Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Man's Best Friend in Life and Death - Tosca (R.I.P.)

Tosca came to Noah’s Ark in a most unusual way.

Remember the little dirt track outside Noah's Ark? Along that track, pass the huge plantation on both sides; at the very end, lies a Chinese cemetery.One night in the Hungry Ghost month of 2006, Raymund heard a dog howling it’s heart out. It sounded so heart breaking that Raymund was moved to unravel the mystery dog behind it.

There, he saw a bull mastiff guarding a newly setup grave. The dog was keeping vigil at his deceased master's grave. Every night, Raymund would hear the dog’s howl, breaking the peaceful silence surrounding the Sanctuary of Noah’s Ark.

Raymund half wondered if the bull mastiff was a ghost. The dog refused to leave the grave, so Raymund went to feed it daily.

Each night, the dog would howl without fail and subsequently, the howling got softer & softer and finally reduced to whimpering. After several nights, the dog followed Raymund home to Noah’s Ark.

That was how Tosca came to be a resident in Noah's Ark.

He was named “Tosca” after a character in a Puccini opera of a lover who was faithful to his lover even in death.

Tosca was an imposing beast – big in size and affection. Many visitors were wary of this huge dog with a menacing look. Those who overcame their fear grew attached to him, and give this gentle giant a scratch between the ears each time they visited which Tosca loved.

Tosca would amble over to meet visitors and stand still while people patted him. He loved to bask in their attention. He was great with children after juniors overcame their initial fear of the big dog and they would scramble to take a photo with him to show off to their friends.

Tosca loved having visitors and would follow them around the sanctuary. You could see it in his eyes that his heart leaped with joy in the company of visitors, especially older men. These men probably reminded Tosca of his beloved deceased master.

In early 2006, a growth appeared on his right front leg. The growth grew quickly and Raymund sent Tosca to the vet. Blood tests revealed osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer commonly found in big dogs. It was also discovered that the cancerous cells had also spread to his lungs.

The diagnosis was bleak. The advice was for Tosca be euthanized to avoid pain and suffering. The tumor grew larger and soon Tosca had to limp. Despite the pain, Tosca remained his lively self and enjoyed a healthy appetite.

Quality of life, living and dying in dignity and love is what Noah's Ark is all about. Raymund decided to postpone putting him down and set forth to research alternative and traditional methods for a cure or treatment to stop or slow down the spread of the cancerous cells.

Research & persistence finally paid off when he learnt of a traditional Jamu herb of reputable anti-carcinogenic properties which was only available in Batu Pahat. Raymund made several trips to Batu Pahat in search of this herb and finally, after numerous enquiries and footwork, found it in a tonic form. He bought 10 bottles and started Tosca on this herbal tonic and homeopathy.

After two months, Raymund took Tosca back to the vet for more tests; X-rays revealed the cancerous cells in the lungs had cleared! Amazing!!

Encouraged by the results, Raymund persevered with the treatment. Another two months later, Tosca's third x-ray showed that his lungs continued to remain clear and the cancerous cells were contained in the original spot on the leg. Tosca was coping well and everyone was jubilant.

In the wee hours of 19 January 2007, Tosca woke Raymund up with loud barking. When Raymund went downstairs, Tosca crawled onto his own mattress.

Raymund sat there beside him, knowing that it was time to part. Fifteen minutes later, Tosca heeded the call to another sanctuary higher up in the sky.

Tosca's departure left a huge empty space in the hearts of those who knew him; of a dog who was a shining example of enduring love and faith.

Could we as Homo Sapiens, a breed far more intelligent than mammals, fare better?

Rest in Peace my dear Tosca. You are indeed a man's best friend in life and death.

No comments:

Beneficiary of Animal Merchandise :)

Noah's Ark CARES Supporters