August 27th 2006 5:49 pm
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We met Little Bit June 23, 1997 and we took her home for the first time July 1, 1997. We said our final goodbyes August 27, 2006. The days between were filled with a lifetime of love.
There are no words to express the depth of our love and it is impossible to express the depth of our sorrow. We know that only time will help and we are comforted by the knowledge that we did all that we could medically for her and we did everything we could to spoil her.
Intellectually, we knew this day would come but, as were so many of her friends, we were in denial. Little Bit was such a fighter and she had so many ups and downs through her treatment that it was almost that we had expected for her to overcome this setback as well. That said, we are convinced that she was able to fight as long as she did because of all of the prayers and support that she received. This is especially true for these past six weeks or so when all of her chemotherapy had already failed.
Little Bit really was a miracle worker. She worked her way into the hearts of so many with her courage and dignity. No dog could possibly have asked for better friends and we are all better for having known her. Robin, Lyle and I are truly blessed for having shared our lives with her.
If you have been reading along from the start, you know that Little Bit was fortunate to have had an excellent health care team. Dr. Hathorn had only joined the Animal Care Clinic shortly before Little Bit's diagnosis and we couldn't be more grateful for the timing. Little Bit was one of her first oncology patients and she worked so hard for Little Bit. We can only imagine the countless hours that she spent reading and learning about lymphoma on Little Bit's behalf. When things stopped working, she was quick to consult with the experts and her dedication to Little Bit's health was a comfort to us. It was very difficult to call her this morning asking her to do one last thing for Little Bit. She offered to come to our home and at 12:45 pm, she ended Little Bit's suffering. We are so grateful and we honestly could not have asked for any better care for our sweet Bit. She has our heartfelt gratitude even if we could not express it at the time.
We are also so grateful for the love and support from all of our family and friends. We have every intention of writing back to all of the emails and thanking everyone for sharing with us but it will take some time. In time we will also post a photo memorial for everyone to enjoy. It is hard to imagine that there was ever a dog has had any more prayers on her last day than Little Bit did today. When she left us, she was resting in her snuggle sack on the blankets that her friends gave her. There is no question that she knew she was loved. And she would have thought that the "treats for LB" photo stroll was the perfect memorial.
Thank you all for being with us in spirit. Thank you for all of your love and support. Little Bit was a special dog and she will be missed. We are honored to have shared her with the world.
Michael & Robin
August 25th 2006 3:39 pm
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Going through life, we don't often have the insight to know when we are doing something for the last time. Other times it is more obvious. Take last Thursday for example, the bosses loaded me and Lyle up in the truck and went to Bruster's for our free doggie sundaes. (Mmm, ice cream.) At the time I was feeling pretty good after the side effects from my last chemo injection had passed and the tumors had shrunk quite a bit. Naturally thoughts of ice cream began to dance through our heads so off we went. Well, as a little background, Lyle sometimes gets so worked up while traveling that his stomach gets a little out of sorts. So we drive the 25 minutes to Bruster's and we see this big white German Shepard Dog and we think, wow, that looks like our friend Storm. Turns out Storm's bosses had the same idea as we did and it was Storm. Another bit of background, Storm is one of Lyle's favorite buddies and just seeing her got him even more worked up. I'm sure you can see where this is heading. Anyway, it was obvious that Thursday night was Lyle's last time going to Bruster's.
Other times it might not be so obvious. Like the one and only time I had a smoked beef knuckle. I was a puppy. The knuckle was good. The boss ma'am (actually I still had authority issues back then) got too close and I growled (a lot). Sadly that was my last time with one of those babies.
These last few days I'm starting to realize more and more that as I go through my day, I'm doing things probably for the last time. Last night I was feeling good and the boss man asked me to model for him. We both had a pretty good idea that it would be my last time in front of the camera. Since that time, the tumors around my neck and mouth have over doubled and I am having a difficult time swallowing. As I write this I have a pretty good idea that this might well be my last diary entry.
I consider myself a very lucky dog. I know some of you might be thinking "Sure Little Bit, you do have a lot of luck and all of it bad!" but I know that is not true. I have so many friends and I've been truly blessed with prayers and support from all around the world. I also know that some of you reading this might think that I've given up hope for a miracle. Truth is, I feel like I received my miracle a while back. Obviously I wish there was something left to try against this cancer. But I know that I've lived a very good life with a loving pack. And I have so many good friends. For me, the miracle is that I have been able to touch so many with my story.
Through it all, I have faced my challenges with grace and dignity (much more so than the rest of my pack). Since my diagnosis, I've gone from having a normal small dog life to making friends and telling my story to people and dogs all around the world (I was even in Reader's Digest). I've been able to teach others that there are options when faced with lymphoma. And that those options can provide a very good quality of life. When I started writing, I thought that perhaps my friends and family outside of Kentucky would want to check in to see how I was doing. Never in my wildest imagination did I think so many would follow my story. That my friends, is absolutely miraculous.
So I want to thank you for all of your love and support. And I want to thank you for all of your prayers and friendship. And for your advice and encouragement. And for the laughter and tears.
I can't say exactly how much time I have left but I think it is safe to say that my remaining time will only be measured in days. I've instructed the boss man to write one last diary entry for me after I have crossed to the Rainbow Bridge. So like I said, I think this might be my last time writing.
Thank you all so much.
With much love,
August 16th 2006 1:59 pm
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Sometimes I think we all forget just how fragile life is. Of course I've been dealing with lymphoma for something like 21 months now so it isn't like I haven't thought about death a time or two. And sadly during that time I've lost more than one friend to the Rainbow Bridge. Still, every time a life is lost, I am still taken by surprise.
Last night my friend Oreo died. She wasn't on Dogster but you may have read about her in my diary from time to time. She only lived a block away and she would sometimes come to stay with me when her pack was out of town. Her pack loved her very much and she was fortunate to have a wonderful home for her eight years. I don't know why she died as she was seemingly very healthy. She had been out for a walk before bedtime yesterday when she suddenly lost the use of her back legs. A short time later she had difficulty breathing and she passed away before they could even get her to the emergency vet. She was a very good dog and I will miss her.
I don't know if it is easier when you know death is coming or if it takes you completely by surprise. I think maybe that it is always hard for the loved ones left behind.
On Sunday I went back for my latest injection of l-asparaginase. I had a pretty rough night of it but by lunch time Monday I was starting to feel better and by dinner time I was back to my old self. I'm happy to say that the injections continue to work for me and the the bumps have gone down again to a more manageable size. The bosses continue to do an excellent job spoiling me and I'm happy to say that yesterday was steak day. Mmm, steak.
Finally, I wanted to thank my friend Harry for making me the fun new pictures. As you all know, I love food so they are perfect. Thank you very much.
August 10th 2006 3:48 pm
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One thing about prednisone, it makes your mouth dry. Yesterday I had to lick my teeth about a half dozen times before my lips stopped sticking to them. Not that I am ashamed to show off my pearly whites, but you know, it just kind of feels weird. Fortunately I have an idea for a solution - Strawberry Blizzards from Dairy Queen.
As you may or may not know, today in participating DQs, the proceeds from all Blizzard purchases will be donated to the Children's Miracle Network. Not only will your stomach thank you but you will be doing something charitable by participating. I've been barking at the bosses to get up and out the door since dinner. I think I've almost got them...
Have a great night and enjoy your cold and creamy dessert!
July 29th 2006 10:22 am
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The sign says 2 days to Butterburgers.
So here is a pop quiz for you all.
1) Where will the pack be dining on Monday?
b) Dairy Queen
2) We won't be eating any frozen custard.
Okay, I'll admit that I'm a little over excited about a burger place. After all, all hamburgers are good. Still, mmm Butterburgers. Mmm, frozen custard. I can't wait to find out what the flavor of the day is. I sure hope they pick a good one.
Speaking of creamy goodness, the bosses left Lyle and I yesterday evening and I was sure that my chances for DQ were low. I am happy to report that while I didn't get to experience the joy of the drive through window, the bosses were thoughtful enough not only to get some carryout, but they even brought a cooler with ice packs so that our ice cream wasn't too melty. Mmm, ice cream.
Oh and don't forget. Tonight is the United Bowl II. Cheer on the Lexington Horsemen to their second national championship! Go Horsemen!
Have a great weekend!
July 27th 2006 2:25 pm
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Okay, I'm beginning to think that the Dogfather has put out a contract for a bit on Lyle. What else could explain a third attack THIS MONTH on the whigle while he was out on his morning walk. Sadly I'm not up for those long walks anymore so I can't protect him. The best I can do is offer buy off some of those assassins with my stash of 81,000 bones. So here it is, please stop attacking Lyle and I will reward you handsomely.
I'm going to get on my soapbox for a second here.
If your dog is aggressive (and this means even if he or she almost never attacks another dog), keep your dog under your control. DO NOT LET YOUR DOG OFF LEASH. EVEN IF YOU THINK THEY PROBABLY WON'T EVEN SEE ANOTHER DOG. And, duh, if your dog does not reliably come when called, do not let it off leash.
I'll get off now.
So as you might have guessed, while the first two encounters were "relatively" harmless (i.e. no blood was shed), the latest incident left Lyle with two holes in his belly. And in case you were wondering, the other dog "got off" with a beating from his owner. Yes, the boss man should have called the police. In an effort to get Lyle away from the bad dog, his owner and the woman's other dog that, while not seemingly aggressive, was still all over Lyle, the boss man didn't even get this woman's name or address. He did call animal control but of course there wasn't really anything they could do about it since it was after the fact and they didn't know how to find this woman.
Sorry Mr. Loo. Perhaps Smelly Belly would consider coming on board for another bodyguard stint. Although at eleven, she might be getting a little old for that kind of work.
On a happier note, my latest injection seems to be helping. The bumps have reduced to a manageable level and I'm feeling pretty good. I haven't really been all that interested in my kibble this week but with all of the good stuff that the bosses have been bribing me with I haven't exactly been going hungry. I'm sure you all understand. Hamburgers just taste better than prescription diet.
And on a much happier note, I want to thank my good friend Willie for sending me those tasty, tasty Barx sticks. I love them. Thank you very much! I really have the nicest friends.
Have a great night.
July 22nd 2006 3:37 pm
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First off, I have to say I have the most amazing friends. Since I wrote last I've been working hard (or at least as hard as the bosses allow) on another one of the tasty, tasty smoked rawhides from Skye. Mmm, smoked rawhide. Then, the very next day, Lyle and I received an amazing care package from Baxter and MacKenzie. They really went out of their way to put together such a thoughtful gift. I've really been enjoying the treats (they go down waaayyyy to fast to be captured in a picture) and this morning I had the most wonderful massage. I don't know what I've done to deserve such generosity and I certainly don't know what Lyle did to deserve it!
Sorry Lyle. I know I shouldn't tease, especially after a bad week. True, Mr. Loo enjoyed the same things I did, but he had to go the the veterinarian office not once, but TWICE last week. And I didn't have to go at all. Turns out I'm not the only stone maker in the pack. Fortunately we caught it early and there are no stones, just crystals so he gets to go on a prescription diet too. But of course his prescription diet is the opposite of mine (U/D versus C/D) which means that we can't snack on each other's food. I'm supposed to have a low pH urine and he is supposed to have a high pH urine. Sorry Lyle.
Speaking of the vet's office, I'll be going back tomorrow for my next shot. Since we were so pleasantly surprised at my reaction last time, we are cautiously optimistic that it will continue to knock that cancer back. Going in every three weeks or so isn't a bad trade off. In fact, given the option, I'm thrilled to go in as often as I have to as long as it continues to make me feel good.
Finally I wanted to say wow to all of the people that put so much work into the Woodford Humane Society's Freedom Fest fundraising even this weekend. This is their big money raising event for the year and a local horse farm (Calumet this year) hosts the event in one of their barns (and the area outside it with an additional huge tent). Designers from around the area then work on one stall each and transform them into amazing dining rooms. There are about 20 stalls in all. These people really deserve a big pat on their backs for doing so much to raise money for the homeless animals. On behalf of those animals I say Thank You. Thank You Very Much.
Well, that about wraps things up for tonight. I hope you all have a wonderful night (and that the Lexington Horsemen win their semi-final playoff game tonight).
July 17th 2006 6:50 pm
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First I wanted to say thanks to everyone for all of your continued support. I can hardly believe that you all gave me more bones than there are dogs on Dogster. And of course so many rosettes, pup pal requests and emails. A dog could definitely get a big head.
Also I wanted to thank my friends Angus and Skye for sending me such thoughtful gifts. In honor of National Ice Cream Day (yesterday) and National Ice Cream Month (July), Angus sent me some Dairy Queen gift certificates so that I could indulge a little. Mmm, ice cream. And Skye sent me some of those wonderful smoked rawhides that I love so well. Well, the bosses said they were in the mood for ice cream so we all headed to DQ tonight and I made record time on my dish. Wow did that hit the spot. But I ate it so fast it made me cold and I had the shivers for a few minutes. Fortunately in this 90 degree weather, it felt nice to be cold and it wasn't long before I was hot again. Oh well. You can see my photo diary on my website (I caption the pictures so hold your mouse over them until they pop up).
So then we got home and I was all ready for the rawhide. I mean, I didn't want to disappoint Skye or anything. But the bosses said no. They said it was too much for one evening which sounded a lot like a promise to give me rawhide tomorrow. A dog can always hope at least.
Well, I'm going to keep it short tonight. Thank you all very much.
July 11th 2006 6:01 pm
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I've had my favorite Alan Jackson song going through my head a lot lately. True, I only know the one, but I'm pretty sure that it would be my favorite even if I was better informed of his work. Anyway, it goes something like this:
...Little Bitty dog and a Little Bitty car
Well, its alright to be Little Bitty
Little hometown or a big old city
Might as well share, might as well smile
Life goes on for a Little Bitty while...
Okay, so I guess he is talking about the boss ma'am's car in the first part because he sure can't be talking about the boss man's truck even though that is the vehicle I go riding in most often but I understand how sometimes artists take a few liberties with their work. Anyway, getting back to my point, the song (to me at least) is about life going on. I can't help but feel it pertains to me lately.
When I wrote back on June 26, 2006, my latest chemo protocol had just failed and we really didn't think there were any options that were still left for me to try. I went on the hungry maker (prednisone) which helped in the short term but didn't leave me with much time. Then people and dogs all around the world started praying for me and offering their support. When my doctor suggested we try one more time with the l-asparaginase we thought that it was worth a go but we didn't think it would help because I had been given it too recently and we were led to believe that it loses it effectiveness when given too often. So back on the 5th of July, I went in for my injection and it worked great. Before I knew it my bumps were gone and my energy had skyrocketed. Clearly all of those prayers were helping.
Fast forward to today (rawhide day - Yeah baby!), and I am all but a couple of doses away from being weaned off the hungry maker and I'm still doing pretty good. My bumps are starting to grow again (maybe peanut m&m size - Mmm, candy coated chocolate) but my energy is still good and I'm feeling good. Dr. Hathorn said that we can keep trying the l-asparaginase indefinitely as long as it continues to work and as frequently as once a week. We really don't have any idea how long it will continue to work for me but we are so very grateful for every last second that it helps. There can be no doubt that without it I would not have made it to see August. With it who knows? I'll take what I can get. Die cancer! Die!
Life goes on for a Little Bitty while...
So did I mention it is rawhide night? Yeah baby! I love rawhide!
And did I mention what great friends I have? 263 dogs in the Little Bit photo stroll, 154 rosettes, over 62 thousand bones. WWWWAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYY more than enough to make a small girl dog feel loved. Thank you all so much.
Well, a big storm is rolling in and I feel my power supply might be in danger so I'm going to sign off.
July 6th 2006 1:32 pm
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The depth of the Dogster love continues to amaze me. For one thing, my cousin Shelby signed up for Dogster (and Dogster Plus) so that she could join in her support since she has read all of the good things that I've had to say. And of course, the photos stroll, rosettes, pmails, pal requests, being mentioned in the Dogster site news and so much more. I can't imagine that there has ever been such love and support for a regular dog like me ever before. Thank you everyone.
I've been keeping busy these last few days. Yesterday I finally went to the vet for another injection of l-asparaginase which I'm happy to report, has given me some relief. According to the boss ma'am, it is like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. The cancer needs asparagine to live just like the dinosaurs were engineered to need lysine. By controlling the amount of amino acids available, their growth could be controlled. In the story, carefully controlling the lysine worked just fine for a while. But eventually all heck broke loose. We don't know how long the l-asparaginase will continue to work for me but eventually the cancer monsters (probably sooner rather than later) will "find a way." So my pack and I are really trying hard to make the most of the time I have left.
So, it is with mixed feelings that I report that I had my first taste of frozen custard here in Lexington. I had a biscuit sundae. Mmm, biscuit sundae. No really. I say mixed feelings because the bosses admitted to me that Mollie's Frozen Custard had been in business for about three years now and Independence Day was the first time they had thought to bring me. Or Lyle (no big deal there). And even if you could say that frozen custard and ice cream were equals (they're not), then it would still be tragic because Mollie's made me a biscuit sundae. Not just a plain scoop of vanilla but topped off with two milk bones.
Well, I was up late last night and a little predinner nap sounds pretty good about now. Have a great day.
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