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Henry vs. the big C

The only word which can touch on our feelings of Henry being diagnosed with cancer is devastation.  Ask anyone who knows this guy and they’ll tell you that he’s the last one (not that any dog does) who deserves to be sick.  He’s the most loyal and loving dog I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, and I’ve met a lot of dogs.

When we were told Henry had 1-3 months to live (“30 to 60 days if he’s lucky”) my heart fell and has been broken.  I don’t think you can ever be prepared for the death of a loved one but, my bouncing and loving 9 year old puppy’s illness really caught us off guard.

I’ve tried to wrap my head all around what I could have done differently.  Loved him more, pet him without complaining, never ever stopped throwing the ball?  Needless to say Hen has been swimming, playing catch, and eating more human food then his stomach should probably hold.  I’ll still never feel like I’ve done as much for him as he has for me.

Tomorrow Hen starts his first round with chemotherapy.  Although my hopes are sky high, I am trying to be realistic and keep in mind that Henry’s quality of life is by far the most important thing.  We’ve decided to give chemo a try with him and monitor the progress as well as his overall happiness.  Best case scenario, he remains the happy and healthy bouncing golden I know and love while his cancer is destroyed and scurries away.  Worst case, we’ve tried but, the chemo is too much to put him through, at which point we’ll stop.

I’m certainly hoping to add another 9 years on for my beloved Henry but, I do love him enough to let him go if the time comes.

Hoping for a good day for Henry tomorrow,


With Al and Hen in Central Park

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Lori #

    Maggie, I just read your twitter and I’m afraid that I can’t trust my eyes. I hope I am wrong, and Henry is still with you. I am ashamed that I was not always so sensitive and understanding to and about animals, but my dog Molly has changed me, only for the better. I don’t know how old she is (at least 11), she came from a dirty and unhealthy shelter, pregnant (11 puppies!) and scared. She’s the most wonderful friend, and while she seems healthy today, I worry every day still what I’ll do without her, or what she’ll do without me. What a lucky dog that Henry has you. So many others have no one.

    September 25, 2011
  2. Steve Paul #

    It’s heartbreaking to read this. With a dog (or anyone, really) all the love invested in your relationship makes it soooo painful letting go. The love is worth it, though. It always is. He’s lucky to be in your hands… you’re putting his need for a happy life ahead of your need to hold on to him longer. I hope the chemo works out, and works out quickly.

    August 28, 2011
  3. Susan #

    So sorry for you. My Golden, Maggie, has been diagnosed with cancer as well- at first it was in her mouth, and then they found it in her spleen. She began chemo several weeks ago, and has done well. Her mouth is in total remission. She is having her spleen removed on Monday. We are hopeful to buy some (quality) time for our beautiful almost 11 year old girl.

    August 26, 2011
  4. My heart is breaking for you, reading this post. My golden, Matzo, had kidney failure 4 years ago, that could not be “fixed.” So sorry, my best to Henry and your family.

    August 26, 2011
  5. Margaret Wheeler #

    Bless. Sending love to you and Hen. I love my labs in the same way.

    August 25, 2011
  6. I’ve been reading your blog since I saw a link to it in the Huff Post (as a fellow SF-er I loved that you were local!), and this post broke my heart. I know what you’re going through – I lost my beloved childhood black lab to cancer when I was in college… and I still think about Max almost every day – and always of the amazing, fun and special memories we had.

    The way you describe Henry, he seems like the most wonderful dog, and like he has been so, so loved since day 1. . . I’m pulling for him!

    Fingers crossed for Henry. . . and 9 more years!

    August 25, 2011
    • Kristine, that truly made me cry. Thank you for your kind and sweet words. I’m sure Max was a very much loved puppy himself. I’m sorry for your loss, it never does get easier does it?


      August 25, 2011


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