New beginnings…

Where to begin….

First to tell you about the beautiful member of our family this blog is about. Shelby Lynn is a 7 year old Labrador Retriever, whom we have had since she was 6 weeks old 🙂 She is full of life and a best friend anybody would be glad to have.

In Jan. 2017, we noticed a lump/mass on her right front paw 🙁 We watched it for three weeks, as it wasn’t causing her any pain or effecting her in any way. We got concerned after a month (we lost our prior lab to mass cell tumors after 6 months of chemo), so we decided to error on the side of caution and get it checked out. On Feb. 4,  2017, we took her to the doc, who did an x-ray and diagnosed the worse, osteosarcoma. As my heart and tears fell to the floor, I knew right away we had to fight for her. We were told even with treatment, we should only expect to have our gorgeous girl for roughly 6 – 9 months, but as long as she wasn’t suffering, I was fighting right along with her. Doc explained treatment would be amputation of the complete leg and chemo. We chose to biopsy, so that we were 100% sure it was in fact that dreaded illness. Honestly, I still think I was holding hope that it would come back different 🙁 We had the biopsy done two days later, and results came back 2 weeks later. Biopsy confirmed sarcoma (cancer) but stated “while clear cut osteoid formation is not seen, the eosinophilic matrix, multinucleated giant cells and indication that bone was sampled in clinical history are suggestive of osteosarcoma”. She was given a prognosis or guarded to poor 🙁 They obviously don’t know Shelby lynn, she is a fighter 🙂 She fully expects to show them what she thinks of their prognosis, lol.

A day after receiving the results, Feb. 23, 2017,  our beautiful girl went in for surgery to remove her leg. Me, well, I went home and did what I had been doing for the last two and a half weeks, research, educate, and learn as much as possible. Watching our sweet girl that day, who was oblivious as to what was going to happen, told me I had to be there for her now, like she has been there for us so many times. As soon as doc was done with surgery, we got the call that she was doing very well, though she was sleeping and not in any pain, thanks to pain meds, the surgery went very well and she would be able to go home the next day.

The morning of Feb. 24, 2017, doc called to let me know that Shelby had gone to the bathroom and they were getting her some food mixed up. They wanted to see how well she could walk and ensure her food would stay down but he felt there was no reason for her not to come home 🙂 🙂 He would call me a few hours later and let me know.  As soon as we got the all clear phone call, though he did caution us, she struggled with smooth and slick flooring and would need assistance, we went to get our girl 🙂

Pick up time 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 One thing I will mention, while I was doing all the reading, 2 important things stuck out at me:

  1. we as humans are more hung up on the fact that an animal has three legs than they are. Dogs don’t look at other dogs and think “oh…you only have three legs”. I read that statement, and it rang true. I started to think about the bigger picture, what she is fighting and suddenly realized, she is a fighter, she is a great friend, and she is my biggest support system, its time to put the stigma behind and let non-furry family friends think whatever they want.
  2. the other thing I read, which helped me prepare, was, be prepared for what you are going to see when you pick her up.  Yes, the cut is over a foot long, no its not bandaged. Shelby would have never understood, if I would have hesitated any love for her when I got there. She knows she is loved, she knows she is happy to see me when I greet her, she doesn’t understand anything else. I wasn’t going to let her feel anything but what she expected on the day of pick up. I will admit, it is a shock, to say anything other than that, would be untrue, but to know she was going to be ok, was enough to get me past whatever I saw. Plus, her actually on her feet charging to me, well, there are no words for that, simply tears.

When we picked her up, doc went over care instructions, and we made arrangements for suture removal in two weeks and plans for chemo to begin in three weeks. She was sent home with antibiotics and pain meds. While biopsy was unclear as far as whether sarcoma was osteo or not, he suggested we follow osteo treatment, chemo type and such.


WOW…is all I can say. Through out these last few weeks, so many people would tell me she was going to walk out of there, and I wanted to believe it, but yet I was scared of expecting to much and placing a huge burden on her if she wasn’t ready.  Shelby is 97 pounds, while we are working on her weight, that is still a lot to move around in this situation and I didn’t want to make unfair expectations on her.  She never stops amazing me, she walked out of the vet office and hasn’t stopped since!!! Grant it, she is a little slow sometimes, but she is doing fantastic!!! We have rugs all thru the house now to accommodate her, and we made sure she has very few steps in her travels in and out of the house to potty, but we struggle to keep up with her already. She has 3 steps, and she handles them like a pro!!! Our biggest concern right now is her surgical site and making sure she doesn’t open or bust any stitches.

We are on our first full day at home today, Feb 25, 2017. Yesterday, when we brought her home, she was still pretty sleepy, which is understandable, due to anesthesia and pain meds. She was a little woozy when walking as well, so we tried to be extra cautious helping her with a towel under her belly to assist with lifting when needed or to help her with balance. However, today, she doesn’t give us time to get the towel in place, lol. She is ready to go and marches along well. She gets tired easy when we take her outside and she is still working on the balance side of things, but I couldn’t be more proud of her so far. (We originally put a shirt on her when we got her home, but it seemed to be more cumbersome for her than helpful. So we have since taken it off and just watch her site carefully)

boy oh boy its nice to be home….

Well, this is our journey so far.  We have a long road ahead of us but Shelby is planning on making a statement 🙂