Myka at the river

In June 2004, my beloved childhood dog passed away at almost thirteen years old. Montgomery was a one hundred and twenty pound lab shepherd mix and like a brother to me. He had an inoperable tumor on his spine and did not live long after diagnoses. He laid down in the sun one morning and just drifted off. It was beautiful and devastating. The only other time I had seen my father cry was at my grandmother’s funeral. I was twenty-one years old and living on my own for the first time, but without him, I truly felt alone.

When my father and I picked up Montgomery’s ashes, the woman we had taken him to, to be cremated, said, “I have an odd, maybe inappropriate question for you, but….”

She had a tenant who had gone to the hospital and never came back. His dog was left, alone, in a crate with no one stepping forward to care for her. She was also a lab shepherd mix and in desperate need of a home. I was very hesitant to adopt another dog so soon, but the moment I met her, I knew it was meant to be. She was scrawny, missing a lot fur and so wild she could barely be walked on a leash. She was perfect. I remember bringing her home; she sat on my lap, in the front seat of the car. I had a rough and stressful few years, but she was always there for me, knowing when I was sad, or just needed some extra love. She still does.

Nine years later, she is still by my side, comforting me, filling my heart with love and making my life meaningful and complete. Through nurturing her, I learned how to nurture myself, and together, we have gotten to a better place. I owe her my life, I owe her the world. I love her unconditionally and I know she loves me. If my love were all she needed, she would live forever. She will live forever in my heart.

Myka’s liver values were slightly off at her last senior wellness exam and the vet suggested we recheck in a few months. The vet did not seem too concerned, and we went about our life like nothing was wrong. She had her blood rechecked the end of April. It was only a week before her appointment that I noticed she seemed to be getting tired quicker. The day before her appointment she stopped eating her usual dry food and suddenly became finicky. Her levels came back worse than before and the vet suggested a few more tests and an abdominal x-ray; still inconclusive, time for an ultra-sound, then the recommendation she be taken to an oncologist as soon as possible. Dogwood was able to fit her in as an emergency the same day.

Life changes so quickly….

I was going back to school, my boyfriend and I were looking at buying a house, then it felt like everything came crashing down. Myka was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. I could not stop crying for a week and dropped my summer classes.  We had money saved for a house down payment and have gone through most of that for chemo and other vet expenses. Myka is my top priority right now. I want to spend as much time with her as possible and keep her happy and healthy for as long as possible.

Myka is truly an amazing dog. Whenever I have felt like giving up, I just look at her and can’t help but smile. She is always so happy and upbeat. Even now, though she is the one who is sick, she is still the one comforting me.