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Dogs/Bye to a Friend


We have a year and a half old lab/pit bull/shepherd mix who is a magnificent dog. He is our little boy and gentle as a lamb, smart, part of the family, even protected me once from serious harm at his own risk. We owe this dog everything, even though he has been alive less than 2 years.

After a couple months of health troubles the pathology report came back. Stage V Lymphoma. The lumps are even in his eyes. He can see but they stick out and it looks like raw meat. He rubs them against walls and anything he can find because they itch? I don't know, but the blood goes all over. So unfair for a dog his age. Our vet go several opinions so there really is no doubt here. we have giving him the best medical care and spared no expense (but chemo is out, we have seen how it destroys people, plus it is too late for it to do much good).

His body is covered in lumps and his breathing is very labored on and off from the tumors in his organs/lungs, at times its fine, others he sort of pants with his mouth shut. He trots not runs and cannot jump up on the bed any more. Mostly he lays around the house rubbing his eyes and doing nothing where he used to follow me around, play, chase squirrels, etc. We have already signed the papers and paid the vet so when the time comes we can just go in and say goodbye.

Here is the problem. he is definitely my husband's dog. When he sees him its like al his energy gathers together and he looks happy, follows him around in the yard, even tried to chase lizards like he used to. For a while, until he gets tired, you would barely know he was sick except for how horrible his eyes look.

We also have a new puppy. She loves him and before he got real sick they played but now he just snaps in her direction to get her away, he is not up to play. I spend my time trying to balance making our dog's end of life as special as possible and not ignoring the puppy because she will be here when our dog (Sirius) is gone and I want to raise her properly. This is also quite stressful on both me and my husband, not only watching him suffer but not knowing when the right time is to put him down.

So that is my question. When do you know? It doesn't look like this cancer is painful and the vet said  it will be more his breathing than real pain. He is not happy but he is not terribly unhappy either, from what we can tell but who really knows, its a guessing game unless he could talk. We do not want him to suffer but we do not want to let him go too early either, and do not want to be selfish by letting him go now just because it is hard on us. (I cry all the time and my husband is a wreck).

So is there some kind of secret formula or something so we know when to put him down? I do not trust my or my husband's judgement fully right now only because we are so wrapped up emotionally, yet asking friends is hard because they do not love him like we do.

Do you have any advice on this?

Please answer as soon as you can, thank you so much.


Hi Diana,

Thank you for writing to me and so sorry about your sweet dog.  In my research I found a clinical trial for canine lymphoma.  In a clinical trial it doesn't cost the owner anything if you can get your dog to them.  There is no guarantee of course but it's worth at least thinking about. Personally I would try it because these vaccines can often destroy the cancer and give a dog a full life!!!

There are also dietary changes you can make to try to prolong his life as well as supplements that can help with his immune system.  I would start with slowly moving to a raw food diet which you can read about on google and join various on line groups that explain how to do it.  There are also canine lymphoma groups as well.  Look for the ones that are treating their dogs naturally.  There is a vet that you can communicate with long distance that might be able to help your dog.  His name is Dr Newkirk and his email is  He would need bloodwork sent and then have a consultation with you.  I don't know where you are located but he's in NJ.  

There are supplements you can try giving to him as well as a curcummin supplement.

It is really important to read this website which is full of information about canine cancer and natural treatments:

I would definitely try Immunocal and Transfer Factor Plus along with a real food diet.  Cooked boneless/skinless chicken if far better than a dry food filled with by products, soy, corn and chemicals.  If you do decide to feed meat, be sure to include some organ meat and calcium apetite without magnesium.  There are so many bad things in commercial dog food that many believe it actually causes cancer so nutrition is essential to prolonging your dog's life.

At this point your dog should not receive any vaccinations at all!!!  No chemicals of any kind, no flea baths or collars...only natural things.  If you need more inforamtion about this feel free to contact me at

I know you are asking about when it's time to euthanize your dog.  Usually a dog will let you know when his time has come.  He will stop eating or lose his appetite and generally not have much energy or seem to enjoy life.  As long as your dog is eating and enjoying life, he still has life left in him.  It's important however, not to wait too long as you don't want him to suffer and it's very important to tell him that when the time comes, it's ok to go..dogs have a deep sense of what is being said to them.  When the time does come, it's imperative that either you or your husband sit with him and hold him while he's crossing over.  One of the greatest gifts you can give your dog is to help him cross over to the other side.

Sending love & healing light to your precious dog....

Shelley Davis

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Shelley Davis


Cageless Country Boarding, Holistic Health Concerns, Behavorial Concerns.


Crusader in the founding of Dog Runs in NYC Parks, instrumental in changing the law in NY State which allows Pet Facilitate Therapy into Acute Care Hospitals, accomplished artist and craftsperson, certified by Red Cross in pet first aid, pioneer in Children Reading To Dogs program in Ulster Co. NY, founder of Bed & Biscuit:Where Dogs Run Free,

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