Dog Beach, Dog Cake and Walks

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Our rescue greyhound Duncan turned five last Friday June 14th; he’s also dying. On May 28th we found out that he has bone cancer and will only make it another 1 to 2 months.

We first noticed something was amiss when we got back from Florida and saw him limping around. Our nanny (who is also a dog owner) agreed to watch Mocha and Duncan for us while we were away. We knew she’d taken both dogs to our local dog park while we were gone, so we figured his limp was from a tweak he’d suffered horsing around.

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When the third week was going by and the limp was anything but better, we decided it was time to take him in. My wife was hoping it wasn’t bone cancer, knowing that large breeds including greyhounds are susceptible to it. I figured it wasn’t cancer because Duncan is so young and the vet assumed the same when we dropped him off in the morning. Unfortunately by the end of the day with the results in hand our vet had to tell my wife over the phone that despite the very high percentages going in that this would not be cancer were the opposite for our boy.

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That same week we took him for a second opinion that confirmed the first. The second vet (like our own) also recommended against aggressive treatments like amputation. So we are giving Duncan 12 pain pills a day and 1 anti inflammatory. When his quality of life deteriorates to the point where he can’t get around even with pain pills we will put him down.

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All of the above is sad and unfortunate of course, but we are so thankful that Duncan managed to be one of the lucky greyhounds that makes it off the track still alive. As soon as these dogs stop winning races, their owners stop feeding them. Then they either perish, get shipped to Mexico for a second even sadder racing career, or are lucky enough to be picked up by one of multiple rescue organizations throughout the country. Our great big horse dog Duncan was in the latter camp!

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You would think the first picture in this post is of Duncan today with bone cancer, but it’s not. It was taken on the day we formally became his new owners. He’d been trucked from his track in Arizona (now closed for good) to Napa California. After a few weeks on a farm to readjust with other rescues, he went off to a foster home. This is where we picked him up. By this time he’d already gained a few pounds since he had left the track. In the photo he is 80.5 pounds, today he is 92!

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The rest of the pictures in this post are Duncan today. Despite the cancer I think he’s a very fortunate dog to have avoided Mexico or an earlier death and gotten to spend the past three years with us. When we first heard about his cancer we immediately wished we’d walked him every single day like we are supposed to. You have to live in the moment though so after briefly dwelling on this we went out and bought him some In N Out Burger. He loved it. He’s also been eating ground beef with rice regularly since his prognosis and even enjoyed his fifth birthday with some homemade doggy cake with peanut butter frosting (thanks grandma!).

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The weekend after his bad news we rented a mid size SUV so that we could take him and our expanded family to the dog beach in Santa Cruz. Duncan was there once before and it was his favorite bar none. He didn’t disappoint us on his return visit. Our gimpy couch potato ran up and down the beach chasing waves, birds and other dogs for a full 30 minutes; about 25 minutes longer than he runs at the normal dog park when he’s feeling great! He limped around a bit more the day after, but I don’t think he would have wished for anything different. Thanks for being part of our family Duncan. I’m glad Lolo got to meet you even though this picture is the only way she’ll be able to remember you.

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Lolo’s Dad