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Mac's Journey

Mac was diagnosed with bone cancer on April 16.

Mac's Journey

Saying Goodbye

January 31st, 2018 · 6 Comments · Uncategorized

UGH I have waited and waited to post this – partly due to the pain of talking about it again and partly due to the finality of it since you all were so instrumental in his journey and you know it better than anyone.

We unexpectedly had to say goodbye to the Best Dog in the Entire Universe on December 20, 2017. We had been taking him to Two Hands Four Paws for about a month at that point, because it seemed like he had been more sore than usual and we wanted to make sure he had all the tools he needed to do well and stay strong. We had just started him on Adequan, hoping it would help keep his joints nice and healthy. Around the time we started taking him to PT, we also noticed that he stopped finishing his meals. But he was still so excited about food and the sound of the kibble hitting his metal bowl sent him galloping through the house. He still appeared at the sound of any plastic bag being opened and he would stare at you when you were eating, hoping he could have a bite. We tried everything from moving his bowl to another room to ‘change the surroundings,’ to trying various new fancy senior foods and even incorporating boiled chicken and pumpkin and rice.

His demeanor was perfectly normal and perfectly Mac, so I wasn’t particularly alarmed. About 3 days before we had to say goodbye, Connor and I were sitting on the couch looking at him. He just seemed so exhausted suddenly – it was hard to get him to wag his tail and he seemed to just be moving extra slowly. This was a Monday evening after work. I had made a vet appointment for that upcoming Friday, but I called the vet to see if we could get in the next day. They set us up for an all day appointment where we drop him off in the morning and when they have time they get to him.

The vet called us towards the end of the day and said she wasn’t sure what was wrong, but his liver levels were 3x normal, he was severely anemic, and she was very worried about him. I thought she was being overly dramatic and was hoping for the least severe potential diagnosis of stomach ulcers – hey, that would explain a lot and we can fix that!

When we went to pick him up, I realized they hadn’t said anything about a mole we found on him. I showed the vet and told her after some research, I was worried it was a mast cell tumor. She came out a few minutes after taking a sample and almost enthusiastically told me I was right! Great. So we took him home, let all of his “aunts and uncles” (our dear friends) pet him and dote over him. At this point, I was completely oblivious that this would be our last night with him.

We decided we would take him to ACCESS (specialists) the next day to see if we could determine what was wrong and how to fix it.

The next morning, it was hard to get him to stand up. We got him up and he made his way down the stairs. When we got to the vet, he was wagging his tail and putting on that happy smile and eager face for the people at ACCESS. They took him back and we waited in a room.

Within 20 minutes, a vet came in and told us that he had masses on his spleen, liver, and lungs. His liver levels were even worse than they were the day prior, and he was so anemic he would need a platelet and blood transfusion ASAP, with a 2 night stay in the hospital, or he would likely die that day. Connor and I were completely shocked and beside ourselves. How could this happen so fast? He was completely fine 5 days ago! He already beat cancer!

For a small while, we entertained the platelet and blood transfusion until we realized that would be selfish and would only be extending the inevitable before the cancer causes some kind of horrible side effects. Mac was a warrior and had been through the ringer – he did not deserve anymore pain and suffering.

ACCESS didn’t want us to take him home but we knew we had to get him home so we could have the home euthanasia people come so that he would be comfortable. Within an hour and a half, they were able to come.

The vet who came was an actual angel on this earth. I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful, peaceful, gentle and kind this experience was – despite being one of the absolute worst days of my life. We snuggled him, held his paw, kissed his squishy perfect snout, told him all the things he already knew – even fed him cat food that he always wanted. In true Mac fashion, he ate an entire bag of treats!

The day he died was the first day in months that it rained. And then, about 20 minutes after he passed, the sun came bursting through the clouds and into our breakfast room – Connor’s mom exclaimed that it was Mac telling us he made it to heaven. I really felt that it was.

Mac would have been 14 today. This has been a much shittier day than I thought it would. I’m sitting here at my desk just crying because I miss him so much. There will never, never, ever be another dog like him and I so yearn for my best buddy.

Someone sent us the sweetest book after Mac passed called For Every Dog An Angel. Connor and I sobbed as we read it because it was so true. It said once you find your forever dog, they become the leader of all your future dogs and help show them the lay of the land and how to best get us wrapped around their paws. And when we meet again in Heaven, they will be up in front with the rest of your past pets behind them.

Connor and I truly feel that Mac’s last gift to us was knowing there was no other choice. We didn’t have to reel over the decision like we did after his osteosarcoma diagnosis. This was clear. He gave us his ALL until 3 days before, and even then, when he was being wheeled to our car for us to take him home on that last day, he gave us reassuring tail wags to let us know he would be ok – that we would be ok.

Mac and I had such a deep connection. I knew how stoic he was and I knew he wouldn’t tell me if he was in pain. I learned to stare deeply in his eyes as I gave him his daily/nightly full body massage so that I could tell if his eyelids shuttered when I hit a particular spot. Then I could tell that was where he was sore. I would have done anything for him. I felt that I could feel his pain and I was always worried about his well-being and making sure he was happy and healthy. He was my heart and soul and absolutely one of my most precious blessings. I don’t know that I will ever have that connection with any other dog.

There are 10,000 things I miss about him. I miss the unique sound of him walking around the house on 3 legs. I miss the sound of his tail thudding on the floor when he knew we were waking up in the morning. I miss him trying to race me to the couch when I get home from work and my left hand being completely pre-occupied with petting him while trying to get some work done with my right. I miss smooching his adorable face. I miss the way his thick, beautiful golden coat felt between my fingers – he even started to get this beautiful bit of silver hair along his back mixed in with the gold. I miss telling him how much he meant to me. I tried to make it a point to kiss him 50 times a day. I miss telling people about him! He was like our child and I loved to show pictures of him to anyone who would look. I miss playing the tail wag game where Connor and I try anything to make him wag his tail. I could go on for days. It’s weird opening a plastic bag and not having him randomly appear. I want to buy him his bone-shaped birthday cake today!

About 2 weeks ago, our rescue that we got Mac from reached out and said they have a wonderful 2 year old Golden who they think we might really like. We agreed to foster him and he has been with us for the last couple weeks. Connor was able to bond with him almost immediately, but I, for some reason, find myself unable to. I keep comparing him and everything he does to Mac. I know it’s too soon, but we also weren’t necessarily prepared for Mac and look at the blessing he turned out to be! I know this dog deserves so much love and I am mad at myself for being unable to give it right now. I honestly don’t really know what to do about it – but I will keep trying to open my heart.

I suppose this will be my last post, but I just want you all to know how special of a place the whole Tripawds community will always hold in my heart. You gave us the strength to give Mac a second chance – and just look at all the extra time we had with him! His 3 year ampuversary would have been this upcoming April. What a champion, and forever, my Tripawd Hero.

Sorry, I know I’ve written a novel, but if there is anyone who would take the time to read it, I know it’s you guys. I just feel that’s what Mac deserves.

RIP my sweet, precious Mac (aka McKinley, aka Goldenmeadows Duke of Somis, aka Mr. Piddlepants); we will never, ever forget you.

January 31, 2004 – December 20, 2017


2 Year ‘Ampuversary’!

May 1st, 2017 · 14 Comments · Uncategorized

Well, Saturday was a huge day for Mac! It marked TWO years since his amputation surgery. It is a tremendous feat and we feel overwhelmed with gratefulness and appreciation that he is still doing incredibly well at the ripe age of 13!!

The picture below was taken only a couple weeks ago. He still has us wrapped around his paw and demands belly pets at all hours of the day. He has started to show his age a bit in terms of recovering from an active day, but all things considered, he is doing great.

I know I haven’t posted in a while, but had to take a moment to acknowledge this sentimental milestone. Would love to hear all of your tips and tricks to keeping that front leg strong and healthy. I can tell that his shoulder gets sore a lot more easily than it used to. We ice/heat as often as we can, along with nightly massages (lucky dog!). We tried laser therapy and a bit of acupuncture a few weeks ago, but I did not see any improvement from that. If you can recommend any supplements or exercises that have really worked for your senior pup, I’d love to hear about it! We did a whole ton of x-rays in January of his front leg/shoulder/lungs – had a bit of a scare but all is clear 🙂

We wouldn’t be here without you guys, so thanks again for ALL your support.


Small Update

May 24th, 2016 · 4 Comments · Uncategorized


Well, I finally bit the bullet and let the vet do chest x-rays. I was sweating and felt like I was going to barf the entire time I was sitting there waiting, but the results seem to be clear!

They’re running a blood panel to make sure his thyroid is in working order because he needs to gain about 4 pounds and I already increased his food when we took him to 2H4P a month or two ago and he didn’t gain an ounce!

The vet did also observe that one of his lymph nodes was slightly enlarged – nothing too crazy, but she wants us to come back in 2 weeks for a recheck. Could be something as small as allergies – I HOPE.

So good news! To be honest, I was 90% sure the scans would not be clear. I just had a feeling! So I am SO GLAD to be wrong about my instincts and I can let it go for a while. And, Mac is in luck! His favorite activity (eating) has now been made even better with an extra 1/4 c. scoop 🙂


1 Year Ampuversary (!!!!!!!)

April 29th, 2016 · 20 Comments · Uncategorized

Well, here we are! It’s been a full year. I can’t believe how time has flown by. I am so grateful to this community who helped us make one of the toughest decisions we’ve ever had to make just 1 year ago. Mac is so lucky to have had ALL of your support – with my endless post-op questions, to current supplement information. He’s even lucked out with some steak, thanks to the suggestion of Sally!

It’ll be 2 years in June since we adopted this amazing, perfect, goofy, incredibly hairy, loving, smooshy boy and he has taught us so much about each other and about living life to the fullest! So, naturally, Mac was the star of our engagement photos that we took 2 weeks ago up at the family ranch. He is, and always will be, our ‘first born’!

So here’s to Mac – Happy Ampuversary you Tripawd Hero!!



Playful Pup!

February 18th, 2016 · 10 Comments · Uncategorized

Yesterday was a very unexpected rainy day in Los Angeles! When I got home from work, I discovered our sprinklers had gone haywire and would not turn off, flooding our backyard. I had to let Mac out to pee and thank goodness I looked out the window to see probably one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen in my life. Naturally, I had to film him:

And here he is just after the fact looking INCREDIBLY guilty for some reason:


Thanks for looking!