• Zoey Update: Bitter Truths

    As most know, Zoey has been with cancer for nearly two years. She has been through poking, prodding, CAT scans, radiation, and most recently, surgery. After all this, she still greets the vets with a lick and a wagging tail, cautiously, but still happy. We're the same way. Our Oncologist makes us laugh, so that's a plus.

    This appointment on December 2nd was one we've been dreading for a month. During that time we have seen large regrowth of cancer. The once flat surface from eye and tumor removal surgery, now looks like she has another eye, except this time it is covered up with hair and skin. She also had brief diarrhea and colitis, which cleared up with help from our general vet, but prompted us to make an appointment with Oncology to make sure there wasn't more going on. 

    What's up: Our Oncologist says the regrowth is not something he's particularly pleased with, and that it is painful for Zoey. She still choses to be a happy dog over everything else that is going on, and that tells him that her pain is still able to managed. He predicts our dealbreakers will be 1) If she starts to be unsocial 2) If she shows no interest in food. This appoinment also led us into talked about euthanasia, and if we had looked into at all - we hadn't - so he walked us through what happens. Simply put, the time we have left could be weeks to a month. There is no way of telling right now.

    Zoey's cancer progression of last month has forced me to start thinking about her inevitable death, and how I will cope. Only one animal has died in my life - my gerbil, Derby, in the 4th grade - and it was emotionally crushing. This will be that to the nth power. 

    There was an article in the NY Times some months back in which a writer used his column as a way to process his dogs death. The tone of the article was sad, but it had a playfulness - the kind that makes you laugh as your just about to burst into tears...maybe I'll do something like that.

    Although there are fluctuating percentages of sadness, Zoey is still very much alive, and happy to be with us, and we are very happy to still have her. 

    - B

  • The Last Goodbye

    Sweet Zoey,

    You have been amazing to me the past 3 1/2 years. I got you as a pup, when I was in need of friendship. You became my companion, my best friend, and my little girl. You have been through a broken bone, poking, prodding, radiation, medication, and surgery. But in the end we lost, and now it's time to say goodbye. 

    To everyone that has helped us over the years financially, thank you so much. Without you, we wouldn't have been able to give Zoey the past two years of her life, and that life was well spent. Zoey has gone to Canada, numerous camping trips on the north shore, adventures on road trips, and has made so many faces smile in the world.

    I love you so much Zoey, and I hope someday to see you on whatever other side there is for us in death. 

    The following are photos from the time we got Zoey as a pup, until our final walks.

    Goodbye, sweet girl. You are gone, but never forgotten.

    - B

  • Road Trip: Lake Superior

    I love spontanious trips.  Some of the best adventures I have ever had have been set in motion by the words, "hey, want to go on a road trip?" One time it was a week in advance, and another time it was a casual mention of a road trip a year in advance.

    The case with this trip came from how much stress we were carrying from Zoey's cancer, and the nature fix that had been absent in our lives for some time. At this point Zoey had been 2-3 weeks past surgery and her sutures were looking pretty great. Anna had time off work already, and with some help from the amazing folks over at Parka to cover some of my work, we were able to make this trip happen.

    We drove most of the way around Lake Superior. From the North shore of Minnnesota, to the actual north shore of Superior in Ontario, and then down into Michigan. Unfortunately we didn't have time to travel closer to the shore through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, or Northern Wisconsin. Next time!

    All photos taken with: Canon 5D MKII + Canon EF 40mm f/2.8

    Day 1

    Day 2

    Day 3: (zoey was eyeing flys in the fire pit)

    Day 4

    Day 5:

    - B

  • Zoey, One Week After Surgery

    It's hard to believe that one week has already passed by. The first hardship was getting used to the site of Zoey only having one eye, but by the end of the day we had gotten pretty comfortable with the fact. During the first night I think I woke up about every hour when she would sneeze - each time I would get out of bed to make sure her stitches hadn't broke, or that there wasn't more blood than what was to be expected while her incisions were healing. Luckily Anna and I both had days off after the procedure, so it was nice to stay at home and make sure the first steps to recovery started smoothly. 

    Zoeys mood is peppy as ever. She plays, she gets excited, and is still so affectionate. Today (7/24) was her first outing away from the house, unfortunately I wasn't around for it, but Anna told me she was so happy to be outside on an adventure again. I got to see her in the evening and snap some photos.

    We learned tonight that the tumor was an osteosarcoma (bone tumor), and that with the surgical removal we just went through, they follow up with chemotherapy for best results. The U of M talked with us over the phone about this, and brought up the future and what the expected life span is after the treatment. They predict 12-18 months for the type of tumor Zoey has, including chemo. We meet with oncology again on August 12th to move forward with treatment, and get her stitches removed.

    Stay tuned for more updates.

    <3 Bryant, Anna, & Zoey

  • The Drive In Theatre

    That they do. I have never been to one, until today. Last year Anna and I were going to go to one, but before we knew it, winter was here. 

    The lineup was: The Avengers, Battleship, and then the Chernobyl Diaries

    We were awake for all of The Avengers, then half of Battleship (fell asleep because it was that terrible, in my opinion), and we woke up and left at about 3am, which was probably about 20-30 minutes into Chernobl Diaries.

    All in all, it was worth the 8 bucks. It's the experience of a Drive In that counts.

    Dinner was an Apple Pecan Salad w/Goat Cheese.

    - B

  • Happy (belated) Birthday, Zoey!

    Zoey turned 1 on April 5th. We were off by 6 days, but I'm terrible at remembering these things.  Then again, it doesn't help that I've been reading her "registered date" as her "birthdate" for the past 10 months. None the less, since it was her special day (6 days late), we did all the things she loves. Toys, treats, walking, off leash dog park and etc.

    She had to put up with the birthday hats and camera in her face, but that's a small price to pay for what this pup got.

    Zoey loves stuffed animals, so we stopped by the thrift store and picked her up a few.  They don't last long. The minute she gets a new animal, she makes it her mission to destuff the plush toy, and usually succeeds within 10-20 minutes. On top of new toys, we baked her some homemade peanut butter dog treats, some pupcakes, and also picked up some rawhides from the petstore that look like sushi.

    Pupcake!  Complete with apples, applesauce, nummy spices, a cream cheese frosting and a graham cracker top. In case anyone is wondering, "should a dog really be eating that?" We looked up recipes that were safe before we started baking.

    Presents! Rawhides, plush toys, treats.  Nothing better.

    Like most, one pust play the minute a new toy is recieved.

    After we celebrated at home, we took a trip out to the off leash dog park with Anna's dog, Bryr. Zoey and Bryr have become quite a long way in the past 10 months.  Zoey, being a small dog and somewhat possessive, used to have issues with other dogs.  Bryr, being the good sport he is (he's also a much older dog), took it in strides with a good attitude and helped her get through that phase. A great role model.

    Overall, a successful late birthday. On to the next year of Zoey's life! 

    - B