Hal and Laika.
his feline buddy.
|And he was the same, undefeated, noble creature, too. He
still ran to the fence and barked and postured at any passing dog (or mailman).
He seemed totally unconcerned about the missing leg. After a few weeks,
he developed a new gait, moving his 3 legs in a different pattern and putting
his remaining front leg in the center -- from a distance, you would never
know that Hal was missing a leg...he could still outrun me, my husband,
and our other dog. He continued to chase stray cats, to fetch a stick,
and to play with his toys. When my daughter read over this account she
said that I should tell you that Hal’s dignity was so unaffected that after
a few days, he even figured out how to once again raise his leg when he
urinated! I never heard a single whimper or whine from him. I am sure there
was pain involved in the amputation, but I believe that the pain of the
cancer was so excruciating that having the amputation was a blessed relief
After a few weeks, it was time to begin the chemotherapy. I wondered
if Hal would lose his hair and if he would be sick. I again wondered if
we were doing the right thing. The Oncology Department at NC State Veterinary
Teaching Hospital recommended using carboplatin, but the cost was beyond
our means; we chose cisplatin which was available at that time at a discounted
price. The cisplatin treatment took all day -- several hours of fluids,
then the cisplatin, then several more hours of fluids. Then Hal was ready
to come home. Maggie, in Oncology, had warned us that Hal might be sick,
but he never was. He was off his food for a few hours, but after that,
he gradually resumed his hearty appetite. He rested more than usual for
a day or two. He had moderate diarrhea, but was able to make it outside
and had no accidents indoors. And I found out that Hal didn’t lose his
hair as a human cancer patient might. In fact, within a very short period
of time, new hair grew over the scar until at the very end, the missing
leg looked almost like a genetic defect rather than the result of surgery.