After a lovely vacation with hubby and the two spaniels Lottie came back home all refreshed and ready to tackle things she was dreading before they went away for the week. Repairs in the garden, cleaning of bathrooms and kitchen and all sorts of tasks alike.
Jake, the youngest of the two Spaniels, their special needs one with cataracts, needed an appointment for his annual check-up for his eye condition. As Lottie was all “hyped” up and fit to go she made the call as soon as they got back home to the special clinic and made the appointment. Not long after, the day of the appointment came and Lottie packed Jake up in the van and off they went. They arrived in plenty of time, actually they were a little early. As she was early she took Jake for a small walk through a little park that was opposite the clinic to kill some of the time. Loads of things to be sniffed at according to Jake, plus the additional wee’s he could have before they went in. When it was almost time she went into the clinic and waited for her turn to be called into the consultation room.
The ophthalmologist checked Jake’s eyes and did a general check-up. His eyes where as fine as they could be. Lottie did not expect anything else. They talked about his ears as it was that time of the year, that loads of grass seeds are stuck on animal fur and end up in animal’s ears. Jake’s were fine , no worries there. She knew there wouldn’t be any as she is very vigilant about this. Bob, her other spaniel, had one in his ear when he was still young.
It was a drama to get it out of his ears and they ended up giving him an anaesthetic. This, in turn, caused having a dog that preferred to stay in the unconscious state, not wanting to wake up. A repeat of this was not on Lottie’s wish list, so she kept an eye on those nasty seeds.
When the vet came to feel Jake’s back legs, and the bottom part of his belly, he started to touch them a little more thoroughly and moved to the front legs. He looked a little worried and Lottie was not happy with what was going on. When the vet asked her “Do you know his lymph nodes are very swollen, all 4 of them?” She just looked at him with big eyes and did not know what to say. Her mind was going about a hundred miles an hour and she was baffled with this news.
3 weeks ago, when she took Jake to her local vet for his annual shots, just before going on vacation, she told her, the vet, that Jake’s stool was a little awkwardly shaped. A sort of flatter than normal.
Lottie had noticed this at first, two weeks before that, and, at that time, Lottie thought it might be an obstruction in his lower abdomen. She had tried by giving him some olive oil, to make his stool softer, to maybe get the obstruction out of his system. As this did not work, she thought to better mention this different shaped stool to the local vet while going for his annual jabs. This lady vet poked around and touched him all over, even put a finger in his behind to check it all out. She said “I can’t feel anything weird or disturbing and Jake is not reacting to any of it, so it probably is nothing serious. Come back in a couple of weeks if it was still there to make an echo to check it out”
Well, after the view weeks it was still there and after she had taken Jake to his eye doctor, her plan was to get back to the local vet and have an echo made.
All this went through her mind in a time span of 5 seconds and then she answered the eye doctor. Lottie told him that his stool was shaped a little different. He looked at her as if she was an idiot, so she explained, in detail, what had happened in the last 5-6 weeks and he could not believe his ears. Clearly the local vet should have felt those lymph nodes being so swollen and causing the pressure on the lower abdomen causing the different shaped stool. Clearly the local vet should have taken action immediately without hesitation.
The eye doctor explained that the swelling could be caused by a parasite in his blood stream, carried by sand flies and mosquitoes that live close to still standing water, called leishmaniasis. One of the symptoms of having this parasite in the blood stream is swollen lymph nodes. Lottie said she doubted it as both Jake and Bob are treated against this every 1st day of the month. This made the vet even look more worried, he told Lottie that a young dog of 2,5 years should not have lymph nodes this big. There and then they decided to make the echo and also take an x-ray. When he came back from doing these things he said the nodes where very big. Lottie was still thinking about the parasite that could be living in Jake’s blood and said: “If it is leishmaniasis, then that can be treated and he still can grow old with lifelong medication”. This is when the vet had to come clean with his thoughts and with what was going on.
After the echo and the x-ray he did not think it was a parasite living in Jake’s system. He told her Jake probably has cancer called lymphoma.
Lottie’s world fell apart in that moment. She could not believe this. Off all the things in the world she had thought of causing the flat poo…. this was not it!!
The vet took skin and blood samples, to make sure he was correct, and Lottie was asked to come back the following day for the results.
Lottie drove home after this visit trough a blurry sight due to tears rolling over her cheeks nonstop. Her little boy, her Jake…cancer…. What the fuck!!!!
They had come such a long way. Their bond was so strong due to all the things they have been through in the only 1,5 years Jake lived with them. This was not what he deserved. This was WRONG!!! SOOOO BLOODY WRONG!!!
Lottie had rescued Jake 1,5 years ago via a rescue organisation, who, in hindsight, where the most lying/thieving bastards in the world.
Jake was announced as 7 month old with juvenile cataracts that needed a good home after the previous owner could no longer take care of him anymore. When Lottie tried to re-registrar Jake’s chip she found out a lot about some of the previous owners, and there where 6 of them! Yes 6 previous owners!! She also found out Jake wasn’t 7 months, he was 11 months and this makes a huge difference when you put an almost adult dog together with an 8 year old full boy! They fight! Blood drawn fights! The ones where the dogs and you end up at the vets and the GP’s for treatment. And you lose weight, sleep and you are always waiting for the next crappy thing to happen.
It turned out one off Jake’s previous owners was the instigator of the rescue organization she got Jake from!! This lady started this rescue after her furry friend passed away. Before that Jake lived with them, but the two boys did not get along and Jake moved on to mummy number 6. Jake came up for re-homing when the rescue lady’s dog had passed away, but she did not wanted Jake back as had caused to much trouble. Lottie found out that Jake was not nice and cute (well he was, but not when she got him), Jake was a destroyer. And although Jake’s character was sweet and definitely not aggressive, he was a very very confused dog. He didn’t know if he was coming or going. He had to adjust so many times to new people and new rules, that all he knew was “I need to defend all I have, and everything is mine before they take it away again” Being partially blind clearly does not help in this either.
One of the other previous owners had mayor trouble with him, he redecorated the whole living room. Leather sofa, curtains, basically everything he got in his mouth was destroyed. And the list of what had happened before Jake came to live with Lottie kept going on.
All this information the rescue organization knew, including the lady of the rescue / previous owner of Jake! But all they wanted was Lottie’s money and play dumb and get Jake as far away from them as they could.
So when Jake came to live with Lottie and her family, she did not know what was about to hit her. It took her a long time to stop the fights over food, her and toys between the boys, but she got there. And now Jake was a lovely dog, with the occasional set back. The bond between them is so strong. Where Lottie goes, Jake goes.
And life seem to finally go in the right direction. Until today, today there was another difficult obstacle on their path. One she already knew they were gonna lose even before they had started.
Lottie was devastated, she could not get her head around the news she got and when she got home her eyes were swollen and red.
When she got home Lottie’s husband listened to the story and was in an equal shock as Lottie was herself. They just could not believe what just had hit them.
After a bad night sleep and a long time to wait, in the afternoon Hubby, Jake and Lottie took themselves to the animal clinic to hear what the results would be from the vet.
They had to wait for a while before it was there turn to come in to the consultation room to hear what the vet had to say.
The X-ray, blood and skin test, and the echo stated that Jake did not have leishmaniasis. What he did have was cancer, and it did not look good. They made the dissension to come back after the weekend to make a CT scan to see how far the cancer was and if any vital organs were infected.
Lottie realized Jake was never gonna get better, that if there was any time left, it wouldn’t be long. She asked the vet what time there was left for Jake to still have some quality of life and although he was surprised by her question he did answer and said about a year. She made sure he understood, that if there was no quality of life, with or without or due to treatment, they would not start anything that would made him suffer.
On their way back home both Hubby and Lottie talked about what the plan was and what to do and what they did not want for Jake. The one thing they did not want was to have Jake suffer unnecessarily and make whatever time was left for Jake the best time he could have.
In the weekend Lottie made it “party weekend” for the two Spaniels. Jake’s girlfriend came around to play and they went for lovely walks. Jake got all his favourite snacks he loved (so did Bob, as you want to treat them both equally). They where all spoiled rotten.
Lottie did notice that Jake was not feeling well. He played, but not the way he would normally do. When his girlfriend is there the two of them run around and through the garden, like mental maniacs and in the process, rearrange it. But this time Jake did not play. He lay below Lottie’s feet and stayed close to her.
Lottie hoped she was seeing things that were not there, but her gut feeling told her otherwise.
The Monday morning came and Lottie took Jake of to the vets. Hubby stayed behind to take care of Bob.
Jake was not allowed to have breakfast that morning. She would not have been able to give him any. Just before they left he lost all of his stomach contents on/in her shoe. Breakfast would not have stayed in.
Lottie was very nervous about what was happening today. She had to leave Jake behind at the vets, and this meant it would be the first-time Jake would be without her since he came to live with them. She worried about him being so confused that he might fall back to old behaviour, the abandoning anxiety he had when he came to live with them was a big problem and it took long for him to realize she was never gonna leave him behind. By now this was a thing of the past, but you do not know how an animal responses when getting stressed. In Lottie’s house they have one saying: “We asked you to come and live with us, and that means we made the promise to take care of you, no matter what!”.
Lottie left Jake at the vets with a heavy heart. She told the nurse she needed to be weary of his eye sight and left.
She had a lot of things planned for this day to make sure time would fly as she had to pick him up later in the afternoon.
With all the things she did that day his presence was missed. Lottie and Jake always play fetch when Lottie is putting the laundry out. So when she went to put the laundry out, she took it in the basket, she put his toy in there as well, out of habit, she realized what she did and put it back in it’s place.
Walking Bob was less of a challenge and very calm without the ragamuffin being there. He was just gone for half a day and it just felt so wrong in so many ways.
The time came to pick up Jake and her nervous ran out of control. She drove way to fast to the clinic, and she wished traffic would “piss off”.
When arriving at the clinic, she made sure she paid first, so that when Jake was with her, she could give him the full attention.
She waited her turn and when she went in to the consultation room the vet was showing her some of the scans. He explained a view things and also told her that the cancer had spread and was effecting his liver, the membrane between the heart and the lungs. Lottie was not even surprised. She already knew it was not okay as Jake was more and more lethargic over the weekend. Plus the vomiting and the “not playing as he normally would” had set of the alarm bells for her on what was going on, making her even ,ore alerted now she knew Jake was not okay.
The vet gave her the prescription for Jake’s medication that she needed to start with, to collect from the Pharmacy. The following morning she had to start the treatment, 1 tablet every 12 hours. They made an appointment for the next week to see how his response is to the meds and to do another blood test and some x-rays. She has to bring him in at 08:00 and leave him behind again. At least she knew now Jake was not to effected by him being left behind, a sort of a bonus. But she rather would stay with him to reassure him. Sadly something that was not possible.
When she came out of the office the nurse was there waiting with Jake. She gave him the biggest hug she could give him and he was very happy to see her too.
The rest of the day Lottie made sure Jake had all the attention he needed and made sure he was comfy. She knew this was gonna be the most difficult time in her life. The reality of what was happening was slowly kicking in, and she did not know where to turn. Her heart and her head did not come to an agreement. Neither did the tears that kept popping up at the most inconvenient moments.
What she did know she was gonna take care of Jake the best way she could! And give him, and of course Bob, the best she could in the time that was left for Jake! She could not shake the feeling that this was so so bloody wrong that this little doggy that had such a terrible start in life, was hit by this! It is SO NOT RIGHT!
More Lottie and Jake stories:
Lottie and Jake 2
Lottie and Jake 3
Lottie and Jake 4
Lottie and Jake 5
Lottie and Jake 6