My name is Carey Soden and I was asked to write the story of Capone, my dog.
I first noticed Capone limping one night in mid May, 2012. He was always a very active and goofy dog so I assumed he must have hurt himself jumping or running around acting silly. His limp was still there after about 2 weeks so we made an appointment at a local veterinary hospital. After the veterinarian examined the right hind leg, he came to the conclusion that it was an torn ACL. He discussed surgery with us, but wanted us to try an anti-inflammatory drug for a few weeks to see if Capone would improve. After 2 weeks, the limp was getting worse. We took Capone back for radiographs, and that is when my life and my boy’s life changed forever.
The vet came back into the room, handed me Capone's leash and showed me the radiographs. The only part I remember was the word "Osteosarcoma". He must have said it a few times. Once he sat down, I asked him what is Osteosarcoma? He said "It is a type of bone cancer", I quickly responded with "take his leg!". He proceeded to tell me "that will not help, there is nothing we can do, he will be dead in 8 weeks at most and I can give you steroids for the pain". All I could do was cry! Capone leaned into my legs, head tilted and kept kissing me, all over, my hands, my legs, my face, my neck, my tears. He knew something was upsetting me and wanted to comfort me. He didn't know why I was upset, he just knew that something was wrong.
The next day, I took him to another veterinarian for a second opinion. The diagnosis was the same, but he gave us options. There were things that we could do, we would not just have to let Capone die.
I emailed a researcher in Ohio who runs a research clinic and he suggested that I contact VCC and make an appointment. Within a few days, we found ourselves driving from Southern New Jersey to Connecticut, for hope. We had the window down the whole ride so Capone could enjoy the wind in his face.
VCC gave us the same diagnosis , but there was some hope. We had found a way to have the amputation performed.
After the surgery, over the next few days, Capone was getting better and better at walking around. Life was good once again! We kept him on the herbs and supplements and diet change. Every day we went for car rides, walks, longer play time, more treats, more toys, Capone really lived like a king.
Over the next few months, things where going great! He was happy, healthy and even had his 5th birthday! If we had not gone to The VCC, his "expiration date" would have been mid August. Here it is September and Capone is doing so great!
In mid December, he started to limp on his left hind leg. I hoped it was just a sprain. After a few days, I could see his ankle was the huge. On Saturday, December 22 we took him to the veterinarian. They told us that his cancer, the osteosarcoma had spread to his hock (ankle bones) and that it had probably spread to his lungs as well. My husband and I decided to go home and spend the next few days choosing what day would be his final day. I cried hysterically the whole way home. Again, Capone showing me comfort. He was in pain but what a strong boy to show me love when I was weak.
Sunday, December 23rd was the last day he walked. He stayed in our living room over the next few days. I hand fed him, we carried him out to use the bathroom and had to hold him up the whole time. We spent those last days loving him and talking with him and kissing and hugging him.
My husband and I left work early on Dec 27th, 2012. We laid with him on the floor and stayed with him until the veterinarian put him to sleep.
I have learned so much from Capone. Statistic's are just that, statistics. They are not absolute facts, they are not something that is set in stone, they are an average. Statistically, Capone should have died on his own 8 weeks after the limp started. He lived for 8 months after his cancer was diagnosed. During this whole ordeal, he was only in pain for a few days. I am grateful for the time we had with him. I made sure that every day was a fun and loving day.
I hope my boy knows that he made me a stronger person because of his diagnosis. I will miss him every day but I find peace in knowing that he has made a difference in our lives and others. We have been spreading the word about pets and cancer. It is not a death sentence, it's a chance to actually live life.