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Charlie's Story: The heartbreaking cancer diagnosis

Charlie's Story: The heartbreaking cancer diagnosis

My 13 year old dog, Charlie, has stolen the show the last two weeks - and not in a good way. When preoperative blood work before removing a benign skin mass showed something was “off”, we scheduled an ultrasound of her abdomen to rule out pancreatic issues.  That ultrasound led to an emergency “exploratory” abdominal surgery, which ended with my surgeon calling to tell me Charlie has over 40 tumors spread throughout her abdominal organs, thanks to a rare cancer called Disseminated Histiocytic Sarcoma.

After years of working in veterinary hospitals and emergency centers, I thought I was prepared for the reality that my pets would eventually get ill.  But no amount of clients’ euthanasia appointments and emergency room deaths can prepare you for the punch to the gut when your own pet is diagnosed as terminally ill.

Especially not when it’s your first puppy to leave you.

Janery Charlie After Surgery to remove Disseminated Histiocytic Sarcoma

We brought Charlie home from the hospital tonight, and hope she will recuperate well over the weekend so she can start chemotherapy next week.  In the meantime, I'll be trying to recover from the shock of it all.

It’s inspired me to start sharing the story of how I found her, because finding her and training her taught me so much about the value of tough love. She was my first dog, and wasn’t the ideal specimen for someone who’s never owned or trained dogs before.

Thanks to living on the streets and being shot at and beaten (to the point of losing an eyeball), she was aggressive, hairless and emaciated.  People told me she’d kill my cats if I brought her home.

Janery Charlie Aretha  Sleeping 800pxw

But she didn’t.  That was just one of the predictions I disproved through strict training (as evidenced above), and I hope to someday share how I did it.

But right now I need to get back to cooking her up some tasty real food for recovery. And giving her as many treats and cuddles as she wants.

I think our hiking days are over. 

Janery Jane Charlie Hiking Blue Ridge