I lost my pug Yo-Yo 3 months ago. It's taken me this long to want to write about it. The pain is still as intense as the day he died.
Carolyn J Jordan
A few weeks before Thanksgiving I noticed that Yo-Yo seemed a little tired but I didn't think much of it. I also noticed a tiny bump underneath a skin fold on his neck which ultimately proved to be a highly malignant, subcutaneous mast cell tumor, but I was still not alarmed. I brought him to his Vet the following Sunday after Thanksgiving, By that time, he did not have his usual enthusiastic appetite. I was getting very concerned. However, the Vet thought he merely had a digestive problem. The Vet even felt his neck quickly and didn't express any concern. I should have asked the Vet to pursue it further, but I was in denial thinking it could have been a swollen gland. To make a long story short, I rushed Yo-Yo back to the Vet a couple of days later because the lump was much larger and he was having difficulty breathing. I was still clinging to the false belief that he just had a serious infection. By this time, the Vet was very concerned. He aspirated the lump, but he did not tell me what he found. Mast cells are very easy to see on a quick examination, so in hindsight I thought this was very cowardly on his part not to mention his suspicions. Instead, he told me to take Yo-Yo to Tufts small animal hospital nearby, which I did. They put him in a special oxygenated chamber to help his breathing. By this time, I was suspecting cancer but I was still hoping that it might be a treatable infection. No one there at tufts wanted to give me any off the cuff diagnoses until they had definitive test results.I stayed in the ICU with my poor terrified Yo-Yo for several hours. His nose was pressed against the glass. We maintained eye contact the whole time and all I could do for him was to say I love you, I love you. I finally left him, satisfied that his condition was stabilized. As I was driving home, the attending Vet called me on my cell phone to tell me Yo-Yo had passed away from respiratory arrest I was barely able to drive back to say my last goodbyes and kiss him one last time.
It took a full 2 weeks after Yo-Yo died for me to find out the cause. Neither my own Vet nor the attending Vet at Tufts had bothered to call me. Fortunately, I had ordered an autopsy ( they are careful to call it a necropsy- because animals are less than humans?), and thus I found out that he had mast cell cancer that had metastasized throughout all his major organs. A concerned liaison person at Tufts finally got the attending Vet to speak with me directly. I received a lot of support from family, friends, and even strangers. I really believe that most people think the bond between our animal partners are as strong as the bond we have with our human loved ones.This makes it inexcusable the lack of communication I had with the veterinarians that took care of my dog Yo-Yo. It's tough to deal with the emotions of pet owners, but it's a big part of the job. I have a another dog and she is now under the care of a new veterinarian who takes an integrative, holistic approach to treatment.
In parting, I wanted to express publicly to Yo-Yo that you were my beloved heart dog. You were a bold, can-do spirit, one of the few pugs that enjoyed agility with a couple of titles and many successes.We were a great team. You were by my side in everything that I did. We will meet on the other side. I love you.