Friday, August 7, 2009
Turbo by Linda Schroeder
Turbo has been fighting for his life for 11 years. The runt of a litter of purebred Australian Cattle Dogs, no one wanted him. Then, all the wrong families wanted him. He was passed from home to home every year until he reached age 5. At that point, I heard about him. He was out of control and spiraling down toward euthanasia. As a trainer, I volunteered to help. And drove home with him in the back seat of the car.
For weeks, Turbo raged at my other dogs. He would not let me pet him. Slowly, gradually, he started to trust. The first night he placed his head on my shoulder to sleep, I knew he had ‘come home’. That is where he has slept for 6 years now.
Five weeks ago, Turbo was diagnosed with lymphoma, Stage 3+. Given his age and condition, there was nothing we could do but try to control the symptoms. He had four to six weeks, they said. Not one, but three vets and countless tests later. Six weeks.
Turbo is in Week Six. He has highs and lows. On his low days, he does not eat. Nothing entices him. All he can do is look out at the world with sorrowful, sick eyes. I apologize on those days and force his medication down his throat. I cry. I rage at this disease that comes with no warning. I cry.
On his high days, he turns in to his old self, “Mr. Fun Police”! No one else can fetch, run, play, or have any kind of fun at all! He guards his food from the other five dogs, and eats it all. I believe in my heart he will live forever on high days.
But there is a trend. The bad days are worse, and the good days are not as good. The swelling increases in his lymph nodes, and I see his legs bow out to compensate. I increase his pain meds so he can walk with me.
Stubborn and with a strength of character to be envied, Turbo continues to fight. When he stops fighting, he and I will have to make the final decision. And when that happens, I will miss him. Forever. For Turbo found his way home….and his home is in my heart.
Shortly after we posted his story, Turbo lost his battle with cancer and was given rest. Linda wrote, "I miss him already. I could not ask him to stay just for me."