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Pofi: Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor Amputation Pofi's long strange trip to becoming a Tripawd dog

May 3, 2018

2 Years Ago Today

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — hester @ 7:59 pm

I’ve been feeling sorrow deeply and keenly today and now I know why. Two years ago today, my beautiful boy, was the first time you had ever had to be away from our home overnight without us. Two years ago today I dropped you at U of MN Small Animal Hospital for your chest x-rays and, when clear, an MRI to map the location and shape of the soft tissue sarcoma peripheral nerve sheath tumor that had hidden in the brachial plexus and eluded all the doctors (so many) for too long.  And then the news that it was large – much larger than your surgeon expected and larger than it would be if this had not been cancer all along.  If it had not been cancer when we went to the e-vet (twice) and our own vets (ten times, maybe more) and when we preemptively amputated your toe (not cancer!) and the specialty consult at the U and multiple PT sessions there as well. All that time. All the times I asked, could this be cancer?  But yours was hidden. Covert. Sneaky.  And you were stoic.  This is one of the things your surgeon said when she was still a bit shell shocked at the MRI – she had been expecting a marble and it was a softball. A softball with tentacles.  And she said to me, “He is a very stoic dog.”

You were supposed to come home and the amputation was to be a few days later.  But the manipulation of your limbs for the diagnostic imaging broke your wall of stoicism.  You were in pain and you could not hide it.  They moved your surgery to the next day and kept you on intravenous pain meds till they could operate, so it was a shock to us all you did not come home. I know now, too, the surgeon knew there was no time to waste. It was already frighteningly close to your spine, but she told me it was still possible to hope she could resect cleanly.  And truly, 4 cm from your spine seemed shockingly close, but she said, “I only need 3 cm to get the margin.” And I thank her for trying, for being confident enough to try. She knew how loved you were and that none of us was ready for you to go. And everyone knew how strong you were – our regular vets, PT vets, everyone.  I wanted to feel there was nothing you could not overcome with our help.

Not having you with us that night and the next few was an empty feeling.  The space you weren’t occupying was vast and, of course, it still is now that you are gone.  As hard as that night was and as sleepless as it was, we still were counting on your strength and will to get us all through this.

I hadn’t discovered Tripawds yet – that was a few weeks off yet, so the knowing friends who would soon be supporting us were not with us yet, but many others were.  You had many, many friends, my beautiful boy.  Many were charmed by you, rooting for you and yes, loved you.  I hope you felt that. It buoyed me.

Everyday is still less than when you were ours as we miss you ceaselessly, but everyday I am grateful you were ours.


  1. Hugs Lisa. I know this day is hard for you. Your boy Pofi was a beautiful boy. We miss him and he was a true warrior.
    Please know we are all thinking of you and Ken.

    Sending lot of love. See you soon

    Michelle & Angel Sassy

    Comment by Michelle — May 3, 2018 @ 8:10 pm

  2. Thank you, M. I know how well you understand.

    Looking forward to seeing you…I need it!


    Comment by hester — May 3, 2018 @ 8:15 pm

  3. Sweet, sweet Pofi ..He who climbed the steps to his porch so soon after surgery even when he wasn’t supposed to, as if he hadn’t just had surgery!…that’s the story I think of the most when I think of Po.
    Anniversary dates are the worst 🙁

    love to you both!

    Comment by midnighter94 — May 3, 2018 @ 10:53 pm

  4. Thank you, Donna. That was a remarkable moment – he provided us with a lot of those. Thank you for remembering him.


    Comment by hester — May 5, 2018 @ 8:45 am

  5. Awe Lisa your story has taught me and I’m sure others so very much. The journey you and Po travelled showed me vets aren’t always right so go with my mommy gut. It showed me especially to learn all I can about the disease because the more you know the more you can ask the right questions and make informed decisions. You are the go to person here for nerve sheath tumors. I can’t even count the people you have helped here with your knowledge. You and the others here have taught me you can go on after loosing your heart ❤️ Dog it’s damn near impossible at first but then you eventually find a way to get through each day. Truly you have shown me what strength looks like! You and the “PO” were brought here for a reason and all our lives are better for that my dear friend. That boys spirit lives on here forever…Pofi will forever be remembered here by us all! Holding you and Ken in my heart everyday but especially on these hardest days. See you soon my friend! Love you!

    Comment by linda8115 — May 4, 2018 @ 8:29 am

  6. Linda:
    You are so right – it was damn near impossible at first. The fact that you and others here remember him and tolerate me when I need to remember him and mourn him really does help. Time away with you all is going to help, too.


    Comment by hester — May 5, 2018 @ 8:48 am

  7. Oh Lisa … HUGS!!! I know how it feels to relive those days / memories / anniversaries. It is like it is permanently etched in our minds. I know that even almost 4 years later to when Shelby and I started our long journey to amputation, I still stop and pause when something triggers the memory.

    I still remember when we first met the majestic Pofi. Instantly, I loved him. I loved his ears. I loved how he looked like a bigger version of JL. And I loved the way you wrote about him. I will never ever forget “Pofi will not be denied summer”. And he was not.

    While I never met him (or many of the dogs here) there are some that for some reason I feel deeply connected to and Pofi was one. There are others of course and I love them all here but I can’t put my finger on it … I was connected to his spirit and to you and Ken.

    He will always be with us … we will always have “summer” and we will always be connected. Sending you love and hugs! I wish I could be there in May but I know our physical paths will cross again in this lifetime.

    alison with spirit shelby in her heart (and little JL too)

    Comment by mom2shelby — May 4, 2018 @ 11:11 am

  8. Alison, your support, as always, and understanding are deeply appreciated. I felt a connection to you and Shelby the first time I saw your blog and that may have been because you responded to mine. And now I feel that connection to JL too. Thank you for everything and for remembering my boy with love and fondness.


    Comment by hester — May 5, 2018 @ 6:44 pm

  9. Oh the memories…..beautiful and heartbreaking. Where would we be without them? It’s hard to not live life with the “what if’s” and “if only’s”; we’re only human, after all, and that is what we do. No one knows how different your lives would be “if only”, or “what if”. The hand you were dealt sucks, but the way you dealt with it is amazing! You truly moved heaven and earth for that boy, never doubt that. I don’t like it, but I have to believe that things play out the way they are meant to; and we may never know, or understand why. Pofi was a beautiful, magnificent Warrior, and the world is a better place for him being in it. My greatest wish is that both our magnificent Warriors are living it up at the bridge, arguing over “who is the handsomest”. Peace and hugs to you and Ken.


    Comment by dobemom — May 4, 2018 @ 11:14 am

  10. Paula, thank you. I hate feeling like I am whining – I tried hard not to when it was all happening, but feel like I do that now. And if a dog mom like you tells me I moved heaven and earth for him, I feel better.

    And there is no doubt Nitro and Pofi would feel a bit “challenged” by each other’s handsomeness, but that would be sort of funny to witness! They would have a pose off, I think…


    Comment by hester — May 5, 2018 @ 6:51 pm

  11. I know it was hard to revisit that day. I spool jopen itnhelpsnyojjmprocess that YOU DID everything possible every step of the way for Pofi. Okay, that’s wishful thinking because we always think we could have done “something”. As you know, the reality is the disease is brutal and still escapes the medical advancements that have “supposedly ” been made.

    As I was becoming tearful for you and with you…BAM….there is one of the best pictures evvvver of one of the most unique dogs evvvver!! Yes, the “space Pofi was not occupying was vast”. But I know your heart is still full of his love, his memories AND his presence!!

    Pofi’s legacy looms large here…..and will forever!!! A piece of his legacy that I mention often to newbies, is what an outstandingly smooth recovery he had and how he mastered up and down those porch steps like a champ!! Those things always stood out to me.

    We salute you Pofi!!! We celebrate you!!! We love yoi!! And we shall ALWAYS remember you!!! Thank you for being you💕

    With .love
    Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

    Comment by benny55 — May 4, 2018 @ 11:15 am

  12. Sally, your cheer always helps me in the rough spots. Thank you for remembering him as beautiful and unique. It truly helps me feel less lonely.

    See you soon,


    Comment by hester — May 5, 2018 @ 6:53 pm

  13. Lisa, what a beautiful post. The sadness that is felt on days like that can be heavy, but when I look at that photo of Pofi, I’m betting that his joyful, loving spirit dried your tears and hugged your heart.

    Thank you for sharing so much of the joys and agony of Pofi’s cancer journey. It wasn’t fair, he left us far too soon. But the wisdom and light that you shared with us with always remain here.

    Love you guys.

    Comment by jerry — May 7, 2018 @ 6:51 pm

  14. I don’t know how I missed replying to this sooner. Thank you so much, Rene and Jim. I am thankful he had a reprieve from the pain he must have had before diagnosis and enjoyed a sunny, happy summer. I owe so much to this group for helping me to focus on the moment and not timeline. Yes, I still wish we had been gifted with more time, and the too sudden close to his life is anguishing. But this community helped me stay focused on his happiness, his quality of life.

    Thank you – forever indebted to you for that.


    Comment by hester — November 23, 2018 @ 11:03 am

  15. Hi Lisa,
    Your post was beautiful. Pofi was such a strikingly beautiful boy who obviously had the personality to match, and was so, so, sooo loved by you and your family. When I first found this family you were one of many who were so kind and helpful to me and that was unbelievably helpful to me (and many others who have found their way here). I know how painful these anniversaries are and you know we are all here for you. Hopefully you are able to look at that sweet face and also feel joy.
    Hugs to you.

    Comment by mysweetted — May 8, 2018 @ 8:14 pm

  16. Hi, Wanada:
    Sorry I was slow to respond – I guess I sort of went into hibernation again for a while. I definitely do also feel joy looking at Pofi’s face – but sometimes it feels like an echo. Pales in comparison to the joy of him in the fur, so to speak, but I do cherish those memories. Being of some support to you and Our Sweet Ted means so much – because people here buoyed me so much.

    Hugs back at you,

    Comment by hester — July 22, 2018 @ 11:17 am

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