Tumor Trouble

I’m writing this blog with tears in my eyes and my heart very broke at the moment.

Lastnight, my daughter and I were sitting on the couch and Angel, AKA my Angel Baby, was sitting between us. Angel was acting silly, flopping around and giving kisses. Danielle said, “Mom, Angel’s got something on her gum,” so I looked and was shocked. Shocked because I hadn’t seen it before. Shocked because she hasn’t shown any signs of discomfort. But most of all I was thrown off guard because her mortality hit me head on.

Sidenote: My ex-husband and I always thought we’d have to put Angel to sleep because of her territorial aggression, in neither of our minds did cancer pop up. I can’t speak for him though since we’re not together anymore but I am asking his advice about the matter…

So, Angel and I just got back from Parker Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Stites is an awesome vet,  he knows about Angel, her past issues, and now–her current problem. He’s supportive and thinks we should remove the tumor. He advised me that there could be other problems but for now, the tumor needs to come off. Dr. Stites brought up chemo and other treatment options.

All I can think about is how great a dog she is and how I have to weigh her life against the money I have to treat her. How horrible is that! Money shouldn’t be an issue when it comes to health…but we all know it is. People don’t get the medical help they need because they’re insurance won’t pay or worse, they don’t have insurance. Dogs and cats are euthanized everyday because people can’t afford to treat them. I don’t want to do that. Oh, how I DON’T want to do that. I love all of my dogs but she’s special, very special. But she’s different.

Angel was the first pit bull I rescued. When my ex and I were in the early stages of our relationship he was having an extremely rough time dealing with not being able to see his three children in Iowa. One day, I was reading a classified ad and saw a posting for pit bull pups. I thought that I’d surprise him with a puppy. I hoped raising a brand-new puppy (which he had never done before) would help him focus on something else other than his children. Boy, was I right, but I’m jumping ahead a little…back to how we got Angel…so anyway, I called the number in the paper, told the guy we’d before over to look at the pups.

We were both very excited on the trip there. A mixture of emotions were surfacing. We wondered if a pit bull was a good choice, if she’d grow up and be mean, if our other dogs would like her, that type of thing. Well, when we finally arrived the guy took us around back and showed us three beautiful puppies. One was black and white, one was fawn and one was almost all white and had green eyes. My ex was immediately drawn to the white one. She was content in his arms where as the others were squiriming trying to get down.

The gentleman brought one of his daughters out and she began telling us how she dressed them up and played with them all the time. Little did we know at the time that the pups parents were VERY aggressive to other dogs and were kept separated in the home; the male in the basement, female upstairs with the family (had we known that we probably wouldn’t have adopted her). So my ex decided on the white pup. She was adorable and seemed to say, “Get me outta here!” It was very loud, chaotic, with two big dogs barking ferousily, pups chasing each other and little children grabbing and man-handling the pups. The little girl told us the black and white pups name was Oreo and the other was Fantasia. She didn’t tell us the white pups name and we didn’t think to ask.

We gave the guy $50 and headed to the car. As we were walking away the little girl yelled through the privacy fence, “Oh yeah, her name is Angel”. That solidified the deal. I went with the intention of finding a pup that he could look out for and one that would be devoted to him, and we walked away with an Angel. How fitting!

Ok, now back to the present. Whatever decision I make about Angel will be made with a heavy heart, believe that. My ex has been informed and hopefully will help make the decision or at least help ME have the courage to make the best decision for her. I’m not going to let her suffer just so I can continue to have her by my side. That’s not fair. She’s had a good life, albeit a lonely one in my opinion the last few years since she has to be segregated from our other dogs, but a good life. She’s walked in the Indianapolis Bully Breed Bow Wow meet-up (that’s a mouthful!) a few times. She’s seen many beautiful parks down in Indianapolis, like Ft. Ben, Southwestway, Eagle Creek. We’ve gone to Mounds and hiked the trails. She’s lapped up the water in White River (maybe that’s why she’s got the tumor) and ran along the Greenway dozens of times. She’s accompanied me when I’ve rode my bike along the Greenway, running and getting some fabulous exercise. She passed her Canine Good Citizenship test and was a willing and active participant in training classes at Muncie Obedience Training Club (MOTC).

Most importantly, she’s got to be a “housedog” and know what it’s like to not have someone give up on her because of her issues. She hasn’t known what it’s like to live on the end of a log chain, suffering in heat and cold because her neglectful owners. No. She hasn’t had that. She’s had a nice bed to sleep in, a couch to sleep on and a huge crate that’s her “safe place”. She’s known what a safe and loving home is like and I wouldn’t have it any other way She’s handled training and correction for her negative issues like a pro. She’s handled being separated from other dogs with superb ease. She’s shown many people that pit bulls are like any other dog and with proper training and care, they make fabulous pets. But in saying that, her issues were probably due to bad breeding…so on the flip-side, my ex and I were/are able to talk to people about not buying from backyard breeders and to speak up against dog fighting and the rampant breeding of pit bulls. With positive training and responsible handling she has got to walk on leash with her pal, Boston, by her side. But that’s the closest she’s come in several years to dog companionship.

Angel has been a great friend and companion these last 6 years. She’s comforted me when relationships failed and a marriage ended. She’s shown me that we all have “issues” and need the love and support of our friends and family. When other dog trainers told me to put her to sleep, I refused. Dr. Stites was in my corner back when the aggression started, he gave my ex-husband and I many solutions and tips to manage the environment. I thank him for that. Now, he’s helping her once again but this time I don’t think managing the environment is gonna help. More money and a miracle would though.

If you’ve known the love of a dog and can feel my pain with this situation, please keep Angel in your prayers. I don’t want to see her go but will make the right decision for her. That’s what God put us here for; to be good stewards. Of our time. Of our pets. Of our world. We’re not here to abuse, mistreat and to take advantage. I’m a better person because I’ve known the love of my pit bull.

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