Saturday, November 20, 2010

What to do about Hamlet

I'm home from the vet with Hamlet.  Parked on our road when I drove past were a couple of cars with several people looking at the adjoining property--At least I guess that's what they were doing.  For some strange reason, known only to our dogs, we discovered purely by chance that the words "chop-chop" always send them running to the far side of the yard barking--So, when I let the dogs into the backyard, I said those words and off they went running to bark at the people--It just made sense to do it.  One couple had a dog with them, so 'maybe' they wouldn't be so bad to have as neighbors.

The news for Hamlet continues to not be good.  The vet feels that the infection is worse and the antibiotics aren't working.  As I've mentioned, I can't tell because I look at it everyday.  I had thought that it was improving but in my heart I knew that it wasn't.  The option of surgery came up again.  Dr. DeSantis (my vet) thinks that surgery to 'debulk' the tumor, removing the area of infection may be an option to consider.  Then we would use IV and oral antibiotics to get rid of any lingering infection.  The only thing I've discussed with the surgeon was removing the entire tumor.  There are some risks.  One being the loss of the use of his leg.  Another is that there may not be enough tissue to close up the wound.  Dr. DeSantis said that even though surgery was 'not really' an option we may not have a choice but make it one.  There are so many things to consider in doing this.  The last surgery took so much out of Hamlet because of his age (about 13-14).  Another is that the infection could be so deep within the tissue that surgery and antibiotics may not even make a difference and could make everything worse for him. This is why I'll have to talk to the surgeon again and see what he thinks about a less invasive surgery.  It'll also take about 5 days to get the results back from the latest culture that we took of the wound which may give us a whole other picture.  For some reason the quote from Shakespeare's Hamlet came to mind today, "that it should come to this!". But I don't see that "this" may have other choices--Unless someone else has a suggestion? 

Today is our 29th wedding anniversary.  We were planning to go out to lunch and enjoy the day. Carl and I both don't feel much like celebrating, but think that getting out for a drive may do wonders to clear our heads and get a good perspective on everything.   

I do hope you're having an enjoyable day!  It's really a lovely day here in Virginia with warm temps and sunshine.  This kind of weather always has a way of lifting the soul!


  1. Happy Anniversary, we hope you have a wonderful day.
    We know how hard it is for you to make a decision what is right for Hamlet.
    We continue to pray for him and the only suggestion we can make is go with you heart.

    Sheila & Bob

  2. Happy anniversary. Ours was low key this year, too. I'm so sorry to hear that the antibiotics aren't working for Hamlet. At his age the options seem to be less than great choices.

  3. Happy anniversary,29 years is worth cheering about!I know it is tearing up you heart try to make a decision about heart goes out to you.

  4. I would say Happy Anniversary but it doesn't quite seem appropriate somehow. So, love and best wishes to you and Carl - 29 years, fab!

    About Hamlet, you know, he is an old boy who, from what you say, has been through so much. I wouldn't want to have to make this decision about his future, but would I put him through another operation, risking his leg, followed by more treatment, with no cure just limited prolonged life? I REALLY don't know. What I do know is that you're thinking about it all the time, and you must be exhausted and emotionally drained. We are fortunate and yet cursed having the ability to make the final decision about our pets, saving them from further pain and discomfort. A poisoned chalice.

    Your love for this gentle chap shines through, and ultimately your heart will tell you what is right for him.

    Sending you hugs,


  5. Happy Anniversary!

    I'm sorry about Hamlet. Poor baby.

  6. A pleasant Anniversary to you! Hamlet would wish it for you. Thank you for taking such good care of this truly lovely dog!

  7. I hope you and Carl find a way to celebrate, even quietly, the accomplishment of making such a special home with each other, and sharing it so generously with other creatures in need - 29 years is a real testament to the bigness of your hearts. Warm hugs from all of us at Mucky Boots.

  8. Kim, I like the chop chop idea for your potential new neighbors. Hamlet, Buddy, my bipeds had a Cocker Spaniel (don't hold that against them) who they had to let go 2 1/2 years ago, 6 months before Summer passed. Ripley had an infected tumor and a bad heart murmur. She was 13 years old and she just wouldn't have made it through the surgery. It was another tough decision. Lots of slurps coming your way. Tucker

  9. It is very hard to look at our sick, but brave little senior Golden soldiers and not want to take whatever extraordinary measures available to heal them. Looks like you know what to do, but are dancing around it a little bit. I'm quite the dancer myself. I danced around Devo's condition for 6 weeks with the same questions, options and impending heartbreak staring me in the face. Looking back, it was harder watching him fade away than letting him go.

    It just boils down to his (and the pack's) quality of life, good days vs bad days and of course; they always let us know (sometimes its hard to listen).

    We love you Hamlet, paws always crossed for you.

    KT and Lady

  10. Happy Anniversary! Cherish those moments :)
    Oh Hamlet my friend! We'll be thinking of you.

    Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
    Sierra Rose

  11. Hey there Kim

    Firstly...Happy anniversary! I really do hope you have a good day. These milestones are important to celebrate.

    Dear, dear Hamlet...poor buddy! I cannot begin to imagine how you have the strength to face these things, Kim. What would our aging animals do without you? I've said so before - you are an incredible doggie-angel! I know you will be blessed with wisdom and discernment to make your decisions. This is your gift to the be there for them!

    My thoughts are with you.
    Sending lotsaluv

  12. I'm so sorry you're facing tough decisions with Hamlet. I have a 13 y.o. yellow lab that I'm just hoping to keep going with some health and strength behind her. As much as I love and adore her, I'm not sure I could subject her to a surgery at her age/general condition. I'd consider it to be too traumatic for her system at this point. I know that basically would leave no option for treatment for Hamlet, and I know you know your dog best as to his overall health and ability to recover. I hate this part of pet parenting, but I also feel it is our duty to muster the strength to do whatever is right for each "baby" as it comes. God bless you and your husband, and best wishes on your anniversary, dearie.

  13. Hi Kim, Happy Anniversary! I hope you and your man are able to get out for lunch and enjoy your day; may it be filled with smiles and joy together, even in the midst of this sad time with Hamlet.
    Hugs to you today friend.

  14. Kim,

    So sorry to hear about poor Hamlet. I hope the "right" answer simply presents itself. Congratulations on 29 years of marriage. Even if you do not feel like celebrating, it is probably a good idea to reflect on what a wonderful gift those 29 years together have been. I wish you many more wonderful years together!

  15. Hi Kim!
    I don't envy your decision at all. I think you know what another option is. DO you want to put Hamlet through all that misery with a dismal outcome possible? We were through a similar thing with Jessie, our former dog of 14 years. She was on chemo for 6 months and felt a little better for a short period afterwards.....maybe 2 months. Then the cancer/tumour in her brain came back and it was recommended to put her on chemo again. We couldn't do it. We kept her too long after that because WE couldn't part with her. She told us, as you know a dog can, when it was time. She could barely walk up or down steps or even stand.
    I know this probably doesn't help much Kim but I think we have to think of the animal first and the quality of life it has. You are not there yet but probably close.
    Listen to your hearts and Hamlet's.
    Hope the drive did you both good.

  16. I don't know if you remember Cisco, but the vet wasn't able to close the wound on her leg when the removed her tumor. She had to wear a bandage, and it slowly did close. I got very good at rewrapping it, and keeping the site super clean was the most important thing. I wish I could be of more help...

    BTW... I think it is good you let any "potential" buyers know you have dogs - why wait and surprise them later?


  17. I hope that you will find the right solution for sweet Hamlet. When you find the right answer to his health problems, you will fell it in your heart.

    Happy anniversary, I hope the outing with you husband did you both some good :o)

  18. I'm sorry but I don't have any answers for you about Hamlet, but I am thinking of you, Carl and Hamlet today, and hope that you all enjoy the day's sunshine.

    Riley's mum

  19. Happy Anniversary. Somehow getting out on a pretty day does lift the soul. Enjoy and don't worry about Hamlet. Things always work out for the best.

  20. Yes go for a drive..empty out your heads. That's what you have to do. Now I hope you can feel my vibes...peace!

  21. Happy Anniversary to you and Carl, and I hope you did make it out for a drive... you're right, sometimes it helps. So sorry about Hamlet. I'm sure you'll make the right decisions and it will all work out for good. I've said it before and I'll say it again, you are a real angel to these dogs and they are so lucky to have you. Give Hamlet a hug for me... He'll be in my prayers.

  22. So sorry you have this decision to make.
    I think you will know when Hamlet is in too much discomfort, in the meantime just let him be amongst those who mean the world to him.

    Happy Anniversary, quiet drives are some of the best times !

  23. Hi Kim,
    On the bright side, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to you and Carl!

    On the not so bright side, I am SO sorry to hear about Hamlet. No decision that you make will be an easy one. This is very sad.

  24. Kim, my thoughts and prayers are with you - I know this is a hard decision to make.


    PS - I hope you and Carl had a fantastic day.

    29 years together, that is wonderful!!
    So sorry about the problems Hamlet is having. Will be good for you to speak with the surgeon, a new set of eyes to view the situation is often very helpful. Best of luck, I hope there is a workable solution, he is so precious.

  26. Happy Anniversary! In deciding to help these old dogs, you have taken on both joy and sorrow. To me it is amazing what you have decided to do to help. I sometimes wish for a puppy for you with no more worries than what it will chew up next. Of course I have no answers about Hamlet. You know you have weigh his suffering after surgery with his chances of getting better. God bless you, it is so difficult, I know.--Inger

  27. Happy Anniversary! I sure do love that photo of those lovely kids!

  28. Happy anniversary!

    I pray that whatever decision you have to make with Hamlet, you will come to peace with it. I'm sorry he's not doing well.

  29. That wasn't what I was hoping to hear about sweet Hamlet. I understand how you feel, as I feel a bit the same way myself. The advice that I'm giving myself might be relevant to you - to seek out the foremost experts and see what they suggest. I'm afraid that I don't have any better ideas than that.

    Happy Anniversary. 29 years, wow!

    Please give Hamlet a big hug from me and my pups.

  30. Kim
    Our heart sinks with sadness as we know yours does too.
    And sweet Hamlet knows you are trying so hard to help him and make him better.
    Oh how we are wishing,,,,,and pleading for a miracle to happen for Hamlet. We will not give up hope. And we continue to wrap our paws of love around all of you.
    I hope you found some peace,, as you drove around in the country,,, at least a little bit to help calm the fury of emotions that are welling up inside of you,
    We wish you and hubby a happy anniversary,,,,
    and remember bloggy friends care so much about all your furrys.. and you.
    Here is a hug for Hamlet
    Oh I wish we could help.

  31. I have no advice, only an opinion that comes from a distant view and a fellow dog lover. Given his age and the lack of a really good outcome no matter what, I tend to think Hamlet has been through enough. You have given him every opportunity and I believe you should make him comfortable until he tells you he's ready to cross the bridge.

    My heart aches as I write this. And I know that whatever you decide it will be the right thing. You know and love Hamlet better than anyone and you have shown compassionate and sound judgement. I have a feeling that somehow the answer will come to you and you will know whether or not it is best to try more surgery or not. My thoughts will be with you, and with dear Hamlet.

  32. This is the most painful part of loving. We know you'll make the best decision for Hamlet. Mama has always felt dogs want what most of us want: to prolong the living and not to prolong the dying. A wrenching decision. Our thoughts & prayers are with you and Hamlet.

    Jed & Abby

  33. Hope you had a wonderful anniversary.So sorry that you have this awful dilemma about Hamlet.You can only be guided by the surgeon as to the best way to go.One thing is for sure,you will not let Hamlet suffer,and will do the best for him.Thinking of you all..big cuddle for Hamlet. :0)

  34. Happy Anniversary Kim to you and your best guy!
    Sweet Hamlet, I know how hard it is to see an old friend sick! I spent the last two years of my Lili's life home cooking all her meals so she didn't get anything that could be making her worse. I still consider caring for her one of the greatest experiences of my life.
    I have heard that for humans that the addition of cottage cheese and flax seed oil is beneficial for tumors and cancer so maybe it would help a dog too. If you are interested I think I have the website saved in Bookmarks.
    As long as he seems happy and interested in food I wouldn't give up Kim. I guess you know him best and he will let you know when he is tired of being fussed with.
    My prayers are with you and Hamlet!
    Love Tina xo

  35. You really have found a gentle prince in Hamlet.

  36. So sorry to hear about Hamlet. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Happy Anniversary!

    Thor x

  37. Happy Anniversary...Ours is today!

    I'm so sorry that the news about Hamlet is not good. So many concerns when dealing with older dogs...I know you will make the best decisions for him.
    Sending a hug to you,

  38. Thank you for sharing the good and the bad. You have some very difficult decisions to make. No matter what you decide, you will never be happy with the decision. We wish Hamlet and you a happy ending to your story, if such is possible.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Mogley G. Retriever

  39. Poor Hamlet, he's having a time.

    Happy Anniversary!

  40. Hi Kim,
    I pray for Hamlet everyday. I know what you are going through.
    I have missed you so much!!! Please don't drop me from your friends.
    We have just had a thanksgiving week-end so to speak. My son and daughter in law have been here since Friday and we had a big dinner yesterday. They will be with her family next week-end. They just left for home. It was nice to have them.
    Please don't give up on me!!
    XXOO, Bambi & Fern

  41. belated Happy Anniversary to you both, and I know you'll do what is best for Hamlet.

    Gill in Canada

  42. Congratulations on 29 years, that is wonderful! We are sorry that the antibiotics aren't working for sweet Hamlet and we are wishing the best of him...

  43. Happy 29th Anniversary! I'm so sorry to read that the antibiotics aren't working. How I wish I had a magic wand to wave for a simple solution - there are so many variables that the vet has given you for Hamlet. You are such a very attentive and good mom for all your dear dogs; I hope there will be a clearer picture when you hear back from the vet. It must all be so nerve-wracking, especially with those folks coming to look at land surrounding your peace. arggggh. Also in Hamlet, " By and by is easily said."
    Huge Hugs to Hamlet xoxoxoxo
    Sammie, Avalon and Mom

  44. I'm just now catching up on my blog reading on this busy Sunday --
    As everyone else has stated, Happy Anniversary to you two. That's quite an accomplishment. I hope you enjoyed your special day together.

    And Hamlet -- what can I say that hasn't already been said or that you haven't already thought yourself.

    It's a tough road sometimes -- watching over our furry friends. I'm confident at some point in the near future, the answer to Hamlet's dilemma will become clear to you. Until then, take care, Kim, and give Hamlet a bit hug for all of us.

  45. Poor sweet Hamlet ~ I wish there was an easier answer. I hope you were able to forget about your troubles for a few hours and enjoy your anniversary lunch ~ 29 years ~ wonderful!

    Warm hugs Kim,
    xo Catherine

  46. I got behind on my blog reading this past week, so took a few extra minutes to go back through your pasts to catch up. Poor Hamlet! I hope that he is able to handle the surgery.

    And congratulations on your anniversary!


  47. Happy Anniversary to you! Hope the drive did clear your heads and that you enjoyed yourselves and see things in a new positive light. And hope you get some good news about Hamlet. Happiness on you!

  48. Hi Kim
    Belated 29 year Anniversary wishes to you & Carl.

    It's such a tough call with Hamlet - I'll keep you & him in my prayers as you await the results. Please give him an extra hug from Neeli & me. Older doggies are so sweet and vulnerable - and I know we never want to let go...

    Nadine & Neeli
    Angel doggie Apples (1994-2010)

  49. happy anniversary... i hope that hamlet gets better soon and that things are awesome for the holiday season coming up. :)

  50. Kim and Carl,
    Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary to you. You have to think of a old episode of the Flintstones to get the jest of this, but you may remember it. Sending good cheer your way!!

  51. Kim, I'm coming late back to your blog, after some knock on my fanny news of my own, about the track horses, that has me in a deep tailspin. I'm sorry that I haven't been here to support you.

    Just remember that you give Hamlet what he needs the most, unrestricted love. And, I know that he returns that love. Whatever you decide for him will be a course that you have thought long and hard about, and it will be the course that you know in your heart is right for him.

    He has faith in you, as do we all.

  52. Happy 29f Anniversary!!! I don't know why life has to be so convulated wif the emotions some times... but it just seems to be.

    I'm not sure if Hamlet's main issue is the tumor or the infection, but I would suggest that you research neoplasene. This treatment has been a miraculous godsend to one of my dear friends. The tumor on the leg is literally... gone. And in pretty short order.

    You may have already looked into it. I don't want to be presumptuous. I just wanted to share the success that our friend had.

    Wishin you the best all ways wif love from the Luke


Speak--I really enjoy your comments! Thanks for stopping by today!!