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Tarlan the joyful girl - our beloved Tibetan Terrier

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i moved from Australia to the Bay Area in California less than two years ago and due to visa delays we had to leave apart for almost 8 month - me here whilst my partner and Tarlan staying back home in Melbourne. It was heartbreaking to be this far apart for such long time. Finally, June last year we united together in our new home in California. We were the happiest together, the hikes, the rides, and all the time we had together was full of laughter and joy. Although, it lasted just over 2 month. On a Thursday evening as my husband was massaging Tarlan, he noticed some bumps under her chin. We made the trip to the vet the next day assuming it’s related to her allergies. The vet took samples and X-rays and suggested us to book an oncologist in case needed. At that time Tarlan was her usual funny joyful girl. Over the next 4 days as we were waiting for her results, she started behaving differently, the energy diminishing. On that nasty Tuesday evening right before my last meeting of the day I received the call … “she has lymphoma”.

my world went upside down. The same night Tarlan started getting lethargic and zoning out. She was in such bad shape we thought she is not going to last another day. Such a long night we waited to call for immediate appointment with an oncologist. Since the one we had booked (as a safety measure as suggested by the vet) was almost for a week later. That was probably the worst day of our life until then. We managed to find a pet hospital an hour away from home and took her there immediately. After the visit, tests and consultation, the oncologist walked us the chemo plan and hinted us since her cancer progressed so fast it’s probably the aggressive type. They started the first chemo session the same day and to our surprise, our fur baby who wasn’t unable to walk a few hours earlier had walked out of the hospital on her own. Over the next 6-7 month until the end of the CHOPS protocol she went through many ups and downs but proofed everyone wrong and after each down cycle she started stronger and happy. in October we were told she is in full remission and we couldn’t be happier. However, around same time we noticed her starting to snore at night. Her vet/oncologist assured us it’s nothing important and related to age ( she was only 10.5 years old which is not too old for a TT). Over the next few month the snoring got worse and we noticed lymph nodes are started to get big again. So many times we were reassured that it’s the same size and we are unnecessarily worried- this was while she was still going through chemo. One week after her last CHOPS chemo session, it was confirmed that she is out of remission and the cancer is back. In fact I don’t believe that she ever was in full remission and only the anti-inflammatory drug part of the CHOPS were making the lymph nodes smaller. Again she started losing energy, appetite and having difficulty breathing due to the size of the nodes. Out of desperation we found a start up that runs tests on canine’s sample for best chemo medicine match. Once again she was on chemo. We were told she won’t have much time - probably a few weeks and that was in Feb. we tried two of the suggested medicines and none worked. I remember 2 miserable days that we thought it’s best to let her go. Each time looking at those bright lively shiny eyes we couldn’t convince ourselves to go through it and returned home. Each time after a day she became almost the usual happy Tarlan we knew. This emotional roller coaster was heartbreaking and had shattered us to pieces, we couldn’t decide what’s right for her. It was so difficult to pull the plug whilst she still had the fire in her. 
2 weeks ago she started feeling unwell again having fever as well. We ended up having her kept in the ICU for a few hours and the doctor released her to spend some quality final hours with us at home. To everyone surprise Tarlan picked up her game and started wanting to go out for walks, visiting cafes and parks for the next 10 days.

This was our story until last Wednesday. This week the lymph nodes all over her body were enlarged, especially the ones under her chin, around the neck were scaring large. My poor girl couldn’t breathe or sleep comfortably the night before. We had to make the difficult decision then, she was suffering. Although, she never seemed to have given up. That’s the part that is killing us emotionally. She walked on her foot to the hospital, she even was still caring for me and her dad. I can’t get this question out of my head that did we betray her? I wish she could talk to us.

Tarlan was the love of our life, true companion, she was there through joy and sorrow by our side all these 11 years. Everywhere I look, I see her. Everything I do, she come to mind. I barely can sleep. I miss her terribly. She had a bold personality and she was a perfect match for us. I couldn’t wish for anything better in my life.

i wish I had religious beliefs, I wish I could truly believe in reincarnation. She left a huge void in us. I can’t believe how a soul so marvelous can just vanish.

she was our very first pet. I don’t know how to survive this pain. I’m lost, I’m hurt, I’m stressed all the time as if I’m looking for my Tarlan. I’m afraid that my brain may start erasing her memories to avoid the pain. I’d rather being in pain than start forgetting the happiest moments of my life.IMG_9244.thumb.jpeg.c144274ed79cc2e82b989eddb200bcd3.jpeg

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My heart hurts for you as I read your story, especially as you describe your final months with your beloved Tarlan. I understand completely the bond you shared with her, since I also have loved and lost a TT ~ a very special breed indeed. (You can read my story here: Saying Goodbye to Beringer and in this thread: Saying Goodbye to Beringer.) 

I think the best thing you can do is to read a bit about the grief that surrounds the loss of a cherished companion animal, so you'll better understand what you're feeling and what you might do to manage your reactions. For now, just know that you are not alone. You are among kindred spirits here, and we know all too well the pain . . .

You might begin with these:

Pet Loss: Is It A Different Kind of Grief?

Pet Loss: Why Does It Hurt So Much?

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I am so sorry for your loss.  I lost my Arlie to cancer 4 1/2 years ago, we don't get "over it," we learn to carry it, and it's one of the hardest things in the world.  My heart goes out to you.  You may not believe, but maybe just settle for a "what if..." and open yourself to the possibility...it makes it more bearable even if you don't have certainty in it.  If there's a way to find you again, he will.  Beautiful dog, by the way.

Comfort for Grieving Animal Lovers


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