Jack was an 8 year old Shetland Sheepdog. He joined our family as a puppy and immediately bonded with our other Sheltie, Malibu. He had a sweet and sunshiny personality that was difficult to ignore. Each day he greeted us with his “morning report” which involved lots of snorting, jumping and wiggling around. He loved to roll in the grass, had terrible breath, and enjoyed eating fruit.
In February 2014 he was rushed into surgery. His bladder was completely blocked by cystine stones. The result of a rare genetic disorder that rendeed Jackie unable to properly process protein. His recovery was long and brutal.
In the shadow of his recovery, a tumor started to grow near his right armpit. Before we knew it, it quadrupled in sized. In May he went in for surgery. He faced a difficult recovery all over again but bounced backed.
A few weeks later we received the biopsy results. At the time we didn’t realize the seriousness of his diagnosis. We were advised to visit a veterinary oncologist once he was completely healed.
Jackie’s mass was a grade III Mast Cell tumor. Extremely aggressive. Fast moving. Deadly.
The oncologist visit revealed a large abdominal abscess near his bladder and the reappearance of his original tumor. While we did not want to subject him to another surgery, the abscess, which was a result of his first operation, was a ticking time bomb of infection. In August Jackie went into surgery for the 3rd time.
After a long battle using surgery, chemo and radiation, Jackie succumb to his disease. In hindsight, the radiation was the best therapy: rapid response with minimal side effects. I wish we did it sooner. To anyone faced with a similar tumor – listen to the doctors, educate yourself as best you can, but most importantly take the time to enjoy every moment with your friend.