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Grapevine : May 2011
voring his left leg, holding it in the air while eating from his food bowl. I called the president of our group to let her know and she suggested I take him in on Monday for an x-ray. The next day, I noticed a large bump near his hip the size of a golf ball. I took him to the veterinarian and the news was not good. It was osteosar- coma (bone cancer), apparently the most aggressive type of cancer for canines. Due to the proximity of the tumor, it was inoperable. Freedom would live, the vet diagnosed, an- other two to four months. Needless to say, this was devastating news and I was overcome with emotion. I did not feel like drinking, however, I needed AA more than ever. The veterinarian told me that the only thing that could be done at this point was palliative care, to make sure we kept Freedom com- fortable and pain free. At the time, I held two service positions at my home group (chairing meeting and literature rep). Since I live alone and didn’t want to leave Freedom behind in his condition, I started taking him to meetings. The building where our meeting is held has a no dog policy, however, after folks got to know Freedom and his quiet demeanor, he was very wel- comed. One day, while replenishing the chips, I looked over and noticed that Freedom had laid his head on the chip case. I happened to have my camera with me and snapped a picture. I honestly think that some- how Freedom knew the importance of these meetings and the chips we distribute. Freedom’s health continued to decline. He needed more pain medi- cation to keep him comfortable and his limp became more noticeable. He still looked at every day as a gift and wanted to go out for walks and rides in the car. His appetite was slowing and some mornings he would not eat at all. I knew the end was near and did not want to see him suffer. Fellow AA members told me that he would let me know when he’d had enough. I could only pray that that would be the case. Three month’s after his initial diagnosis, he came into my bedroom at 3 a.m ., eyes the size of quarters, his heart racing and breathing rap- idly. He was telling me it was time. I settled him down in my arms and told him it would be alright and that I would not let him suffer anymore. I called the veterinarian at 5 a.m. and we let Freedom go at 6:15 a.m . on November 16 th, 2010. It was a very peaceful process. Freedom touched so many lives in AA that I know I was meant to see him through his last couple of months. I was sad, of course, but he taught me and others so much about life and how to live one day at a time. I will forever be in his debt. Jim C. Boulder, Colo. aagrapevine.org 57 GRAPE_56-57.indd 57 4/4/11 1:03 PM