Life with Gypsy 3

Gypsy with Lyza the cat after a walk

Gypsy with Lyza the cat after a walk

My life has been a whirlwind of emotions the last couple of weeks with the discovery that my beloved dog, Gypsy, has prostate cancer.  The thought of my happy go lucky Gypsy has cancer seems a terrible injustice.  This dog has had enough misfortune in his short life and doesn’t need any more.  Then I think, the last three years have probably been the best years of his life and, – mine.

Gypsy in the yard with his bone

Gypsy in the yard with his bone

That little dog has blessed me beyond measure.  And, in turn, I’ve been a blessing to him.  Gypsy and I coming together has been a win-win for both of us.  Now, he has cancer.  That is very upsetting to me.  It is life, though.  I am thankful that we have had at least three years together.  Life the past three years has been wonderful for me and Gypsy has a lot to do with that.  And, he is still with me and, is still a very happy little guy.

Gypsy with me at forsyth park movie, Wreck it Ralph, this past Thursday.

Gypsy with me at forsyth park movie, Wreck it Ralph, this past Thursday.

I momentarily got caught up in my emotions and crashed at the fact of the unfairness of life.  It took a weekend of contemplation to remember that there have never been any guarantees in life for anyone or anything except, – death.  Everything that lives on this planet eventually must die.  That’s common sense, of course.  But, when it’s very personal, death can overwhelm me.  I’ve buried now more than several dogs that I loved dearly.  All of my grandparents have died.  One of my siblings has died.  I’ve survived their departure but it’s never been without tears and the emptiness felt at the departure of each.  Every time death has knocked close to my home, my heart has broken but every time, my heart has healed.  I will focus on the fact that Gypsy is still here!  I will not mourn while he is here.  When he is gone, then will I mourn.  But right now, Gypsy is here and he is happy and that, makes me happy.

another one of Gypsy's dinners: scrambled eggs with cooked zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, spinach.  he gobbled it all up!

another one of Gypsy’s dinners: scrambled eggs with cooked zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, spinach and chicken. he gobbled it all up!

I have opted to make life as comfortable for Gypsy as I possibly can until time for him to go is evident.  I will not put him on chemotherapy.  I do not want him to feel sick while he is feeling so good at this time.  As for radiation, at this time, I’ve opted to stay away from that as well.  Gypsy is 11 years old.  The reality is that Australian Shepherds’ life span is 10 to 12 years.  Do I really want to make him sick and uncomfortable at this stage in his life by putting him on chemo or subjecting him to radiation?  Especially, when the chemo and the radiation truly have no hope of getting rid of the cancer but of simply slowing down it’s growth.  Will I get an extra month of life out of Gypsy by subjecting him to these harsh cancer fighting remedies?  What will that extra month be like for him?

One of Gypsy's cancer fighting dinners: Newman's own organic beef, eggs over easy and chopped spinach.

One of Gypsy’s cancer fighting dinners: Newman’s own organic beef, eggs over easy and chopped spinach.

I’ve opted instead to feed Gypsy well, take him for long walks, hang out with him as much as I can.  Basically, I’ve decided to do everything within my power to increase his quality of life however long that may be.  He is still on piroxicam and will remain on that until he dies or until his body is cancer free.

Gypsy watching a movie with me on the couch

Gypsy watching a movie with me on the couch

Yes, I am an optimist.  I believe Gypsy has a chance to beat cancer because…

  1. I’m a fervent believer in the power of prayer and in God.  If God can and has blessed me by bringing this little guy into my life then God can prolong Gypsy’s life.  So, I pray and pray for a miracle of more time and a cancer-free Gypsy
  2. I’ve updated Gypsy’s diet to consist of lots of veggies, high protein (chicken, fish, lean beef), fruits and nothing processed.
  3. Lots of love.  I make sure to spend lots of quality time with the Gypster.  He’s my little bud and I’m letting him know that all of the time by spending lots of time with him, scratching him, walking him, and playing with him (Gypsy loves to play tug-of-war).
  4. He’s still on and will remain on piroxicam.  Piroxicam has been proven to prolong the life of a dog with cancer and, with minimal side effects.  My late Maccabee had a more severe cancer and piroxicam allowed him more time than the doctors expected.
eggs cooked in extra virgin olive oil over easy with spinach

eggs cooked in extra virgin olive oil over easy with spinach

Life is what it is.  You live it and try to enjoy it as much as you can always acknowledging that it will end one day.  I intend to hold onto Gypsy as long as his little body can stand to live whether that be a few more years or a few more months.  I love Gypsy and I’m thankful to God for bringing this little guy into my life.  So far, it’s been a wonderful experience and that’s something to be happy about.

peace,

dh

04/28/2013

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2 comments for “Life with Gypsy 3

  1. Tammy
    2013/09/19 at 6:03 am

    Dan, I’m very sorry Gypsy has cancer. Your words are so well spoken and hit home for me. I am dealing with my dog’s liver cancer diagnosis and so many question marks. Will he be here in another month, two, will he make it to Thanksgiving? I am trying not to mourn while he is still with us and doing all the things you are–feeding great food, spending lots of time with him and letting him do the things he loves. Dealing with this is so hard on the heart. You are a wonderful caregiver and friend to Gypsy–that is very evident. Thank you for sharing your journey with Gypsy.

    • RunDanRun
      2013/09/23 at 6:34 pm

      Hi Tammy,
      My heart goes out to you. Gypsy is my best friend, my best buddy, my closest companion. He knows the good, the bad, the ugly, – the whole gamut of who I am and yet loves me unconditionally.
      Right now, Gypsy is doing incredibly well. He is a very happy boy. He eats better than I do and we spend lots of time together. I have no idea how much longer his days will still be filled with happiness but one thing I can definitely declare and that is that whatever time he has I will do all that I can to make sure Gypsy knows he is loved and appreciated.

      We go on short, long walks daily. I call them short, long walks because the walk is usually no more than 1.5 miles but yet it may take us an hour to complete that distance because Gypsy likes to sniff and pee on just about anything. I used to get a bit impatient during these walks because when I say that Gypsy takes his time to sniff everything out, I mean he TAKES his TIME! Now, though, I remind myself that this is his time. So, I patiently wait for him to sniff everything to his heart’s delight.

      I cherish every moment I have with Gypsy and, will do so until that dreadful day comes to say goodbye.
      I thank God daily for the time He has given me with this amazing, wonderful dog. Gypsy is one of a kind just as I know that your little guy is. My thoughts and prayers are with you Tammy. The best you can do for you and your little guy is exactly what you’re doing – Love him! Try not to think about the day he goes. That day will come just as it will for all of us. It is the way of life. Cherish him now and be thankful for the time you two have together. Stay positive because they can sense your distress and that will depress them. Be happy with him and be thankful.
      Please let me know if I can do anything for you.
      Let’s stay in touch, Tammy.
      Take care and God bless.

      Dan

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