Bailey was an amazing dog. A German Shepherd mix, she was strong, loyal and loving…and taking care of her family was her number one priority. I would joke that she was my shadow – accompanying me to the bathroom, following me into the kid’s rooms in the middle of the night when they were sick, licking my face when she knew I needed a little extra love. She was an incredibly special dog and healthy all her life. And then one morning everything changed, a few weeks shy of her 11th birthday.
It was Saturday morning, September 24th, 2011 and the family was up early getting ready to hit the road for a weekend away. I noticed only our other dog, Misty, was down in the kitchen with me so when my husband came down, I asked him where Bailey was. He said she was laying at the top of the stairs and I immediately knew something was not right. When I got to her, her breathing was labored and she couldn’t stand up. Her gums were white. We got her into the car and raced her to the emergency hospital where they quickly diagnosed a ruptured spleen. They performed emergency surgery to stop the bleeding but we knew the odds were now against us. A few days later, the biopsy returned and our hearts broke – Bailey had hemagiosarcoma, a deadly, aggressive form or canine cancer and her outlooks was bleak – 2-3 months without any treatments, 6-9, maybe a year, if we did chemo.
But we refused to give up and a few days later, we had our first visit at the Veterinary Cancer Center. She had been through so much, but after meeting with the doctors we were confident they would do everything they could to give her as much quality time as possible – and that was important. We didn’t just want her to have time – we wanted her to be full of life, chasing squirrels, stealing pizza crusts, playing with the kids and tearing up the yard with her sister, Misty. And with their amazing care, she defied the odds. She lived for three more amazing years – and died just shy of her 14th birthday. And those years were just as incredible as her first 11 before cancer struck. Bailey’s passing was still devastating to our family, but we knew she lived an amazing life and we knew we did everything we could to ensure she had as much time as possible.
Thanks to the amazing doctors at Veterinary Cancer Center, they gave us three more years with our beloved dog! We hope her story gives hope to other families who are faced with this terrible prognosis.