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Toby added to Faces of Courage

November 6th, 2011 · 28 Comments

Toby
September 8, 1997 — September 10, 2011

Toby


UPDATE 9-25-2011—

My precious Toby came in to my life 9/8/97 and departed from me 9/10/11. My Toby was diagnosed with HEMANGIOSARCOMA of the spleen 4.5 years ago and had an emergency Spleenectomy which revealed a burst tumor in his abdominal cavity. The Vet gave Toby 3 months to live with or without treatment and I made the decision to forgo treatment as the “odds” of Toby surviving through the chemotherapy was small and I wanted him to live out whatever time he had happy. I was BLESSED to be given 4.5 years after Toby’s surgery and diagnosis. In the 4.5 years, my precious dog went from 103 pounds to 50 pounds before he died. He remained happy, he didn’t show signs of being sick or being in pain on the outside, and lived knowing he was loved.

The truth is I needed Toby more than he needed me. In the end, Toby’s kidneys and liver were affected by both age and the cancer. In his final days I fed him water and soft food from a bottle, carried him outside when I thought he needed to eliminate, took him for a couple of car rides and making sure he knew I loved him so very much. I wanted Toby to go naturally because I just didn’t want to make the decision to let him go. The final nights of Toby’s life I slept on the floor near his bed of lush pillows and blankets in the event he needed water. On Friday evening the day before Toby’s passing I knew that he wasn’t going to make it through the weekend. The morning of 9/10/11 I awoke at 5:00 a.m and realized Toby was in the dying process, his eyes were in a blank stare as if he wasn’t there and his breathing was shallow. I just couldn’t watch my beloved dog go so I called the Vet to my home. I couldn’t watch my Toby be put down nor could I wrap him in a blanket and put him in the hole I had dug earlier so my brother and the Vet did until he was half way buried and I could take over. It breaks my heart knowing that pets come in to our hearts so quickly and show us the meaning of love and can be taken from us by something so horrible as canine cancer. I was one of the lucky ones who got 4.5 years after my Toby’s diagnosis and I believe it’s because Toby knew I needed him and couldn’t give him up. To all those who have lost or are in the process of losing their beloved pet to cancer, no matter what your decision is for their future, never give up on them, and love them as much as you can. Toby may be gone but he is in my heart forever.

— Cynthia

Tags: Hemangiosarcoma

28 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Evie // Nov 6, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Cindy,
    What a beautiful story, There was no question about Toby knowing how much you loved him, that’s why he hung in there so long. I have seen that with people as well as animals. Love is very powerful. Abby did the same for me, when I needed her.
    Now we have a concerned with our Hana. We (our vet) have been watching Hana’s lumps and bumps, she has developed a large lump on her front leg, and it looks and feels different. She will be having a biopsy next Monday. Cross your fingers for her, She and Hunter are really starting to show their age. It will be a very black day when their time comes. Animals can teach us how to love. Toby will always be in your heart. Love you, Evie

  • 2 Virginia S. // Nov 7, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    I know how much you can love…I love you. Mom

  • 3 Ellen // Nov 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Hi Cindy,
    What a heart felt story. It touched me in that I had a very similiar experience with Sammie. He was diagnosed at 8 with the same cancer. They removed the spleen, and told me Sammie had 6-8 weeks to live. I did not do chemo. I was very fortunate in that I found a holistic nutrtionist that guided me through Sammie’s cancer. I lost him five years later. He is still and always will be the love of my life.
    Ellen

  • 4 Gloria // Dec 29, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    My soul mate dog was diagnosed with hermangiosarcoma yesterday and your story will stay up on my computer screen. Thank you so much for taking the time to write.

  • 5 Karen S. // Jan 13, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Your stories are so encouraging! My family’s 10 year old boxer was recently diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma that does not involve the spleen. She had a very large mass removed from her abdomen a month ago, has recovered beautifully, and is transitioning to a high protein, low carb diet that is partially home-made. And I need help! Ellen & Cynthia, how can I get in touch with you to learn more about how you supported your dogs?

  • 6 Karen S. // Jan 13, 2012 at 11:14 am

    PS – She is also taking 3 Chinese herbal preparations.

  • 7 Susie Gu // Feb 24, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Dear Cindy and Ellen,

    My golden Star was found the HEMANGIOSARCOMA of the spleen few days ago. We did a surgery which took away the spleen. I was so sad when I was told by the vet that he had only three months left, until I saw your stories which were so touching and so supportive to me. My husband and I both decided that we give up chemotherapy. Would you please give me some suggestions what kind of therapy you took to your beautiful dogs, and what we should do? Thanks a million!!!

  • 8 Susie Gu // Feb 24, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Dear Karen,

    What kind of Chinese herbal preparations your dog is taking? would you share with me? Thank you very much!

  • 9 Cynthia // Mar 2, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    I am so glad that my story of my precious dog Toby touch you all. Even today, I miss him just as much as I did the day he passed. I wanted to let you all know that I did not use any alternative medicine as Ellen did. I fed my Toby a dog food that was low in fat and made of chicken, vegtables, and apples. This is the only change I made and gave him all the love I could give him. I believe opting out of chemotherapy was the best choice I made for him as I know I would have lost him so much earlier. My heart is saddened by your stories and saddened that sickeness exsists in this world. Continue loving your pet and helping them find joy in whatever time they have left.

  • 10 Pam // Mar 7, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Cynthia, your story of Toby is very touching and hopeful. My boy Thor was diagnosed just over 3 weeks ago. They told me he had a day or two to a month to live. I am hoping for much more. He has heart issues so surgery and chemo are out of the question. He is almost 11 and suffers from chronic pancreatits so changing his diet is out of the question as well. We have added milk thistle and am looking at other supplements. I did stop his fish oil as it thins he blood.

    For now he is doing well and was playing with my other dog just a 1/2 hr ago. I wish I could let them play full out, but I can’t let him risk a rupture of the tumor.

    I would love to have the 4.5 yrs you had, but I doubt that will happen. I would love to have 4.5 months though.

  • 11 Sandra Baugh // Oct 24, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    Cynthia,

    Your story about your beloved Toby brought me not only to tears, but left me sobbing. You gave me hope that my Cash will have more time than I was told and what I have read on the internet.
    You were indeed blessed to have him 4 1/2 years
    after his surgery. Your dog Toby and Ellen’s dog
    Sammie are the ONLY dogs I have read or heard about that have lived longer than a year after diagnosis. I could not believe it after I read your article and then there was another article from Ellen and her dog Sammie lived 5 years. I can not tell you how much it has helped me reading both of your articles. There is hope after all !!

    In July of 2012 my 6 year old Aussie Cash was diagnosed with Splenic Hemangiosarcoma. I was in total shock.He had never been sick a day in his life and had just had his yearly check up three months before. I went to bed one night and he was fine and woke up the next morning and he was acting very strange. I knew something was wrong, but I did not know what. I rushed him to our vet and after some sonograms/x-rays she discovered the tumor on his spleen. She inserted a syringe into his stomach and it filled with blood , which ment the tumor had ruptured. By now his gums were getting pale and emergency surgery was necessary to remove his spleen and save his life. He recovered well from surgery and after a month we were referred to an Oncologist. After much deliberation and lots of internet research, I decided to opt for the Chemo. I had alot of concerns about the Chemo,
    as I wanted to make sure that whatever time Cash had left was quality time. I did not want him to be sick all the time from the Chemo. The Oncologist assured me that most dogs do not have bad reaction to Chemo and if he did we could discontinue it immediately. Fortunately, Cash has had very little side effects. Three or four days after the Chemo he has experienced loss of appetite and a little diahhrea, but then he is fine and feels great. He has had 3 treatments and we have 2 to go. I also supplement his diet (Taste of the Wild) with K-9 immunity, fish oil, chicken and beef, and some brocolli and carrots.
    He feels great all the time. However his regular vet, the surgeon, and the oncologist have all told me even with chemo most dogs did not make it a year. I am determined Cash is going to beat the
    odds. I love him so much. He is my best friend and constant companion.

    I have spent hours and hours on the internet
    researching this disease, looking for clinical trials, any new treatments, anything that could possible give him more time with a good quality of life. As you probably already know, most everything that you read about this disease is very bleak and depressing. I have been hoping to find someone out there, anyone anywhere out there, who has had a dog live longer than a year. Until today, I found no one. Until today, and I found your article and it has made all the difference in the world. For you have given me back my hope. For that I want to thank you more than I can say. No matter what happens, I will always be grateful to you and Ellen for sharing your stories.

    Sincerely,
    Sandra Baugh

  • 12 Cynthia S. // Nov 24, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Sandra,

    This page has been added to my favorites and I check back from time to time, especially on the days I miss my Toby. I am glad that my story encouraged you. I hope you too are one of the fortunate pet owners who have more time with their pet. It sounds like you love your Cash as much as I loved my Toby and would do anything for them. The love they give to us is worth more than the money that is spent on the care to prolong their life. My prayer is that you have more time with your Cash. Regardless of whatever time you do have left, I know the love you will give and get in return will carry you through the hard times. My Toby is buried in my back yard and each Christmas I still hang his stocking. The love he gave me was unconditional and as with all pets….all they want is love from us. Continue to live each day loving your Cash….it is worth it. :)

  • 13 Sandra Baugh // Dec 30, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Cynthia,
    Thank you for your words of encouragement. As of right now, Cash is still doing well. I consider every day with him a blessing. I can only imagine how much you miss your Toby. Thank you again for your response.

  • 14 kc // Jan 27, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    We are using Yunnan Baiyao to prevent tumor bleedouts, and I’m-Yunnity PSP extract, based on the 2012 Penn Univ Vet
    research that suggests this ‘eclipses’ longevity compared to chemo.

  • 15 Susan // Mar 19, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    My 10 year old German Shorthaired Pointer, Carly, was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma. Emergency surgery to remove the ruptured spleen and a tumor on her liver for biopsy. Both came back positive. Just wondering if anyone whose dog lived past the 3 month time showed that the cancer had spread. Hoping for the best but prepared for the worst. She has bounced back great since the surgery 2 weeks ago and other than that she drinks and urinates more..I don’t see any other symptoms. Any advice or personal experiences with this would be appreciated. thanks.

  • 16 Cynthia // Apr 10, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Susan,

    My Toby didn’t show any signs or symptoms after the surgery and his post operative healing until 3 years after surgey his liver enzymes & kidney functions were going higher. By that time he was already 13 years old so we kept an eye on it. I didn’t do too much different, just went for routine lab visits. Again, I feel I was so blessed to have my Toby 4.5 years after his surgery (etc). Best wishes to your Carly.

  • 17 Alan // May 14, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Thanks for all the info and hope. My 11 yr old yellow lab Otis had his spleen removed 4/23/13 he is doing great. We want him to live forever but know thats not possible. A few years would be great. I pray alot for him with my girlfreind and would like to find anything else we could do. Thanks hope everyones love one live for years.

  • 18 Karen // May 31, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    My dog, Aja, was suspected to have hemangiosarcoma a few weeks ago when she had a growth on her front leg and a nodule was seen on her spleen during an ultrasound. We did a splenectomy and the biopsy showed the tumor was benign. I have been keeping an eye on the tumor and it has not gotten any bigger or smaller. She had a rupture in her lung about 3 weeks ago, but it seems to have sealed itself. She is on pain meds from the ruptured bleb and she limps on her front leg. I won’t have the growth on her leg biopsied because there is a 50/50 chance they won’t be able to come up with a definitive diagnosis, and if bleeding doesn’t stop then the only option is amputation. So, I’m on the fence about chemo. My other dog went through a partial lung removal and chemo and has done beautifully. However, Aja is a different dog. I really don’t know what to do at this point with Aja as far as treatment goes.

  • 19 Susan // Jul 29, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Our almost 9 yr old Golden was diagnosed on 6/26/13 with hemangiosarcoma. He had a splenectomy and is recovering well. Im constantly watching him for signs of metastasis, but thankfully nothing yet. We are just trying to appreciate every day that we have him.
    We lost our other Golden 2.5 years ago to fibrosarcoma. He was 8 also.
    We are not pursuing chemo, a personal decision that everyone has to make on their own.
    Enjoy your dog today, I know that I will.

  • 20 Tom // Aug 30, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Does any know of any proactive screening procedures ie. periodic ultrasounds of the vulneral organs(spleen,heart,liver,etc.) that could betaken? We lost our 11.5 Gordon Setter yesterday to hemangiosarcoma. Our hearts are broken

  • 21 Nadine // Sep 20, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Mr. Pi is an 11 year old Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier and he had a spleenectomy this past Sat (9/14/2013) and we are not sure what to do next. There is a clinical trial at the University of Minnesota but they require the dog go through Chemo and we are not sure we want to do that. More info at http://www.cvm.umn.edu/cic/current/oncology/home.html#SRCBST

  • 22 Michele // Oct 15, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    I lost my Pit Bull “Cage” about a month ago to a ruptured tumor on the spleen. He showed no signs of any illness and when he started breathing heavily we rushed him to the vet. Cage survived the surgery but died a few hours later and never woke up. I only wish I could have had even a few more months with him. Love your fur babies every day because you never know when they will be gone. Cage left “paw prints in my soul” and I will never stop missing him. Love You Cage-Dog

  • 23 Cynthia S. // Jan 22, 2014 at 10:38 am

    It’s been 2 years since I lost my precious Toby and I miss him so much. I am thankful for the memories, the pictures, and when I see him in my dream. He’ll always have a huge piece of my heart.

  • 24 Paul // Feb 9, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    My poor baby “Bandit”. They found tumors and removed his spleen and parts of his liver. They have now diagnosed it as hemangiosarcoma. I am going to the oncologist tomorrow and see what treatments may be available. It is breaking my heart, but I have to be strong and positive. Does anyone have recommendations on whether to do Chemotherapy, metronomic, using Yunnan Baiyao to prevent tumor bleedouts, or I’m-Yunnity PSP extract? I’d also appreciate any suggestions on a good diet plan that promotes keeping his immune system healthy.

    Thank you,
    Paul

  • 25 Rosie // Mar 14, 2014 at 10:59 am

    We learned a little over a month ago our 13 year old baby boy beagle has a hemangiosarcoma on his spleen. It was the size of a grapefruit at the xray last month. The vet said it was probably about 10 pounds. We struggled with our decisions but we opted not to do surgery. He has epilepsy and the vet wasn’t sure he would do well with surgery. The cost did not matter we would have figured something out. He is very anemic. The vet said he likely had some bleeding from a tumor this large. We opted to take him home and spend as much time with him as possible. Our baby girl beagle missed him terribly while he was at the vet. We know she will miss him just as much as we will. After much consideration and several long talks with the vet, we have decided to give Jasper as much time as he asks for. He eats like it is going out of style, the vet said as long as he is eating he is not in much pain. He rests alot, but he still likes to play with his friend Maggie. They are inseparable right now. She sticks very close to him. Though when he is having a bad day you can see that she understands because she gives him his space. This is all very new for us. Growing up I have seen dogs shun the older or sick ones. Maggie will have none of it, he is her best friend. She is a brave girl but I fear for her when he passes. We already know she will need a new companion. I just hope she will accept a new one. Our daughter has such a great understanding about all of this. We let her go to the vet with us, and I think she said it better than anyone. When the vet came in and told us that Jasper was terminal and that he may not have very long, I thought she would lose it (caue mommy did), but she didn’t. She came up to us and said its okay he is going to be with Jesus and he will come back when Jesus does. Besides his friends Fat Fat (our senior beagle who passed last year) and Tara (my grandmothers dog who passed 2 years ago) are there waiting for him. I can only hope we have as much time as Toby did. But we also know he is nearing the end of his time without the tumor. We have been cautioned it could rupture and he will likely bleed out and die. But we have also been assured he will not be in pain. We have made the decision that when he is ready we will let him go. The vet has assured us that we will know and he will know. My biggest fear is we keep him because we need him and he is in pain. But our vet has been a god send and made sure we are extremely comfortable with every decision we make. He started on vitamins right away to help with the anemia. I can honestly say they are helping, he went from a very listless dog who wobbled constantly and lost his balance to a sturdy little guy who is tired from carrying this load but just isn’t quite ready to leave us. We are very grateful for the time we have had with him. My daughter hopes he makes it til his birthday on April 10 so she can give him one last big hurrah. This site gives me hope we will see that day with him. Our vet told us he may have 2 weeks or 6 months. Well its been a month and he was eating like a pig this morning and playing with Maggie. I’d say those are good odds.

  • 26 Susan Hughes // Mar 26, 2014 at 5:24 am

    Brody
    1-30-2003 4-10-2003 3-16-2014

    Almost 11 years ago I brought home my first Aussie and named him Brody. I didn’t get him to compete or show him…he was already perfect in my eyes. I got him to be my companion and he was my shadow wherever I went. He grew up to love his treats and play Frisbee. Just showing him a Frisbee excited him. And we know how excited an Aussie can get! He made some of the most spectacular jumps I have ever seen.
    Last Saturday, March 8th he was diagnosed with cancer…hemangiosarcoma. This aggressive cancer took his desire to play Frisbee and to enjoy the treats he loved so much. This morning this cancer took his life. As weak as he was he asked to go out but coming back in he collapsed. I picked him up and cradled him in my arms. I knew he was dying. He laid quietly in my arms while I spoke softly to him. “Go get that Frisbee.” I said. He struggled one more time to fill his lungs with air but the cancer took that away from him too. I placed my hand on his chest over his heart and felt it beat for the last time. In that moment I knew he was gone.
    I find solace in knowing the last thing he saw was my face and heard me say, “Get that Frisbee.” I know somewhere over that rainbow bridge he is jumping for that Frisbee with wings of an angel.
    When I brought him home almost 11 years ago he slept on my chest close to my heart and when he left this world he was again close to my heart. But in those years between then and now he found a place in my heart… Forever…
    *The above dates are when he was born…the day he came home with me and the day he left this world.

  • 27 Jaime // Mar 31, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    I cannot begin to tell all of you how much it means to me to hear your stories– how it gives me hope for my dog’s future. So much of the information on the internet about this horrible cancer is so depressing and disconcerting.

    My 10 year old Minature Schnauzer, Wrigley, was diagnosed with Visceral Hemangiosarcoma on March 13, 2014. Wrigley presented to the vet because of his diabetes; I could not control his blood sugar levels. Our vet performed a ultrasound only to find a tumor in his spleen. I was in complete shock and disbelief. Luckily the tumor was isolated and had not ruptured or metastasized.

    After hearing all of the options for treatment and prognosis, I opted to have Wrigley’s spleen removed. In the couple weeks since his surgery he is back to being a normal, active Schnauzer.

    I have chosen a combination of both preventive and holistic treatments to slow down this cancer. I placed him on a grain free diet, began giving him I’m Yunity mushrooms (herbal) to support his immune system. I also decided to pursue chemotherapy in the form of a pill. I was drawn to pill chemotherapy because it is less invasive, and can be administered at home.

    As of today, Wrigley is his normal self. His appetite is normal. Like all miniature schnauzers he is very active (hyper)–loves to talk, play fetch, hide-n-seek (he hides, we seek), and rough house with his siblings. The only minor symptom I’ve noticed is that he gets tired in the evenings.

    I’m looking forward to having him around for a long time. Wrigley has always been a fighter, and I believe he will beat the odds :)

  • 28 Boo boo's mom // Apr 23, 2014 at 7:05 am

    How is Jasper doing? I have a 12 year old chow chow that was just diagnosed with the same thing and has a similar large spleen/liver tumor. He still eats, wags his tail and seems pain free but is a little wobbly. I too fear that he will suddenly take a turn for the worse when we are at work. I am struggling with puting him down while he still is acting ok and still interested in going outside and eating. My vet suggested we put him down soon to avoid dealing with his spleen bursting and having a bleed out. Anyone with advice would be appreciated.

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