In our Pets Issue earlier this month, editor Jeffrey Billman told you about his dog Belle, who is battling an aggressive form of cancer. 

“I just wanted you to know I read your beautiful piece on Belle,” writes Anna Yount. “It brought tears to my eyes. Belle and [her brother] Sebastian are sure lucky to have you. Please know we are thinking and praying for years together. She is beautiful. Stay strong, Belle!”

Ashley Ayscue adds: “Thank you for sharing this beautifully written story. I share a very similar one—same Dr. Arthur [of Triangle Veterinary Referral Hospital], same Palladia, different cancer, same realization that every day is a gift. You expressed all the words I wouldn’t have been able to.”

“I read your story about Belle,” writes Michael Barnes. “I am so sorry. It is so unrelentingly hard. It brought tears to my eyes. Again. We had a beagle, Django. We adopted him on January 14, 2014. On April 26, 2016, he started to intermittently lose his appetite. Over the next couple of weeks, he somewhat regained his appetite, but then other symptoms started to appear. On May 25, we took him to Veterinary Specialty Hospital in Cary. Ultrasound, blood tests, etc. On May 27, his vet did exploratory surgery. The cancer was widespread. We had to let him go. He was eight years old. 

“He had walked in the door of the vet’s office that last morning wagging his tail and greeting everybody the way he always did, though we could tell he was in some discomfort. Our vet told us that pack animals will hide their symptoms as much as they can, but, given the state of his organs, she said he was certainly in a lot of pain. That’s maybe the hardest part. I had no idea. Neither did his vet.

“But there was a bright spot. We mentioned to the vet tech on duty the day we took him for his ultrasound that we had adopted him from the vet tech program at Central Carolina Community College in 2014. She said she had graduated from there in 2013. I said, ‘Oh, then you might have met this dog. His name before we adopted him was Lennon.’ Her jaw dropped, and when she recovered, she said, ‘In the program, each student is assigned one dog and one cat for the second year. Lennon was my dog when I was in school.’ So they had a chance to get reacquainted before he left us. I treasure that moment.”

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