“My Dog Hops”, says Josie. She’s my almost three year old little girl and this is how she describes our Morgan just 7 days post amputation. Seems perfect for Tripawd’s…doesn’t it?
My name is Cate. I am a wife to Cass and a Mom to Max, Josie, Morgan-Dog and Charlie-Cat. Charlie-Cat has been with me the longest and then Morgan-Dog. The husband and the human babies came later. I tell you this so you know the history and so you understand the bond between me and Morgan.
June 11, 2001 is the date I met my beautiful pup. I had just lost my job and decided it was a perfect time to care for a puppy. My brother had met a family who had tried their hand at breeding their English Shepherd and the result was 13 puppies weened at 4 weeks.
I knew I wanted a female. I knew I wanted black & tan. It was a hot day. The puppies weren’t very playful and choosing my pup was very difficult. Until, I noticed a beautiful, smart pup who had dug herself a bed at the base of the house away from the sun and the activity. And, I knew it was her! 🙂
Her name was Emma for half a day. She wasn’t an Emma. I did some research and found that Morgan is Gaelic and means “of or by the sea”. I am Irish and grew up by the sea. Perfection! Her name was officially changed to Morgan.
We’ve been through a lot together…unemployment, boyfriends, break-ups, illnesses, marriage, babies! She is more than just a dog! She’s my friend.
She started limping in November. We thought it was arthritis in her hip. We had recently moved from a flat yard in Baltimore to a sloped yard in Greenville. I just assumed soccer in the sloped yard aggravated her hip. I was wrong.
Standing in the Dr. Ann’s office with my Morgan and M&J I learned of the bone tumor. I was crushed and the tears started and then the questions from M&J. It was so much all at once. I drove around with M&J while Morgan had her chest x-rayed. I explained to them that Morgan was very sick and we were trying to find out how sick. We picked Morgan up about 60 minutes later. Her chest x-rays were clear. What was next?
The funny thing was that Morgan seemed relieved, happy and elated! She was the best we had seen her in weeks. I think, I know she was happy we knew and that she wasn’t alone with her illness anymore.
There were lots and lots of tears, hugs and love. We spoiled her more than she was accustomed. She ate people food, sat on the couch and slept on the bed. We didn’t know what we were going to do and how much time we had with Morgan and we were going to make her life (more) awesome!
We enjoyed Christmas and decided to have a biopsy done after the holiday. Our worst fears were confirmed. It was cancer and believed to be a primary tumor, an osteosarcoma. Now we had an answer to know what to do next. The abdominal ultrasound was done a few days later. We were relieved to know it was clear!
The decision to amputate was actually easy. My husband said, “I would rather have a Morgan with three legs than no Morgan at all.” We scheduled the amputation not to save or to extend Morgan’s life, but rather to ease her pain and to avoid a fracture in that leg. With each step we worried about a fracture and more pain.
So on January 20th, Morgan’s left hind leg was removed. “Her sick leg was removed and sent to Heaven.” This is how we explained it to M&J. Actually, tripawds.com was so helpful in explaining things to my 5 and almost 3 year old.
Morgan made it through surgery with flying colors. She was recovering “ahead of the curve and with a lot of spirit”. She was ready to come home on Friday the 22nd, but we wanted to wait until Saturday. My Mom had come to get M&J so that the house would be quiet for my “lighter” dog. It was a good plan. Morgan, Cass and I needed to adjust and get settled. Morgan needed to be reminded that running up the stairs and hopping up on the bed was not good for her recovery. However, by Monday we all missed M&J!
The day I met my Mom to pick up the kids, I had a picture of Morgan’s left side. I showed M&J and explained that her hair had been shaved and her sick leg had been removed. I further explained it hurt and she wasn’t allowed to go up & down the stairs, etc. They were ready to go home and see their dog.
When I entered the house with M&J, Morgan was so happy and M&J were so happy to see Morgan. It was heart warming! It was perfect until my almost 3 year old took a second glance at the missing leg/incision. She burst into tears saying, “I am sad for my Morgan. I want her leg back. Is it in Heaven? I want her leg back!” I just froze. How would I handle this? Well, I didn’t have to. My beautiful Morgan-Dog hopped right up to Josie and kissed away all the the tears. It was perfect and I was reminded of how much I love my Morgan-Dog and that she is a huge part of this family.
We had made the correct decision, right?