Monday, October 18, 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge- Day Eight

{Day Eight}

{A Place I've Traveled To}

I like to think that I'm a fairly well traveled gal. At least when it comes to the United States. Out of the country my travels have not taken me farther than the Bahamas and parts of Canada.

I really had to think about where I wanted to write about today, but one trip in particular keeps popping into my head. Here's a little background info leading up to that special weekend...

In September of 2006 Jason and I adopted our first dog. We had been wanting a dog for awhile, but had were living in an apartment and couldn't justify keeping a big dog confined to our tiny living quarters. A month earlier we purchased our first home, which included a fenced in yard. We were ready for our dog! We searched for quite sometime, as we had a particular breed in mind. A boxer. Seriously the best family dog, ever!

Finally we found... Diego!

We adopted him from a rescue about 2 hours from our home. He had been caught wandering the streets and wasn't in great shape. Whomever had owned him prior had mistreated him and he had the scars to prove it. He had a collar imbedded so badly around his neck that the rescue had to have it surgically removed. There were also burn marks from cigars and cigarettes all over his body. But, he was the sweetest dog imaginable. He only wanted to be loved. And his loyalty was unwavering.

It seemed our beloved dog was going to be plauged by illness. He had eye problems that required visits to a veterinary opthomologist ($) and then one day he fell down the stairs. We rushed him to the doctor and discovered that he had geriatric vestibular syndrome. Which is basically vertigo in older pets. We had been told by the rescue that he was between 3 and 5 years old, turns out he was atleast 7 years old. A younger dog would not have gotten vestibular syndrome. In case you don't know, a Boxer's lifespan is usually 7-10 years. It's because they are the number one breed to contract cancer and tumors. Things weren't looking too great for Diego.

His vestibular syndrome caused him to have a constant head tilt. It didn't bother him or us, so we just let it be. Then one day the following August, just before his 1 year adoption anniversary with us, I found a tiny little bump on his neck. We took him in to have him checked out. Radiographs discovered that he had lymphoma. And it had all ready spread to lungs and brain. A tumor the size of a softball was growing inside his neck and was wrapped around his jugular. To have it surgically removed would be out of the question. We were devastated. The doctor didn't recommend chemotherapy, as it wouldn't help his quality of life much or give him much longer with us. So Jason and I decided to take Diego on a vacation. He was still acting like his regular self, so we wanted to go quickly before he took a turn for the worse.

Enter one of the best trips of my life. A visit to the Hocking Hills in central Ohio. I've been before, but this trip was special because we had Diego with us.

It was perfect. We rented a sweet little cabin across from Lake Logan.

We went on multiple hikes everyday to see the different parks that the area has to offer. Diego hiked to his heart's content. We also took him for a splash in the lake and our evenings were spent around a campfire or snuggled up inside spending as much time as we could with our special boy.

Within two months his health began to decline rapidly. The doctor had given him about 3 weeks to live, but miraculously Diego made it 9 weeks. He was miserable and had no life left in him. The decision was ultimately ours. Eventually his tumor would become so massive that he would asphyxiate or else we could have him euthanized. We chose the latter. It was one of the hardest days of my life. Mainly because Diego loved going to the vet. He walked in there with a wag in his step, not knowing it was the last place he'd ever see.

We had our beloved boy for a little over a year. We now have two more dogs, and although we love them dearly, they will never compare to our special Diego.

Check out the 30 Day Challenge at Katie's blog.

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