Abby Calkins

Abby and family

Abby came into our family 12 years ago, as our son had saved all his birthday, Christmas money for 3 years. He, at the tender age of 6, paid for her all by himself. As a military family moving every couple of years, she was a built-in, always-there friend for him. Not only did she help him transition from place to place, but she has been very good at helping me with my MS. She can sense when I need a break even before I do. She is our therapy dog. She keeps us grounded and level. Our son is away at college this year and it breaks my heart to tell him or Abby’s recent diagnosis. He is just getting settled at school. I want to tell him, “Abby is doing great and she can’t wait to see you at Christmas.” But, without treatment, she may not be here by then.

Abby puppyAbby is such a good girl. Her sister passed 2 years ago. (Also a Basset named “Ears”) Abby was devastated. I was afraid we’d lose her then, due to a broken heart. We rescued another Basset Hound, Roscoe, to help ease her broken heart. Roscoe suffers terribly with separation anxiety. Abby had never learned to howl until she met Roscoe. How they howl in unison. I fear, with our recent move to VA (we have only been here a few weeks due to my husband’s recent transfer), and the reality that we will lose Abby very soon without treatment, for Roscoe’s well-being since he has finally settled in with us and his anxiety has significantly subsided in recent months. Abby has been such a good friend and teacher. She is teaching Roscoe how to be confident in our home and taught him that we do not pee in the house. He only did that one time, the first day we had him. She is teaching him how to play Hide and Seek and how to use his nose to “find” what we ask them to.

My husband always said Abby would have been a great mother. She is known as the “NFL”, the “No Fun Lady.” She doesn’t like to see kids pretending to fight. (with swords, or pool noodles, or anything like that) If there are dogs at the dog park playing too rough, she will totally bark and break up the “fight.”

She protects us as she would do with other dogs in her pack, I am guessing. If one of us has a nightmare, she wakes us gently, as a momma would her child. She truly is one of the sweetest, most attentive dogs I have ever run across. It breaks our hearts to know she may be in pain, even though she’d never let on.

Abby has done so much for us; she deserves a chance to live her life without cancer. She deserves the chance to live to be an old lady who chooses to go out in her own way with dignity and grace. My husband is a strong man, but when it comes to Abby he is mush. Abby’s diagnosis has broken his heart. Seeing that breaks mine. Abby deserves a chance. Help us give that to her, please.

Her diagnosis came as a shock to us. We took her in to have her teeth cleaned at the end of August, figuring she’s just need an extraction, but were stunned to find out she had an oral melanoma. The doctors are saying they’d never seen one growing as fast as hers and surgery is a must, but without the vaccine also the tumor will most certainly return quickly. The doctors would like to do chemo also, but we aren’t sure if we should do that with my compromised immune system. We’ve been here in VA for such a short time, I haven’t even established a doctor of my own yet to be able to get consent.


Update: Sadly, Abby lost her battle with cancer in June of 2015. Her owners were so grateful to have a little extra time with her.