Saturday, August 23, 2014

She Won't Eat.

I just want her to eat. 

Something. Anything. 

Just a few years ago, I was saying the same thing about my mum. "I'll make you anything you want, Mum. Anything. Is there anything you could imagine eating?" Everything we tried, she just couldn't. And she was 88 lbs. when she died in January of 2012. 

My best friend for the past 10 years had a cancerous tumour removed in July. After several tests and stains, etc., the doctors couldn't give an exact answer as to what type of tumour it was and whether or not it was the type to spread. We hoped the removal of the tumour and supplements would do the job, as chemotherapy was not something I would put her through. 

Her normal weight fluctuates between 95 and 100. Just before the tumour was removed she had lost her appetite and she lost 20% of her body weight. Post-surgery I was able to get her weight up to 90 lbs. and then two weeks ago her appetite again was lost, she began losing weight, so I took her to get an ultrasound. 

Could the cancer have returned?

"Unfortunately, her stomach lining has thickened again and we found some nodules in her liver. Looks like the cancer has spread and there may be a new tumour in her stomach." She said. "You may want to talk to the oncologist and see what options you have to treat her. I'm really sorry for this bad news." 

Audrey, my best friend, is a Great Dane I adopted 10 years ago. She had been severely abused before I met her, and so had I. I suppose we rescued each other. When I was sat at the rescue organization looking at potential fur kids to take home with me, a couple was also there adopting a Great Dane puppy. 

"Can we see the mother?" They asked. 

And out came an extremely thin, hesitant black Mantle Great Dane who looked as if she would dart away if anyone were to stand up or perhaps sneeze. Her bones were protruding. She had scarring on her back legs. What was her story? She walked straight over to me and lay her head in my lap. I felt an instant connection, cried, then signed the paperwork and took her home a few days later. 

I had just recently lost a Great Dane puppy I had purchased from a breeder. Jude, a gorgeous Merlequin with crystal blue eyes, was 14 weeks old when he died due to a reaction to his immunizations that caused his immune system to attack itself. Jude went from vibrant, cheeky pup who enjoyed the crazies every now and again, chasing a ball, and jumping up on the sofa and peeing on it (grrrrr!!!) to a limp, lifeless puppy who couldn't even lift his head in the blink of an eye. He died within days at the vet's office despite treatment. "But I did everything right!" I thought. My partner and I at the time were completely gutted and still, years later, I can't hear The Beatle's "Hey Jude" without becoming emotional. 

Audrey came just in time and we had a lot of work to do. She was deathly afraid of men. She needed to put on weight and had an infection in her teats that needed treatment. When my partner took her for a walk the second day we had her, she escaped her leash and ran out to Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica (a very busy street) and the police had to shut it down in order for a woman who worked for a dog rescue to gently coax her and catch her. The pads on her feet were bloody and torn. She was a mess.

And then we managed to live together as best friends. She traveled with me on location when I was shooting the film Evan Almighty in Virginia. She supported me through a rough break up in which she was also separated from her "dad" and brothers, a Great Dane/Dalmatian mix named Bouj and Chihuahua, Man Lee. That was hard. It's still tough to think about.

She moved with me and healed with me in my little sanctuary in Malibu, where we lived, just the two of us, staring at the ocean and growing up together. Healing. Feeling and accepting peace. Enjoying life on our own for the first time. Hiking, walking the beach, waving to dolphins, building new friendships. 

She moved with me to Philadelphia when I moved for another job. She completely accepted my new partner as her friend and new dad. And accepted a new sister, Greta, a Coonhound from Delaware, and her brother Man Lee who came back into the picture. 

She loved and supported me through a two year bout of deep depression and the horrible death of my mum. She's never left my side.

She's become the best dog and friend I've ever met. I love her more than life. And now, here she is, thin again and won't eat. It's tearing me apart tonight. 

I'm frustrated. I'm sad. I'm angry at her for not eating. I'm angry at the still unknown cause of this disease. I don't want to lose her. I don't want her to be in pain. I don't want to lose her. 

We're trying turmeric, Essiac tea, L-Arginine, L-Glutamine, Ginger, Milk Thistle, Salmon Oil, and other alternative methods. Everyday I read something else online, run to the health store and add to our protocol. 

But she needs to eat. 

Have tried raw, organic meat of all sorts, cooked organic meat of all sorts, cooked chicken, organic canned wet food, fresh eggs from our hen, cut up veggies - she's gone from eating bits to eating nothing today but two or three bites of kibble. 

So I'm writing this blog with no other point than to let my feeling explode onto "paper" while listening to Bob Dylan and eating chocolate chip cookies in a weak effort to comfort myself, just hoping and praying she'll suddenly want to eat the house and all its contents.  

The more you love the more it hurts, I find. I don't want to let go. Not this time. Not now. 

And I'll never be ready. 


dirtypuppy8 said...

i'm so sorry my dear.
the more you love the more it does hurt.
but the more you love the more you live as well.
you and your girl have lived more than most i know.

i love you.

Di said...

Oh my. My heart is just breaking. It's the hardest part of loving. Saying goodbye. It's a hollow, lonely, empty feeling and I'm just so sorry you and your sweet, precious girl are going thru this. Sending healing energy to her and you tonight.