August 19, 2012

Penny (formerly Rita's Becky) passes on

I’m writing to let you know that our precious Penny (formerly Rita’s Becky) passed away 2 weeks ago. We are completely heartbroken. This last spring over the course of one weekend, we noticed she wasn’t eating all of her food (which is not normal for her), and that her breathing seemed faster. We took her into the vet immediately. They referred us to a great animal hospital close to home, at which point Penny was diagnosed with Mesothelioma (cancer of the chest cavity).  The doctors weren’t sure what the results of treatment would be for Penny, but after learning how humane the treatment was, we as well as the doctors felt it was worth a shot. Every three weeks for the last 3 months, Penny would go to the vet and get an injection of chemo. It was quick, she tolerated the treatment great, and she never got sick from it. We were so hopeful. Plus, she loved going to the animal hospital as all the staff quickly fell in love with her and gave her lots of treats.

Initially, the treatment seemed like it was working. Her appetite came back, her breathing slowed back down, and her energy increased. Except that her belly was shaved for ultrasounds, you would never know she was sick. But then over the last week or two before she passed, the doctor saw something new in the x-ray; a mass on her lung that hadn’t been there before. The treatment was no longer working. She didn’t seem to be bothered by it for about a week. But then, it happened again. This time even more quickly: she stopped eating all together, her breathing became labored, and she was just not her happy self.

She had been an absolutely wonderful dog to us, such a faithful companion, that we knew we owed it to her to let her be at peace. So we took her back to the animal hospital to be put to sleep (which the doctor felt was a wise decision and said he would have done the same had Penny been his own dog). It was the hardest thing my husband and I have ever done. But we were with her at her last moments, cuddling her, telling her how much we loved her, and what a good girl she was. When she did pass, it was a strange relief to see her peaceful body. We know we did the right thing by her, but we miss her terribly. We cry for us, not for her because we know she is in a better place now. We are confident, that because of our faith in God, that we will see Penny again one day. I know that she is currently playing with my past Goldens that I had as a child. I picture her chasing balls, swimming, galloping around in her crazy little way.

We have so many wonderful memories of Penny! Penny was absolutely a part of our family. She went with us everywhere, to the park, beach, outdoor mall, over to my parents’ house to play with their Goldens, etc. We knew all the dog friendly places in the area. She loved her daily walks, her car rides (we called the car her “happy place”), her toys and getting showered with attention daily. And Penny was so gentle and loving to our daughter, Ava, who was born a year ago. We taught my daughter some baby sign language and “dog” (which is patting your leg) was the first sign my daughter ever did. Penny loved kissing Ava’s feet, and likewise, Ava loved it when she did, giggling away. And Ava loved to crawl over to and “cuddle” Penny (aka crawling over and resting her head next to Penny’s head or paw). They were developing such a sweet little relationship.

I want to thank Rita, Lily (Penny’s foster family when she first arrived from Taiwan), and all the volunteers/coordinators at GRCGLA from the bottom of my heart for what you do for each of these Goldens that you rescue. Had it not been for all of you, we would never have had the joy of Penny in our lives. And for that we are beyond grateful! While we only had 2 ½ years with Penny, it was the best 2 ½ years, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. She was an amazing dog, who was so smart and made us laugh all the time. My husband and I joke that Penny (who was my husband’s first dog ever) transformed him from a dog-liker to a dog-lover. Penny had my husband wrapped around her little paw. 

While we are not ready for another dog yet, as we are still grieving for Penny, we know in honor of Penny we will adopt another Golden again someday, and we hope we get to work with your organization again. Thank you again for making Penny a part of our family.

Sincerely, Karen