The name Allie Smiles came from the fact that Allie did indeed smile. It was always something people commented on whenever they were greeted by our Allie Bear. She was the most perfect dog. From the minute I brought her home and surprised my son Tony with her in June 2006 she was a source of joy to us all. She was not a normal puppy- she was the easiest puppy I have ever experienced in my life. She was our first family dog and we immediately became "one of those dog owners". You know...the crazy ones that treat their pets like humans. She was my best friend. Even more fun was that our close friend owned her brother and two older sisters. They all came from the same parents from a breeder in California. The four of them together was really something to see. Allie was always healthy- no problems- in fact we had just been discussing how lucky we were that she was always so healthy. On Friday, December 12, 2008 it all changed. I'm not sure many would have even reacted to what we did, but I'm glad we did. As an over protective mommy, I noticed she didn't eat on Friday, very unusual for our baby girl. Late Friday night, she threw up, so Saturday morning we had her at the vet pronto. Our vet who is also a good friend agreed to see her immediately. She was slightly anemic, which meant her red blood cell count was low. We weren't overly worried assuming there was some reason for it and that a steroid treatment would fix the problem. By Monday we retested and it dropped again. Even though we still weren't overly concerned since after all she was only 2, we scheduled an appointment with a specialist. We dropped her off on Tuesday morning, the 14th and received the dreaded call at 1pm, 4 hours later. I'll never forget that call. I was told she had Cancer. She had swollen lymph nodes that seemed to appear overnight and a large mass in her chest. When asked if we wanted to move forward with treatment, I did not hesitate in saying yes. With a 25 week protocol of chemo the chances of remission were high although even if we were optimistic we could have only probably been given another year to two with her. Considering the one week we had- two years now seems like a lifetime now. Telling my husband and son was the hardest thing I have ever done and being a control freak, the utter helplessness I felt was overwhelming. First round of chemo began and we were hopeful while we waited for the lab results to come back and let us know for sure what type and what stage we were dealing with...by Wednesday night she was really sick and lethargic. Thursday morning she was admitted. The doctors and nurses were amazing. I admire their dedication in the face of their challenge. By Friday morning she was dangerously anemic and needed a blood transfusion. We visited her daily and leaving without her each day was tormenting. The results came back and we now knew what we had hoped we would not hear- T Cell Lymphoma which was the worst kind. Unusual still was the fact that this particular type was not following protocol but Allie was fighting hard. The second round of chemo was given and the next 36 hours would tell all. Would she respond? Sunday we received a call after visiting that again her red blood cell count had dropped to 14% which considering the norm is 35-55% is extremely dangerous. For fear another transfusion would cause an adverse affect we gave her oxyglobin which fakes the body out while giving the chemo time to work. By Monday, less than 10 days after her missing a meal, the fight was determined futile. The mass was larger, her numbers worse and we knew it was time to let her go. We went over to the hospital on Monday- and laid with her for what seemed minutes even though it was hours and then petted her, kissed her and held her while she died in our arms, exactly where she should have been. It was one of the most profound moments of my life. She died at 3:18pm- 3 days before Christmas.
WHY you may ask am I telling you this story?
Since her death less than 3 weeks ago I have told this story over and over to people. What I found is most have a similar story... Different, yet the same. One they will never forget from a recent time to when they were a child. As each shared with me I could see the same empty look and hear the same sound in their voice as when I shared mine. And we decided- enough! Our precious babies deserve the same effort and fervor that humans get with regard to their lives. Since they can't demand it for themselves who else to do it then those that they love and love them and for all the countless times they were there when we came home and were home as well as the unconditional love we received from them. My life will be forever different for having Allie in my life. I know now it was part of the plan all along. My 11 year old said to me "mom-maybe we only had her for 2 1/2 years because God knew we would do something about it". And so we will…