Loving Truman and Hating Cancer

I did not have time to finish this blog yesterday, but I am going to post it this morning with this update.  Truman is eating and drinking and doing well here at home this morning.  His tumor was about the size of a large baseball.  It was completely in his abdomen.  The bleeding from his scrotum was because when the tumor ruptured the pressure was so intense that it blew out through his scrotum causing the severe external bleeding.  He never whined or even yipped!  Had it not done that he would have died two days ago in the yard from internal bleeding.  We are just so very blessed to still have him.  God is good, very good indeed!  Praise be the Lord!


Oliver and Truman my German Shepherd buddies. 

Life can change in an instant and that was the case in our lives yesterday.  My husband and I were outside playing with our German Shepherd puppy Oliver and our 112 pound white German Shepherd Truman was sleeping in the sun.  My husband noticed that Truman had been lying in the hot sun for quite awhile and called for him.

Truman got up and walked perfectly normal over to Doug with his tail wagging.  It was then my husband noticed that there was blood all over his hind quarters. A lot of blood.

We immediately called the veterinary and Doug transported him to the clinic.  The vet found that he had a tumor the size of a tangerine where his testicles used to be and it had ruptured.  He had surgery this morning to remove the growth and check to see if it is cancer.

The vet just called.  The tumor is out, it was very large and she thinks it looks malignant, but we won’t know that for sure until the biopsy results come back in a week or so. She got out everything she could see. Truman will be able to come home this evening with a drainage tube as the tumor’s removal left an open cavity in his abdomen.

Oliver guarding his sick buddy             Truman’s ears are up this morning!

Truman is everyone’s favorite dog–family, friends and neighbors.  He is always friendly, good, loyal, kind and patient. He looks and acts like a big old cuddly white polar bear. Oftentimes I have thought that Christ would be much more pleased with my behavior and attitude if  I just followed the example set by that dog. Especially dog with a story like his. You see, we did not get Truman when he was a little puppy like Oliver where we could love, be gentle and spoil him from the get go.  No, we adopted Truman from a German Shepherd rescue over nine years ago.

At that time we only had Walter as a pet and wanted another German Shepherd.  So one Saturday afternoon when I was working for a candidate on his campaign for state attorney general, I got bored sitting by my computer waiting for an “important” email and decided to visit…Petfinder.com.

As I scanned pictures of adorable puppies and handsome young dogs, I noticed a picture of a large gorgeous black and tan year-old German Shepherd named Teddy Bear.  He was up for adoption that very day at a pet fair about 40 miles across town.  Doug liked his picture too so we got into the car and went to check him out.

When we got to the pet adoption German Shepherd event, we found Teddy Bear had already found a new home.  There were only two pups left a brother and his sister.  Since we were only interested in getting a male dog to go with Walter, Doug went over to pet the five-month old puppy with the big white cone around his head.

I was not interested in the pup as he was white.  I had never seen a white shepherd before and wanted a black and tan one.  Then, too, the pup looked just awful.

Truman and his sister had been had been rescued by the police from their first owner.  The pups had been found tied outside, in scorching heat with no shade, shelter, water or food. They were basically dying. The pups had been starved to the point of emaciation and severely beaten.  They looked awful and I was concerned about adopting any German Shepherd with a violent abusive history and these pups’ history was horrific.

As I was talking to the staff, Doug knelt down by this young pup who had only known human harshness.  The pup’s tail started to wag and he kissed and kissed Doug’s face. Watching the two together the staff person turned to me and asked why I was not interested in the dog.  I said, “He’s white!.”  “So are you!” retorted the staffer.  I just started writing out the check.

Before we could bring him home we had to be checked out and approved by the pet adoption folks.  They visited our home. Then, we visited Truman at a neutral location so that he and Walter could get acquainted.  Truman liked Walter..a lot!  Walter just ignored Truman. Inspection passed and Truman came home.

We named him Truman after President Truman who once said, “If you want a friend in politics….get a dog.”

The first thing we did was take him to our vet.  He was grossly underweight, literally he looked like a victim of a concentration camp, and there was such a bad infection in his face from being beaten that the huge amounts of green drainage continuously ran from his nose.  The infection drainage would dry at night while he slept on our bedroom floor and he would actually have his face stuck to the floor in the morning.

The first week in our home he gained 14 pounds and after hundreds of dollars of vet bills the infection in his face cleared up.

The first month in our house, he shredded two very expensive sofas while we were at work trying to hoard food. It was awful to see how much effort that poor puppy had put into trying to save food for himself. It broke our hearts to think he still feared hunger so much. In our home, Truman always has full dish of food. We never want him to fear hunger again.

Truman was a member of our family and it had been irrefutably established that he had troubles with fabric couch cushions, but did not chew on wood. So, we replaced the damaged sofas with a couple of solid oak antique church pews. My dad once said he never knew when he entered our home whether to just say hello or repent.

A beautiful animal singing.  Notice the church pew Walter is laying on. 

Even after being an innocent recipient of all of that abuse, pain and hunger at the hands of humans, Truman, in all of the nine years that he has been in our home, has never been anything but friendly, loving, loyal, gentle and sweet. I cannot even remember him jumping up on anyone. He has always been my good boy…as opposed to Walter who was our heathen (see blog post Walter’s Obituary).

Truman when he was young, with Walter, laying on one of the sofa’s before it got shredded. 

Truman has grown to be physically one of the most beautiful dogs I have ever seen. He is awesome and massive and walks proud, with his head up and never cowers.  For all of the evil that pup experienced, he always has a look of gentleness in his eyes that is impossible to explain in mere words.  Truman, to me, is the very example of unconditional love and forgiveness.

Truman my buddy during my years of battling Multiple Myeloma.  He was always by me. 

My heart is breaking today.  But, life goes on malignant tumors or not. I have just finished making him homemade chicken soup and cannot wait to have my boy back home.

Come what may I know three things: I love Truman, he is a better person that most human beings and I HATE CANCER…..just saying




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