Wednesday, October 01, 2008


I've written a few times here about Smokey, a dog I now care for at Best Friends and knew well back at the rescue he came from, Pets Alive in Middletown, NY.

When Smokey was transferred into my area at Best Friends a little over a month ago, the trainer who brought him over noticed a slight limp on the journey - nothing terrible, but new and we wanted to get it checked out. His hips, surprisingly, checked out fine (he's always moved like an old man!), but x-rays showed a mass on his spine above the tailbone that was suspected of causing the limp. That mass was then subjected to a bone biopsy which came back from the lab a little over a week ago.

Smokey has bone cancer. It is advanced, aggressive, and spreading very quickly. He is not a good candidate for chemo and the location of the primary tumor (spinal) makes the most typical/successful treatment - amputation - not an option. It is estimated that he has a maximum of around 6 weeks to live and may have substantially less than that.

There are some dogs in shelters all over the county, long term residents, that I don't feel too bad for. Although I wish every dog were in a home, some dogs do just fine in a shelter environment and it's what they know and what they're used to. Smokey is not one of those dogs. Although difficult to adopt because of his behavior issues (which have greatly improved since I've met him, but still make his handling somewhat challenging sometimes), Smokey wants a home of his own very badly - he loves people, he loves human contact, he craves attention. He badly wants a person to love and be loved by.

On Friday, Smokey came to my apartment for an overnight "tryout" visit. He did great - got along very well with Jessie and Ginger and settled in very comfortably. Tonight, he came home with me for good. He's my first ever foster dog, and I will provide hospice care for him for however long he has with us. He's now resting comfortably in his crate with the door open, observing everything and waiting for a chance to slip out and investigate.

My heart aches for Smokey. I wish I could fix him and make everything better for him, but I can't. What I can give him is the love and attention he craves and the loving home he never had, however briefly.

We're gonna make the best of it, Smokey. I love you, buddy. Welcome home.


Blogger Stew Magoo said...

oh man. you done it to me. I'm leaking now.

10:41 PM  
Blogger PBurns said...

Congratulations John -- What God intends, he serves up pressed and folded. I love stories like this, and hats off to you for making the last bit of this dog's life the best. It won't be easy, but it will be right. And that is as good as it gets. And yeah, I'm leaking too. Gonna go do the manly thing now -- get coffee and walk it off. Hat's off!!


6:46 AM  
OpenID smihalec said...

Hugs and love to you, Smokey, Jessie and Ginger. Smokey is in good hands now and will have the best days of his life with you!

10:35 AM  
Blogger Frosty said...

I don't feel bad for Smokey. This will be much harder on you than on him. For Smokey, well, his dream has finally come true. He'll live the end of his life in bliss and happiness, with a family to adore and love him back. You are wonderful for giving him that. I wish I could give you a big hug.

2:10 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

You're a good man.

6:12 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Thank you so much for giving him a home, John, if only for a short time. You are such a godsend to these guys. I've heard lots of stories about Smokey and you're doing such a good thing.

11:02 PM  

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