Responding to our urgent call a couple of weeks ago (as they always do), our wonderful Los Angeles-based fosters, America and her mother Maria, pulled little Eli from the shelter on behalf of Harley’s House of Hope. He was terrified, out of time and scheduled to be put to sleep – and in very poor condition.
America and Maria immediately took him to the veterinary hospital for evaluation and life-saving care. While there, via phone, we learned that his medical condition was serious – and we had to make a decision on whether to euthanize him or order tests to try to determine if Eli could possibly have a chance for a future. Of course, we chose the tests and, as it turned out, none were conclusive – but it was clear that Eli had what likely was an aggressive form of cancer.
Soon after, we made arrangements to bring Eli to Colorado where he would see our veterinary team and, with luck, undergo surgery to remove the enormous tumor which hung from his groin area.
It was very hard for Maria, in particular, to let Eli go. She was worried he would arrive in Colorado and our doctors here would make the decision to euthanize him. She also said that, of all the Harley’s House of Hope dogs they’ve cared for, Eli was her favorite. We now realize that Maria may have been the first/only human that Eli ever learned to trust. It was clear that he had led a very hard and sad life prior to landing in the shelter.
Our hearts were aching, too, and we made a promise to Maria. We told her we would do everything in our power to give Eli a chance for health, happiness and a loving rest of his life. And, if it turned out that his cancer was terminal, we would bring him back to Los Angeles so he could spend the rest of his days being loved by Maria.
Eli’s surgery was scheduled for the day immediately following his arrival in Colorado. The 4 hour procedure went well, and soon he was back home with us where we could care for him while awaiting the pathology results.
During the week following the surgery, Eli was healing. He was no longer in pain, he ate well, and we kept him very comfortable. It was obvious that he was emotionally guarded but he still let us rub his ears and, at times, would even wag his tail.
Yesterday, we received the pathology results. Our hearts sank as the doctor explained that Eli had a high grade-3 mast cell cancer which had already metastasized. He might live another three months; possibly as many as six.
We are devastated by this news, but we know that Eli was meant to be rescued from the shelter so he could, for the first time in his life, be cherished and receive the kind of love he deserves … no matter how much time he has left.
So, as promised, we will return Eli to Maria in Los Angeles where he will have the absolute best rest of his life. We are trying not to feel sad for him but instead, happy for the time he has left, and grateful that it will be filled with love and kindness greater than he could have ever imagined. We can’t imagine him in better hands. Thank you, Maria and America, for loving this very special boy. We are so grateful … and we know he will be, too.