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The Last Weekend on Four Legs

Where we last left Atticus he was struggling a bit to shake off the sedation from him ultrasound. He had a good night’s sleep and woke up completely back to normal. That morning, as I worked upstairs, I picked up on something that bothered me. I could hear Atticus groaning.

I spent some time with him, and he continued groaning, and getting up and down a lot. He clearly couldn’t get comfortable. It kept going like that all morning. Hearing Atticus groan is this huge trigger for me, I really struggle to keep it together when I hear pain vocalization from him. I can deal with grief and loss and terrible news, but I can’t deal with standing around while my animals suffer. I just don’t have any tolerance for that. I knew, from previous conversations with our vet, that he was maxed out on his carprofen dosage. Cue another upset call to VCSS to talk to our angel nurse, Trish.

Trish kindly and compassionate let me tell her what I was observing, through my tears. We got a plan to supplement him with some tramadol I had on hand from when baby Spaghetti had a bout of growing pains (it’s an actual thing in giant dogs!). She suggested we go for a walk in the sun, to calm down and clear our minds. She thought a change of scenery might take Atticus’ mind off his pain. This was a really good idea.

I decided to take him for a walk first thing, before finding the tramadol. I grabbed the leash, and out we went. We got about one house away and Atticus took a HUGE poop, that turned to diarrhea. He had a bit more diarrhea as we continued our walk. he wasn’t limping anymore than usual.

We got back in, and Atticus settled right in. No more groaning. I was wrong- his leg didn’t hurt more than usual. He just had to poop really bad. What a weirdo- he didn’t even go to the door and ask to go out! I called Trish back and gave her the update, and asked if I should hold off on the regular carprofen dosage, in case it was causing his upset stomach. She told me no- he needed the carprofen. Osteosarcoma pain is pain like none other- constant, gnawing, unrelenting. We needed to keep up with the carprofen, regardless of the GI side effects.

Poop groaning sorted out, we decided to spend our last weekend doing fun things on four legs.

The last photo I took of Atticus before surgery. He was sharing the sunny spot in our theater room with our cat Basil (and Groku, Spaghetti’s favorite toy).

Saturday was wine tasting at a very dog-friendly winery. We brought Atticus’ bed and shared our charcuterie with him. Sunday we went out for brunch and sat outside. Atticus got his own order of bacon. Afterwards, we went to our favorite city park. It has a dog park, but we hadn’t been there since Atticus’ diagnosis . I was too concerned about him running too much on his bad leg and being in a lot of pain afterwards, or worse, a pathological fracture. We couldn’t go to the dog park, but there is also a short (Maybe ½ mile) nature trail loop. Hiking is his favorite thing, so we took him on a final four-legged loop, which he loved.

Even that short loop was enough to make him visibly sorer on the bad leg. I was so nervous about the surgery, but I was also relieved. The leg needed to go.

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