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Henry, Rico's Dexter (12/20/2007 - 10/4/2015)


a_daerr
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A message to all of Henry's friends, near and afar:
Many of you have followed the story of a shy, red brindle greyhound who entered my life in April 2010. His name, Henry. As a first-time dog owner, I confess that there was nothing particularly special about Henry the first day I met him. I wanted a dog so badly, that within days of closing on my first house, I brought one home. Neither Henry nor I had a clue as to what we were doing. In those beginning stages, having a dog was much harder than I ever anticipated. Accidents in the house, "statuing" on walks, epsiodes of space aggression, and many discussions with my then-boyfriend, Sterling, asking ourselves "can we actually do this?" and "should we give this dog back?" Never having been a person who could admit failure, I spent months, perhaps years, trying to convince Henry (and myself) that I could make it work.
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Henry was a hard sell, but over time, we became a dynamic team. Together, we completed eight different obedience classes, gained therapy-dog status, took vacations, and went on adventures. Henry started to have seizures, then had an accident that caused him to lose half of his tail. He always bounced back. We joked that he acquired more scars in retirement than he ever did on the racetrack. Years went by, and we gave Henry the ultimate Christmas present (or so I thought)- a four-month-old puppy named Truman, of whom Henry would eventually be charged with babysitting, disciplining, and general governance. As time went by, Henry accepted every challenge I placed in front of him, and exceeded them all, always with composure and grace.
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On a cold, snowy Pennsylvania day in late November, three years into our time together, we were faced with our most difficult challenge yet- the big C. After a week of limping, we learned that Henry, only five-years-old at the time, had developed cancer in a back leg. The only way to spare his life was to dive head-first into a treatment plan that included chemotherapy and a gruesome amputation. Sterling and I were heartbroken, but we were still determined to give Henry the best possible chance in the fight. We handed our boy over to a team of doctors and surgeons, and five days later, they gave him back to us- this time fractured and aesthetically less-than-whole, but with the same gentle spirit and an incredible desire to survive.
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Over the next two weeks, we set up a "hospital suite" in our living room for Henry to recover. He combatted brusing, infection, and phantom pains that would make him randomly cry out. It was during this time that I spent many sleepless nights, lying next to Henry on the floor and wondering if we'd done the right thing. With a heavy heart, we trekked him back and forth to chemo appointments- Henry sometimes weak and too sick to eat, or shaved and bruised from endless needle sticks and a plummeting white cell count. Weeks into his rehabilitation, we got a call from the oncologist, relaying a joyful message that Henry's cancer was not technically, not pathologically, the evil osteosarcoma that we had all presumed it to be. It was instead a fibrosarcoma, a lesser type that would be easier to manage and less likely to return.
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To say he simply "recovered" from cancer would be an insult to his memory. Henry adapted to his "three leggedness" in ways that left people speechless. He touched so many lives, everywhere we went. Strangers stopped us on the street, pulled over in their cars, just to interact with Henry. When I put aside my occasional annoyance over not being able to walk down my block without a constant barrage of sideways glances and questions, I had so much pride for my boy. And I confess, secretly, this was my favorite part of being Henry's mom.
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Just as we had gotten comfortable believing Henry beat the beast and would live a normal, cancer-free life, he suddenly started to seem "off." Over a week's time, he was more reluctant to use the stairs, whining more than usual, refusing meals, and having accidents in the house. We took him to the emergency vet twice over the weekend. The first time, the e-vets couldn’t immediately find an issue and suspected soft tissue injury, possibly a small fracture. We continued pressing for more tests, as Henry was rapidly getting worse. After getting an x-ray of his chest, the mystery was solved. He had a large tumor in his chest cavity, revealing that the cancer that took his leg was back in full swing. A preliminary test showed very aggressive, malignant cells, likely hemangiosarcoma. No more treatments, no more options.

 

After coming home from the e-vet, Henry continued to decline through the night. Even with double the amount of Tramadol, he was crying out in pain and could barely stand in the morning. All three of his remaining legs was swollen. The tumor in his chest was drawing fluid, which then began to pool into his legs. I know this is a prosaic thing to say, but he had “the look" in his eyes. It was desperate, pleading. His eyes were also runny a lot over these past two days, maybe some weird post-effect of the cancer or the pain. They looked bloodshot and wet, like he was crying. It absolutely broke my heart to see him that way. Sterling and I talked about our options. We could’ve fed him cheeseburgers, and carried him outside to the bathroom, and continued force-feeding him pain pills to get through a few more days. But the battle was clearly over. He was not going to get better, only worse. I couldn’t bear to see my strong, independent Henry in such a state of defeat. Without hesitation or regret, we called a mobile vet who came and put Henry to sleep at home, on the "big bed," and in the company of his family. Before the vet got here, he enjoyed a huge steak from Texas Roadhouse. We laid with him and stroked his ears. We told him we loved him and would miss him, and that I did my best, and I know that he did his too. As he started to slip out of consciousness, I whispered over and over he was a good boy- an incredible understatement, because he was the best boy.
Henry lived for one year, ten months, and five days following his first cancer diagnosis. The vast majority of that time was pain-free and completely on his own terms. It kills me to know that the tumor in his chest had been rapidly growing for months. But in spite of that, Henry pushed through romps at the dog pool, adventures in hiking, road trips, and endless play sessions with Truman (his puppy) and many other greyhound friends. We were lucky to have been to many GIGs, Grapehounds, and Deweys. Henry was with me when I delivered my Master's thesis, and in Niagara Falls, when dad asked mom, "Will you marry me?" Through everything, he hid his pain well. The end was fast compared to the many beautiful memories we have together.
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As much as I'd like to believe that I "rescued" Henry, I realize now that our relationship was at best symbiotic- many times unequal in respect to his role. Having experienced periods of deep anxiety and depression, I continued getting out of bed in the morning, sometimes with the only motivation of putting food in the dogs' bowls. Because of Henry, I was able to start my own martingale business, become a self-proclaimed quasi-authority on greyhound health and behavior, travel to Spain to join the galgo crusade, and above all, connect with "greyhound people" who would later become lifelong friends. I was able to gain patience and perspective, as I poured my heart into being Henry's mom- something that proved bigger than I would've ever believed possible.

 

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Rest in peace, my beloved Henry. Until we meet again.
Edited by a_daerr
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Such a beautiful love story. May Henry remain in your heart and Sterling's forever as a life well lived. :grouphug

 

Hada the podenco maneta, Georgie Girl (UMR Cordella), Lulu the podenco andaluz, Rita the podenco maneta
Angels: Charlie the iggy,  Mazy (CBR Crazy Girl), Potato, my mystery ibizan girl, Allen (M's Pretty Boy), Percy (Fast But True), Mikey (Doray's Patuti), Pudge le mutt, Tessa the iggy, Possum (Apostle), Gracie (Dusty Lady), Harold (Slatex Harold), "Cousin" Simon our step-iggy, Little Dude the iggy ,Bandit (Bb Blue Jay), Niña the galgo, Wally (Allen Hogg), Thane (Pog Mo Thoine), Oliver (JJ Special Agent), Comet, & Rosie our original mutt.

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I'm so sorry, Alicia. Henry was such a very special guy. I was so hoping that you would all have more time together.

 

See you soon,

 

Love from Iker, Xavi and Robin

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Xavi the galgo and Peter the cat. Missing Iker the galgo ?-Feb.9/19, Treasure (USS Treasure) April 12/01-May 6/13, Phoenix (Hallo Top Son) Dec.14/99-June 4/11 and Loca (Reko Swahili) Oct.9/95 - June 1/09, Allen the boss cat, died late November, 2021, age 19.

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What a beautiful tribute to Henry. He loved his life with you, Sterling and Truman. I am so sorry for your loss. I feel he will be with you in spirit while you continue to have adventures in life.

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The handsome boy Brady, mid-morning nap. The sun, the sun feels so, so, so good.

I can't keep my eyes open ... ... Retirement agrees ...

... and the Diva Ms India, 2001 - 10/16/2009 ....

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You wrote a wonderful tribute to a wonderful hound. No not just a dog, to a friend. I am so very sorry for your loss.

Sorry for butchering the english language. I try to keep the mistakes to a minimum.

 

Nadine with Paddy (Zippy Mullane), Saoirse (Lizzie Be Nice), Abu (Cillowen Abu) and bridge angels Colin (Dessies Hero) and Andy (Riot Officer).

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I'm so sorry and sending you hugs. This story brings tears to my eyes, tears of sadness at his loss mixed with tears of happiness at the wonderful times you two got to share and grow together. What a beautiful remembrance! Run free, sweet Henry! You made many, many friends in your short time here.

Qui me amat, amet et canes meas...et felem.

Olivia (RDs Merrygoround, b. 4/6/07, Gotcha 12/19/11

Chloe (PAR Candice, b. 5/22/08, Gotcha 12/18/12)

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I'm so sorry. Godspeed, handsome Henry.

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Kathy and Q (CRT Qadeer from Fuzzy's Cannon and CRT Bonnie) and
Jane (WW's Aunt Jane from Trent Lee and Aunt M); photos to come.

Missing Silver (5.19.2005-10.27.2016), Tigger (4.5.2007-3.18.2016),
darling Sam (5.10.2000-8.8.2013), Jacey-Kasey (5.19.2003-8.22.2011), and Oreo (1997-3.30.2006)

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I'm so very, very sorry for your loss. Henry was very special. Godspeed sweet boy.

Judy, mom to Darth Vader, Bandita, And Angel

Forever in our hearts, DeeYoGee, Dani, Emmy, Andy, Heart, Saint, Valentino, Arrow, Gee, Bebe, Jilly Bean, Bullitt, Pistol, Junior, Sammie, Joey, Gizmo, Do Bee

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A beautiful tribute for a beautiful boy. I understand your pain, and I'm so sorry Henry had to leave. May you meet again someday. You did good by him Alicia, and he knew that.

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Nancy~Mom to Wizard July 9, 2006 and Lexie June 25, 2009

Always in my heart, my goofy boy Sarge 8-25-04....5-17-11

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Every day that you were together, you both (all) did your best. Beautiful tribute, Alicia, I am so very sorry. :grouphug

 

Godspeed Henry.

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs. :heartThank you, campers. Current enrollees:  Punkin. Annie Oooh M. 

Angels: Pal :heart. Segugio. Sorella (TPGIT). LadyBug. Zeke-aroni. MiMi Sizzle Pants. Gracie. Seamie :heart:brokenheart. (Foster)Sweet. Andy. PaddyALVIN!Mayhem. Bosco. Bruno. Dottie B. Trevor Double-Heart. Bea. Cletus, KLTO. Aiden.

:paw Upon reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

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Special tribute to a very special boy. I'm so sorry he couldn't stay longer.

 

Godspeed, Henry.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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