In November of 2007 right before Thanksgiving Pebbles started to become very finicky with her food. So I checked her mouth I thought maybe she had a tooth lose that was giving her some discomfort. But I found what looked to me some kind of abscess on her gum, which looked like was bleeding a little. I right away called my Vet on his cell phone and explained to him what I found, he advised me to come to his office first thing in the morning. When we arrived at his office he examined pebbles mouth and told me that it was a tumor and that most likely it was melanoma. Pebbles was taken from my arms and was being prepped for surgery to have the tumor removed. The biopsy confirmed that it was canine oral melanoma. Cancer, this is not happening. My Vet advised me that if Pebbles was to get cancer that this was the type of cancer to get because there was a new vaccine out just for dogs with oral melanoma. I right away went to an oncologist to see about this vaccine, she also advised me about other options, such as chemo, radiation, and removing some of her jaw bone. How could I do this to my dog, how could I put a 14 year old dog thru pain and suffering, that just did not seem right. After doing research on my own and discussing with my Vet I decided to try the vaccine. it was a series of 4 shots every two weeks, it was not painful. Within the start of her treatment pebbles tumor started to grow back so we went in for another surgery, and a third this time her tooth was removed because the cancer was growing in her tooth. Pebbles had to go back every 6 months for a booster vaccine. Every time we went back we had good news Pebbles was cancer free. Thank god. She never showed any signs of cancer, her appetite was great, The oncologist was amazed that a dog with cancer was gaining weight.
In march of 2009 Pebbles had heart failure. She was then started on heart medication and water pills. We just got thru one terrible thing and now we face another challenge. I started to notice her breathing was a little off and it was only when she was at rest. I took her to the vet and everything was fine. Then the next morning I was walking her and she collapsed. I carried her home and took her to the vet . Started her on heart medication and Lasix. Because Pebbles was on water pills she now had to go outside more often. I noticed if I did not let her out she would have accidents when she was asleep. So every two hours I got up to let her outside. Not to mention I would sleep with one eye open watching her breath. Now I became paranoid that she was going to have heart failure again, I found myself watching and starring at her when she was sleeping making sure she was OK. Well that was under control. She was doing great. She was on a special diet. I always cooked especially for her but now it had to be a very low sodium diet. The summer months made it harder for pebbles to walk around outside the heat was too much for her heart. I would carry her down the street to her favorite spots put her down so she can do her thing then I would carry her home. She loved it and got spoiled very quickly. I would carry her like a baby and she would kiss my face. We started to walk like this a lot further it was her way of going and seeing all the places she loved.
Then in September of 2009 I notice what looked like a black ink mark on the very tip of her tongue I took her into the Vet and he said it could be a pigmentation of the skin. To keep an eye on it if it starts to get raised then the cancer came back. My nerves are once again shot. I searched her mouth everyday, Then the one day of carrying pebbles home from her walk like I did I was able to look in her mouth pretty good and noticed what looked like a black pimple on the back of her tongue. So back to the Vet we go. sure enough she needed surgery. How could we do surgery on a dog that had heart failure, who also just started nitro glycerin. This is now become dangerous I needed to decide what to do. I decided to have the spot removed we were not going to give up that easily, we had come to far. Pebbles made it thru the surgery but started to give me a hard time eating, I could not give her dog food because of the sodium, so I had to grind her food up and I mixed it with baby food to make it mushy. I had to hand feed her and eventually I had to put the food on my finger and stick it in her mouth. She started to eat yogurts and cottage cheese, and a lot of homemade baby food mixtures. I had to keep her strong.
One afternoon Pebbles had a seizure, I had no idea what was happening I never experienced this before, I held her in my arms and off we went to the Vet. I was told it was a seizure. I had to monitor her and I got instructions on how to handle it if it happened again. Ok I can do this I have been taking care of her all this time. Two weeks later she had another seizure, those instructions I got went right out of my head I freaked out again. This time I was on my front lawn holding her and crying for help when my boyfriend showed up who is a police officer in the town I live in, he took her out of my arms and laid her down and took control of the situation. So off we went again to the Vet so he started her on valium. But now Pebbles is not drinking water. Now I am giving her jello to keep her hydrated. I knew she was slipping away. I was determined not to let that happen. It was until the morning of November 17 2009 just four days after Pebbles last seizure that she was not acting right she was restless all morning which was so not like her. She was not able to walk right I had to hold her up so she could go to the bathroom. She also started to shiver, so I tried to warm her up, I gave her a warm bath, I wrapped her in blankets, but she still was not herself. I finally got her to relax so I jumped in the shower, when I came out she was trying to get up because she had a bowel movement all over herself, so I picked her up washed her off and went to the Vet. On the way there she started yelping. I did not know what was going on. I got to the vet and they did X-rays and it turned out the cancer had spread to Pebbles lungs, her spleen and thru out her body and most likely her brain that is what was causing the seizures. Now I am faced with that choice. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do. Saying goodbye to my baby girl.
I thanked her for all the great times we spent together, I told her I loved her, I apologized for the times I was stressed out or frustrated or just exhausted. I sang to her and held her in my arms and said goodbye to the little girl who came into my life almost 16 years before. I watched her grow, I saw how brave and strong she was, and how no matter what she loved me and I loved her. She picked up her head and gave me a kiss one last time as she fell asleep in my arms forever.