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Deciding when to let go

Kitsune

Member
Wow, I haven't posted on here for years. When I did, it was when Pooka was very young. I smile looking back on some of those posts. She was such a little stinker back then!!

Pooka is almost 4.5 years old now, and tragically, I think she's nearing the end of her life.

Back in May, I noticed a funny bump on her tail. After a lot of back and forth, it was diagnosed as a kind of chromatophoroma (a kind of skin-pigment cancer). My partner and I made the decision to have most of her tail amputated, in the hopes it would stop the mass from spreading. I knew that it wasn't a guarantee, but it seemed like her best chance, and I still stand by that decision.

Unfortunately, this month other masses appeared on both the remaining stump of her tail and on her mouth. Today, the vet took off an additional inch or so of her tail. Apparently some of the muscle was black inside, and the vet had to cut further than initially planned.

We're waiting for results, but I'm not feeling hopeful. Her passing feels more a matter of "when" than "if." I'm already beating myself up about whether the additional amputation was just putting her through more pain (after talking with the vet, it seemed like her best option).

I want to care for her as long as she can enjoy her heat lamp and give us glares and get excited over bugs and fruit. I'm so torn because right now, she's still alert and interested. Even the vet agreed that it's too soon. But if she's constantly blackbeard-ing or not interested in food or looks like she's in pain, then I don't want to put her through that.

For those that have faced this before - when and how do you decide to let go?

I know I haven't posted here in forever, and you don't know me, but I think I've been a pretty good lizard mom. Pooka eats mostly the approved greens (with occasional bugs), she has the right lighting and temperature, and she regularly goes to the vet. And yet her genetics were just against her. Pooka is a gorgeous coral color, but is that the reason for her cancer? Should I have gotten a normal-type dragon, or gone to a different breeder? But then I beat myself up for regretting anything, or resenting the fact that her genetics have been less than perfect.

Anyway - thank you for listening to this long-time stranger. Any thoughts on those with similar experiences would be appreciated.
 

CooperDragon

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
This is sad news to hear. Poor Pooka. 4 and a half is still quite young. It sounds like, as you said, genetics is just against her. I'm usually in the camp of use every resource you have to try and help them, and it sounds like that's what you've done so far. Since this has advanced so much, there may not be much else to do except keep her comfortable. I think you'll notice a change in behavior if she gets really uncomfortable. As long as she is still alert rather than lethargic and black bearding, she still has some good time left. It's hard to say what the right course of action is, but I think you've made the right choices so far. I'd just try to keep her comfortable and give her as much enjoyment as you can going forward.
 

Kitsune

Member
Original Poster
CooperDragon":23j2km3a said:
This is sad news to hear. Poor Pooka. 4 and a half is still quite young. It sounds like, as you said, genetics is just against her. I'm usually in the camp of use every resource you have to try and help them, and it sounds like that's what you've done so far. Since this has advanced so much, there may not be much else to do except keep her comfortable. I think you'll notice a change in behavior if she gets really uncomfortable. As long as she is still alert rather than lethargic and black bearding, she still has some good time left. It's hard to say what the right course of action is, but I think you've made the right choices so far. I'd just try to keep her comfortable and give her as much enjoyment as you can going forward.

Thank you so much, Cooper. I feel like she's slowing down a little, and her stool is getting coming out drier than usual. But she's still moving around the tank, gives us sass when we administer her medicine, and gets excited about blueberries. I think she's probably dealing with some pain, but I don't think she's ready to go yet.

(Ready to go in my mind means not interested in any foods, hardly moving, and black bearding).

Trying to cherish every snuggle we get with her.
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

I am sorry to hear about your little Pooka. It sounds like you have done so much for her. It
is so unfortunate when they fall ill like this.
So if she is active & basking, etc, just keep her comfortable right now. They definitely can
surprise you though.
Just a thought, have you tried CBD oil yet? It is showing a lot of promise for cancer & for
other health issues.
Let us know how she is doing.

Tracie
 

Kitsune

Member
Original Poster
Drache613":reuxlcym said:
Hello,

I am sorry to hear about your little Pooka. It sounds like you have done so much for her. It
is so unfortunate when they fall ill like this.
So if she is active & basking, etc, just keep her comfortable right now. They definitely can
surprise you though.
Just a thought, have you tried CBD oil yet? It is showing a lot of promise for cancer & for
other health issues.
Let us know how she is doing.

Tracie

Thank you, Tracie. Haven't used CBD oil, but our vet does have her on a prescription of Chinese herbs (along with some more standard medicines). Normally alternative medicine is not at all my thing, but the vet basically said that while they don't know how it works, it doesn't seem to hurt, they enjoy the almond taste, and he's seen some beardies hold on a little longer.

Getting to the black beard and not eating food stage, so we'll see what happens next. I just wish Pooka could tell me when she was ready to go, because I hate having to be the one to make the decision for her.

ETA: My fiancé is also struggling with Pooka's decline. This afternoon, he had her out for a cuddle...during which time, she proceeded to poop on his computer :lol: It makes my heart happy that Pooka is her mischievous self, all the way until the end.
 

Kitsune

Member
Original Poster
Update: Pooka passed today.

Yesterday, she started to blackbeard and her eyes were sunken. But even as late as last night, she was crawling around and sniffing my hand.

The truth is I didn't even notice that she had passed until this afternoon, and I'm mortified by that fact. When I looked in her tank this morning, she hadn't moved from the night before, and her eyes were sunken. I could have sworn I put my hand on her sometime this morning and felt her breathing, but maybe I was wrong.

She looked so miserable that this morning, we were on the phone with the vet arranging euthanasia. But when I went to check on her this afternoon, I realized she was stiff, and she had already gone. Apologies for being morbid, but I didn't realize that they could be gone and still have their eyes open.

This is technically the wrong forum, but I'm going to post her tribute here. My fiancé and I lovingly referred to Pooka as the "mayor" of our apartment:

Pooka Lina Boopersnoots Schlichtig Colford was hatched April 27th, 2017. On August 5th of that year, she was elected mayor of Chez Dino. She ran on a campaign of adorableness, combating food insecurity, and a no-nonsense attitude that swiftly propelled her popularity to stratospheric heights.

Affable and pragmatic, Pooka worked tirelessly to find common ground between members of all species on the basis of food. She helped chair the Chomping Committee, and worked as chef de cuisine in addition to her job as mayor of Chez Dino. Her skills as a chef were aided by her considerably wide-ranging palette as she was happy to try anything at least once, including potentially poisonous plants in one particularly anxiety-inducing episode.

In November 2020, she was re-elected for a second term, running with Rosie the rosemary plant as her running mate and winning with 100% of the vote in a strong sign of her popularity.
In addition to her culinary and diplomatic skills, Ms. Boopersnoots tried her hand as a stand-up comedian. Though she usually told jokes that amused only herself, her wide smile and bright eyes brought joy to all who saw her. A master of slapstick and physical comedy, she never considered herself above toilet humor, happily pooping on her father many times throughout her life. Indeed, she gave delightfully few s***s about her parents' protestations, giving them side-eye and 'presents' at the most inopportune times possible, including the 2019 Tony Awards.

While all beardies are born naturally gorgeous, Pooka’s mom is consigned to a required mammal regimen of working out. After the Covid-19 pandemic began, Pooka’s mom started conducting her workouts in the living room, right in front of Pooka’s tank. She could often be heard grunting, “Yeah, well, not all of us are born with perfect beardie bodies!” Pooka never put her judgment into so many words, but she was often confused by the dumbbells constantly flying around her domain.

When out and about on strolls through her constituency, she delighted in getting to the difficult-for-mammals-to-reach parts of Chez Dino. Famously fond of dark places, she was happy to visit the underside of couches and chairs, and in one notable event, the backside of a dresser. A naturally born daredevil, she fearlessly jumped from heights many orders of magnitude her own, be it bed, couch, chair, or desk.

On September 8th, 2021, Mayor Boopersnoots Schlichtig Colford passed in her tank at home. Surrounded by her family and friends, she leaves a legacy of civil, professional, and personal accomplishment. She will be dearly missed and never forgotten.
 

Drache613

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Hello,

OH dear, I am so sorry that you lost your girl, Pooka. :cry: It is the worst feeling in the world,
so heartbreaking. She definitely was not alone, she had you with her.
There is a special forum, for Beardie Memorials that you can place a special tribute to her. You
can make the post as long or short as you would like, it is for her!

My condolences to you & your family.

Tracie
 
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