How to Help our Mastiff with Bone Cancer

How to Help our Mastiff with Bone Cancer

by J Weatherford
(Marietta Ga)

We discovered yesterday that Max has bone cancer in his left rear leg. He is a 9 1/2 yr old English Mastiff with a heart of gold! He is probably the best dog we have ever owned! He is my "Buttea" as his head would slide off my lap as I would pet him. Max has never destroyed our house, always minded us and would only get into mischief if his dad were out of town and he would attempt to wander just a little further out of the yard causing me to chase after him in my pjs through the neighbor's yard. He loves to embarrass me!

Max came to us in a rescue situation with no papers. Who cares! As I said, he is the best dog we have and will ever have!

Now for the big question! As he lays on his bed by me, how do I make the decision to put him down? It takes both of us to carry him outside to relieve himself. At 130 lbs, Max will not live long with not eating and the pain of this destructive disease. I do not want to see him in pain but am selfish and do not want to let him go.

Why can't we have the same instincts they have in knowing what is best for them?

Recently, Max has helped me through breast cancer. It is my turn to do the same for him.

Any advice? How do I best help him?

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Sep 26, 2016
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Bubba
by: Deb

We just found out our 7 year old mastiff has bone cancer. We are devastated, he is a love. He just never got into trouble and was a perfect gentleman. How do we care for him. The vet gave us pain killers and told us we would know when his time is up. Our hearts are breaking. Thank you.

Apr 17, 2016
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Rover
by: Marc Briseno

It's very hard reading all of these stories. So many dogs so many tales of cancer taking the most amazing dogs out of our life. I feel more pain when I think of how many if not all of these animals are gone by now.

Rover is absolutely the light of my life. My heart fills with joy and I am a very proud mastiff dad whenever I talk about him. He has survived partial acl tears in his rear legs and still been able to run around without surgery. He is a total trooper yet he started limping with his front right leg two weeks ago. We couldn't tell which leg it was at first and just thought that we had to baby him and he just tweaked an old injury.

Yesterday was the toughest day ever seeing the x-ray - looking at the cancer eating his bone from the inside. I wish there was something I could do. He too, like a lot of these dogs, is a rescue. At 9.5 years old he has never shown aggression even though his first owner beat him.

I am going to miss him so much, just trying to find comfort any way that I can but so far this is just too difficult of a situation.

Apr 01, 2016
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Mastiff with cancer
by: Tracey

We are so very sad to learn yesterday that our English mastiff/ Newfoundland mix has bone cancer in her shoulder. There isn't anything the vet recommends other than pain management. He has given us only a week to 3 weeks left with her. She has been a wonderful part of our lives and we are going to miss her so much.

Jan 28, 2016
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Bone cancer
by: Dodi

We recently changed our dog's diet, thinking how great she was doing, losing weight, only to find out she has bone cancer as well. My heart aches for you, my "Maddie" is the best rescue ever!

We have decided to give her the best quality of life ending she could possibly hope for. At 200 lbs, she is my big baby and totally worth ant extra effort on our part.

Good luck with your gentle giant, at this point I'm spoiling my baby rotten, I think you should do the same!

Aug 08, 2014
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Sharing Leo's Story
by: M and D Meadows, Florida

Our big love, Leo, our 5 1/2 year old English Mastiff was diagnosed with bone cancer two days ago. We are very sad, and wish we could have happier days to spend with Leo over the next 2 or so months that he has been given to live. He is the best dog we have ever had, all 240-pounds of him. Leo was a rescue, having been to 3 different homes before he was 8 months old. His size was a determining factor for losing two of his families. He came into our home with love at first sight from my husband and I. He is so very loving, expressionable, and has many "people" qualities with his grande size and interaction with his family. He is a gentle man with our son and also with his other furry family.

Leo has been through a lot in his short five years orthopedically. Tore a knee cruciate at one year of age, had a repair; and while recovering from first knee surgery he tore the other and needed surgery 9 months later. His knees have troubled him, but mindful allowances reference playtime in big yard has kept him as mobile and able as possible to have a quality life. We took him to the vet two days ago for knee and back X-rays, just for a baseline of where he is at arthritically, and our veterinarian gave us great news in that area. While at the vet, we informed him Leo tripped two weeks ago and has been limping on his right front leg. We requested an X-ray on the leg because we thought he might have a hairline fracture or bad sprain. We learned very sad news that Leo has osteosarcoma and approximately 2-3 months to live.

We are very sad to think he is suffering at all with his painful disease. Although early in stage, found only due to recent trip and fall, he limps and licks his foreleg often. We do not want to let him go, but are torn by how much discomfort to see him deal with while he is still eating, accepting treats, walking outside for his business, and enjoying hugs and cuddles and belly rubs from us.

This is one of the hardest situations our family has been through. We have had many special pet members of our family pass, but Leo's diagnosis is particularly hard at his young age, after all he has been through with his surgeries, and because we have such a short time left with him. Thank you for reading Leo's story. Our hearts are breaking!

May 10, 2012
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Delilah
by: Mary

We just found out today our 10 year old Mastiff Delilah has bone cancer. It was not there 3 weeks ago. The vet has given us 1 to 4 months.

She is the love of our lives - never complains, never asks for anything, only that we love her, which is so very easy to do.

We've been given pain meds for her & were told to take her home & enjoy her. She looks perfectly healthy except for her limp.

We sat outside together, she & I. My arm was around her great neck & she looked at me & gently licked my nose & put her head in my lap.

This is not enough time; even another lifetime would not be long enough. We will not allow her to suffer. My heart is breaking; why is there never enough kleenex when you need it.

Thank you for your stories; they have also been a comfort.

Dec 03, 2011
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Thank you
by: Sharon (aka shihtzu801)

Thank you again for your kind words of encouragement. I feel an emptiness I have never know before.

When my mom died, I felt empty too but knew she went on her own terms at her own time. This was different. I cannot describe it. I think I have cried more in the past week than I have ever cried. It's the kind of cry that makes you feel sick inside. I still have my Muffin here, but Princess MD was extra special as we had her from puphood. Muffin is 7 and we have had her about 4 years, so many of her traits were developed already when we adopted her.

PMD has the cutest little profile that used to literally stop people in their tracks with her stunning shiny black hair and black eyes. Even her tongue had a black spot. Her little nose was a wee bit off center which was enough to keep her out of competition. She used to make this little face when she was mad or upset. One of her bottom teeth would show and we always said, Mighty put your tooth away and she would lick her little lips and readjust her mouth to get a biscuit. When she wanted to be spoiled and get picked up and put on the bed, she would come over to the side of the bed and do the hynee dance, she would slap her back leg against the floor just enough for you to hear it and then stand on her back 2 legs and kind of hop. You couldn't pick her up to put her on the bed unless she gave you permission. So I had to ask her, "do you want uppy?"

We do intend to adopt again, probably not a puppy, but most likely another shih tzu and a female. But none will replace the "Mighty Dog".

Thank you again for your support and I will think about you often. If you would like to stay in touch my email is mcdow9858@verizon.net

Take care.

Fondly,
Sharon

Dec 03, 2011
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LIVE STRONG Precious Mighty Dog
by: J Weatherford

Very appropriate words for your precious baby!

I am soooo very sorry you have had to go through this.

Sharon, I know it seems impossible to put one foot in front of the other right now and it will for several days. Work will keep your mind off of things some. I teach, so the kids help keep me very busy.

As for home, it is a different story. I hate to be there without Max. I could not enter the house at night unless my husband was already home. Wednesday night I stalled my arrival knowing he was going to be late.

I arrived to a dark house, let Anausa out, turned around and called "Where are you...Max?" Then I just broke down crying !

Each day has gotten a little easier. I found comfort in looking at Mastiff rescue online. Found a gorgeous puppy at Mostly Mutts. I even went to Petsmart to check it out. She was there and a girl was already adopting it. Good thing! My husband is not ready yet!

AS my daughter-in-law said, "You have to fill the void". They have been through this more than once. How soon(?) is the question.

Sharon, we will never replace our babies but I do believe they want us to continue to give this eminsce amount of love we have for animals to others just like them.

I can not imagine our home without a lively dog. Anausa has never bonded with us, very strange!
I will continue to pray that your days become easier quickly.

I am so sorry about your mom! My mother is in independent living with her mind slipping very quickly! Very hard to see her slipping away.

Dec 03, 2011
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Princess Mighty Dog has joined Max at Rainbow Bridge
by: Sharon (aka shihtzu801)

Princess Mighty Dog crossed over the Rainbow Bridge today at approximately 11:30 a.m. est.

I spent my last time with her rocking her in the chair and on the big porch swing in the sun she so much loved.

I glanced into her loving little eyes one last time at about 11:15 a.m. Muffin was here and so was Chuck and they said their goodbyes. My husband took her to the vet at his request, alone shortly thereafter. He said she was very brave and did not resist. The vet was amazed she was still here. My husband carried her on his lap the entire way home. He sat quietly outside with her when he returned home with her little quiet body and I could tell he was crying. She looks so peaceful.

We have decided to bury her in her favorite corner of the yard where she can still see the road and her whole yard and home. We put her little pillow and her favorite toys and her blanket with her name, her little quilt and a picture of her in her little box so that if in the future after we are all gone, someone finds her box (we used a plastic box with a lid) they will know what she looked like and the date she died. We also enclosed pictures of Muffin and Chuck. A little sign with her name on it was also placed in the box with her. My husband cleaned her up and rewrapped her leg one last time. He needed to do this for himself I suppose. Hannah brought Muffin over to say goodbye one last time to her friend. I saw my husband gently close the lid and place his hands on it and let out a big sigh. This is so hard. Now he must dig the hole to bury our beloved Princess Mighty Dog.

I would like to end with the following:

"The one, absolute unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog."

Rest in peace my beautiful little angel, LIVE STRONG at Rainbow Bridge

With all my love, your mommy xoxoxoxox

Dec 01, 2011
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Thank you
by: Sharon (aka shihtzu801)

Max's Mom you will always be. Your continued kind words and thoughtfulness are truly a comfort. I sat and held Princess Mighty Dog's increasingly frail little body. I don't think I was willing to admit before that she had lost weight, or did it really happen so fast?

I didn't have a great day at work today, would have been my mom's birthday today and the thoughts of Saturday are overwhelming right now.

Grieving has already begun for me, I so miss that pup so full of life, so full of personality. She is still with us, but I believe part of her has started to prepare a place at the rainbow bridge for her. I cannot help but be selfish, I will miss her so much.

I grieved and still grieve 5 years later for the loss of my mom. But we have little control over how we leave this earth or when.

In our pet's case, we do have some control, they are totally dependent on us. Somehow I feel I have failed her (I felt this way about my mom too when she died of cancer.) I know in the end that it is the best for Princess Mighty Dog, but I don't have to like it and right now I just cannot accept it. I thought I was in a place where I could better accept the ravages of this disease Cancer because it has taken from me so many that I have loved and now it's even taking a beloved pet.

I will sign off now, but again, thank you ever so much for your support and my heart goes out to you and your family, too.

Fondly, Sharon (aka shihtz801)

Dec 01, 2011
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To Max's Dad
by: J Weatherford

Honey,

I found this poem which best describes our relationship with our beloved Max!

"He is my other eyes that can see above the clouds; my other ears that hear above the winds.

He is the part of me that can reach out into the sea.

He has told me a thousand times over that I am his reason for being; by the way he rests against my leg; by the way he thumps his tail at my smallest smile; by the way he shows his hurt when I leave without taking him.

(I think it makes him sick with worry when he is not along to care for me.)

When I am wrong, he is delighted to forgive.

When I am angry, he clowns to make me smile.

When I am happy, he is joy unbounded.

When I am a fool, he ignores it.

When I succeed, he brags.

Without him, I am only another man. With him,
I am all-powerful. He is loyalty itself.

He has taught me the meaning of devotion.

With him, I know a secret comfort and a private peace.

He has brought me understanding where before I was ignorant.

His head on my knee can heal my human hurts.

His presence by my side is protection against my fears of dark and unknown things.

He has promised to wait for me... whenever... wherever - in case I need him.

And I expect I will - as I always have.

He is my beloved dog, Max."
Gene Hill)

Dec 01, 2011
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To Princess Mighty Dog's Family
by: J Weatherford

Dear Sharon and family,

You will be in my prayers and my thoughts each day and Saturday. As I have said, this is not an easy decision but know you ARE doing the best for Princess Mighty Dog when she lets you know it is time.

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do."
(Eleanor Roosevelt)

Each day does get a little better! I was told by our Vet that it will take at least 3 months of grieving.

Nov 30, 2011
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Time has come
by: Sharon (aka shihtzu801)

Thank you so much for your kind words and the referral to petloss.com.

My husband and I talked today, he called the vet and we will be taking her in on Saturday. I say we, but I probably won't be able to handle this rationally, so I probably will stay behind and my husband and girls will take Princess Mighty Dog to the vet one last time.

I am already an emotional wreck. It just seems too creepy that you can "make" an appointment to end a life.

The poem that was placed in response to your post brought me to tears and I have printed out for safekeeping. She is sitting here quietly and contentedly as always by my chair as I type. I look at her little face and it breaks me in two. Some people say, "it's just a dog". But there is such a special connection. I know that Max was a large dog and I know how broken you too feel. This precious little angel weighed only 11 lbs at her heaviest, so she spent a lot of time being carried and on our laps.

When she was born, my granddaughter watched her. She was the biggest of the litter, yet fit into the palm of my granddaughter's hand (she was 6 at the time) so you can imagine how small she was when we brought her home at 6 weeks.

I know that keeping her another 3 days sounds selfish and there are reasons for this. My mother's birthday would have been tomorrow, so I didn't want another loss associated with this date. I am usually a wreck around this time anyway.

I am going to try and post some pictures when I find them of Princess Mighty Dog when she was little and especially the adorable one from the snow last year when she looked like she had a white moustache.

I hope that hearing stories of others who are suffering, helps you to feel not so alone.

Take care and I will think of you and pray that your heart is not so heavy.

Fondly, Sharon (aka Princess Mighty Dog)

Nov 30, 2011
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Max
by: Sandy

Joan and Lonnie,

I am so very sorry for your loss, I love this poem and I hope it will bring you great comfort...


XO
Sandy

A Simple Message From Your Pet

by Ken D. Conover

To have loved and then said farewell is better than to have never loved at all.

For all of the times that you stooped and touched my head, fed me my favorite treat and returned the love that I so unconditionally gave to you.

For the care that you gave to me so unselfishly.

For all of these things I am grateful and thankful. I ask that you grieve not for the loss but rejoice in the fact that we lived, loved and touched each other's lives.

My life was fuller because you were there, not as owner, but as my friend. Today, I am as I was in my youth. The grass is always green, butterflies flit among the flowers and the sun shines gently down upon all of God's creatures.

I can run, jump and play and do all of the things that I did in my youth. There is no sickness, no aching joints and no regrets and no aging. We await the arrival of our lifelong companions and know that togetherness is forever.

You live in our hearts as we do in yours. Companions such as you are very rare and unique. Don't hold the love that you have within yourself.

Give it to another like me and then I will live forever. For love never really dies, and you are loved and missed as surely as we are.

Your pet in heaven.

Nov 29, 2011
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To Sharon
by: J Weatherford

My husband and I feel your anguish over making the decision. After reading your note about a poem I found one which you should read, at Petloss.com - Poems, "From Friend to Friend"! It helped me tonight when I read it!
Thank you for your kind words - They are so appreciated!

Nov 29, 2011
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RIP Max
by: Hazel, Site Editor

I am so sorry about Max, but you did the right and selfless thing. Now Max is no longer suffering.

I am really touched and moved by all the support and encouraging words from friends and visitors to this site! I sure hope that their kind words and support will give you strength to go through this tough time. As Sharon mentioned, take your time to grief - and grief in your own way...

I also hope that this experience, though hard, can empower you to help and support other dog parents who are going through the same experience. Please support and encourage other dog parents on this forum as Sharon frequently does (Thanks Sharon aka Shihtzu801 for your support and contributions to this forum!).

Take care.

Nov 29, 2011
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I am so sorry
by: Shihtzu801

Your post brought me to tears. I am sorry for you and your family. Max is at rest and not in any pain. The hamburger was quite a gesture. We gave Princess Mighty Dog a great turkey dinner on Thanksgiving because we planned to do something last weekend but the vet was away. She has been quite frisky the last couple of days.

Unfortunately, I can't make this decision alone and right now, my husband won't talk about it. He just sits with her when he gets home and brushes her still beautiful black hair. I cry just thinking about it.

I once read an article about the loss of a pet. I wish I could find that article. It basically said that the writer was sick and tired of people judging her on how to feel after she had to put down her dog. Everyone grieves in their own way, for as long as it is necessary. So take your time, grieve and don't let anyone lessen your feelings. You have friends here.

Fondly Sharon aka shihtzu801

Nov 29, 2011
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Your words bring strength
by: J Weatherford

Thank you Rindler Family, Anonymous, and Shi Tzu 801!

Your words bring encouragement!

Max could not walk or go to the bathroom so we felt we had no choice but to put him down last night.

Nothing, Nothing... Nothing can prepare you for the emotional grief you feel before and after. Friends have been very supportive!

I want to apologize to every friend who has been through this over the last few years for my not being more supportive and sympathetic to the incredible grief they have experienced! I thought I would have it all in perspective. I mean "it's a dog we are talking about", right?

Friends have been very supportive! I even had a dear friend bring Max a hamburger to the hospital. Who thinks of that? Only my sweet friend Rachel! Max was alert and I am sure wondering why the big crowd around him and food at the Vets office.

I want to thank my daughter and her boyfriend Jesse who stayed with us all day loving on Max while lending support to her dad and me.

I cannot stop crying!

My students asked me today where I had been. But the young sweet girl who came up and asked me how my dog was doing absolutely tore me apart. It makes me cry even now as I type this message.

I will pray for you, Shi tzu 801! Please do not wait too long! As hard as it is to follow through with the decision, it is best for your baby. This is the best they will ever be - You do not want them to suffer too long.

Max never cried once!!!!

Thank you, Amelia, You are so very thoughtful! And thank you, Michele and Sydney for the beautiful drawing of Sterling and Max in Heaven playing together in Heaven! I will treasure it!

Nov 28, 2011
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Our backyard buddy :(
by: Rindler kids

Joan & Lonnie, we are so sad for your loss and hoped for more years with the remarkable Max, our backyard "pony", according to the kids. Thoughts are with you today and remembering all the wonderful things about friendly, mellow Max -
Love, the Rindlers

Nov 28, 2011
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Be strong
by: Anonymous

So sorry to hear about Max. I lost my rottweiler Boris to bone cancer 12 weeks ago. There was nothing the vet could do, just monitor his pain. It's such a hard decision to make. Boris seemed happy one day, then could not get up the next.

I miss him so much but I did not want him to suffer, I kept thinking did I do the right thing as I love him so much, but I know in my heart he is not in pain anymore and he will always be with me there.

My thoughts are with you both and I am sure he knows you love him. x

Nov 28, 2011
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I feel your pain
by: shihtzu801

I also have an entry on here about our little Shihtzu Princess Mighty Dog and her malignant melanoma. My husband says he will know when it is time, but so far, we too are confused. We were told what to expect from the disease and so far none of those things have occurred.

However, her tumor continues to grow larger and smellier each day. I wish I could tell you when the right time is, but I too am confused. We love our animals so much and they are with us just a short time, it is so emotionally devastating. I too wish they could talk and tell us what we can do to help them.

I wish you love and peace during this difficult time.

Nov 28, 2011
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My Dear Friends!
by: J Weatherford

Thank you for your wonderful comments about Max and advice. We have returned from the Vet and the prognosis is that which we thought. We cannot put off the inevitable!

How does one put down an animal, a friend, who is alert and seemingly fine but just cannot walk?

Nov 28, 2011
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So sad
by: Kathy & Ed

Oh Joan - Ed and I are just sick about Max's illness. He seems as though he just moved into your house a year ago! You will know what to do and when to do it... and it sounds like it is getting pretty close. We all want our dignity - even Max.

Love to both of you.

Kathy and Ed

Nov 28, 2011
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Big hearted Max
by: Mary

I am so sorry! Dogs, especially big ones, do not live as long as we wish they would. Max is an awesome dog!!

When we were trying to figure out what to do for Lexi when she had bone cancer, the vet told me that we would just know. She was right. When they cannot get up to go out on their own, don't want to eat anything, have a hard time drinking - it's time.

Max will look at you and you'll just know.

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