Sepp-Lok's Falcon, SD.....Reflections

March 31, 2004:
The unfortunate day has arrived in our kennel in which we are facing the impending death of our foundation bitch. Two days ago Rhonda brought her to the vet for an exam and x-rays. Her appetite had diminished, her chest cavity was wide and hard and reminded us of when she had been carrying pups and she also a few days prior, did not perform well in harness on a short 1 mile puppy run.

The x-ray showed a mass in her abdomen and also another near her heart and lungs. Lab/blood work indicate however, that nothing is wrong. We have been told that some cancers do not affect the major organs and yesterday, a second opinion sonic ultrasound confirmed that.

What blows us away about this whole thing is she ran in lead all season and did a 12 mile run the weekend we returned from MN. It's as if her body waited until the racing season was over to allow the cancer to present itself.

Since her arrival in our kennel the summer of 1999, all she ever wanted to do was run and be a Mother. One season, this happened simultaneously!

We are now waiting on the results of the biopsy. We could be looking at 9 months. She may make it to her 12th birth day in October, which if her condition is not reversible, than we can not imagine her wanting to spend the winter in the yard. However, we are not willing to send her to the Rainbow Bridge until she is showing signs of pain and at the moment that is not the case. Would like to research possible herbs, medical therapies, etc that will prolong her life and quality of life without breaking the bank.

"Dogs are incredible beings."

Yes, and the painful part for me personally, is that Falcon is the dog in our yard who this year, really made me see things in a different light, almost a spiritual enlightenment if you would. So, as Rhonda always likes to say.... things happen for a reason.

April 2, 2004
Falcon stumbled today in the yard. It was heart wrenching to see. I (Rhonda) now believe when Falcon tripped in harness while training in Danbury a month ago, it was a related incident. I (Rhonda) had a sinking feeling then that something awful went wrong but could not figure out for the life of me what.

This evening she started a course of Lasix and Prednisone.

April 3, 2004
Falcon wanted to take the ride in the dog truck with us to Auburn.

April 4, 2004
She suddenly has a verous appetite again.

April 5, 2004
Falcon was out in the yard flirting and flagging Steel. Lord give us strength to do the same in our old age!

April 9, 2004
Well, the pathology results came back last Thursday with a guarded to poor prognosis. Visited with the nutritionist on Tuesday. The diet plan just arrived and looking at the ingredient/supplement list, you would think we were planning a gourmet dinner for 12!

Last night, while Bob was out with a team, Falcon and I (Rhonda) went for a walk. It really wasn't a walk as I(Rhonda) could barely keep up with her! She had the flexi lead taught and we ran for a mile. God love her. Lord give me strength to overcome pain in light of a desire for life and the things that give us pleasure.

Yesterday was a good day.....

April 10, 2004
Bob took Falcon out in lead, for a short run with a six dog team.

April 12, 2004
Falcon clearly is feeling better. Traits of the perfect dog "heart, desire and mind over matter". This is clearly the case with Falcon. Tonight she wanted again to participate so Bob took her out in team for a mile.

She did not eat all of her dinner afterwards however, we are hoping it was due to having eaten a bowl of kibble for breakfast this morning.

April 15, 2004
It is rather ironic that the package of vitamin and other nutritials supplements ordered, arrived today and Falcon did not eat either meal presented to her. This is not a good sign. Would feeding her all of these supplements months ago have helped?

April 16, 2004
Falcon was out of her dog house this morning and ate from the bowl in which we served up some raw chicken livers that were ordered from Ed Clifford. Let's see if the bowl is empty when we arrive home from work later today.

April 22, 2004
Last night Falcon was bouncing around the yard again flirting with Steel and she was excited about dinner. This morning however was another story. She stood over her bowl for a moment and then walked away. Rhonda noticed a slight hesitation in her step.

Since the 16th, additional supplements arrived as well as an order of high protein Wysong and a special delivery from Patty Basel, multiple canine owner, family member and distributor of Oma's Pride natural canine and feline raw food products. Falcon has been excited about the raw meals we have been preparing and on occasion, will even take in a mid-night snack.

On the few occasions that we have taken the team to Auburn, she sits on a blanket at the head of the truck, barking along with the rest of them to go. So, we have indulged her by putting her on the team for a mile. I (Rhonda) have a slight ping of guilt for not taking advantage of the cool temperatures last night.

April 26,2004
Falcon has decided not to eat the salmon we have been giving her. The first few times she gobbled it up. Her preferred meal at the moment is Wysong Archetype, chicken livers and roasted beef heart.

May 5, 2004
Last night we pulled the dog truck into the yard to load up for a short spin around Auburn. One of the brake lines went so the truck unfortunately did not leave the yard. : (

Rather than disappoint Falcon who was bouncing up and down to go, Bob took her for a walk down to the railtrail here near our house. We often say that if Falcon was ever off leash she would stick around. Well Bob returned from his walk with her and said there is no way she could be trusted off leash --> she would take off in a second!

Falcon has been eating well and some days she even gets a mid-night snack. This morning however, she picked the chicken liver out of her bowl and left the rest. It has been over a month now since learning of the Lymphoma. There are a few homeopathic remedies and Chinese remedies proposed to reduce the size of cancerous tumors. Do we even have the time to experiment? At least we have been given time to acknowledge the inevitable, although Falcon hides it very well. When I (Rhonda) mentioned to Doug Willett a few weeks ago that Falcon was dying, he told me to anticipate a long hail -> Seppala's are tough and will not give up easily.

Nikki is looking quite pregnant. At the moment, Rhonda fears that the urgency of one situation will over shadow the needs of the other. And to top it off, our vet is on vacation until May 15th.

May 9, 2004
Falcon is still flirting around with Steel. It just occurred to me (Rhonda), he's the only male she's not related to in the yard, that she has yet to have sex with. A dying wish perhaps!! : )

May 16, 2004
We awoke to rain and looked out the window to see a few of the dogs cooling themselves off in it. Falcon was lying in her spot on the sloped section of the yard. Her legs looked to be in an odd position, almost as if she attempted to circle the spot and fell in the process. When I (Rhonda) drew up the courage to go outside and see if she was alright, she barely lifted her head to look at me. What a sickening feeling. Petting her,I(Rhonda) knew immediately that the time is drawing near. There is hardly a sparkle left in her eyes. Two days ago she was still bouncing around the yard, eating three small meals. Yesterday we had scorching temperatures which we have been told dogs with cancer do not deal well with. As a testament to that fact, Falcon did not eat at all yesterday nor did I attempt at giving her any medication. The spring in her step is less and less frequent and you can literally see the muscles in her legs quiver as she cautiously walks about the yard. Today is Exxon's first birthday.

Falcon deserves to retain her dignity and her position as elder of the kennel. Although she did get up and climb into her dog house later this morning when the rain picked up again, it pains me to think that she may have fallen last night and was in too much pain to adjust her position. I can no longer write about this subject or think of her without tears rolling uncontrollably down my cheeks as if in competition with the pace of the rain.

Soon we will help her to the Rainbow Bridge. When that time comes, she will be laid to rest under a newly planted Dogwood tree in her honor.

After watching, on too many occasions over the course of the past few days, it take Falcon 20 minutes to summon up the strength to sit down, we just could not bare to see her suffer any longer. Our vet came to the house. None of the adults made a peep, they knew. Falcon allowed the vet to pick her up and lay her down on top of Exxon's dog house. She did not cry out in pain, she was ready.

As planned, she was buried under the dogwood tree where we will have an opportunity to reflect on her daily. Through the beauty of the tree and the many surviving children and grandchildren, Falcon will forever grace us with her spirit.

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