I'm not quite sure what to do with myself. I'm just kind of going through the motions now. I just buried my companion of the last ten years, Oscar. Oscar and I had been through it all. I adopted this three legged mutt in 2004 as a single young person, and he was by my side through my marriage and both of my children. He had a horrendous underbite; he scared adults and children, and definitely wasn't going to win any beauty contests. In 2004, the vet at the shelter informed me that Oscar probably had about two or three good years left in him, so to enjoy my time with him and not get too attached. Ten years later, I guess he proved him wrong! To give the vet credit, no one could accurately estimate his age because his teeth were in terrible shape due to horrendous abuse he had suffered. This poor guy came into the shelter dragging his leg that someone had attempted to saw off and gave up when they got tired. His back was broken and someone had taken a lighter and burned a "z" pattern across his rear end. They basically just beat the shit out of him and left him for dead. To say it took a while for him to trust me is definitely an understatement, but he grew to love me and I him in return. We had an understanding; like me, too much affection embarrassed him to no end so we knew when to keep our distance. I cried while he left this world, I cried while I buried him under his magnolia tree, and I'm crying while I try to type this now. Damn, it hurts to lose a friend.
I'm writing this because Oscar went to the vet today for what both the vet and me thought would be a routine tooth extraction. I barely said goodbye to him because I knew I would come back to get him in a couple of hours. The vet called me shortly after he went under sedation to let me know Oscar had a tumor on his tongue that extended down into his throat. She said it was the largest one she had ever seen in twenty years of practice and would only be a short time before it slowly began to strangle him. She recommended euthanizing him before he woke up from sedation. I had to come see him, and when I got there, I agreed with her assessment. She said at this point, the most aggressive treatment would buy him about three months, all of which would be painful. The reason I want everyone to know what happened is that Oscar's ONLY symptom was the occasional drooling that had only been occurring for about 2 weeks. He was eating fine and acting like his normal self in all other aspects. Apparently drooling in a dog that normally refrains is usually a symptom of something very serious, ranging from rabies to an abscess (what we were hoping for) to a tumor. This might not have helped Oscar out in the slightest, but I could at least have prevented some of the pain he undoubtedly experienced towards the end.
I am so grateful I got to be with him in the last moments of his life, and that he doesn't have to suffer any longer. He was very proud (almost "cat-like" in his attitude) and would have been embarrassed if we had had to watch him deteriorate. Maybe he's somewhere running like crazy with all four legs again and straight, pretty teeth
Below are pictures of the tumor, which you might not want to look at if you have a weak stomach. This had grown this large in my dog, and his ONLY symptom was the unusual drooling, so please, if you notice drooling that does not usual occur, resolve this medical issue immediately.