Sunday, August 26, 2018

In Memory of Tucker on National Dog Day

Written by: Melissa Lisbon, President, Silicon Valley Pet Project

On April 6th, we met an adult spaniel mix at the San Jose Animal Care Center. This dog needed rescue due to a large ulcerated tumor on his abdomen. Immediately upon meeting him, I was impressed by his temperament: calm, happy, with a big smile on his face. You would never know this dog was ill or in a loud, scary shelter.

Tucker at the shelter April 6, 2018
Tucker greeted us as if we were already friends. I knew instantly that he would become my next foster dog, and we would provide the medical care this special dog needed.  The tumor turned out to be a Mast Cell Tumor and it was completely removed with surgery. We were optimistic that he would soon be ready for adoption.

Tucker fit right into our daily routine, loved every person he met, thought every dog was his friend and believed the tennis ball was the key to happiness!

Tucker at the vet office

Within a short time, we noticed a new mass and promptly had it surgically removed and tested. It was cancer again, but this time the tests showed it to be very aggressive. Soon we were getting advice from oncologists about the various treatment options available to Tucker. 

Most dogs are very nervous at vet appointments. Not Tucker. He enjoyed meeting other dogs in the waiting room and often would play with a tennis ball while waiting to be seen by the vet. This behavior put the other dogs and their humans at ease as nothing seemed to dampen Tucker's spirit.

In the following 4 months, Tucker had many vet appointments, many different treatments all trying to fight his progressive Mast Cell cancer. During the last month of Tucker's life he had a great appetite, loved to go on walks, took long naps, and always was up for playing a simple game of fetch. He loved to go for car rides, especially trips to the beach. We don't know if he ever had been to the beach before, but he seemed to enjoy the sand between his toes and the ocean breeze. 
Tucker at the beach

One day Tucker woke up and was not himself. That was the day we had to say goodbye. You are never prepared for that day and to say we were heartbroken is an understatement. This dog was extraordinary, a true ambassador for all of the love rescue dogs provide despite their history and circumstances. Tucker led his short life with an open heart and a desire to make every day a great one. He approached every day with optimism, seeing each as an opportunity for love, new friends, good food, and playtime! We greatly miss his wonderful smile and joyful presence. 

Tucker enjoying a sunny day at the park

We are particularly grateful for the support and compassion of Dr. Ravi Dhaliwal and his staff at Silicon Valley Vet Specialists.  In addition, we would like to acknowledge the support and compassion of Live Like Roo, a foundation that supports families whose pet faces a cancer diagnosis. This foundation generously donated to Tucker's chemo treatments and provided a wonderful support care package.

P.S. Please consider fostering a pet in need. We are always in search of people who will open their home temporarily to a pet who needs help.  
Tucker with ball