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Cancer is killing everyone, and we've finally realized it. But what good is knowing? No good at all. Instead of saying, "He died, and I don't know why," we can say "He died, and it was cancer's fault." Where is the point in that? We can cut each other up, trying to get rid of the cancer, but that isn't effective. It always comes back. It's just like a bad dream.

My dog died from cancer a few years ago. He was about 6 or 7 years old, and in good health other than the cancer. He was a beautiful golden retriever that my family brought up with the intention of him becoming a seeing eye dog for the lion's club. That never happened though.

So, at the height of his life, he became listless and relatively uninterested in running around. We took him to the vet only to find out that his life was to be cut short. Two options were afforded:

1. Put him out of his misery while he is still happy.
2. Cut him open brutally and try to remove the cancerous areas and hope it goes away.

Of course, we chose the second option, as we couldn't let go of hope. He underwent one surgery, only to need another. The cancer was on his ribs, so they removed those which were "sick" and sewed him up. He had to wear a bandage around his chest for the rest of his life, which wasn't very much longer.

That is not to say that he wasn't happy although he was in pain. We loved him dearly, and I'm sure he knew that, even though some say dogs can't think. He knew he was dying; there's no way he didn't. He couldn't move too fast, or turn sharply. He spent most of his time sleeping and being patted by his family.

After the first surgery, his wound healed and he was without the bandage for a few weeks. His hair even began to grow back. We were optimistic, hoping the cancer wouldn't return. Of course, it did. We were again faced with the same decision, except this time there was less likelihood of his survival. Because he did so well after the first surgery, and our desire to not lose such a wonderful family member, we chose to allow the vet to try again.

After the second surgery, he never fully recovered. His wound never healed. He was even less mobile than before. After another visit with the vet, it became evident that although the surgery efforts were not entirely in vain, increasing his lifespan by 5 or 6 months, they were not going to ensure his survival. We finally opted to have him put to sleep in August of 1998.

My family (father, mother, sister) went to the vet with him on his appointed date of death. I couldn't bear to go, as I, selfishly, knew that I wouldn't be able to handle watching him die, followed by a 45 minute trip to the pet cemetery where he was to be cremated. I said goodbye to him with cheeseburgers and fries from McDonalds before he left.

His ashes were spread in the woods where he liked to play near Cook's Corners in rural Pennsylvania.

Everyone dies, but I wish my best friend, josh would do something about it. He can prevent dog cancer, even treat it, but he won't. What a bastard!

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