Sarah’s Got a Chance
Posted on October 11, 2021
In late October last year, I happened upon pictures of a little senior chihuahua with a sad face posted on the web page of SecondChanceNC.org. I contacted them. After completion of the required paperwork, personal reference checks, plus an in-home visit, we welcomed Sarah into our family. Long term healthcare and dietary neglect had created several health problems for Sarah. The loving care given by Second Chance Pet Adoptions had included great medical care for Sarah’s health needs. The known existing health conditions listed for Sarah were heart murmur and arthritis.
After Sarah came to live with us, we took her in to see a veterinarian. An ultrasound was done on Sarah’s heart to obtain information on her heart. That would help them select the best medicine to use to help her heart perform at its best. While the ultrasound was being done, a shadowed image that appeared below her heart was also investigated. A large mass was found to be on the left side of Sarah’s liver. It was a complete surprise to us for Sarah had no symptoms of anything like that being wrong. The ultrasound information on Sarah’s heart murmur allowed for a treatment plan for her. However, much more information would be necessary in order to know what to do with the tumor found on Sarah’s liver.
During the drive home, Sarah was happily sitting in the back seat’s child car seat. When our last grandchild aged out of it, Bella, our little golden-doodle, decided that the car seat would be her spot. However it didn’t take Sarah long to discover that if Bella wasn’t with us, she was good to go in the car seat. When Sarah first came to live with us, she would shrink back from being touched. Growling was a second language for her. In fact for the first three months, grumpy, loud chihuahua growls and grunts were her communications with us. Dental disease had taken all but a few teeth and those were so loose they were removed. I had no experience working with abused and neglected animals, but Sarah had the saddest eyes I had ever seen in a dog. The look on her face convinced me that this once beloved pet had seen the years pass, taking with them the people who had once loved and cherished her. The only thing I knew to do was love her and to let our dogs love her too. It was up to us to prove to her that she was in her home, her safe place, loved and cared for by us all.
The first couple of months we let her know food was always available. The recliners had warm cuddly places next to humans who snuggled her. Our pack of three became a pack of four, with Bella and Sarah leading the way for potty breaks and sunning on the porch. As the months passed, we discovered that Sarah had a real doggie bark and her tail could wag with the best of them. She decided that she wanted to be in bed with our dogs and us, so making room for one more little dog was easy. All of us were a part of fulfilling Sarah’s desire for a forever home. Then this tumor turns up and wants to take our Sarah away.
In August, Sarah had a blood clotting test. Waiting a week, well, really six days, for the results was like watching paint dry. The best thing is that when the results came back, they were good. The next big test was the tumor biopsy. As large as a grapefruit and on the left side, odds were that 98.5% it would be a large cancerous tumor and only a 1.5% chance that it would be a benign [non-cancerous] tumor. We were praying for it to be benign, but in reality this tumor had started growing in Sarah long before she came to us. What it was would be what the tests showed us. Naturally it was going to take a week to find out what the future would hold for Sarah and for us. The call from the doctor came on September 28th. He read the test results to me. When my ears heard the word “Benign”, my heart felt like it was coming out of my chest! All my thoughts turned to “Sarah’s got a chance! Sarah’s got a chance!” Whatever it takes, this special little dog has a chance to be in our family for a long time.
Sarah’s surgery date was on October 13th. It had been costly just get her this far. Every bit of money that we could scrape together was spent on her upcoming surgery. Much to my sorrow, my dearest Sarah did not live to see me again. y the Upon opening up Sarah’s tummy, the tumor, originally thought to be about a pound in size, turned out to be a two pound heavy monster of a tumor. Given the size of the tumor and the threat that it would rupture and cause massive internal bleeding, the decision was made to continue with the removal. The surgery was successful, with the huge tumor out of Sarah and in a plastic container. Sarah was waking up from the anesthesia and all looked well. However, a couple of hours later, with the enormous stress of the removal of the tumor, Sarah’s little heart gave out.
The night before Sarah’s surgery, we were cuddled together in bed with me talking and her listening. I told her that while the surgery would be really tough, she didn’t need to worry. The tumor would either be gone and she would be back home here or, if it happened that she went to heaven, we would meet in heaven at the Rainbow bridge. I must say that I simply was not prepared to lose Sarah. I do know that I will be ready and happy to see her and all our other pets in heaven. That will be a great homecoming.
Here’s a few more pictures of Sarah –
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