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Odin's Journey


X Ray Day


August 13th, 2017 Posted 3:08 am

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Odin’s cough wasn’t getting better so I decided to bring him in to work with me Friday morning. His surgeon was going to be there doing an orthopedic procedure on another dog so it was good timing. I got ready for the day and went out to load up the car before bringing him out. I came back inside to find blood on the floor. Immediately I yelled “WHO IS BLEEDING”. My mom rushed over to help me assess all 3 dogs. Freya has a little blood splatter on her face but it wasn’t her own blood. I looked at Odin and he had a trickle of blood coming out of his nose. I panicked. I said a few choice words as my mom tried to calm me down. She told me he had made a snarfing sound about 10 seconds before I came back in from the garage. He was still wiggling and extremely excited to be coming with me.

I loaded him up after assuring my mom I was okay. By the time I hit the highway tears started falling as my adrenaline came down. I stopped at Starbucks knowing I needed a caffeine fix before taking on this already hellish day. As I waited in line I thought to myself “If this ends up being his final day on earth with me he is going to enjoy Starbucks too”. I got him a pup cup and we both sat in the back of my SUV with the hatch door open, taking in the crisp morning air, enjoying our morning treats together. There was blood streaked across the hatch door and on the windows from his nose.

We pulled into the parking lot of my clinic 15 minutes before my shift started. I knew I’d need a little extra time to get him inside, pull myself together and brief my co workers on the events of the morning. Once everything was said and done, Odin went into his kennel that he has come to know well. It was business as usual for the first two hours of the day. I was in assisting the surgeon with the procedure as my boss and other co worker took x rays of Odin’s chest. From what I heard, he was a very good patient. Once the procedure was over I got the dog off the table and into recovery. My boss and the surgeon were looking at the xrays when I came back into the treatment area.

Back in June when the amputation happened we took a shot of his chest to confirm that the cancer hadn’t spread.

As you can see, he was clear.

The xrays that we took Friday told another story….

Odin had developed aspiration pneumonia. From what, we are not sure. He could have aspirated during a vomiting episode. Towards the lower part of his lungs (upper right of the picture) there was some concern that the cancer had spread. I sent his rads to a radiologist at the University of Minnesota for a consultation. Now all we could do was draw some blood and hope for good news.

So we decided to go through some charts

And raid the toy basket in the lobby

It was finally time for our lunch break so I loaded him up to take him home. He was greeted by plenty of sniffs and kisses from his pack. His nose had finally stopped leaking blood at this point. I had a sandwich with my mom and little girl, kissed the pups goodbye then headed on back to work with hopes that the consultation would be back.

The consult was sitting in the emails waiting for me. I opened it, held my breath and read the results. The radiologist confirmed that Odin has pneumonia and suggested starting some antibiotics ASAP……I can work with this. No big deal! But there was another note….

“Multiple pulmonary nodules, consistent with pulmonary metastatic disease, presumably from the reported chondrosarcoma”

My chest tightened, my throat felt like it was closing. I made up new swear words in my head. I broke out into a sweat.

It has spread.

My year and half has turned into a few months.

His blood work confirmed infection, but it also backed up the metastasis as well. I came home that night and delivered the news to my mom and my husband. We are all devastated, but we know our Odin is a fighter. He wasn’t interested in eating his dinner but took his medications with no protest, like the good boy he is then snuggled into his bed for the night.

(He may have cancer, but that doesn’t stop him from digging in the trash and then doing a very bad job at not looking guilty)

I was terrified I would find him dead this morning as I descended the stairs, but he was waiting for me at the baby gate, wagging that little butt of his and a smile on his face. There was blood on his blankets and some on the floor in the kitchen. He ate his breakfast, took his meds, gave me a kiss good bye and I headed into work. I came home at 1 to his happy face again as well as the other 2 goofballs. He spent a lot of today just resting in the kitchen, his coughing is still present but he doesn’t let it stop him.

I plan to soak up as much time with him as I can, but I am also preparing myself for that fateful day. I feel very lost. I want to reach out to people but I can’t find the words. I’m exhausted, I’m sad, I’m angry, I’m hurting. Why does he have to go through this? Hasn’t he been through enough? I mean honestly…..give the guy a break. I want to contact his breeder and rip him a part for not breeding responsibly (not that it would have prevented the cancer, but maybe his orthopedic issues). I want to place blame because maybe that will make me feel better about the fact that I’ve been watching my best friend deteriorate and there is only so much I can do about it. The worst part of all of this is that he just looks at me with love in his eyes. He probably feels awful, but I’m more important than anything else to him. He has dedicated his life to me and I can’t save him. I’ve done everything I can. I want to tell him I’m so sorry, but he won’t understand because in his eyes I can do no wrong.

Why can’t I just be more like him? So forgiving. So trustful. So happy even though he is sick. Why can’t I be more like my dog?

What do I do now?

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Back At It


August 5th, 2017 Posted 8:50 pm

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Wow, life sure does happen doesn’t it?! It’s been almost a month since the last post but thankfully there hasn’t been much going on with sweet Odin. He’s fully healed and is about 80% with the adjustment to walking with 3 legs. I can tell he still tires quickly.

He was having a bad week where he vomited every day, but that has seemed to solve itself. He has also figured out that I hide his pills in his food, so I have to go check to make sure he took them. He’s so sneaky for such a giant beast.

This last week he has developed a cough or hack. At first I thought his throat was just irritated from his rawhide treat. Except after 3 days it was still happening. Another possible reason is I irritated his soft palate when I had to force-pill him because he was extremely against taking them on his own. A part of me is very nervous that the cancer is starting to attack his lungs. I know it hasn’t been long since the amputation, but the mass in his leg appeared only 2 weeks after his knee surgery so I wonder if the rate of metastasis is faster than I had hoped. He will be going in for x rays at the end of this week if the hacking doesn’t improve. I listened to his lungs this morning with my stethoscope and they sounded clear but his breaths were a little shallow.

I’ve been trying to keep him calm and quiet because the hacking seems to come on after he gets too excited or moves too quickly (fast paced walking or running). Hopefully it resolves on its own and x rays are not necessary. FINGERS CROSSED!!!

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July 11th, 2017 Posted 1:51 am

PHEW!!! It’s as if the second our plane touched down from Vegas we’ve been at a dead run with the baby, the dogs and the 4th of July!! Things have finally settled and I am so happy to be home with my big guy. He was so excited to see me when I walked in the door. I immediately got on the floor with him and I hugged him tight, scratched his belly, gave and received tons of kisses!! He was spoiled while I was gone. His grandma put his pills in Pill Pockets so now when he gets his meds he spits out the Gabapentin tablets, as if I won’t pick it up and pill him myself….he acts like I don’t do that for a living 🙂

I was back at work almost immediately after our vacation. Odin still tries to follow me out the door in the morning. I find it funny but also some what sad. He has grown so accustomed to heading to the clinic with me for the last 7 months he just assumes when I walk by in my scrubs that he is going with me. I asked him why he even wanted to go considering every time he falls asleep and something weird happens. The guilt still creeps in a little. He has devoted his entire life to me and even though, deep down, I know everything I do to him and every decision I make is in his best interest I still feel guilty.

I look at him and sometimes wonder what it’s going to be like when he isn’t here anymore. It won’t be for a long while, but I need to be realistic. I’ve had rottweilers my entire life. My first rottie was named Deuce, he died when I was 5 years old and he was only 8. His passing was my first experience with death. Then 3 years later we welcomed Merlyn to the family. He was hands down the most amazing dog on the face of the planet. There are no words to describe him. If you are familiar with the children’s book series Carl then you know that when I say Merlyn was our neighborhood’s ‘Carl’ you know that he was a good boy. He lived to the amazing age of 13, which is nearly unheard of for this breed.

(Deuce and baby me)

(Merlyn and I Christmas Eve of 2008)

Odin spent his first 2 years growing up with Merlyn and took on a lot of his traits so when my mom said she would never again be able to have another rottweiler, I totally understood. These dogs have an amazing way of slamming their way into your heart. Merlyn’s death rocked our family. I felt I had lost a brother. That is why I think about Odin eventually passing away. I feel I need to prepare myself because I know it will be 10,000 times harder on me than when Merlyn crossed the rainbow bridge.  I’m finally to the acceptance stage of his diagnosis. I’ve been in denial for months, but looking at his histopathology report and the pictures they sent of the cancerous cells I’ve accepted it. He won’t be here forever so I’m going to love him as much as I can before he decides to join the boys on the other side.

(Odin and Merlyn sharing a bed)

Odin is making amazing strides in his recovery. He has fallen twice since I’ve been home, but no more yelping. He’s back up within seconds and keeps on moving. He has snuck down the stairs a few times and I’ve had to help him back up, he hasn’t quite mastered that. He did get a hold of a ball and ‘ran’ a few laps around the couch. You could tell he thought he was going so fast, but he really wasn’t. The sweetest part of it was that the other two pups chased him as his pace. He looked so happy all I could do was laugh at him. I wish I could see the world through his eyes.

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Post-Op Apart

1 Comment »

July 3rd, 2017 Posted 11:42 pm

I haven’t posted in a few days because my husband and I packed our bags and flew out to Vegas for a concert this weekend. We’re currently killing time at a Starbucks before our red eye flight back home tonight. The anxiety I had about leaving my sweet Odin was beyond dangerous levels. I was worried about him and my mom having to take care of him. There was nothing to worry about, his incision is healed and he was getting around just fine. Sad to say I was more worried about him than my daughter 😂

I separated all of his AM and PM meds into Dixie cups for my mom so she didn’t have to worry about his dosages. Every day we have Face Timed, even while I was by the pool. I’m sure people were wondering what my problem was, asking 100 questions about my dog. Up until last night everything was going well.

Last night Odin tried barreling into the house and took a dive. My mom said he was yelping really really loud and it broke her heart. She lifted him up, helped him to the den and onto his bed. She then stayed up with him for a few hours to make sure he was alright. The woman was on baby duty as well, but instead of getting a few hours of sleep in she decided to sit with him. She told me she spent about 15 minutes just holding him until his whimpering stopped (spoiler alert: he’s a drama queen).

Today I got a picture of him guilt tripping my mom into giving a belly rub. So clearly he’s feeling better after his little tumble. Other than his spill he was eating great, taking his meds with no protest and just soaking up his time with grandma. It was refreshing to not hear my mom threaten to turn Freya into a coat (seriously that dog is the worst, but we just love her so darn much 😍) so apparently shes been good while we’ve been gone, which is unlike her. She loves to up her reign of terror a little bit when we’re out of town. Perhaps she took it down a notch for Odin’s sake, one can hope right?

I can’t wait to see this nutcase in a few hours and rub that belly ❤❤❤❤

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Post-Op Day 11


June 28th, 2017 Posted 1:43 am

I went into work last Friday eager to see results of the biopsy. I pulled up his chart, but there was nothing. How on Earth has it not come back yet? It’s been a week. I went full mama bear mode and called the lab myself (respectfully) insisting they get it together 😂

A few hours later the results came back. Chondrosarcoma. Cartilage cancer, if you will. Prognosis is great, 1-1 1/2 years. Not long enough by any means, but a heck of a lot longer than 6-8 months when we thought it could be osteosarcoma. Chance of the cancer spreading is around 20%. He’s the first chondrosarcoma dog to ever grace the clinic.

Although the news is disheartening, it relieves a bit of the guilt about taking the leg. Granted my heart still drops a little every time I look at him. Both my husband and my mom say they just keep waiting for him to put his leg down.

Sunday night he actually snuck down the stairs into the basement but I didn’t see him do it. He can get down the stairs but struggles to make it back up. So I did what I’ve been doing for the last 6 months and helped his wiggly butt.

(Odin on his way outside on the ‘run’ I made him from rubber flooring tiles)

Yesterday we went outside to do our morning business and some jerk bird spiked Odin’s adrenaline and he took off like a bullet. I almost fainted as I watched him Sprint after the bird. Then I realized HOLY CRAP HE’S RUNNING….granted I know he’s not supposed to do that so I did my best to reprimand him but…..HE RAN.

Today he actually tried to engage in a wrestling match with me. He had his big boy panties on and wanted to “fight”.

My big boy is finally back!!


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