toby update
Well it wasn't a good day today. I took Toby in for his final cancer vaccine and we discovered that the cancer has grown back in his mouth in a whole new place. Two weeks ago when the Oncologist checked him it nothing was there and now it is the size of a large grape.

Toby in the car

In just two weeks! And he was doing so well, I thought he for sure he was going to be a poster child for this vaccine. So we took chest x rays to make sure the cancer hasn't spread yet and then they didn't give him the last vaccine. Now we have to decide if we do surgery to cut the new cancer out which would only buy us maybe a couple weeks more, or do we just let things take their course.

Paul and I are adamant that we want Toby to have as much quality of life as possible and enjoy every minute, so right now we are leaning toward not getting the surgery. Because of where the cancer is, they can't cut it all out and it would just come right back and then he would have had surgery and pain and stress and be at the same place we are at now. I would rather that he have happy weeks left with us with less visits to the vet for him. He gets so stressed out every time we go.

But another part of me wants to shout, WAIT!!! no!! this can't be happening. I will do anything to keep him longer!! I feel like if I could do a deal with someone, anyone, please give us more time. I want more time!! But as my friend Carmi said, it will NEVER be enough time. If I get another year, I will need another year after that, I would take eternity if I could. That would be wonderful. But that's not how it works.

Right now we know where this road is leading, but we don't know how long the road is. We could have weeks. We could have 2-3 months. But we DO have tonight and we have tomorrow and next week so right now I am concentrating on that.

It is so hard for me to live in the present, I always live in the future, but this will be a life lesson for me, because I am going to try to be present every minute for Toby so I can enjoy every last second I have with him.

Everyday is precious!


Oh Claudine...I hope with all of us on your side with prayers and good thoughts, we are able to give you more time with Toby!
I am so sorry to hear the results today, I was looking for a good report.
Claudine, I have lost many special animal friends in my lifetime and i agree with your friend, there is never enough time. I must advise you to enjoy this time with GUSTO !
Enjoy all the little things and take photos everyday. Theres never enough photos. Spoil him with ALL your heart.Love him and let him go with as little pain as possible for him. I share your grief as i write this and i share your tears.
I am so sorry that this has happened to your beloved Toby. Hugs to you and kisses to Toby.
So sorry for this sad news and hard decision you have to make right now. I had to make a similar decision about a year ago... was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. Hugs and prayers for you!!
Many hugs and prayers for you all. Having been down this road before my heart is breaking for you.
First time I've checked your blog...Toby looks like a real sweetheart. If you don't know about Beechnut baby food...the pureed meats are special(and easy to eat) treats for animals who are on their way to the other side. Beechnut is necessary for cats(everybody else puts in cornstarch which is not good for them)...I don't know if it matters for dogs. Wal-mart is a good source. And don't be surprised if someone asks you if you're buying it for a sick pet. Seems babies aren't as fond of it. They have lamb, beef, chicken, and turkey. Especially since the growth is in his mouth...this will be easier for him to get down. I've been through this with 9 cats and all I can say is, that although it is a difficult journey to take with your very good changes you. You come to understand how much they value life, no matter what they're going through, and even on the last day of their life, how they still appreciate the chin chuck or the ear rub or any contact that can still be done. And they seem to make every effort to let you know how much they have enjoyed their journey with you. They will always be in your heart...and from my experience their spirits come back and check on us in various ways. The loss, seems after all, to be just temporary. We will be with them again on the other side. I suppose you could say that love never truly dies. And the pain does eventually ease...I wish you and your family and Toby God's special graces for this time.
couldn't say it better than anyone here has already done Claudine. I send u e-hugs & pass them on to sweet Toby...e-kisses too! ~Ali~
i love your site and your lovely, creative, sensitive heart...

separation from those we love is the hardest thing we all have to face at some time or another...the reminder to live every precious moment in gratitude for the time we have with one another is one we can all benefit from...

what an amazing gift to have given and received the love you have with Toby... the glorious part of love of course is that it never dies, and your heart will only be a fuller, richer, deeper place for having been graced by this little life...

hugs of comfort sent out to you as you navigate through the decisions and the journey together through the next steps for Toby...

OH Claudine, I am SOOO Sorry.

I know how much you care for and love animals and this news was not expected.

You, your husband, Toby and ALL your critters will be in my prayers.
There is nothing I can say really. I just want to send lots of love.
What a poignant reminder to treasure the here & now. Best wishes.
So sorry to hear the bad news. Toby looks like such a snuggle bug.

Sending lots of love and some snuggles too (the snuggles are for Toby of course).
Oh Claudine, I'm soooo, sooo sad to hear this news. I know what you are going through as I lost two of my 19 year old cats last year. I thought I was going to die too. It's such a hard decision to make but you'll know what to do when the time comes. You and Paul will be in my thoughts.
I am so sorry-
chris p
So sorry to hear this. Just wanted to send some hugs and sympathy.
I am so sorry for you! We lost three of our "children" last year. It was rough. We also felt as you do that there had to be quality in their life.
My thoughts and prayers are with you .
Give Toby lots of golden moments and then when the time comes the parting will be as Shakespeare said sweet sorrow. I'm so sorry darling.

huge huge hugs Claudine...
thank you everyone! your sweet words are so appreciated! I am off to snuggle with Toby. He is getting annoyed with me because I am petting him so much!
I am so sorry to hear about Toby. Only people with pets can understand how important they are to our families. I will be thinking about you and Toby.
Love, Elizabeth
I am so sorry to hear about Toby's diagnosis. It is never easy. We recently had to put down our precious Golden Retriever and it was such a hard decision. I know you cherish the time you spend with Toby.
Our beloved Rosie-dog passed over the Rainbow Bridge on February
Our holistic vet had said all beings are born with a certain amount of chi, and Rosie's was waning...but I was going in for major surgery on Christmas eve and I didn't think I could handle loosing Rosie too....she stuck around and then on February 8th I thanked her and said if she needed to transition I would be OK, thanks to her watching over me- and the next day she passed..I think at the end, for pets that are our soul mates, like your dear Toby, it is OK to give them permission to leave...everyday is a gift -
What wonderful comments your followers have left for you. our soulmate pets do know when we need them, and it is so hard to let them go. enjoy the present. prayers are with you and your family.
I will pray for Toby. I am going through the same thing with one of my cats. It is hard.
I felt exactly the same as you when my dog died tragically and unexpectedly last fall. I wanted to make deals... surely there was some kind of trade that could be made... but alas no. I still wish I had more moments with her. It is the hardest loss I have had to bear. I now have wonderful memories and imagine that she is running free playing with lots of friends and having a great time. What a beautiful soul she had. I am holding you and yours in my heart.
claudine,I am so sorry to hear this news. my heart weeps for you and your family. I know what you are going through. when our Guinness (RIP) was terminal, I coulnt get through the day at my day job without taking private crying breaks in the bathroom. they are so helpless, and rely on us so much for their comfort and well being. it is really hard to remain objective when you are going through this. I applaud your decisions. it can be so hard to make decisions based on your pets' comfort level when you are so wracked with grief but clearly you are really being objective and realistic. I bet toby appreciates it so much. it's so tough. that is one thing I am really proud of myself --making the right decisions by Guinness, when he as so sick. I know Guinness appreciates it wherever our guy is now. I just wish I could have worked from home so I could be with him all the time. it's great that you can be there :)
Claudine, I know exactly what you are going through, my gorgeous Jack Russell girl had cancer and had to let her go - it was so hard and still is (it was 6 years ago). But at the end of the day we didn't want her to suffer any longer. Those decisions are never easy, no matter when you are making them. I am thinking about you. Kasha
Oh, Claudine, I'm so sorry. HUGS to you and your hubby and your Toby. I was really hoping it would be a different story, too. Here's to quality time with him -- he's the luckiest pup ever to have you for his mom. May your time together be the best. And, know that I'm thinking of you as you go through this tough time... was me, Liz Ness (just wanted you to know where the hugs were coming from...)
I am so sorry, Claudine. There are no I just send you many *Hugs*.
Peace & Love,
I am so sorry for you, your husband and for Toby. I hope you make the best out of the time you have left. Death is never pleasant, especially not when its untimely, but sadly it is the one thing that all living creatures must face sooner or later.
My heart is with you, sweetie. Living in the moment takes practice, but when you think about it, it really is all that exists. Big hug, xoxo
Dear one: hugs and tears and prayers. Hold on to the moment. Live each day in today. Cherish each minute. Not much more to say ... as others have said I lost a dear one, yes he was my kitty soul mate, and I know your pain. May God grant you all the serenity you need to deal with acceptance and the strength to walk forward hand in hand and paw in paw. Michelle A said it beautifully above. xoxoxo. Marlynn
I am so sorry for your sad news. We love our furry friends so much but we know from the beginning that we will out live them. I also have trouble living in the moment. My prayers are with you.
Claudine, I am so sad to hear this news about Toby. He is such a sweetie and I know you and Paul must be devistated that the treatments did not give you the desired results. I know that whatever you decided, you will always keep Toby's best interests in your heart. Sending hugs.
My heart just aches for you and your family and especially Toby. I have been through this myself and I just recently went through it with my daughter and her first pet as an adult as well. It never gets any easier and it never will. All my thoughts and prayers are being sent your way. Enjoy every precious second with your fur baby. Sending hugs {{{hugs}}}.
Denise in Florida
Awww, sweetie... my heart goes out to you and Paul. Big hugs.

Oh Claudine,

My heart aches for you! I can not imagine how hard this decision was but you are brave to offer to your loving Toby peace and less stress. So know that you are in my prayers and that God never forsakes you!

Toby is counting on YOU to make his time comfortable and happy. Let life take its natural course and cry all you damn well please. Isn't it just wonderful that you had him in your life. What beautiful memories you'll have. I say this as someone who has had pets for 45 years and lost many... and every one of them was a cherished member of our family and still is.
Oh Claudine and Paul,
so sorry to hear this news. I know the feeling and have been there only recently with my sweet orange tabby, Marvin. You are doing everything possible and Toby knows it - you are both (Toby and you both) lucky to have come into each others lives and enriched it beyond measure. I did a lot of writing about Marvin - it seemed to help get my feelings for him on paper and of course told him everyday how loved he is - which I am sure you are doing with Mr. T.
Best wishes through this process and know that you are all in our thoughts and prayers.
Thinking of you and your cute Toby. May your days be long and full!
We lost our little Buddy dog almost two years ago and I'm tearing up just thinking about him and your Tobey and your ordeal. I agree that Tobey shouldn't have to go through any more stress. I agree with you that you should love him and let him love you for the last little bit of time you have with him. Just spoil him with all your love and you'll know what to do when the time comes. Thinking of you, your family, and little Tobey.
Hi, Claudine! So sorry to hear about Toby. It is so hard for us to have to say goodbye to our furry friends! Take lots of pictures. And spend lots of time with Toby while you can. [[[[[BIG HUGS!]]]]]
My heart aches for you and Paul, Claudine. I think your decision is selfless and kind and Toby is so fortunate to be YOUR dog. All we can do is give them love and a good life. The rest is out of our hands. It's what makes our time with them so precious.
Thinking of you and sending love and light and energy in this troubled time. Love your fur kids, and know that people literally all over the world are sharing your joy in life and your pain at the decisions you must make.
you are making me cry. yes, like they said in kung fu panda, the present is a gift, and i'm praying for little toby to be happy and enjoy every waking moment with you! (did i really just quote kung fu panda??)
Hi Claudine

I have walked the path you are on right now many times. It never gets "easier" - just different. My heartfelt prayers are with you. Enjoy each day with your little guy - I firmly believe that pets are closer to God (or whatever you name that entity) than we humans. So your Toby is well loved and will be well cared for.
Treasure your days - cancer is an insidious disease. It doesn't care how many legs you have - just that it wants to be heard.
Wishing you peace.
Oh, Claudine, I want to cry. I understand the "living in the moment lesson". I'm sending your family love, prayers and good wishes!!!!! Lily sends her love to Toby, too.
Know that Toby is being thought of and prayed for and "all is well" at every moment.

Blessings, xo.
Hugs and good wishes for you and your family Claudine during this difficult time.
A course in Miracles tells us, "It takes great learning to understand that all things, events, encounters and circumstances are helpful." Keep the faith.
Fondly, Roberta
I'm so sad ..... hope the time you'll spend with him will be last forever.... hugs to Toby, you and your family !
oh claudine...i am SO sorry to hear this. enjoy every moment you have left w/that little sweetheart & give him a big hug for me & abby (my chihuahua)! hugs to you too.
My thoughts are with you Claudine. I love my pet so much and I would be overwhelmed by something like this.

Your love of Toby will enable him the quality of life he deserves. I'm pulling for him!
Claudine, I have never lft a message for you but I have been loving your art work and your books. I'm sorry for Toby and what you and your husband are going through, but your right about having to live in the moment and maybe this happened for a reason. I know I learned that very same lesson when I lost my uncle to cancer at age 48. We learn to enjoy what we have now. Don't get me wrong each day I need to remember to live in the here and now.
I wish Toby peaceful days and I'm sending you hugs.
Breath and Be well,
Jill from N.H.
I am so sorry to hear about Toby. I just wanted to send you some HUGS!!!
thank you so much to each and everyone of your for your eloquent and heartfelt thoughts. It means so much to Paul and I, reading each one and knowing we are not in this alone. thank you so much!!

My heart is breaking for you. I know how much Toby means to you. You treat your pets like your kids! Try to stay calm and enjoy every minute with him.

My goodness you two have had a trying year!

Love to you and I miss you!

My heart goes out to you. Having lost two dogs in 5 days, one to cancer, I know what you are going through. We opted not to do more treatment on our dog and were given several months, but when she was no longer able to go on we put her down. The other dog died right in front of me after a two day illness. We waited four months and are now the owners of three male Shih Tzus and they are so affectionate and dearly loved.
God bless you all, Claudine. You are doing the best thing you can by living in the moment with Toby. These little guys are such lights in our lives. I'll be thinking of you.
I am so very sorry. My heart goes out to you and your family.
Oh sweet friend - my heart is breaking for you. I am so sorry that Toby has taken a turn for the worse. Sending my love - Ellen
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That is so sad and I am so sorry Claudine. Life is not fair and we don't know why but I shall pray for you all. enjoy your day with Toby and the rest of your little family. Love ya and wish I could make it all better for you. Peggy
My heart is with you! It is soo hard when these things happen. He has had a wonderful life with you guys, that is for sure. It is so clear how loved he is.
Sending love and hugs to each of you!
I am so sorry for Toby and for you and Paul. I was very optimistic and have said a prayer or two for him, but I agree, there comes a time when you have to think "what would he want" as opposed to "how do I get one more day?" It is the hardest thing in the world, but they just can't understand what is going on with them when they go in for surgery. I feel so bad even with spaying 'cause they don't ask for it and Just don't get why they have to wear that cone. Prayers to all of you to do what you feel is the right thing and an extra special prayer for Toby that God will allow him to hang on as long as possible.
Claudine, Toby is so lucky to have you as a mom! I'm so sorry you and Paul are going through this. I hope that you have many more months of fun times and snuggles with Toby. My heart goes out to you and I will keep you guys in my thoughts! Give hugs to Toby and Stanley for me. He's such a handsome boy! My friend's cat went through the same thing as Stanley and he has turned out fine.
oh claudine. i'm so sorry that you're dealing with this and i hope your time left with toby is great. xoxo. - heather
I am so sorry to hear about Toby! I too live in the future a lot, so I know that this is doubly hard. However, enjoy what you have and give him tons of kisses and hugs, because I am sure he will love that. He is such a sweetheart and you and your husband and Toby are all troopers!
I saw this and just had to write. Having lost 2 of the loves of my life to dreaded disease - I first want to say I'm sorry you are going through this. But most importantly, I want to remind you that no matter how hard things get - you must always put the comfort of your baby first. No matter how difficult things might get for you - it's FOR THEM that we go through the journey. Your baby will always be with you - and will love you more for making the hardest decisions. All the best to you and your angel.
I'm so sorry about this difficult news. Praying for peace and lots of cuddle time.
So sorry to hear about Toby. When I was a kid I asked my mother why animals didn't live as long as us. She told me they were gods messengers. Its true we don't have them long, so all we can do is fill their lives with love and care for them as compassionately as possible. I hope you have strength to do what you need to do for all your animals, and take care of yourself too. Mary
So sad to read you this morning...
There is one thing that I learned from my beloved pets, they can be great Masters. They're not afraid to live or to die, they live fully each moment. We have to remember and do the same.
Hugs for you guys

We are going through the same kind of thing with our standard poodle, Merle. Your posts are so poignant. I know you will be holding your Toby, and loving him, as he will be loving you. Feel angry. Then take deep breaths, smell and feel him. Listen. And cry like a baby.
I'm so sorry, Claudine. He's such a little sweetie.
It broke my heart to read about Toby. He is so adorable. I can relate to all those feelings that you expressed. A few years ago, I lost my Shih Tzu (Teddi Bear) two days after his gall bladder surgery.

Like you said, hold him close for as long as you have him. I know that the grieving process takes so long - but you do have all those wonderful memories of little Toby.

I will pray for Toby. Miracles can happen.
i think it is incredibly obvious to anyone who has ever read your blog that your pets mean the world to you. i so get it. they truly become our family and we love them so, so much. i awfully sorry that the cancer came back for toby. and i'm sorry you are having to go through all this processing and dealing. it is scary and difficult and i wish it weren't happening to you all. my prayers are with you. i hope each moment of living in the present with toby is truly glorious.
Thinking of you and Toby!
we have a lot in common on the animal front- my cat belle has HCM like Stanley (cardiologist wanted me to wait 6 months for first recheck and i lasted 5 before i couldnt take it anymore). belle had a mild reversal of her thickening and will be 5 years this september and she only takes atenolol still.

we had a dog when i was in HS who had cancer in her mouth/nasal passages as well. we just gave her lots of love until she was uncomfortable. the vets gave her weeks and she was good for 8 months until we had to let her go. it sucked. i feel for you, makes me remember how hard it was for me back then. you and yours are in my thoughts and prayers.
Like others who have posted comments, I know what it's like to be in your situation. When my dear old cat had cancer, I asked my vet how I would know when the time would be right to end the pain. He said, "You'll just know ... he'll tell you." I wasn't convinced, but one morning we woke up and it was just so obvious that the time had come. Something had changed overnight ... the balance had tipped. Not that it was easy saying "goodbye", but we felt peaceful because we knew we were doing the right thing. My cat was 16 and sometime I still see him out of the corner of my eye.
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