A Year Later-Remembering The Good Times!

There are some souls we come across in life that leave a lasting impression on who we are and how we live the rest of our lives.  In this case I am talking about the soul of a very special dog, HoneyBear.  A year ago today we had to tell her that we loved her so much and would see her again one day.

I have been thinking for the last couple weeks about how I wanted to write this post.  A part of me wants to tell you all that it is so hard living life without our best friend.  That I still have a hard time looking at old pictures and videos of her because it makes me miss her so much.  That I still sleep with her favorite blanket at night.  I could go on and on but I decided I want this to be a happy post. 🙂

Today I am remembering the happy times we had and the many adventures we took with her.  Like the time we took her to the Riverwalk and the Alamo in San Antonio.  Or the time we took her to Canyon Lake and she swam as a tripawd for the first time!  We couldn’t get her out of the water that day! One of my favorites is her floating the Frio River with us in our raft.  She loved it!  She could smell the rapids coming and smiled as we manauvered our way through them.  Just simple trips like eating at Grimaldi’s or taking her to Lowe’s where she rode on the lumbar cart were special.

Every Holiday was a big celebration!  One of her appointments was scheduled on St Patricks day so we got her a clover necklace that had blinking lights on it!  Everyone appreciated that! Her very first Oncology appointment we made her a shirt that said “Keep Calm and Hop Along!”  There was never a dull moment!  Oh and how could I forget?! One of my most cherished memories was celebrating HoneyBear’s 10th birthday in the San Antonio Animal Hospital as she was recovering from a chest infection.  I made her a special pumpkin doggy cake but we also got a cake for all the technicians that were helping take care of her.  They all came in the room and sang Happy Birthday to her!  It was a good day.  That year and a half was filled with laughter, love, hope and faith.  It was the time of our lives.  I will never forget these amazing memories and would relive it all again in a heartbeat.

There are people reading this right now that have a dog who is fighting cancer or are trying to make the right decision for their dog that has recently been diagnosed with cancer.  If you are one of these people the biggest advice I can give you is ALWAYS have hope!  Hope is what I believe gave us so much precious time with HoneyBear and such a positive outlook on life during that time.  I had hope everyday.  Hope that her lung metastasis would remain stable.  Hope that she would be eligible for a clinical trial.  Hope that Dr Wiley would call and say there is a cure.  Hope that her immune system would take over and kill the cancer.  I even had hope in her last days for a miracle.  So today one year after HoneyBear earned her angel wings I am honoring her by spreading her message of hope.  If you are reading this right now and are in a difficult place with your sick friend I encourage you to get positive and stay hopeful.

I will miss HoneyBear until the day I die.  It is hard to move on without her but I have to remind myself her spirit walks by our side everyday, her story cherished in our hearts, her pictures scattered across our walls, her chosen river rocks that now line our lemongrass garden, our backyard pool and deck that was made %100 for her.  She is everywhere around us and always will be. I thank God everyday for giving us the gift of HoneyBear and that unforgettable time with her.  So today is a celebration! A celebration of love, a celebration of hope, a celebration of coming together, a celebration of faith and mostly a celebration of the inspiring life of our best friend.  We love you HoneyBear and can’t wait to see you again one day.




Living Life In HoneyBear’s Honor

It’s been 6 months today that we lost our sweet HoneyBear.  We’ve spent many days, weeks, and (I’ll be honest) months crying and feeling the emptiness that comes from losing your best friend.  To say its been rough is putting it mildly.  It is so hard revisiting all the places we took her and made cherished memories at.  Without her by our side there is a constant feeling of something missing.  I wish she was still here so badly.  I wish I could hug her again.  I wish she could slobber me with her giant kisses. I wish she never left.

One day about a month ago I was thinking about HoneyBear and missing her sweet kisses, beaming smiles and joy for life.  As tears were rolling down my cheek I had what I guess you call an epiphany.  HoneyBear would not want to see us depressed and running through the motions of life.  She would want us to embrace it just like she did!  Her joy and happiness was infectious and inspiring.  She would hop into a room and light it up with her sparkling smile.  I feel like it is hard to be happy without her but then I remember she taught us how to truly live life and enjoy every second of every day.  She left us with that amazing gift.  We need to honor her by living life like she did.  After I realized all of this life started getting a little easier.  Don’t get me wrong we still have our waterfall moments but now they usually end with a smile.  The wound is healing but the scar will remain for a lifetime.

*Perfect example of HoneyBear loving life! Pre-Tripawd days!*

We felt in our hearts about a month ago that we should look into getting another dog.  We browsed local shelters waiting for the right one to catch our eye.  My husband ended up stumbling across a picture of a puppy on a FB page.  To make a long story short……meet TeddyBear Thor! (The name is a mix of HoneyBear and Chogan Thor)

We weren’t even planning on another Rottie but I guess it was meant to be.  Teddy was born a week before HoneyBear passed.  He has a lot to learn but is very intelligent and catching on quick.  He is very sweet, gentle and as people have been saying very “chill.” I think his personality will be a perfect combination of Chogan and HoneyBear.

Losing HoneyBear isn’t something we will ever get over.  Missing her is something we are learning to live with.  The lessons she taught us will inspire us for a lifetime.  My husband told me the other night that our pets have molded us into the people we are today.  I believe he is right.  As with every situation encountered in life we learn and grow from it.  Our lives just happen to revolve around our pets so the experiences we have had with each of them have made us stronger, happier, smarter, more hopeful, more adventurous, our faith has grown and our passion for life has never been so spirited.  They have all left their mark on our hearts.  HoneyBear left a special mark on us as she was such a special girl.

It has taken me this long to write another entry into this blog because #1 I just couldn’t find the words and #2 I didn’t want to discourage people.  If you are reading this right now and your dog is in the middle of the Osteo battle, please don’t be sad!  Be hopeful!  The best lesson HoneyBear taught us was to never give up hope.  You never know what tomorrow will bring.  There are so many trials and cutting edge treatments coming out for this awful disease.  There will be a cure one day.  I have some great ideas for Osteo research fundraising that I plan on executing very shortly in HoneyBear’s honor.  I will post updates here for “HoneyBear’s Hope For A Cure.”  I am so grateful God chose us to watch over her and share such priceless moments with.  We will continue to live our lives with HoneyBear’s sparkle and hope, knowing she is up in Heaven smiling down on us.

Somewhere Along The Journey We Forgot This Day Would Come

It hurts me so badly to say HoneyBear lost her fight Monday afternoon and took her last journey to Heaven. I feel more than heartbroken, I feel broken. She was such a joy to have in our lives. She amazed us everyday with her strength and abilities. She made us laugh with her huge smile and silliness. Most of all she was lovable and sweet, so very sweet.  She loved life so much and embraced every situation she was in.  She fought cancer with a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye.  We love her so incredibly much and we will miss her more than words can say.

I know this comes as a shock since she has been doing so well. She really has felt great and been very happy up until the last couple weeks. From a medical standpoint her chest x-rays the last couple visits were progressing pretty quickly but luckily they weren’t affecting her ability to breathe. A couple weeks ago she got a stomach ache. The Dr called in some meds and within a couple days it was under control and she was eating again and feeling great. She did start coughing more. Then about a week and a half ago she lost complete function to her hind legs. She still acted happy, ate and drank but couldn’t walk or stand on her own. The Dr said the good news is she wasn’t in any pain and still had her spirit. She said it could either be a spinal tumor growing and pinching a nerve or a stroke to her legs. Since she seemed happy Dr. Wiley told us to go home and enjoy some down time but that “it was getting close.”

We came home and within a day had a routine down for her new handicap.  We carried her in and out for potty breaks.   She seemed fine for a couple days but then she started being very picky about food and was coughing more. I tried everything food wise and then she finally refused and literally pushed the bowl away with her nose. Her coughing got to the point a couple nights ago that she couldn’t sleep and yesterday she was struggling to breathe. We knew it was time. Somewhere along this journey I forgot this day would come. I always stayed so positive and hopeful that I think I lost reality.

We knew it was a long drive but we wanted her to be with Dr. Wiley and her staff in San Antonio. They love her so much. The 2 1/2 hour drive up there was cloudy and rainy. I sat in the back seat with HoneyBear so she could rest her head on my lap and I could love on her for the last time. Dr Wiley and techs came to the car so she didn’t have to be moved. Even though she was struggling to breathe she still found a way to give me, my husband and Dr Wiley a kiss. She went very peacefully surrounded by love. About 20 seconds after she passed there was a break in the clouds and the sun beamed down on us. My husband and I then looked at each other with tears of joy as we felt God’s presence.  It was as if he was extending his hand for HoneyBear to follow him, lifting her spirt with her new angel wings. Since she loved life on earth so much I can imagine how much she must love Heaven.

HoneyBear took a huge piece of our hearts with her and it is definitely going to take some time to heal and as a friend said “relearn life without her.” I am very blessed to have a husband who cares just as much as I do and is being strong for the both of us. He got up for work yesterday at 4 AM then drove us to San Antonio then drove us home and today he had to be up at the same time again. I know he feels the same pain that I do so to me that is the ultimate strength. It is just us now, I know it will take time but we will heal together.

I will continue “HoneyBear’s Hope For A Cure” in any way I can. I will continue to fight in her honor so others have the same fighting chance she did. When we first decided to proceed with her treatment we knew at best we would get 9 months to a year. It has been 16 months. She beat the odds and we had so much fun along the way.  In the last year HoneyBear ran on the beach, swam in the lake, floated the river, made tons of new friends, went with us almost everywhere, swam in her pool in the backyard, went to movies in the park, saw the blue angels, celebrated her 10th birthday and raised so much awareness for Osteosarcoma. I am so grateful we spent so much quality time with her and made special memories we will cherish for the rest of our lives. I would go back in a heartbeat and do it all again.  The hardest part about loving them is losing them. It is so hard but I believe we will all be together again one day.

Thank you so much HoneyBear for everything you taught us. You were such a gift and a part of you will always live in us.  We will miss everything about you; your kisses, your smile, your sweet eyes, your snuggles, your high fives, your wiggly booty when you were excited, your happy dance when we got home from work and your presence that was always by our side.  You were always ready for the next adventure.  I know you will embrace Heaven with the same passion.  We love you “so much” and we know you will always be with us. Until we meet again my love.

~Chogan and HoneyBear are together again, forever~


Another Scare Beaten by Prayer!

HoneyBear’s check up was coming up this week but we had to unexpectedly take her Friday instead.  Thursday night when we got home she seemed happy, walked fine but kept laying down.  We noticed that her back left leg seemed really weak.  Any tripawd parent can understand the worry we had.  Three legs work great but two would be impossible.  The next day she seemed worse, didn’t want to step on it and acted like it was painful.  So we headed up Friday afternoon fearing the worst and as always hoping and praying for the best.

As always they got her right in and did exactly what I was hoping for, blood work, chest X-rays and left rear leg X-rays.  We didn’t get to see Dr Wiley right away because she was with other patients but the critical care Dr did a great job.  After waiting a very long and worrisome hour for results they called us back.  We were so relieved when the Dr confirmed it was just a sprain in her knee ligament! We were dreading to hear a metastic bone tumor so a sprain was great news in our eyes!  Rest and pain meds for a week.  Dr Wiley came in and said she looked at the X-ray as well as the in house radiologist and there was definitely no cancer.  She was still very pleased with HoneyBear’s progress but having lung nodules progress slow/stable for about a year means there are quite a few in her lungs at this point. They aren’t causing her pain or discomfort but she does cough a little more now.  Dr Wiley also added she doesn’t think she has had any other patient with lung metastases that has progressed this slow/stable.  I wish I could say it was this or that that has helped with the slow progression but honestly I feel like it is the combination of everything we do for her.  Of course the chemotherapy, then you have the supplements, diet, love and happiness.  Some other good news is her kidney values went down quite a bit!  We are thinking her new raw diet is helping with this!!

We also got to talk to Dr Wiley more about what else we can do.  We have been playing with a lot of ideas but the most hopeful medications we have come across is Rapamycin, Aratana’s Vaccine AT-014, and Zoledronate.  There are numerous phase 2 trials going on right now on Rapamycin directly following amputation and chemotherapy but HoneyBear doesn’t qualify because she already has metastases.  That doesn’t mean it won’t work against the metastases but just harder to get our hands on since she doesn’t qualify for the trial.  Dr Wiley is checking into getting this medication if it is available.  Aratana is a pharmaceutical company that has recently released an amazing vaccine for lymphoma.  They already closed a clinical trial on an immunotherapy vaccine for osteosarcoma called AT-014.  It showed great results against stopping/preventing metastases in dogs following amputation and chemotherapy.  The vaccine is awaiting FDA approval and should be available the later part of this year.  We are checking into getting it early through a law called compassionate use but it is unlikely the company will be able to release it early.  So then we have Zoledronate.  It is a biphosphonate drug that is given intravenously to help with bone metastases.  It is supposed to strengthen bones and stop the cancer from spreading to the skeleton.  Auburn University is currently enrolling dogs in a trial to test this same theory on lung metastases.  They have tried it in people with pulmonary metastases with great results.  Dr Wiley uses this drug on dogs that cannot undergo amputation for whatever reason.  She is very comfortable with its safety and is willing to give it a try in HoneyBear.  We figure we have nothing to lose at this point (except $ :-)).  If it doesn’t work we are still waiting on the other 2 medications and if it does…….then Hallelujah!!!!  Everything we are willing to try has very minimal side effects.  We would never give her anything that would compromise her quality of life

Yes I know what you are thinking and yes it IS getting expensive!  We love HoneyBear so much we are willing to make sacrifices for her well being.  At the moment we are having a garage sale, selling anything that we do not need right now.  We are playing with the idea of a Go Fund Me, but we both feel weird about it because we have never asked anyone for money EVER!  At the same time we are trying so much to buy time, find answers, research, learn, and educate others on what we learn every step of the way.  Our main goal is to of course give HoneyBear the best quality and quantity of life that we can but we also want to help others along the way.  We have had good results selling her “HoneyBear’s Hope” bracelets but that only puts a small dent on what is ahead of us.  Thank you so much to everyone who have supported us in  purchasing a bracelet and to those that have followed and are following her story every step of the way!

HoneyBear is resting her knee right now and hopefully within a week we can get started on the Zoledronate.  As always we remain hopeful for the best and continue to pray for healing, strength and guidance for our best friend.  I will update everyone as we continue this fight to whoop cancer’s booty!!

HoneyBear’s Hope

So much to talk about!  First of all I apologize for being M.I.A. for the last couple months!  HoneyBear’s last check up was the same as the others…….pretty much stable, maybe one more, maybe a millimeter bigger, very slow progression.  Given HoneyBear’s situation this is good news but lately I find myself thinking can we do more?  I know the facts HoneyBear is 10, has pulmonary metastases from a very aggressive cancer and has already done very well statistically.  We know how much we are doing for her and I know it sounds crazy but we want to try harder.  I have been researching everything from Stereotactic Radio Therapy to clinical trials to new and promising immunotherapy medications.  I won’t stop until I have exhausted all options with HoneyBear’s well being of course being top priority.  With the hope something will come our way to help her soon we started a fundraising effort.  We made bracelets and are selling them to raise funds for treatment and also to raise awareness.  They are yellow for Osteosarcoma and they say “HoneyBear’s Hope For A Cure-honeybear.tripawds.com.”  HoneyBear’s hope that one day there will be a cure for people and animals alike.

We also switched her diet.  I have struggled trying to find the right diet for her.  I want no grains and carbs for the cancer keeping in mind higher amounts of protein will make her kidney values rise.  This is nearly impossible but we seem to have found our answer!  Answers raw dog food. I know what you are thinking #1 Ewwwww and #2 that has to be unsafe!  Well that is exactly what I thought but the food is grown and processed at a small farm that is %100 organic and free range.  HoneyBear is on their detailed formula that is fermented for safety and as long as you’re open minded its not that gross.  I will keep you updated on this but so far so good.

HoneyBear’s new excitement is the kittens the neighbors have in the yard behind us.  She runs out there every morning/night straight to the back fence and waits for them to come to the small opening to basically have a stare down. 🙂  She will stare at them for hours if we let her! I am actually glad this is her fun right now because honestly it is too hot in south Texas to do anything else!  When we do take her out and about she lays on her cool pad, wears her cool vest and……don’t laugh…….we also have a fan for her! 🙂 I am serious people its scorching down here!

Despite the lung mets HoneyBear remains happy and that is the ultimate goal.  We wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize this.  I am praying for guidance on the next step for HoneyBear and also praying there is a next step.  Our hearts are in this %100 and we have to follow what we feel is right.  I know we are on this journey for a reason and if HoneyBear can be a part of finding a better treatment it would not only benefit her but other dogs and people living with this awful disease.  Standard care right now is simply not good enough.  We will never lose hope and we will do all we can to find another way.  One day there will be a cure and God willing HoneyBear will see that day.