The Long and Short of It
A sweet, longhaired Dachshund found herself at the Sacramento SPCA in late October after her family brought her to us for end-of-life services. At 10 years old, veterinarians determined that Ginger had a large mass in her abdomen. Her owners, soon to be married and moving out of state, were not equipped to handle her medical issues and thought euthanasia was her only option.
Seeing a happy, friendly, bouncing dog in their arms, staff explained to the owners that we would love to give Ginger a chance to go up for adoption if we could. Our shelter medicine team jumped in and scheduled her for the “senior special” – blood panel, urinalysis, dental cleaning with extractions and a spay surgery. Then there was the (not so) little problem of the mass. Not knowing exactly what this mass was, our veterinary team was hopeful but cautious. During surgery, they found what they hoped to avoid: a large tumor on Ginger’s spleen. As she recovered, the team discussed different options for her and decided that she would be the second animal to go through our “Pawspice” program.
This brand-new program allows animals with terminal diagnoses to be adopted into a loving home, with palliative care provided by the Sacramento SPCA. When we first announced the program, we had several interested parties contact us to let us know they were on board for this special level of commitment. We called one of the names on the list who immediately replied “YES! When can I get her?”
The adopter met with our veterinary team who explained that 65% of tumors on the spleen are cancerous, which could have already spread to other organs. Her time might be short. But there was a light at the end of the tunnel: a slim chance that the tumor was benign and Ginger could be otherwise healthy.
We didn’t want to get our hopes up. Ginger’s new mom didn’t want to get her hopes up. But there was a chance.
Not wanting to leave any stone unturned, we decided to send out the tumor for biopsy. And to our surprise – it was benign! Hooray!!
Ginger’s new mom was surprised (and thrilled!) that her very short-term hospice dog had now become a healthy, happy Doxie that has many more years ahead of her! Ginger is now living the good life with four other Sacramento SPCA alumni: a Mini Dachshund, a Bulldog mix, and two adorable (and grumpy) cats. It’s only been a week and she’s already made herself at home.