It was September 2011. Spot was an eight year old Pit Bull that came in from one of the shelters we work with, presenting with a limp in her front left leg. An xray revealed a large tumor which required immediate action: amputation. Due to the size and nature of the tumor, the doctor feared what the biopsy results confirmed: osteosarcoma, a malignant cancer of the bones. Spot was a sweet natured dog with a fighting spirit, who patiently allowed us to care for her, keeping her incision clean and helping her learn how to walk with three legs. She quickly became an office favorite as she spent her days recovering with us, but Vanessa, one of our veterinary assistants, became especially fond of the black and white dog. It was clear Vanessa and Spot had a special bond, and it didn’t surprise any of us when she announced that Spot, now named Layla, would be joining Vanessa as a member of her family.
Layla had hit the jackpot! A dog lover to the core, Vanessa gave Layla the life she had always dreamed of and never had. The thin, shy dog quickly gained weight and confidence as she blossomed under Vanessa’s care. Her dingy coat became shiny and bright. Her tail wagged with excitement as she met other dogs and people (showing a special affinity for Pomeranians) and loved car trips, even going to Tennessee with Vanessa’s mom for a fun getaway!
It was clear that Layla had become a princess, reveling in the life every dog deserves and unfortunately so many are not lucky enough to get. She had home cooked meals (with the occasional treat of Crab Rangoon), a warm, soft place to sleep, and more love than she could ever have imagined. She didn’t let the fact that she was missing a leg slow her down, running faster at the park than many of her four legged counterparts. On the days when walking on three legs became difficult, Vanessa pulled Layla in a red wagon, which she loved!
Vanessa knew from the start that her days with Layla would be fewer than she would hope. She knew she was, in many ways, setting herself up for heartache, aware of the aggressive nature of her cancer and the fact that amputation was not so much a cure as a bandaid, slowing the progression of the disease but not stopping it. This didn’t dissuade Vanessa or her family for one moment. Instead they opened up their home and hearts to her, making her final year the best yet. When Layla began to show signs and symptoms of the cancer advancing and her pain became too much to bear, she was laid to rest with her people loving her through her final journey. Vanessa and her family would be the first to tell you that they would do it all again, stating that the heart break at the end was worth all of the joy Layla gave them. As much as they changed Layla’s life, Layla changed theirs, and that is something they will always be thankful for.
Here at Monroe Town and Country, we value our rescue pets and we love our clients’ stories of adoptions, hearing how both the animals and the owners are transformed in the process. We hope to begin telling these stories through our blog, and encourage you to share your stories with us so we can share them with the world. It only seemed fitting that the inaugural story we told was from one of our own. It only seemed fitting that we give Layla the honor of being the first, the sweet Pit Bull that touched us all.