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Penny's Memorial
Donate in Penny's Name
A donation was made in Penny's memory by Kevin C.. Her memorial was created on 10/8/2012.
We would first like to express our sincere gratitude to Penny’s doctors and their associates at WSU Small Animal Clinic, Fairhaven Veterinary Clinic in Bellingham, WA, and South Tyler Animal Clinic in Tyler, Texas. Penny owes her life to them, and we cannot express enough our appreciation for all that they did to help both Penny and us. Your work and efforts made such a difference in Penny’s life (and ours as well.)

Here are a few words we would like to share about Penny:

Two weeks ago our sweet beagle Penny passed away from mast cell cancer. Penny was diagnosed with this cancer 4 years ago and she would have been 13 years old next month. As our friends so kindly expressed their sympathy for our loss of Penny, they would also remind us of how lucky she was to have us in her life so that she was able to live her life to the fullest extent. They would express that without us, and the excellent medical care which we arranged for her to receive, she would not have been able to live the happy long life which she did.

Yes, without us she would not have been able to fight it on her own. However, when I think back on her life with us, and this fight with cancer that she and my husband and I fought together, I think about how my husband and I were the lucky ones to have had Penny in our lives. For without her, we would not have been so clearly reminded about some of life’s most inspiring lessons. Lessons to help us live our lives to the best that it can be.

We adopted Penny when she was 3 years old. We were Penny’s fourth home. She was one of those very sweet dogs that just had the unfortunate luck of being pushed around from one home to another for whatever reason would come up. (Her previous owner was giving her away because he was moving to a house with white carpet! Poor Penny and just another bad excuse for being given away once again.) Once we found her, it was fate that had brought us together. Penny had finally made it to her forever home at long last!

Over the years Penny went on many, many travel trips. She went all over Washington. From there she traveled with us from Washington to Texas, Arizona and Mexico, and all stops in between. When she was on the road she had her very own special seat in the motorhome (her dad built it just for her, so that she could see out) AND she thought SHE was driving! (If that motor was running, her eyes were on the road! Really! SHE was the co-pilot!)

Then four years ago Penny was diagnosed with mast cell cancer. Penny’s cancer originated in her back right leg. Over the course of four years Penny endured surgery, then chemotherapy, leg amputation, and additional chemotherapy. But you couldn’t keep Penny from being Penny. Nothing could stop her. She went on about her business as though nothing had changed.

When the chemo was not working, and we considered amputation, my husband and I were very skeptical. By this time, Penny was 11 years old. Although we did not want to put Penny through such drastic measures, the alternative was just unthinkable to us. We could not imagine discontinuing to do whatever we could to help Penny in fighting the cancer. Although she was 11, on the outside, she still jumped around and appeared to be the image of a dog half her age, in perfect health. At WSU the oncologist and surgeon agreed with us. They were amazed by her spirit and vitality for a dog her age, and with cancer.

Throughout the follow up of her leg amputation and new follow up chemotherapy, Penny continued to press on. After her leg amputation she was walking on the second day (very determined!) Later she would even continue to try to scratch her ear with the missing leg! Nothing could hold her back. She went just as fast on walks, and just as far, pulling on the leash the whole way (still a beagle!) The few bad days she had from the various chemotherapy side effects were very few (I could count them on one hand.) Again, her spirit and drive was remarkable.

Just as with humans going through cancer, Penny had to have regular blood tests to determine if she could continue her chemotherapy. So of course that meant continuous trips to the vet and many, many needle pokes. Yet throughout all of this Penny was still Penny. Her vet made the comment that Penny was one of the few dogs that would always walk through the door like she was actually happy to be there! She never fussed or snapped at anyone. And she continued to be the happy go lucky little beagle that just loved life and everything and everyone around her. It was like she didn’t know anything was different about her with this cancer; but if she did, she knew we were all trying to help her. She knew we were all her own personal cheer team rooting her on!

Near the end, the cancer did unfortunately win out. Until finally one day she no longer had the strength to continue to keep up the good fight. From the beginning of this journey, my husband and I had mentioned to her vet and oncologist that we did not want Penny to be in pain; and we did not want to put her through such extreme measures that she would suffer. But they reassured us that we would know when the time would come to say goodbye; and that Penny would be able to let us know as well. And that she did.

Friends and Penny’s numerous vets have mentioned Penny and said things like,
“Now THIS is a good dog!”,
“I can’t believe it (she is gone). That dog is famous!”
“Penny was not a pet. She was a little person.”
(from her vet) “I will always be the advocate for Penny.”
(from her vet) “Penny has just been the poster child for going through this cancer and doing so well!”
(from her vet)“Penny is a fine example of how a beagle can be 12 years old and still be at a perfect weight!”
(from her vet)“The students (at WSU) can’t believe she is 12 until they look at her chart!”
“Penny is gone for now, but will never be forgotten.”
“Penny will always be a wonderful role model for dogs and humans fighting cancer.”
And finally what all her vets and we would refer to as the indication that things were going well during her treatments by saying, “Penny is just being Penny!”

Penny to my husband, myself, and our friends, was such an inspiration in all our lives. Her drive and happy spirit throughout all her cancer fight somehow reminds us that no matter what is happening now or may lie ahead tomorrow, good or bad, we should live each day to the fullest and live with a positive and caring attitude about our daily life. Many dogs might not have had the spirit and drive that Penny had to continue to want to live. Many dogs might have had a much more difficult time with the side effects of the medical treatments. Penny’s positive spirit helped in both of these instances. Penny loved being here on earth each and every day that she could. She loved life. And we wanted to give her every chance to do that. In turn, she loved us, and inspired us to continue to love and appreciate our own lives even more.

Thank you sweetheart. You are forever in our hearts, and we will love you forever.

Randy & Mandy R.

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