Domino's Story
Poem written by Domino for Dianechristmas

My name is Domino and I have osteosarcoma. I live with my human Mom in a great big hundred year old house. For some reason, she seemed to fall in love with Dalmatians (I am one, you see). Probably because she loved me so, she added three more Dalmatians to our household. So I have two spotted sisters and a spotted pesky little brother. We all get along and keep our Mom hopping!

Domino

Shortly after my 7th Birthday, while I was running around and swimming in the huge pond at my Dog Park, I felt a pain in my right front leg. I wasnít going to let that stop me. I was having too much fun! I couldnít help but limp a little and when my Mom noticed it she gave me one of those buffered aspirins. I felt better for a few days, but then the hurt came back and my wrist started to swell a little. The next day, early on a beautiful morning in June, I raced out of the house into the backyard to chase some birds, as I usually do. I screamed in pain and now I was really limping. So, my Mom hauled me off to the vets and they took some x-rays of my leg. I was kind of drugged, but I could hear the vet telling my Mom something about a ďsunburstĒ pattern and probable cancer. I didnít know what that meant, but I could see my Mom crying and I knew something was VERY wrong.

The rest is kind of a blur, but I remember going to a Veterinary Specialist place and being looked at by an orthopedic surgeon and an oncologist. Little did I know that this place would become very familiar to me. My Mom brought me back there the next week and LEFT ME THERE. I woke up the next day with only three legs and over 50 staples in my shoulder area. With great will power, I got up and I even ate a little. I think that was good strategy, because that very afternoon, my Mom came pulling up in our van to take me home. She looked to be a wreck, and no one came out with us to the van. I could see she was going to have a hard time getting me in there, so I just hopped in all by myself. My Mom was really relieved. I was going HOME! It took a LONG time for my Mom to get me into the house. I just didnít know how to get up those stairs. Just give me time. I didnít feel all that well at first and I didnít want to eat or MOVE. But gradually I managed, and soon the staples were removed, but my fur was all shaved off and my Mom didnít want to look at my ďlegĒ. She made me wear a huge red scarf over my shoulder, so I just accepted it to please her.red scarf

I had to go back to that Specialist place dozens of times for blood checks and something called chemotherapy. I was OK at first, but then something happened to my blood cells and I really felt lousy. But the oncologist said it was nothing to be alarmed about and gave me some pills. We tried to keep a positive outlook. Gradually, I got my strength back and went for short walks. My fur even started to grow back - and I got MORE SPOTS! That made my Mom happy. The first time she took me back to my Dog Park, I couldnít even make it back to the pond. But the next few times, I went farther and farther and soon I was SWIMMING again!!(even though my Mom made me wear a bright orange LIFE JACKET - I didnít mind). I have always LOVED to swim.

Back at our house, my Mom moved her bedroom downstairs. It happened one day when I went upstairs(no problem), but for some reason I was afraid to go down. It took all day to get me down. Iím not little, I weigh 75 pounds. So now my Mom stays downstairs with me on a big king-sized air mattress. I think it is good for MY bones, but I think my Momís bones are a little worse for wear!

domino on airbag

Iíve been back to the specialist place twice for lung x-rays, and so far they are clear. I have had a wonderful life for these past 8 months, mostly because my Mom has been paying a lot of attention to me. For some reason, we have a celebration every month, and it isnít even my birthday!

Well this is the story of Canine Osteosarcoma from my point of view. My Mom would probably have a different story to tell.

DOMINO - 7 year old Dalmatian

Diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on June8, 2000

Amputation of right front leg on June 22, 2000

Five rounds of chemotherapy from June 9th to Sept.19, 2000

Still chasing squirrels on February 23, 2001

Dear Kind Friends(all of you),
It is with deep sadness and a very heavy heart that I want to let you know that Domino lost his battle with bone cancer early this morning (Sunday March 11, 2001). We had a wonderful nine months together, but I wish it had been longer.
He was such a dignified gentleman of a dog, and a wonderful and faithful friend. I learned a lot from him these past months about courage and life. He did really well until Thursday (his anniversary). He participated in all our plans probably just to please me. Then everything happened so suddenly and rapidly. I could see he was slowing down. The coughing escalated. He had a bad night on Thurdsay and I took him to the vet on Friday. He did better on Friday night with the medication, but Saturday night was very bad. He couldn't breathe and he must have had VERY rapid growth of tumors in his lungs, probably over the past three weeks since his chest x-rays, which showed a questionable area.
At 4:00 AM I knew my dreaded decision to euthanize or not was at hand. Of course I am shaking and crying as I write this. The vet to whom I took my little puppy Domino was the same one who administered the injection that put him to sleep. The strange part of it all was that Domino was very weak and could hardly move from room to room at home, but when we got to the parking lot of the vet hospital, he literally jumped out of the van, took some full long breaths of fresh air and just about pulled me into the office! I think he was saying, "Let's get this over with! I fought my best fight and it's time to go. I've had a wonderful life."
He was at peace with it, but it is going to take me quite a while. I can't even get warm. I keep jacking up the thermostat. I have three other equally wonderful Dalmatians that need me and I love taking care of them.
I'm sorry to be so long, but I wanted to say thank you to all of you who have become like friends to me. I am also glad that I wrote Domino's Story (the one for the press packet) a couple of weeks ago, when life was wonderful.
As I promised,when I went to Church today I prayed for all of you and your puppies, - and I lit two candles, one for your puppies still fighting and one for the puppies in heaven, including Domino. Thanks for being there for me. I plan on still reading all your posts. Sincerely, Diane