On Saturday, September 8, 2018, my family picked up Midge, the Black and Tan Coonhound, from a rendezvous in northwest Indiana. I've attached the photo that Ms. Daugherty sent me the day that Midge learned the news of the commutation of what was otherwise a guaranteed death sentence.
On November 14, 2019, her head in our hands, she died after suffering what our family vet surmised was a stroke or aneurysm resulting from Midge's ongoing treatment for Stage 4 lymphoma. Diagnosed initially with lymphoma in June, Midge had jolly-dogged cancer into remission by July, breezing through the most common chemotherapy protocol. Chicago's Printers Row neighborhood smiled daily at Midge as its very own cartoon character, in the flesh, sauntering up and down its streets and terrorizing its lazy squirrels!
When remission ended sooner than expected this September, Chicago's top canine oncologist hurled an aggressive new chemotherapy at Midge. Without missing a wag, Midge again tamped down the tumors and swallowed the pharmaceuticals prescribed to maximize her energy, appetite, and organ functions. Bill and I admitted to each other just once that we were buying Midge borrowed time, but we all had bonded so deeply, and she continued to settle into home life. We adjusted schedules around her regimen so everything seemed normal; even our geriatric Anatolian Shepherd went along for Midge's check-ups. For her part, Midge fought to be first in the door of our neighborhood vet hospital, which worked in tandem with the oncology clinic.
Given the foregoing, it is hard to explain how shocking today has been. Midge trotted floatingly on her walk last night, and stood placidly for her feet to be wiped down post-walk this morning. We never let her experience pain from illness. The only time she expressed fear was today, when she dropped suddenly to the floor. We swooped her in arms and raced her to our family vet, who raised an option for trauma heroics at Chicago's mega-vet hospital. Given the circumstances of Midge's immuno depletion and worse-by-the-hour prognosis, we knew she deserved a gentler and more loving good-bye in a familiar place, with those she trusted and relied on.
Please know that Bill and I mourn bitterly the dimming of the bright, floppy-eared light that you brought into our lives, and curse the unfair brevity of her stay. I am reminded of what Ms. Schlegel wrote me, days before we took possession of Midge:
"I feel if anyone gives these rescue dogs one day of a great life it is so important.
They give us ten fold.
Thanks so much"
God bless you and all of those brave and happy souls you work to save.
Linda J. Jakubs (and Bill Wigoda)