We got an answer to one of our big questions today. It was not the answer we were hoping for. We had an appointment with a veterinary oncologist for our beloved Archie. Archie coughed up blood on Dec 28th. We took him to an Emergency Vet that night and they did a preliminary diagnosis, but we were holding out hope that the oncologist would say something else. Sadly, our worst fears were realized. Archie has metastasized lung cancer and it is incurable. We are devastated.
Archie has touched so many lives in his short 8 ½ years, but none more than ours. My dear father passed away on July 8th 2011 and Archie came home with us July 23rd. He gave our family something to focus on other than our grief. Molly left for college a month later and having such a joyful puppy to concentrate on made her leaving a little bit easier. From day one, he has been our comfort.
I have always said that Archie is my spirit animal because we have spent so much time together and he has so much of my personality. He is easily startled, just like me and he is a caregiver, just like me. He has such a gentle soul and I knew from a young age, he would make a wonderful therapy dog.
Archie and I became a therapy team with Paws and Think in Indianapolis when he was two years old. We started at the Carmel and Westfield libraries, but soon became a therapy team at Washington Woods Elementary. I was working with special needs children and Archie was the perfect companion. He loved going to that school and seeing all the children. He loved having the children read to him and he somehow knew which children were nervous and which were comfortable with him. He won over even the most tentative child with his gentle manner. He was a Rock Star and he loved it. We were a therapy team at Woods for five years and they were five very rewarding years for both of us.
Lola came to live with us in 2014 and they became instant friends. Lola is so outgoing to Archie’s gentle ways, we have said that Lola has become Archie’s therapy dog as he got older. We put a sling in the backseat of my car so they could lie together. Archie has never liked riding in the car, but with the sling, they could be close and that calmed Archie’s nerves.
When we moved to California and had to drive across country, Lola kept Archie calm. We found out a funny thing about Archie during that trip. He always slept in his crate, but we couldn’t bring huge crates into the hotels every night. We decided to let the dogs sleep where they wanted and Archie wanted to sleep between Kevin and I with his head on our pillows. He still likes getting into bed with us and lying that way!
We joined a “Doodle” group when we moved to Oceanside and have made wonderful friends. They have been a great comfort to us while we are going through this tough time because they understand the bond we have with our dogs. Archie loved going on these “Doodle Romps”, but sadly, he has been to his last one. His breathing is so labored; we need to keep him quiet and comfortable.
The hardest day is still ahead of us. We will have to make the decision to say goodbye. The meds are only going to keep him comfortable for so long. We will have to decide when it is time and we have to be sure Lola has a chance to know he is gone. It will be a horrible day and I ask for your continued prayers.
Lola has never been without Archie. We worry that she will become depressed and sad. I have felt the desire for a puppy for a few months and I started researching breeders. Today, while we were in the oncologist office, I received a text from a breeder in Alpine, CA telling me they had reservations open on a litter of puppies due the end of February. We put a deposit down the same day we found out Archie was dying. We need something to look forward to and we need a pack mate for Lola. Kevin told me something his mother said after his father died that he has never told me before. She said, “It will never be the same, but it will be okay.” Such wise words from woman I never had the pleasure of meeting, for she died before we met. If we get a girl puppy, we are going to name her Irene, which was Kevin’s mother’s name. It just seems right.
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