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A Foster’s Love

 

 

Despite the name, this story isn’t about the love a foster gave to an animal.  This is the story of an animal who was a foster's love.

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Snoopy was a dog who lived the first 6 years of her life in a home where she was abused and neglected.  The epitome of this abuse and neglect came about at the end of September 2010.  Snoopy was forced to witness the ultimate tragedy – her owner killed his wife, and then killed himself, leaving behind a 12 year old boy.

 

In the wake of this tragedy, Snoopy was dumped at the SPCA.  She was found to have an embedded collar, worms, and covered in fleas.  She had had fleas her entire life, and therefore had bald spots on her back from where she would try relentlessly to get rid of the itch.  Despite the obvious torment this little girl went through, she was constantly happy and wagging her tail.  She was a favorite at the SPCA.

 

Unfortunately, Snoopy was deemed to be “dog aggressive” and the SPCA was unable to put her up for adoption.  Snoopy’s only chance at survival was a plea they put out to Black Dog Second Chance.   Our rescue could not stand the thought of this sweet, innocent dog being euthanized after what she had gone through.  Her last memories should not be that of the terrible catastrophe she witnessed.

 

A volunteer had asked her parents to please watch her dog while she fostered this poor girl.  It wouldn’t be long, she told them.  A few months, tops.

 

There was also the matter of the brave young man who was Snoopy’s “Boy”. With a heart full of love, the foster made sure that this little boy was able to come and visit Snoopy any time he wanted. And he did. However, his guardian decided that it was too much of a reminder for a boy his age, and the visits eventually stopped.

 

Snoopy began attending training classes together in November 2010, first as individual lessons and finally graduating up to group classes!  Many weeks and months went by and after some time Snoopy’s progression seemed to plateau. But we never gave up!

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(Snoopy's friend, Murphy accepting Snoopy's certificate on the last day of obedience class, Snoopy was too sick to attend)

Also in November of 2010, we discovered a lump the size of a grape on sweet Snoopy. A medical opinion at the time dismissed it as a normal reaction to vaccinations. But by New Year’s Eve it was the size of a baseball, and ultimately determined to be hemangiosarcoma, an aggressive form of blood cancer. In February 2011, Snoopy had the lump removed.

 

In May, we felt a small lump under the scar from the first operation. After confirming that the cancer had returned, the vet did some additional diagnostic testing.  It was determined that the cancer had spread to her spleen, and this amazing, resilient pup was given a prognosis of 2-3 months. In that defining moment, Snoopy had found her forever home. We were determined that Snoopy was NOT going to die without having the love of a forever home. It was a decision that would make all the difference in the rest of Snoopy’s life, she would finish out her days in a foster home.

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(Snoopy)

 

In July of 2011, Snoopy and Murphy were able to take walks together.  They lounged in the backyard together.  With a little work, they even moved in together.  After 8 months, both dogs were together getting along.

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Unfortunately, the insidious cancer was growing worse. This loving girl started experiencing excruciating pain on her hip from the growing lump. It became obvious that there were only 2 options – euthanasia, or an amputation.  The decision did not come easily, but Black Dog Second Chance chose the amputation.  Snoopy was such a fighter, and we felt in our heart that the amputation would relieve the pain.  So on November 10, 2011 our girl had her leg amputated, and she became a Tripawd Warrior Princess. Many people thought this was terribly sad, however once the painful cancerous limb was removed, Snoopy’s spirits soared! She inspired everyone she met.

 

She became the perky and happy Snoopy everyone had come to know and love. It was clear she was no longer in pain. She didn’t skip one beat getting accustomed to her new life on three legs.  Despite the fact Snoopy was a lady, she had an identity crisis and always preferred to lift her leg to pee. When she lifted her leg the day after the amputation (and there was not another leg to hold her up) she managed to balance on her front legs only, while lifting her only back leg to pee.  Amazing!

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And in April of 2012, she even got a clean report of no evidence of cancer on her spleen.  A miracle. Everything was looking up.

 

But for those of us who have ever dealt with the evil of cancer, you know that time is not on our side.  On the night of July 10th, 2012, Snoopy suddenly became wobbly and unstable on her three sweet legs.  The next day, she was taken to the vet for some diagnostic testing. It was determined the tumor on her spleen had ruptured.  We decided to allow her beautiful girl to leave this world with dignity and peace, having lived the last part of her life with all the love and comfort that an amazing, wonderful dog could ever ask for.

 

Snoopy was cuddled and held close on that last car ride, held her in our arms and given treats. We whispered in her ear how very much she was loved and that she will live in our heart forever and ever.  As we all know, love never dies. On July 12, 2012, the best dog that ever lived earned her wings.

 

The day we love them most of all is the day we have to let them go.

 

Rest easy, beautiful Snoopy.  You were loved more than you could ever know.

  

Post Script>>> Snoopy was an amazing Australian Cattle Dog Mix and 8 years old when she made her journey. Two days before Snoopy crossed the rainbow bridge, she had passed one very important milestone. As of July 10th, Snoop had exceeded the average lifespan of a dog with her type of cancer by one whole year. She was a true miracle and we were blessed to have her for as long as we did.

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(Murphy celebrate Snoopy's birthday with her)

 

 

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PO Box 626 •  East Amherst, NY 14051  •   •  info [ at ] blackdogsecondchance.org