jake down there on the operating table that afternoon.
Nik helped give us and the doctor some direction when she saw and felt the mass in his stomach, after the other tests failed to reveal the mass. Once she guided us to look in a specific place that yielded a positive confirmation we could try to fix the problem. She gave us a sense of peace and calm about Jake's predicament and a knowing that we were doing the right thing. She helped us make our final decision about what to do for Jake even though we were struggling with our emotions because of our love for our family member. She gave us what I call " a super piece of mind". I can never thank her enough.