A deep breath

This post was originally written 10-26-2009 ~
~ Exactly two years have past since Devo died. I now have an adopted Golden named Lady and she is a wonderful girl. Today, I'm only thinking about how fortunate I am to have been blessed with all of these terrific Golden kids (24 years - WoW). Thanks to Lady and thanks to father time, I feel no sadness today. Only joy and the lifelong lesson Devo taught me: how to dance with a dog.....God's perfect creature.

There will only be periodic updates to this blog when the spirit moves me. This Devo Diary is a great way to make sure his friends (and of course his Dad) can remember, smile, laugh out loud and maybe even shed a little tear a decade from now. Ain't technology great. Thanks Google!


The Beginning

Devo was born in Spokane (May 22, 1997), bred from excellent stock: Brittania Late-Breaking News (Breaker) and Brittania Radical Rebel (Topaz). The breeder is a Vet who raises and shows Goldens. We took him home when he was 6 weeks old and he puked in the car on the way (already a poor passenger). Like most puppies, he was an energetic, naughty little boy who refused to piddle outside for the first 4 months of his life. Early on I putted a golf ball across the carpet and off he scampered to retrieve it. It was the beginning of his life long love affair with golf balls and retrieving. He considered fetching up any golf ball I hit "his job" and took it very seriously.  Devo was short in stature for a male Golden (we called him "sawed off"). He was strong and fast, and had that sweet, gentle Golden personality. As gentle as he was, his enthusiasm for play would bowl over little kids the first maniacal 3 years of his life. When Morgan was a little girl he plowed into her during a game of fetch; it is the only time I've ever seen her cry. Poor kid, it was like getting hit by a goofy, Golden, cannon ball.

The rest of Devo's story follows in no particular order, however the details of his fight with cancer are at the end. 

Devo & Dad's excellent adventure - Seattle to Phoenix, Dec. 2006

We try to spend as much time in Phoenix as possible during the winter months. However, there were always two problems with taking the dog(s): Devo did not travel well in the car and it was just way too scary to put our beloved fur babies in the care of the airlines who treated them like baggage. So I decided to drive down to Phoenix with Devo. Andi would fly down and back over the Christmas break. PaPa (my Dad) was not getting any younger and he had not seen his good pal Devo in 3 years. Devo has always gotten motion sick when traveling in a vehicle. We prepared him by going for short trips and occasional day trips during the two months leading up to our departure. Ultimately, we only had one "car sick" incident the 2 months we were on the road. This was amazing considering his history of discomfort. No drugs, just careful planning of his meals, many stops for exercise and a lot of reassurance as we drove.

We got to visit many old friends that welcomed Devo and I with open arms. Bringing a dog along when you visit can be awkward to say the least, but Devo was the perfect gentleman at all times. His sense of exactly what to do and when endeared him to everyone who made his acquaintance. As he quickly became comfortable in someone’s home, he would perform his “happy dance” for them. Happy Dance = wiggling around on his back with his feet in the air groaning with pleasure, usually with a toy or a pilfered article of clothing (shoes, socks, underwear etc.) in his mouth. That show of uninhibited happiness warmed the heart of even the most “dog neutral” member of the audience.

Devo on "his" rock. Oak Creek, Sedona, AZ

We took many pictures during the Arizona trip. It was hard to pick just two to represent our time together, but the day trip to Sedona to visit Bob and Robin supplied a beautiful back drop, representing all that was pleasurable during our excellent adventure. Not even Devo stepping in a gopher hole while chasing the ball could put a damper on our fun (he limped around the rest of the day, but recovered quickly).

We had a wonderful 2 month vacation from the winter gloom in Seattle and would like to thank all of our hosts and friends (in order of our visit): Don, June and the girls, MeMe and PaPa (we stayed with them pretty much the whole time we were in Phoenix), Jim and Terri, Bob and Robin, all Devo’s friends at the local Bashas, Skip and Merna, Don, Lyn and Tippy and the Shilo Inn, Medford, OR. Everyone was so kind and understanding. Thank you.

PS - Sept.08: I've come to the realization that this was the ultimate gift for Devo and I; to be able to spend this time together (just the two of us) less than a year before he died. I am truly grateful.

Cosmo's story

1991-2006 > It's important to make an early mention of Devo's companion Cosmo. She was our anchor dog. Her life spanned the last half of Sunny’s and most of Devo’s. She was the easiest dog we’ve ever had; mellow, obedient, extremely intelligent and friendly to all humans. She actually came from the factory that way! We loved to refer to her as our “loaner Golden”, because she would go with anybody and be their dog for the day or week.

Cosmo and puppy Devo. He bedeviled Cosmo when he was a pup.
In a years time, they would be completely devoted to each other.

She was our best swimmer and retriever ever. She would swim out on command and retrieve a wayward dummy that Sunny or another dog would leave behind, then respond to my hand commands for directions to where it was floating off to. All this was strictly by instinct, I never trained her to do that. No other dog (Lab, Chessie or Golden), in all the years we took her swimming to dog parks, lakes and rivers, would EVER swim faster or more efficiently than Cosmo. Cosmo and I attended Kathy Lang’s advanced obedience training with the goal of earning her utility dog cert, but Cosmo got frustrated with me because I didn't devote enough time and was too inconsistent with the techniques. She could have easily done it.

Cosmo 8 years old

I can’t thank her enough for setting a perfect example for her head strong PaPa dog Sunny and the devil dog puppy Devo. Because of her steady influence, Sunny could spend an hour walking with us OFF LEASH on city streets. Could not imagine such a thing could ever be possible. Cosmo anchored this effort just like she made it possible for Devo to become the perfect companion dog. He had such a great example.

They were so good together. What a pair!

The early years in Idaho

Devo spent the first 7 years of his life in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. His home was a 10 acre doggy paradise (I'm counting our 5 acres and Neighbor Jim's 5). He was a member of a wonderful pack: Ken, Andi, Cosmo, Tasha the big black Rotty mix, Neighbor Jim & his dogs Norm the Corgi and Devo's all time best friend Lucy the Brittany. In the summer time, MeMe and PaPa would come stay. They helped raise Devo from a pup and he just adored his PaPa. They would spend the warm days puttering around the ranch, mowing the grass and burning out the moles.

Devo could have easily been a working dog of some kind. Guide dog, service dog, rescue dog or anything that would keep him engaged and busy 20 hours a day. God knows we did our best to satisfy his desire to work and please all he came in contact with. He never met another dog and decided "OK, now that I know you, I want to dominate you". There was no time for that, there was fun to be had and work to be done. He was however, possessive of his toys. If another dominate dog wanted his toy, he would growl in protest. With the exception of defending Andi and Cosmo from an attack by aggressive neighborhood dogs, this is the only sign anyone ever saw that Devo had wild canis lupus relatives somewhere in his past.

We brought him home when he was 6 weeks old and introduced him to our 6 year old female Golden - Cosmo. She was NOT thrilled at all to have this "Devil Dog" biting her ears and competing for our attention. After about 2 weeks, Cosmo got caught up in the joys of being a puppy again and he was accepted into her pack. For the next 8 years she was his rock and helped raise him to be a sweet and balanced canine who loved his family and everyone he met.

Idaho is where Devo found his voice. One of the first commands he learned was "tell me". When he spoke, everyone jumped (it was so loud). He barked at his playmates when he was at a high level of excitement, but he was never one of those dogs who barked from boredom or frustration. Again, always the perfect gentleman.

The Idaho pack

What a great group this was. Norm was getting on in years when the pack was formed. He was a mellow little guy who was quickly accepted into our pack. Devo used to borrow Norm's doggy door to raid Neighbor Jim's house for any article of clothing that wasn't nailed down. To see him trotting proudly accross the field from Jim's with a face full of socks was priceless. Norm passed on around 2002. The next year, Jim came home with Lucy.

Lucy brought a completely new dynamic to the pack. She was incredibly energetic and had a mind of her own. Lucy and Devo were to become the best play buddys ever. Devo finally found someone to match his obsession with play. Cosmo was too mellow and too old to keep up with them, but seemed to enjoy being around their energy and spirit. Lucy kept Devo in great shape by ALWAYS wanting to play chase and fetch. Cosmo and Tasha would need to be exercised separately because the two maniacs would never let them get the ball.

Tasha came to us when we rescued her in 1999. She needed a place to live out the rest of her life and we were glad to give this sweet dog a home. Part Rottweiler and part Australian Shepard, she was a big girl who looked like a Rotty, but had the fur of a wooly mammoth. We had her shaved down for the hot summers then she looked exactly like a Rotty. She was just so happy to be part of a balanced pack, she thrived until 2002 when an overdose of wild mushrooms did her in (she would eat ANYTHING, even the moles she would root out of the yard). We were all sad to see her go.

Devo - the golf ball maniac

When he was just a little pooper, the very first thing he retrieved was a golf ball putted across the living room floor. From that point on, it became his favorite past time.

This was his favorite thing in the whole world. He is sitting on Dad's golf platform so nothing can happen without him being right in the middle of it.

He could track and retrieve an 80 yard shot, but once I pulled out a pitching wedge or lower numbered club, it just went too far, too fast. Then he would stand and bark at me until I bunted one he could chase and retrieve. Today, when I play golf with the guys, no amount of noise can distract me after years of listening to Devo pleading with me to "hit one for me".

I would normally practice with a 7 or 6 iron to a flag on Neighbor Jim's property (depending on the stiffness of the ever present wind). After 50 balls or so, we would walk out with my shag bag (with all the dogs in tow), and begin picking up the balls. Without any instruction, Devo would collect 3 balls from where they landed and bring them to me, drop them at my feet, then run off to gather more. Amazing, he just knew what I needed and loved that he had a job to do. All the other dogs just sniffed and hung out, but nothing distracted Devo when duty called.

Golden Spirit

This really illustrates the spirit of the two Goldies. Cosmo teases while Devo anxiously awaits her decision to drop it (maybe, if you're lucky). Farragut State Park in north Idaho, photos by Michael.

The soft side

After Devo was about a year and a half old, he began to appreciate a good long snuggle on the couch or the bed. It was very interesting how he would shut down his nuclear reactor and climb (never jump) on the couch, lay his head on your lap and go to sleep. Pack members were always willing targets, but he had a few favorite visitors he would seek out, even if he only saw them once a year or so. Michael, Glenn, BA, Grambo (Andi's Mom) or my brother Chip would only have to sit down in his presence and soon there would be a golden heating pad on their lap.

From 2000 to 2002 I would travel quite a bit and be gone for weeks at a time. Devo would take my place in bed with Andi. No invitation was ever offered or needed, he just sensed that this was his duty when his alpha was gone. He would sleep with his head on the pillow, just like a human. During the night, he would yip and yelp as visions of chasing squirrels and golf balls danced through his head. Good thing Andi is a sound sleeper. When I came home, he was happy to take his normal spot out with Cosmo in the living room, snuggling with her.

On weekend mornings, Neighbor Jim would be up early, which meant that Lucy was up too. She would run over to our house, jump up on the living room window with her front paws and stare in looking for Devo. Of course this would alert Devo that another day of play was about to begin. After pleading with me at the side of our bed, I’d get up, let him out and off they would run, full blast over to Neighbor Jim's. There he would play chase with Lucy, bark at Jim to throw the ball and munch on chewies while enjoying their perfect Idaho weekend morning.

Who moved my bone? Moving from Idaho to Seattle

In August of 2004 we moved from our home of 8 years, back to the Seattle area. Andi's Mom was sick and we missed family, friends and the excitement of the big city. Plus, there were many more career opportunities for Andi and I. Before we were able to find a house to buy, Cosmo and Devo endured living in our 5th wheel trailer at an RV park for 2 weeks, then a small apartment in Shoreline. Their whole lifestyle was uprooted and changed beyond recognition. Yes, somebody moved their bone! Surprisingly, they adapted quickly and never missed a beat, staying alone during the days while loving their morning walks and their playtime in the evenings.

Finally in March of 2005 we bought a house in north Shoreline. It had a small backyard and I installed a dog door to give the goldies the freedom to come and go. The minute it was installed, Devo would blast in and out much to his delight. This was the winter of Cosmo's life and she was a little "Grandma dumb dog" about it. With Devo now leading the way, she eventually understood how this new contraption worked. This was out of character for Cosmo. She was always a bright, intelligent dog who performed any task or trick quickly, but with a more subtle enthusiasm than Devo. It became obvious that the torch had been passed. Devo was now Cosmo's rock and was there for her until the end. They would still occasionally play and wrestle, mostly as a sign of affection. Cosmo passed in Feb. of 2006 at the ripe old age of 15. Devo would show the effects of losing his rock in a most unusual way.

Devo went through some subtle changes as the result of losing his companion sister dog. We didn’t think about allowing Devo to somehow understand the fact that when Cosmo left that day, she was not coming back. When Cosmo lost Sunny, it pretty much happened the same way, but she didn’t display any behavior changes as the result of Sunny being gone. I have since read about different techniques of allowing the pack dogs to sniff the departed to comprehend the loss in order to allow grieving etc. Of course, this technique is impractical when the dog is sick and euthanasia is performed at the vet’s office, but the logic of it seems proper. Dogs, like people, don’t always deal with their loss in a predictable way.

When Devo left Idaho and came to Seattle, he became a much shyer dog around his own kind. He ignored or avoided every other dog except Cosmo. After Cosmo was gone he withdrew completely to the comfort of his pack and never let another dog into his world. He was never unfriendly, just conveniently aloof. He wanted nothing to do with stupid doggy games. He appreciated other balanced dogs and would get along just fine, but he’d climb up into any lap to avoid pushy, dominant dogs when we visited friends or family. This was not the North Idaho Devo we knew who was the life of the party and played until he dropped with his pack. I will take some of the blame here. I have protected Devo and Cosmo from many mean, aggressive dogs most of their life. Cosmo had Sunny to protect her when she was young, but I assumed that role after Sunny. Devo has always looked to his Dad, even when he was so sick, his pleading eyes asking why I couldn’t fix this for him. God knows I tried.

Things I'll always remember about Devo

In no particular order:

A very late entry that popped into my mind July 2009;
After Devo was diagnosed with cancer, my vet prescribed Prednisone to help him through the tough times. Right after Labor Day, 6 weeks before he died as he was pumped up with steroids, Devo and I walked up to the elementary school. He was strong enough to make it and we had the whole place to ourselves. There I chipped his beloved golf balls for him to retrieve, just like the old days. This was the last time we ever enjoyed that particular activity together. He was sooo happy, and I was ecstatic. I often think about this borrowed time; the financial and emotional expense that just can't be measured with a simple, feeble, yard stick of value. Oh wait, yes it can. It WAS a bargain.

To make him produce a huge smile, run the tips of the finger from both hands along his muzzle. Works best when I returned from being gone for a few day. “Snickers” (half smiles) were everyday occurrences that only needed a light finger tip rub along the full length of his muzzle, especially sensitive on the right side of his muzzle.

The guttural crying sound he would make when I greeted him after being gone for several days, usually following a good affectionate ear rubbing immediately upon my return.

The regal trance he would enter as he contently lay with a ball or toy in his mouth, gazing out at the world. It was all he needed to enter a blissful world of his own. He could stay that way for an hour or more. Probably thinking about how much he loved being right were he was at that moment.

I have always talked to my dogs. No response was ever necessary, but Devo on occasion would give me “the look”, like he knew what I was trying to point out along our walk, while he lounged under my desk or just before I was going to hit that perfect 7 iron over the fence in our Idaho back yard. He was quite OK with just about everything that ended with “whadoyou think about that my pal?”.

Calling Andi at home while on the road, Devo and Cosmo hearing my voice and launching into “jujitsu”. Jujitsu=the two dogs wrestling and emitting noises that could only be described as fighting noises from the tackiest kung-fu movies. It is of course, all in fun, but boy was it loud and rough sounding, kind of like WWF fake wrestling. I've also heard it aptly described as "bitey face".

Young Devo was quite the rough house. One of his favorite games was chasing his toy (usually a rope) which I would pull along the floor around my body (as I sat cross legged on the living room floor in Idaho) keeping it just out of his reach. I would switch hands as he went round and round, growling with delight.

Devo always wanted a job to do. Carrying the mail in from the mailbox in Idaho was something he never tired of doing. When we moved to Seattle he would go down to the entry way and pick up the newspaper and bring it up to the kitchen every morning while I made coffee.

Learning at 7 years old how to “potty” on command after growing up never having to perform this. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it sure made life in the city and traveling much more pleasant for all of us (him included). Devo never failed to learn or adjust to anything his pack leader needed him to do.

Monkey noises: This one is difficult to describe for the minds eye (and ear!). As a working dog, Devo was always at his best when he had a job to do. Most of the time, work and play were exactly the same. Later in his life as he slowed down a little, he would emit a series of squeaks, cries and/or jungle noises as he began to retrieve or work. At the same time his tail would twirl in a circle as he happily frolicked after the Frisbee, ball or whatever he happened to be doing at the time. This was a very odd, but unforgettable noise that was uniquely his. Once the excitement of the game was replaced with pure joy of interacting with whomever was directing him, the noise disappeared and he just went about the business of play.

The Happy Dance. The only dog we’ve ever had who had a distinctive method of telling everyone exactly when and why he was happy.

Devo meets baby Skylar

Kim and Skylar came for visit in May of 2007. These two redheads are too cute.

Portraits from the summer of 2003

Devo's fight with Cancer

The following postings are copies of an email diary of Devo's fight with cancer. I sent these to friends and family to keep them up to speed on his condition. After labor day it was a matter of giving him supplements to boost his immune system, keeping him hydrated and well fed, and of course cherishing every borrowed minute we could have. I didn't belabor the fact with family and friends that he was dying and his prognoses was grim, so I didn't send any emails during September and October. At the end of these pages, I would also like to acknowledge all the people, professional and otherwise who helped make his last 3 months as special and pain free as possible.

The quoted excerpt below was part of an email I sent at the end of August. At that time, we were 90% sure it was cancer. Keep in mind that a tumor was never found. I struggled to put together in my own mind how I could help Devo deal with his sickness for the last weeks of his life.

The single best source of information about canine cancer can be found here: 
Land of pure Gold - Cancer and Goldens

While searching the web, I found the following article about cancer management in companion animals which really helped me understand what to do the last two months of his life.

“Maintaining the highest quality of life for the longest period of time is always the goal of cancer management in companion animals. This goal must be considered within the context of emotional and financial factors. Decisions are often difficult. The best service that can be provided is a knowledgeable, unbiased assessment of the condition and a frank discussion of options sufficient to permit an informed decision. This may involve consultation or referral to a specialist or a comprehensive cancer center. Curative therapy is designed to attempt permanent control of the tumor using aggressive but not excessively debilitating treatments. The decision to pursue curative treatment can be difficult. A working definition of curative therapy often used in veterinary medicine is the likelihood that a given tumor type will be controlled for at least 1 year following treatment. If the best available information suggests this is not possible, palliative therapy may be considered. ”Palliative therapy” (medical or comfort care that reduces the severity of a disease or slows its progress rather than providing a cure) is designed to reduce pain or functional difficulties such as swallowing, urinating or defecating without attempting to cure the tumor. The length of time is not as important as the quality of the time remaining for the pet. The hospital time and side-effects must be minimal for palliative therapy. Pets with cancer may also require supportive therapy such as antibiotics, medications to control some symptoms, blood transfusions and nutritional management.”


August 9, 2007

Dear Friends,

I have to let you know, Devo is sick. He has had an occasional odd cough for a few months, but showed no other signs of being ill. Last week we noticed that his breathing was labored and he was panting more than normal. Took him to the vet on Monday. She doesn't know exactly what is wrong. Needs more tests. There is fluid on his chest and his abdomen contracts when he breaths (way more rapidly than normal). Xrays, blood test, poking and prodding yielded two possibilities: heart disease or cancer. There was not cancer detected in the fluid test and his blood tests were close to normal (but not perfect). Devo is scheduled for an ultra sound next Thursday to verify a spot on the xray near his liver. A tumor is suspected. He is on antibiotics for possible pneumonia.

He is still his happy, gentle self, but I can tell he is sick. Please say a prayer for him. I'll let you all know what the ultra sound turns up. He is far to young to leave us. Please don’t call. I’m having a hard time dealing with this and would prefer to report his progress this way. Sorry, nothing personal.

August 15, 2007

Dear Friends,

We got the ultrasound moved up to last night. A first class radiology clinic only 5 miles from the house. Dr. Kramer (excellent) spent 45 minutes looking at every internal organ belonging to Devo, and then some. I was there the whole time, amazed at the pictures on the screen. Dr. Kramer said he makes at least 3 people cry per week, but what he has to say about Devo bothers him the most. He just didn't see anything that could be directly linked to Devo's condition. No tumor or lesion was evident. What he could do is rule out heart disease & pneumonia (happy about stopping the antibiotics, it was distressing his GI). The source of the fluid on his chest and abdomen is still a mystery. However, there is still the possibility of cancer.

I won't go into the myriad of possible next steps (mind boggling, I'm still processing everything). The immediate goal for me is to get a second opinion. Dr. Kramer actually suggested this and I agree. In the meantime a couple of mild drugs will be prescribed to mitigate the symptoms. So far I’m pleased with the vet team of our regular vet Dr. Earls and Dr. Kramer. Another specialist’s opinion is needed, but I don’t know who that will be yet. No unnecessary tests or procedures have been done and they always have Devo’s best interest in mind, plus the costs. I have also been researching alternative approaches.

Sorry for the dour tone of my first email. The sobering news was like getting hit in the head with a phone book. I'm approaching this more clinically now, with the idea that Devo and I have a mountain to climb and we just need to find the right route to the summit. He clings to me more that ever, but I’m sure it’s because of my doting over him. The days of chasing the ball and swimming are over for now. Short controlled walks seem to make him just as happy.

Devo got his belly and sides shaved yesterday (for the ultrasound). He is quite the sight!!

August 23, 2007

Dear Friends,

Devo was examined by a third Vet in as many weeks on Tuesday. From the existing, collected records, Dr. Wilson found a few puzzling results, but was at a loss about his affliction. I left Devo with Dr. Wilson for a few hours. She drained 1500ml of fluid from his lower chest while he stood there and licked her hand! He is more comfortable now and was quite happy to come home.

One possibility has come up based on Dr. Wilson's experience in Fresno. Valley Fever! Rather than describe it, here is a very good link.


Valley fever fools many vets and doctors (humans and dogs can get it) into thinking they are looking at a patient with cancer or a heart/lung disorder. As you all know, Devo was in Phoenix (it's very common here) for 2 months and spent time traveling through other parts of the country where the fungus spore that causes valley fever thrives. None of that in the Northwest.

We'll know more next week after more tests. After researching everything I could find, I'm now convinced it's valley fever. It is treat-able and survive-able, especially in strong dogs like Devo.
Sorry to be so detailed, but you are all dog owners and lovers, so if you can learn anything from what I am experiencing, that is my ultimate hope. It could save you time, money and maybe even the life of your fur baby.

August 27, 2007

Dear Friends,

Dr. Wilson is back in town and just called to give me her complete report on Devo. She said it is a 90% certainty it is cancer. Since she was gone the last half of last week, on Friday, I had my regular vet draw blood and send it to the special lab in Phoenix to test specifically for Valley Fever. I figured a couple days head start IF it is Valley fever would be worth the $125.00. Results won’t be in until the end of this week.
>>Results of this test were negative<<

In the meantime, details about his cancer. The cells were carcinoma in the way they displayed. What that means is; it is cancer that develops in the tissue lining of his organs. No tumors to biopsy, nothing to go in and remove. It could be originating in any of his organs. I’m sure that is why it’s been so hard to diagnose. Unfortunately, it is a death sentence. We will do our best to fight this via non-traditional methods; homeopathy/naturopathic, energy healing, whatever makes sense and doesn’t make him more miserable. Dr. Wilson is very articulate and a realist. She cannot recommend chemo, because is just doesn’t have a track record for curing this type of cancer. I appreciate her candor.

He is still strong enough to take a trip to the groomers at Scrub-a-pup today. He loves the girls there. They fussed over him and were very gentle and caring. Wanted to get him cleaned and trimmed up for the tough weeks that follow. They were also a good source for a holistic vet across the sound in Poulsbo.

Here we go, wish us luck. Will keep you all informed of his progress.

August 29, 2007

Dear Friends,

Took Devo into see Dr. Wilson today. She took another 800ml of fluid from his lower chest area. We could do this every week, but it’s not contributing to his cure, it’s only relieving pressure thus allowing him to breath a little easier and be more comfortable (OK, I guess if it lets him sleep better, it does help). At $200 a visit, this can add up fast. As the disease progresses he may become more resistant to having needles poked into his chest. Right now he puts up with it with very little squirming. I doubt that will last much longer.

Started his regiment of supplements last night after spending the day (Tues the 28th) with a herbalist (Justin, a nice lady) who has experience with treating cancer in dogs. Armed with my extensive research, Justin and I agreed on a list of starter supplements that support what is called “the shotgun approach”. We can’t just focus on one supplement. We are hitting Devo and his cancer with every nutritional supplement that works well together and I can afford. I won’t get into the fine details of all the available supplements reported to help fight cancer. Ted Schneck’s book about his (layman’s) experience treating his dog has been my most valuable reference.

However, this doesn’t mean that the course of action I am taking does not take into consideration the “curative” potential of many of the ingredients. So here I sit, with Devo finally sleeping (hard REM) next to me, under the desk. Next on my list is to document all the supplements, their dosage, frequency and application method. Some can be mixed with his food (he is much more finicky and prefers the stankiest tripe canned food to be mixed with his kibble). The rest is administered with a large oral syringe. So far Devo has been good natured about dad squirting this gross tasting brew in his mouth. All of this, twice a day.

Additional details a year later -- After this first fluid removal, Devo had his chest drained every two weeks until the end. Dr. Earl preformed the remaining fluid draws and was astonished by Devo’s willingness to put up with such an invasive procedure with no complaint at all (he just slowly wagged his tail). The supplements and routine described above was pretty much the way we spent our days the last two months of Devo's life. I didn't send any emails the last 27 days, just withdrew into the role of head caretaker in Devo's own personal MASH unit.

Farewell email - October 29, 2007

Dear Friends,

Devo lost his fight with cancer on Friday (Oct.26th). I thought we had checked the progress of his cancer, but it came roaring back early last week. His shining light was deteriorating fast and he never took his eyes off me for 4 days. I knew then it was time for the last and kindest mercy. I will miss him more than I could ever describe here.

I wanted to thank each of you for being his friend, pack member or just someone who made his acquaintance briefly and realized what a pleasure having a sweet, balanced dog could be.

Also, thanks for indulging me and my detailed emails over the last 3 months. Many of you wanted to know these details in order to have an understanding of what every one of our beloved pets could face. I have gathered a library of material and knowledge about canine cancer these last few month. Don’t ever hesitate to ask if there is any help or information I can provide.

- A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.

- You can say any foolish thing to a dog, and the dog will give you a look that says, 'Wow, you're right! I never would've thought of that!'

- Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole


With Great Appreciation

August 2007 - sleep was difficult during his 3 months of borrowed time.
Any port in the storm, even one of Dad's shoes.


- Edmonds/Woodway Veterinary clinic, Dr. Earls and the whole staff. Professional and extremely kind, all of you.

- Drs. Kramer and Dr. Wilson for their skill and candor

- Everybody at Scrub-a-Pup, a wonderful, caring group of animal lovers.

- Ted Schneck and Marty the Wonderdog for their wonderful book

- Justin at Edmonds Vitamins and Herbs for your help and turning me on to Rescue Remedy

- All of Devo’s friends who came to see him while he was still strong: Glenn, Michael, Tom, Virginia, the Woo clan and MeMe and PaPa who came up from Phoenix

- And of course, Devo's mom Andi, who kept me from falling apart through his ordeal and loved her little boy his whole life.

God saw you were getting tired

and a cure was not to be.
so he put his arms around you,
and whispered....

"Come with Me".
With tear filled eyes I watched
you suffer and fade away.
Although I loved you deeply
I could not make you stay.
A Golden heart stopped beating,
my beautiful boy put to rest.
God broke my heart
....to prove to me

He only takes the best.

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