Bailey and Suck Doggy
On December 1, 2016, Bailey, our fourth Leonberger, got diagnosed with osteosarcoma. Because the x-ray looked so bad according to the vet, moth eaten bone, he suggested euthanizing Bailey right then. My husband was devastated by the news and refused to do it. He brought Bailey home. The vet told us Bailey wouldn't make it past Christmas

It's now May 2, five months after diagnosis, and Bailey is still alive.

When my husband brought Bailey home, we decided to do whatever it took to make him comfortable for what we figured was the last month on his life.

I started researching osteosarcoma on the internet. I'm an avid researcher. It goes along with my love of writing. I discovered loads of of information yet not many positive outcomes: The untreated dog, no amputation and no radiation or chemotherapy, usually succumbs to the cancer within one month after diagnosis. The odds weren't great for Bailey surviving past Christmas. I wouldn't give up though. I was determined to fined a different way to treat his cancer.

Toward the end of the month, I found an herb called Artemisinin. We ordered some.

Bailey lived until May 7, 2017 when we had to euthanize him. In two days time, he went from doing fairly well to suddenly not doing well at all.

I miss our baby. Bailey was so incredibly special and touched so many people's lives. He helped me cope with PTSD. He had the knack of being able to calm me with his touch on the back of my legs.

Bailey's pictured above around a year old with his favorite new find. He discovered the stuffed dog in our master bedroom closet and dragged it out. It was a present from my husband when I had been hospitalized in 1997 with gall bladder disease. Incidentally, that was the first year we had a Leonberger. His name was Behr. I was concerned that Bailey would destroy the stuffed dog. The only things he removed from it were an ear from sucking on it too much and the stuffing from the hole made by its removal.

We've retired Bailey's suck doggy to a place high up away from any new puppy we get. On it we placed the removed ear and Bailey's other favorite soft toy a bunny. Bailey sucked on that doggy from that day he found it all the way through to two days before he died.

One time he thought that Barnum, our third Leonberger, had taken away his suck doggy. Being the gentleman that he was, Bailey wouldn't just take it back. In reality the suck doggy was only closer to Barnum's pillow. When Bailey was a puppy we taught him "trade up," giving him something better for whatever he had in his mouth. Later he trained us by dropping his favorite toy in our lap in exchange for whatever we were eating. It was always hilarious what Bailey would bring us and it depended upon how tasty and smelly the food was that we were eating. The better the food, the better the toy he offered us. Well this particular day, Bailey decided that he needed to trade up something extra special for his suck doggy. He dragged this gigantic teddy bear behind my chair by one leg over to Barnum. The teddy bear was about twice the size of Bailey and he had to drag it past two chairs and through a narrow passage between the doggy sofa and the chairs. Bailey managed to do it with ease. He brought it right over to Barnum who was still laying on his pillow. The minute Barnum looked at it, Bailey swiped away his suck doggy and climbed onto the doggy sofa with it. Success!

He's sorely missed by all the people who ever met him through the places my husband and I took him. Almost every single person cried when they found out Bailey had cancer. They did the same when he died. One woman who had sat on the floor many times with Bailey and hugged him, broke down and cried.

I cried solid for two weeks and so did my husband. Bailey was the hardest loss we've had yet. I know it's because he touched us so deeply. I'll never forget some of the goofiest things he did as a puppy and still goofier as an older dog. He got sillier as he aged. Bailey was one of the smartest Leonbergers we've had.

Twenty years of living with Leonbergers has taught me one thing: I'll never get another breed of dog.