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Jabba-Bear's Blog

Osteosarcoma: clinical trials and goofy smiles

Jabba-Bear's Blog

An angel gets his wings

April 9th, 2013 · 11 Comments · euthanasia, metastatic lung cancer, osteosarcoma

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On Saturday, April 6th, Jabba-bear passed away peacefully at Oldtown Veterinary Hospital in the loving presence of his mom and dad.

Friday morning, we gave Jabba-bear a few doses of  Tramadol in hopes of alleviating some of his pain. It seemed to help quiet his labored breathing -he had been altering between healthy pants, small squeaks, and a honking sound that was reminiscent of a child with a very bad lung infection. You could hear a rattling sound in his lungs. Although he was clearly struggling, Jabba-bear was still very much aware of his surroundings. He still had a happy glean in his eye and would wag his tail in our presence, attempting to roll over for a belly-rub.  Later that day, we took Jabba-bear back to Reynolda Village for a short walk. It was a glorious day (a pleasant surprise considering the tumultuous, apocalyptic weather that we experienced on Thursday-snow, sleet, hail, rain, etc.).  Jabba-bear didn’t make it very far. He found a cool patch of ivy to lay in. We placed a blanket on the ground and sat with him for a while, petting him, allowing him to soak up the sun, while watching passersby with their pups. Jabba didn’t feel like making new friends that day, but he seemed to offer a knowing nod to the dogs as they walked past us.

Jabba-bear at Reynolda Village

Jabba-bear at Reynolda Village.

Jabba-bear at Reynolda Village-getting pet by his dad

Jabba-bear at Reynolda Village, close up

A close up of our beautiful boy.

Jabba-bear at Reynolda village, paws in my lap-edited

Soon, Jabba was ready to go back to the car. He loves the car, especially his dad’s fast BMW. We drove around town, stopping for pizza from 2 different restaurants. We ordered a total of 4 thick-crust pizza pies, smothered with cheese, bacon, and pepperoni (Jabba’s favorite). Then, Jabba’s dad went to the grocery store and bought cupcakes, donuts, bacon, turkey pepperoni, premium Nathan’s hot dogs, and sliced turkey (from the deli). That night, we decided to celebrate Jabba’s life by lifting the no-carb ban and allowing him to eat all the “junk food” he desired. When we got home, Jabba eagerly devoured 2 pieces of pizza and snacked for the rest of the night on various goodies.

After midnight, his breathing became extremely erratic. Jabba’s mom sat up next to him, placed her hands on his side and sang to him, whispering the words “quiet, quiet, quiet” while attempting to transfer all the loving, healing energy in her body to him, through her touch. As hokey as that may sound, it actually seemed to work. Jabba-bear soon fell asleep and started dreaming-his front two legs twitching periodically and his ears flicking with delight. Several times throughout the night, Jabba-bear sat up and cried out loud.  He was uncomfortable. Maybe it was all the pizza? At one point, he did let out an impressive belch before collapsing on his side, content, and falling back asleep.  By 5 AM, Jabba’s discomfort was wearing on both of us, and we called the emergency vet (Carolina Veterinary Specialists) to schedule his euthanasia. We told Beyonce to prepare herself to say “goodbye” to her brother. She responded by letting out a blood curling howl and then grabbing her lamb chop chew toy and throwing it in the air, settling next to Jabba’s head, with her paws on his front legs. As soon as we hung up the phone, Jabba-bear seemed to stabilize. After 10 minutes, we cancelled the appointment, deciding to try and “hold out” for Jabba’s primary vet (Oldtown Veterinary Hospital)-we had already scheduled an appointment for 9:20 AM on Saturday.  In an effort to distract ourselves from the impending doom that consumed us, we watched “All Dogs go to Heaven” on Netflix. When it finished, we still had nearly two hours until our appointment at Oldtown. Jabba seemed to be resting comfortably with his dad on the floor of the living room. We had surrounded him with pillows, propping him up until we found a position that allowed him to breathe more easily.

Shortly before it was time to leave for the vet, Jabba’s paternal grandpawrents arrived to say “goodbye” to their favorite grandson.  In the background, we played the Lion King soundtrack to comfort Jabba-bear (it was a trick that had worked in the past). At this point, we were all very emotional. Even though we were dreading this final moment, it also came as a relief since we knew that soon Jabba-bear would no longer be suffering. We fed Jabba-bear hot dogs for breakfast, and his dad cooked him half a package of thick bacon to feed to him in the car ride to the vet. Jabba savored every bite. On our way, we sang Hanunka Matata and I Just Can’t Wait to be King, and Jabba-bear stuck his head out the window, as he so loved to do. He closed his eyes and enjoyed some final good sniffs.

Jabba in car, looking serious-edited

Jabba-bear in the car, so serious.

Jabba-bear looking toward the light.

Looking toward the light.

Jabba-bear finally at peace.

Finally at peace.

Note: the above photos were taken the day before, during our trip around town. We thought they were symbolic of Jabba’s transition to heaven.

When we got to the vet, Jabba-bear let us know that he was ready to go. He normally rushes to hide behind a chair  (or in the corner)  when the vet-techs enter the room to take him to the back. On this day, he laid on the floor, gasping for air. He was not scared.  He just seemed tired of fighting. There was no question that we were doing the right thing. When the time came, they lifted Jabba-bear onto a table. He faced a painting on the wall- a well trodden path through the forest. It reminded us of our trip to Pilot Mountain. Perhaps Jabba could pass away thinking that he was back on the trail, climbing the mountain.  3 injections later (1 flush, 1 sedative, 1 dose of a pinkish euthanasia liquid), and Jabba-bear had passed. The staff at Oldtown were compassionate and completely professional. They helped ease the difficulty of the situation. We are, and always will be, extremely grateful to them.

Jabba's food bowl.

Jabba’s food bowl. His paternal grandpawrents placed this beautiful flower in his bowl while we were at the vet. It was a sweet touch.

Friday night was extremely difficult for us, but we were deeply touched by the incredible support that we received from so many of you in the Tripawds community. Thank you. 

Thank you, not only for your support, but also for taking the time to read our posts. Writing this blog over the past several weeks has been extremely cathartic for us.

We hope that you find value in what we have written about our journey with Jabba-bear. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have, now or at a later date.

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11 Comments so far ↓

  • Dakota Dawg

    I am so sorry that Jabba-bear earned his wings. But earn them he did! He worked hard while he was here. He had a wonderful life and you had a wonderful companion.

    I know it will be way too quiet and clean, and Beyonce may also have some difficulty, but your family made it a point to make some very happy memories. Let them sustain you. Remember that people here want to help you, should you need it. This is a big boat, and we’re all on it together.


  • benny55

    If I can stop heaving with sobs long enough to write and THANK YOU for showing us how to love and embrace every moment of this life until the exhale takes our loved ones to another location.

    Jab a Bear absolutely felt your healing energy transfer to him as well as all the love, compassion calming serenity and gratitude for the privilege of having him in your lives. He carried that energy with him….make no mistake about that!!

    Your storu is beyond heartwarming…’s guided from a higher place and is beyond the human language when trying to express how you and JabbaBear have spoken to our souls. This post has taken my breath away with your devotion and dedication to such a wonderful boy. You are able to put into words the depth of love that really is from another dimension(hokey?)…..!.a dimension that is only opened up in our relationships with our dogs/cats.

    The photo with JabbaBear bathed in THE light is going to bring you comfort and peace as you realize how very serene and content he is. All the put show a boy who is awash with love and contentment

  • benny55

    As usual, this thing cut off as I was trying to correct the sentence above and say “All the photos show……”

    Guess it’s JabbaBear’s way of saying, “Hey, let’s move on and talk about all the great food I had! Yummmmmmmmyyyyy!”

    Can’t wait to near how he stays in touch with you—-somehow I think it will be food related!

    You have touched all of our lives. Your life has had meaning and purpose and your presence has made a difference for the better in all of our lives. Thanks for allowing all of us to share your light.

    From our hearts, Sally and Happy Hannah

  • jerry

    I’m so deeply sorry guys. We have been thinking about you and Jabba constantly since your last post, hoping that by some miracle he would bounce back. My heart goes out to you, I read your post with tears in my eyes.

    What you did for Jabba throughout his life is what every animal in this world deserves; unconditional love and kindness, care and compassion. I salute you for the great life you gave him through good times and bad. No dog could ever ask for more.

    I know you are hurting, it’s impossible not to feel the impact of such great loss for a long time. But I hope that Jabba’s legacy will bring you comfort at this time, and always. Your boy was such a fighter, and he took brave steps forward that will go on to inspire and help other Tripawds as they face their own cancer battles.

    Please know we are thinking of you all and sending our love and condolences. You are always a part of this community.

  • maximutt

    I am so sorry Jabba has passed. I have also been thinking about him and his family since your last post. I’m sorry he didn’t have more time with you. Jabba had a life that was well lived, and that is in no short part due to the love you gave him. Sending healing thoughts to you and Beyonce.

  • Michelle

    I am so sorry that Jabba-bear earned his wings. Thank you for sharing the beautiful tribute to him. RIP Jabba. Play with all those wonderful Tripawd Warriors who went before you until its time to meet your wonderful, loving family at the Rainbow Bridge.

    Michelle & Sassy.

  • Karma

    Jabba-bear was such a sweet looking dog. I am so very sorry that you didn’t get to have more time with him. From your posts, it sounds like you guys gave him and absolutely fabulous life filled with love. I just wanted to let you know that my heart has been touched by Jabba-bear and your family and my thoughts are with you.

  • fourminipups

    Jabba what a beautiful angel you are now. I can see it in the pictures taken during your wonderful trip.

    What special pawrents you were to this special boy and he is still beside you and Beyonce now making sure all is well.

    All our thoughts and prayers go out to you during this very difficult time.

    Breath deep now Jabba and take care.

  • princess

    I cried all the way through that. You have captured so much of the emotion of the last days so bitter sweetly. The photo of Jabba-bear in the car is so reminiscent of Magnum when we were sitting at the emergency vet waiting to be seen on her last day that it took my breath away (and started a whole fresh batch of tears).

    Jabba-bear was very much loved. That is so obvious. Thank you for sharing this very special boy with us.

    Thinking of you at this very difficult time

    Karen and Spirit Magnum

  • Charley's Mom

    I’m so very sorry that it was Jabba-bear’s time to make his journey to Rainbow Bridge. I’ve just finished reading the last 2 months of your posts and I could feel the love you have for Jabba by reading your words….and now the tears are falling. Thank you for sharing his story.

    Jabba’s story hits close to home. Charley was 2.5 when he was dx wth OS (he’s a front amp), he just turned 5 on 3-29, and today we had our 2.5 year follow-up with his oncologist for chest x-rays. Even though his x-rays are clear and we are very thankful, we know that the beast can rear at any time and it will be very aggressive upon it’s return. I can only hope that we will be strong enough to allow Charley to bow out with his dignity and with grace like you allowed for Jabba-bear.

    In time, may happy memories of your sweet boy fill that huge empty hole in your heart.

    Love, hugs, and chocolate Labby kisses,
    Ellen & Charley

  • Bruiser Bruno

    I’m so sorry to read that jabbo crossed rainbow bridge. Every so often since Bruno’s passing I have to take a break from Tripawds, and it was just now that I got back on the site to check back in on y’all. Jabba was lucky to have you and you did everything you could. He will forever be in your heart and his spirit will live on forever.
    Stay strong
    Maricela and spirit bruno

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