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  #1  
Old January 15th, 2013, 03:01 PM
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Exclamation mass on liver 14yr old dog

my Kiila has been quite sick over the last week.
tuesday she was perfectly fine. wednesday hubby came home and discover she had vomited quite a few times.
we took her to the vet friday because as of wednesday morning, she refused to eat and had not stopped throwing up.
friday the vet said it could be a number of things - she had thrown up part of a toy, so he thought blockage was likely. he also stated it could be virus, organ issues, etc. due to her age, he first suggested the non-invasive approach and gave us sulcrate, some prescription food, as well as advised to add electrolytes to her water. he advised if by sunday there was no improvement, to bring her back.
we brought her back sunday morning for blood work, urine test, X-rays. they did not see a blockage. they advised her white and red blood count was off, as well as 1 liver test was high, and the other extremely high. the xray also showed a mass on her liver.
she stayed overnight on antinausea meds as well as iv. i brought her home yesterday and was shown how to force feed her as she was still refusing food. she was also prescribed mirtazapine 7.5mg a day as an appetite stimulant and also cerenia 36mg once a day for anti nausea.
she is scheduled for an ultrasound tomorrow at noon.

i have a million questions and know from past experience, this site is full of knowledgable people!

- how long does it take for appetite stimulants to work?
- does a 'mass on her liver' likely mean the c-word?
- if her liver isnt functioning as it should, will anesthetic be a huge risk to her? (with poor liver function as well as her age in general)
- what is prognosis with or without surgery?

they had suggested surgery even if the US doesnt find anything, but i do not want to put her through surgery just to take a looksee - that is too risky and too hard on her.

i am having such a hard time coming to terms with this as like i said, tuesday she was her usual self, then boom, wednesday we have a very sick girl on our hands.

if anyone has any insight, advice, anything at all to offer, please, please share.

thanking you in advance!
lorelei
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Kiila - Female Husky/Shepherd, 14yrs - RIP
Aslan - Male orange Tabby, 3yrs
Zana - Female grey longhaired, 16yrs - RIP
Chewie - Female Rotti/Shepherd, 3yrs
Malkin - Male grey longhaired, 2yrs
Taffy - Female yellow lab, 5mos
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  #2  
Old January 15th, 2013, 09:32 PM
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I don't know any of the answers for you I just lost my cat to abdominal cancer Dec.1 I just hope all goes well for you..my prayers are with you
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Old January 15th, 2013, 10:53 PM
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budgrrl, I am so sorry for what you and Kiila are going through. I know it's not an easy decision. If you went ahead with surgery, how much longer do you think you would have with Kiila? I know there are several people on the board here who have dealt with cancer in their dogs, I have been fortunate not to face that issue so far. I did however lose my14 year old girl a year ago to arthritis and old age. I know with her, and with the sweet girl we still have (who is 12) I would not go to extreme lengths just to gain a few more months. I would cherish the time I have with them and keep them comfortable and pain free as long as I could. I truly hope someone with experience in your issue can give you some solid advice, all I can say is trust your heart to do what you feel is right for Kiila. Stay strong and enjoy the time you can.
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Old January 16th, 2013, 09:03 AM
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Thank you so much for your replies and well wishes!
I am so sorry to hear about your furbabies that you have lost
I am hoping the ultrasound shows either nothing at all, or something that merely medicine will treat. I tend to agree Dog Dancer, I do not want to put her through such an ordeal to merely gain a few more months (and those months would be spent primarily recovering from such a big surgery - its not fair for her)

We did see a little improvement yesterday though! I took her on her leash to go potty and she just wanted to walk, and walk, and walk! She also came at dinner time, and while still didn't eat, she came, sniffed, and even licked it Hopefully today she will give some a try! At this point I am less concerned about the nutritional value, and would just be pleased she ate something.

Last night she also went up the stairs to the bedroom all by herself too! I've been camped out in the living room as I did not want her doing the stairs (while I could help her get up, I was fearful she would get up in the middle of the night and try to go downstairs and hurt herself).

Praying the ultrasound today shows positive results!!
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Kiila - Female Husky/Shepherd, 14yrs - RIP
Aslan - Male orange Tabby, 3yrs
Zana - Female grey longhaired, 16yrs - RIP
Chewie - Female Rotti/Shepherd, 3yrs
Malkin - Male grey longhaired, 2yrs
Taffy - Female yellow lab, 5mos
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Old January 16th, 2013, 11:02 AM
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budgrrl, I am praying that the UltraSound goes well today also. Do keep us posted. Kiila and you are in my thoughts and prayers. Have you tried just boiling some chicken and plain rice for her? Maybe she'd like that. My last sweet girl used to love chicken - the rice not so much .
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  #6  
Old January 16th, 2013, 01:12 PM
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I have been following you on FB as well. I'm so glad to see she seems to be making improvements, even if they're small ones

As for the US, if it does end up being the "C" word, I thought as you and most others on this board, that at such an age, surgery wasn't an acceptable option. However, with some "education" and compassionate advice from one of our wonderful vets, we opted for surgery, and later, chemo. I mentioned Thorin on FB. He was diagnosed with a mass in his lung, and was 11 yrs old at the time. We thought that such an invasive procedure would be a lot of recovery time and would take away from his last few months, but that wasn't the case at all. I was also opposed to chemo because of what I have seen in people. One of our vets, a wonderful lady, has spent many years treating cancer patients. She was the first to start a Chemo protocol here in the Edmonton area and she is also one of the founders of ACTSS (Animal Cancer Therapy Subsidization Society). She thought that Thorin was a great candidate, and we opted to trust her. We took him to Washington State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Pullman, Washington and had the mass removed. They had to remove the bottom third of his lung, then sent it for histology. What they found really surprised them. At first, they thought that the tumor was a single mass, primary lung tumor and that surgery should be curative. But it wasn't. It came back as a rare form of cancer found in Bernese Mountain dogs and flat coated retrievers called disseminated histiocytic sarcoma, and there really isn't much information out there, it's a very complicated form of cancer that relates to the immune system. Thorin was a Malamute/GSDx, so how he ended up with it, they have no idea. After the surgery, it took only a few days for him to be completely back to himself. In fact, it was a real challenge to try and keep him from playing with Nookie and dislodging the staples

Our vet recommended we start Chemo as soon as possible. She said that dogs don't react to chemo the same way people do, mainly because in people, they are trying to cure the cancer. But what they have found in animals is that it rarely cures them, so they are given a much lower dose and the side effects are minimal, if any. Thorin had a bad tummy all his life (Colitis), but he never had an issue with the chemo... he didn't vomit even once. We also see a holisitic vet who has saved Nookies life
He treated Thorin for immune support while we went through the chemo. The surgery and chemo combined gave us another year with our sweet, beautiful boy. It was worth every penny (to us, anyway!)... and I would give anything to have him back again.

One thing I will say is to talk to your vet. And if you decide to have surgery/chemo, make sure the surgery is performed by a specialist (they know how to remove the masses without leaving anything behind to spread) and see an actual vet that specializes in cancer(if you can afford it!).Thorin was in very good health (except for the Colitis), prior to the cancer, even though he was elderly. They have special anesthesia protocols for senior dogs and dogs with other health issues that are very safe, and recovery times for surgery is normally much lower than most people would expect (myself included, prior to having gone through it). Anesthesia is scary, and no matter how good the protocol is, there's always the risk that something can go wrong, but we've been fortunate.

As for the Chemo, Thorin's was in pill form and was every 3 weeks for 4 months. He went through 2 rounds. The body can become immune to the Chemo after a period of time, which is what happened to Thorin on the second round, so they recommended I.V. Chemo therapy, which we chose not to do. The treatment they recommended for him is caustic and can cause severe issues if it goes outside of the vein, and Thorin had very bad veins (they had to stick him several times just to draw blood and veins would collapse), so we decided not to put him through it. Eventually, the tumors came in mass and when he got to the point he was no longer enjoying life, we let him go. But again, we got a good, happy year with him due to the treatments, with very little discomfort. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

I'm attaching a few pictures of Thorin post surgery just so you get an idea of just how invasive it was, and again, how quickly he recovered. It didn't affect his quality of life in the least

This first picture is app. 3 weeks after the surgery. You can still see the incision, but it's completely healed. It went all the way from the bottom of his rib cage, up his side to his spine. Oh, and please forgive Nookies lack of shame :
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These next 2 pics were about 6-7 weeks after surgery. The only way you could tell he had anything done was the lack of coat. He made a full and complete recovery, even though they had to cut through his ribcage:
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Dogs really are resilient

*hugs*

Robyn
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"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole" - Ok... whoever said this has never had a sick or special needs baby. They ARE our whole life!

R.I.P. my sweet, handsome Thorin. You are missed dearly Dec. 25, 1999 - Mar. 4, 2012
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Old January 16th, 2013, 01:41 PM
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Robyn, I'm so glad you came on here, I was going to PM you if you hadn't shown up sometime today! Budgrrl, Robyn is a wealth of information and is super helpful to those in similar circumstances. You can trust her advice 100%. Trust your gut, trust your vet, and trust Robyn
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Old January 16th, 2013, 07:25 PM
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Robyn - Thank you so much for sharing your story about Thorin. Definitely brought a tear to my eye :'(. What a special guy and special momma <3

We are still awaiting the results of the US, however, from what they saw, our vet said there is no doubt in his mind that it is liver cancer. She has a very large tumour that is in a critical stage.
I am so heartbroken. I somehow knew even prior to, but didn't want to face it. Kiila is such a special friend to me - she's always been there for me.
We will make her last moments as happy as can be, keep her comfortable, and pain free. I've also promised her I won't cry any longer in front of her - she can sense how sad I am.

I'm just praying this is all just a horrible dream :'(
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Kiila - Female Husky/Shepherd, 14yrs - RIP
Aslan - Male orange Tabby, 3yrs
Zana - Female grey longhaired, 16yrs - RIP
Chewie - Female Rotti/Shepherd, 3yrs
Malkin - Male grey longhaired, 2yrs
Taffy - Female yellow lab, 5mos
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  #9  
Old January 16th, 2013, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Dog Dancer View Post
Robyn, I'm so glad you came on here, I was going to PM you if you hadn't shown up sometime today! Budgrrl, Robyn is a wealth of information and is super helpful to those in similar circumstances. You can trust her advice 100%. Trust your gut, trust your vet, and trust Robyn
DD, you are too kind
I just know that going through these things alone would be just awful... and everyone here, including yourself, gave me strength and wonderful advice. And speaking of advice, I think you gave the best... just love her and keep her comfortable!

Budgrrl... I'm so sorry to read this, and I'll say a special prayer for you both, in hopes that your vet was incorrect.

One thing you can do to help, if it isn't at the end, is see a holistic vet. They are amazing when it comes to immune support and slowing the growth of the tumors. Also, if she does get her appetite back, avoid kibble and any foods that have a high carb/sugar content, as that will feed the tumor and make it grow faster. Use filtered water as well, if you can. Tap water is very bad for dogs with cancer due to all the chemicals/impurities/parasites. Their immune system is already compromised, so you don't want to add to the mix. I just posted this link to someone else here who has a furbaby with cancer:

www.dogcancercare.com/

This forum is wonderful. The people here have many good tips and there are threads regarding special diets, supplements etc. If you don't have a holistic vet, you can try k9 Immunity. Many people swear by it.

Did they do a fine needle aspiration? Please keep us updated.

*hugs* to you and your girl

Robyn
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"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole" - Ok... whoever said this has never had a sick or special needs baby. They ARE our whole life!

R.I.P. my sweet, handsome Thorin. You are missed dearly Dec. 25, 1999 - Mar. 4, 2012
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Old January 17th, 2013, 04:59 PM
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I'm so sorry to hear this. I also will say a prayer.
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  #11  
Old January 17th, 2013, 05:13 PM
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The vet called with the results. She has a 12cm diameter tumour on one lobe, and 5cm on another lobe.
She has started vomiting again - even while laying on her side. She has blood in her urine. She's also refusing water.
As much as it breaks my heart, I know we have to say 'sweet dreams' to my baby girl. I promised her the day I was lucky enough to adopt her that her momma would always protect her and love her - this will be my final act of protection and love. <3
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Kiila - Female Husky/Shepherd, 14yrs - RIP
Aslan - Male orange Tabby, 3yrs
Zana - Female grey longhaired, 16yrs - RIP
Chewie - Female Rotti/Shepherd, 3yrs
Malkin - Male grey longhaired, 2yrs
Taffy - Female yellow lab, 5mos
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Old January 17th, 2013, 05:37 PM
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Oh Budgrrl, my heart just breaks for you
There aren't any words that are going to make you feel better about any of this, so I'm just going to leave you with these hugs

You're a wonderful doggy mom

Robyn
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"Obey my dog!" - Mugatu

"Who can believe that there is no soul behind those luminous eyes!" ~ Theophile Gautier


"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole" - Ok... whoever said this has never had a sick or special needs baby. They ARE our whole life!

R.I.P. my sweet, handsome Thorin. You are missed dearly Dec. 25, 1999 - Mar. 4, 2012
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Old January 17th, 2013, 09:03 PM
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budgrrl, I am so sorry for what you and Kiila are going through. I know it's not an easy decision. If you went ahead with surgery, how much longer do you think you would have with Kiila? I know there are several people on the board here who have dealt with cancer in their dogs, I have been fortunate not to face that issue so far. I did however lose my14 year old girl a year ago to arthritis and old age. I know with her, and with the sweet girl we still have (who is 12) I would not go to extreme lengths just to gain a few more months. I would cherish the time I have with them and keep them comfortable and pain free as long as I could. I truly hope someone with experience in your issue can give you some solid advice, all I can say is trust your heart to do what you feel is right for Kiila. Stay strong and enjoy the time you can.
I lost my dog to cancer and force feeding would had be horrible for my dog because he could not keep his food down. He vomit it right back up . The cancer was too far spread to save my dog , he was peeing blood , the snow turned bright red when he peed. And his arthritis was getting so bad he had trouble walking. He was only 11 yo .
I am really sorry to heard that budgrrl dog has cancer .
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Old January 18th, 2013, 09:22 AM
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From experience....this is the hardest part of being a pet owner and I'm so sorry to be reading this. You are such a great Mom, we can all feel it.
The only (possibly) comforting thing I can say is that you are amongst many friends here who understand how terribly difficult this is.
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Old January 18th, 2013, 07:43 PM
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Thank you all so much for your support, hugs, and simply just listening. It means the world to me.

She passed away in my arms this afternoon. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do - but I would do anything for my baby Kiila (even if it nearly killed me).
I'm absolutely devastated, but she declined so quickly, there was nothing we could do to save her :'(.
She hugged me back and gave me big smooches today - something she hasn't been able to do in nearly 2 weeks - as weak as she was she knew her momma needed her protection and love once again.
Sweet dreams baby girl <3
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Kiila - Female Husky/Shepherd, 14yrs - RIP
Aslan - Male orange Tabby, 3yrs
Zana - Female grey longhaired, 16yrs - RIP
Chewie - Female Rotti/Shepherd, 3yrs
Malkin - Male grey longhaired, 2yrs
Taffy - Female yellow lab, 5mos
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Old January 18th, 2013, 07:52 PM
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My heart is with you. I lost my boy to cancer too and it is not easy. The decline is so quick. I wish you peace and know that you provided her with the final act of compassion and you will see Kila again. She is running free of pain waiting for you at the Rainbow Bridge.


Cindy
RIP Kila
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Old January 19th, 2013, 12:27 AM
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sweet Kiila She is playing at the Rainbow Bridge with those who've gone before
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Old January 19th, 2013, 09:55 AM
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Please accept my deepest condolences budgrrl. I'm so sorry.

sweet kiila

Sincerely -Marko
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Old January 19th, 2013, 09:22 PM
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Does anyone have an special way they've memorialized their furbaby? I want to do something very special for my girl.

And how does one cope with the loss? I can't sleep or eat. I'm even having a hard time doing simple things like walking our other girl - we always walked both together and our hands felt so empty, so we took turns holding the leash. I know she and the kitties now need me the most as their little hearts are breaking too. I'm even afraid to laugh at their silly little antics as I feel I am betraying and dishonouring my Kiila.

This is so hard and so unfair :'(
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Kiila - Female Husky/Shepherd, 14yrs - RIP
Aslan - Male orange Tabby, 3yrs
Zana - Female grey longhaired, 16yrs - RIP
Chewie - Female Rotti/Shepherd, 3yrs
Malkin - Male grey longhaired, 2yrs
Taffy - Female yellow lab, 5mos
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Old January 19th, 2013, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by budgrrl View Post
Does anyone have an special way they've memorialized their furbaby? I want to do something very special for my girl.

And how does one cope with the loss? I can't sleep or eat. I'm even having a hard time doing simple things like walking our other girl - we always walked both together and our hands felt so empty, so we took turns holding the leash. I know she and the kitties now need me the most as their little hearts are breaking too. I'm even afraid to laugh at their silly little antics as I feel I am betraying and dishonouring my Kiila.

This is so hard and so unfair :'(
Budgrrl, I;m so very sorry. It took Shaun and I quite some time to get over the loss of Thorin. And honestly, I don't thik we'll ever be "over" it. One thing that really helped for both us and Nookie was Ignatia. Nookies vet recommended it for him, and us(he had a seizure the day after Thorin passed and wouldn't even look at us... I'm sure he thought we killed him). Ignatia is a homeopathic remedy for acute grief/loss, and it does help to dull it a bit. You can get it at most any health food or vitamin store. They come in a small purple vial and the strength would be 30CC. You want to take 5 pellets 3-4 times a day. As for doing something special, we have Thorins ashes on our mantel under a portrait of him that my dad had made for us one year for Christmas. Then this year, I had one of my favorite pictures of him made into a large canvas which is also on the wall now

Big hugs to you. The pain eventually dull, but she will always be with you
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"Who can believe that there is no soul behind those luminous eyes!" ~ Theophile Gautier


"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole" - Ok... whoever said this has never had a sick or special needs baby. They ARE our whole life!

R.I.P. my sweet, handsome Thorin. You are missed dearly Dec. 25, 1999 - Mar. 4, 2012
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Old January 19th, 2013, 11:03 PM
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You are such a wonderful mommy, budgrrl. No laughter on your part could ever be construed as a betrayal or dishonor to Kiila--least of all by Kiila, cuz she knows how loved she was. Allow yourself to live well and happy knowing it's what Kiila would want for you! She loved you back and would want you to be happy--so if the kitties try to cheer you with their goofiness, let them. And if some memory comes to mind that makes you cry, that's okay, too. Some day, those memories will make you smile again.

You'll never be 'over it', but you will at least come to terms with your loss. And she'll be waiting for you at the Bridge.
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Old January 19th, 2013, 11:29 PM
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I agree with Rguerts on the Ignatia, my last homeopathic vet brought me some when she came to my apt to send my cat to the bridge.

One thing I think is a wonderful memorial is if your vet's crematorium offers paw prints in clay, I had that done for my cat.

I also have 8x10 framed photos of all my pets from over the years hanging around the apt.

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Old January 20th, 2013, 08:53 AM
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Thank you for the wonderful idea Growler!
I am having her cremated so she will always be with me. The urn is the same colours as my baby - brown, black, and white. I didn't have the mind to ask about paw prints on Friday, but we just called now and they will do it for us.
I'd like to frame them, along with a collage of my favourite photos that a friend is making for me.
I am also hanging her collar from my rear view mirror so she can always ride shotgun with momma - that was her seat. <3
I've also saved a few of her baby teeth and a toy bone she's had since she was a baby.
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Kiila - Female Husky/Shepherd, 14yrs - RIP
Aslan - Male orange Tabby, 3yrs
Zana - Female grey longhaired, 16yrs - RIP
Chewie - Female Rotti/Shepherd, 3yrs
Malkin - Male grey longhaired, 2yrs
Taffy - Female yellow lab, 5mos
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  #24  
Old January 20th, 2013, 09:30 PM
budgrrl's Avatar
budgrrl budgrrl is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
Posts: 252
Thank you Robin and Hazel for your wonderful ideas! And thank you all for your compassion, kind words, and hugs.
It really does help to talk about it - especially with fellow animal lovers who treat their pets like fury lil children as I do.
Some just dont get how the loss of a pet can be so heartbreaking. I am ever thankful for all the love and support and wisdom this site has to offer.

Big hugs to you all!
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Kiila - Female Husky/Shepherd, 14yrs - RIP
Aslan - Male orange Tabby, 3yrs
Zana - Female grey longhaired, 16yrs - RIP
Chewie - Female Rotti/Shepherd, 3yrs
Malkin - Male grey longhaired, 2yrs
Taffy - Female yellow lab, 5mos
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  #25  
Old January 21st, 2013, 05:00 PM
Jull Jull is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
Posts: 585
I'm so sorry for your loss budgrrl
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