Life on the Ranch is ever changing. Weather dictates most of my plans. Life and death are an ever-present reality. With a heavy heart, I am ready to talk about the death of my spirit animal, Pearl. Pearl was a rare jewel: patient, loving, protective, stoic. Never have nor ever will find a dog with her gentle spirit.
February 11, 2016, Pearl crossed the rainbow bridge after a short battle with an aggressive, incurable osteosarcoma or in other words, a really shitty bone cancer. She began to slow down in November, lose weight. At first, I thought she was depressed from lack of attention. For 8 weeks Pearl and her adorable brood of pups were the center of attention. A steady parade of friends came through to pet Pearl and cuddle the pups. I figured her weight loss was caused by a change in food. By the end of November Pearl moved into the house, so I could keep her well fed and warm.
We had good days and bad as time went by. Pearl would put on some weight, but her movement would decline. After I had exhausted everything I knew to do to help her, I called in reinforcements, my farm vet. Blood was taken, medications prescribed, I was hopeful. Then the bloodwork came back negative for all of the diseases we thought she may have. The only odd thing was a low protein level. More bloodwork, more meds, yet she continued to decline. We moved Pearl to the deck, with a dogloo, and a heat lamp. She hated being in the house to the point where she'd literally eat my walls. I wrenched my back shifting her position, trying to get her to move. Pearl stopped moving, she stopped eating, she stopped drinking. I was exhausted and at my whit's end. The vet came out again! This time, we gave her vitamins in hopes that that would jump start her system. My vet and I cried, we knew her time was short. I looked into the soulful eyes of that amazing dog, I told her it was okay to go. I loved her, but she could be healthy, playing in sunny fields with our other dearly departed dogs. I kissed her nose as I always did.
Hubby got home late that fateful night with dinner. As I ate oblivious to my hubby visiting Pearl and retiring upstairs for what seemed like an excessively long time. He came back down and broke the news, Pearl had passed. I gave her permission, I told her it was okay, but it wasn't, she was supposed to get better, I had prayed, I had faith. Sitting in the cold, I stroked her limp body and sobbed.
The next morning her body was wrapped in an old sheet, and placed in the trunk. Next stop for hubby and me, the CSU Veterinary Hospital in Forst Collins for a necropsy. Normally, I love a road trip, but this one was macabre. I was a mess, every little thing brought me to tears. To make matters worse the pathology department was at the very back of the amazing veterinary hospital next to the dumpsters. How could I leave my beautiful, special girl near dumpsters? I did it! I kissed her good bye one last time and let the pathologists do their job. I needed answers, I needed to know what killed my young, vibrant dog. We were barely on the road after a somber meal, when my vet called with news. The preliminary report, an aggressive osteosarcoma which probably began in her rib cage.
The days that followed brought more reports and more answers. An incredibly aggressive bone cancer began to form sometime in November. The evil beast grew and spread at an alarming rate. We would have never found the cancer, it was completely untreatable, and due to her young age it was NOT genetic. It was a cruel twist of fate. Pearlie was a once in a lifetime dog. I was blessed to have had her in my life. She is greatly missed! I thank God every day for her daughter, Jojo. Jojo is a little piece of her mom, a tangible piece I can hug. Pearl may have left her family, but her legacy lives on.