From Sweetie’s Final Refuge Mom:

Sweetie was originally picked up running the streets of a big city, with a massive mammary tumor, probably a history of puppies, and scars on her face and ears. The shelter determined she was unadoptable and contacted Old Dog Haven and we became her final refuge home.

The shelter staff had named her “Winnifred” but we found ourselves calling her Sweetie and the name fits her beautifully. Sweetie had a HUGE tumor that dragged her belly so low to the ground her teats brushed the earth and when she sat, it required her to carefully position her belly. But she wagged her tail as if conducting a symphony of gratitude.  We fashioned a bra out of old t-shirts and period pads (to soak up the blood and goo) and to keep her more comfortable while we waited to see if she could have surgery.

The mass was certainly heavy for her but without nerves in the tumor tissue it wasn’t terribly painful. Often once tumors are large, the cancer has metastasized to the lungs and operating doesn’t prolong life. We’d need x-rays to find out if her lungs were clear—if not, no surgery.

Sweetie’s lungs were clear and thanks to the Maranda Fund she had surgery to remove the tumor and was spayed. The sheer number and size of the blood vessels feeding the mass made it a complicated surgery. Sweetie also took longer to come out of anesthetic than hoped, but by eight that night a slice of the tissue was on its way to be analyzed for malignancy and she was snuggled on her bed sleeping it off.

Immediately, the change in Sweetie’s profile was evident, as was her freer movement, and ability to lie flat, frog-style.  She had been mellow enough in the days leading up to surgery that keeping her quiet and restful for two weeks of recovery seemed like no problem. Or so we thought. When Sweetie woke up the second day after surgery she was feeling like a new dog. A puppy exploded out of her. She wasn’t an old dog in her head. She was sassy. Vibrant. Determined.  As the year has passed we’ve learned so much about, and from, this amazing dog, her resume continues to grow.

Sweetie has a robust desire to please, but she came with no training (not surprising). No understanding of leashes. No recall. No wait. She hated walking on leash—she pulled like a sled dog and if she thought the leash was restraining her she’d flip around, grab it, and flop like a fish on a hook.

Sweetie had many other health problems and she started vomiting and regurgitating her food. After several veterinary exams she had an endoscopy and the biopsy revealed that Sweetie has IBS and she processes her food too slowly. Sweetie in now being treated for this condition and the good news is that she is able to eat a very special diet.

It was amazing to take Sweetie to the 2019 Walk for Old Dogs this past July and celebrate her one-year anniversary with us. She had a blast, found a walking partner with a tiny dachshund ate a bacon pup-cake and fell head over heels in love with the wading pools. We’ve begun playing with scent work training—she seems to have a natural capacity for hunting the treats and finds joy in the games. When she’s not busy pursuing one of her many passions, Sweetie drapes herself across us, all sixty pounds of love, and snores her appreciation for all who made her current life possible.

Thanks to Old Dog Haven and our supporters Sweetie has had an incredible year that allowed for her surgery, specialists and special tests, medications, and prescription food.  We are blessed by her and we are grateful to you.

Update:  After truly enjoying her time with us, it was time to say goodbye to Sweetie.  A very special dog who was treasured each day in her Final Refuge home.

Sweetie with her new ball

Sweetie’s tumor before surgery

Trips to the beach are fun!