I received an e-mail on Friday, May 13, with the subject line "Emergency Photo Shoot". I knew this couldn't be good news. A sweet woman named Stacy had found me online and was desperately needing photos taken of her brother's boxer. Sugar Ray was 8 years old and diagnosed with a very late stage Canine Lymphoma and was very ill. He was scheduled to be put to sleep the next day.
Lymphoma is one of the most common cancers seen in dogs. Although there are breeds that appear to be at increased risk for this disease, lymphoma can affect any dog of any breed at any age. It accounts for 10-20% of all cancers in dogs. Lymphoma is a malignant cancer that involves the lymphoid system. In a healthy animal, the lymphoid system is an important part of the body's immune system defense against infectious agents such as viruses and bacteria. To learn more about canine lymphoma, check out this link: http://www.marvistavet.com/html/canine_lymphoma.html
Stacey's brother was in Mexico on business and could not make it back to the States, however when he heard the diagnosis, he did not want his precious furry son to be in pain any longer. Choosing when to let your pet go is one of the hardest decisions anyone will ever have to make. I can't imagine having to make that kind of decision from across the country and not being able to tell my pet goodbye. But it was quite obvious that Sugar Ray's daddy loved him so much, he made the heartbreaking and selfless choice to free Sugar Ray from his pain.
When I am contacted with a situation like this, my love of animals overpowers everything. I had plans that night, but nothing was more important than documenting this sweet boy. My husband and I met their family at Stone Pillar Winery and Sugar Ray was able to run free around the vineyards with a radiance and happiness surrounding him. I would have never known he was sick. I am confident that Sugar Ray knew his time on earth was ending and looked deep inside himself to find strength and wanted to shine for us all to preserve his warm, loving spirit.
Here is a special video I have created in honor of sweet Sugar Ray. I hope this helps his memory live on forever in all the hearts that he has touched over the years. You were very loved and will be greatly missed, sweet baby. Just click the triangle play button on the bottom left of the video. Be sure to have your sound turned on! You can also see a larger version of the video on Youtube at this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yh0-N_jrCGk