We winced. We hoped. We cried. How did we get so attached in so short a time? A dog that was left so alone as she struggled to survive, at last felt the warmth of a loving embrace from the hearts of caring people that stretch across Central New York. Angel the abandoned black lab from Cayuga County will long be remembered as much for what she gave in her final days of life as for what her owner did not give her as illness overcame her.
A Saturday morning call to 911 brought Town of Conquest Animal Control Officers Diane and Dave Matthews into Angel TMs world. They brought light where darkness surely ruled. Angel was left on a country road. She was thirsty, hungry and hurt. The Matthews gave her water, food and care. They reached out for help in finding the owner who inflicted this cruelty. He has not been found. But, the Matthews did discover a path to get Angel the best chance possible to survive.
Their e-mail to me asked for help bringing attention to one of the worst cases of cruelty they had seen in years. Angel TMs foreleg had an infected, necrotic and open wound. They got the attention from CNYCentral over the air and online. The photos and video made us wince. They also got the help of the Shamrock Animal Fund and its supporters.
That combination of forces changed Angel TMs course of care from a scheduled amputation in Auburn to an appointment at Cornell University TMs Veterinary Hospital. Her veterinarian blessed the move knowing it gave her a chance. Cornell assessed and tested. Angel TMs leg was bad and needed to come off, but it was the tumor under her neck that was troubling.
An intense 24 hours at Cornell began with hope. Her strength and energy seemed to slightly improve. A preliminary test raised doubts whether the tumor was malignant. People from places like Liverpool, Kirkville, Oswego, Port Byron, Cortland and Syracuse donated online at Shamrockanimalfund.com. They sent checks in the mail. The letters attached were enough to bring tears especially the one handwritten note that accompanied a modest donation. It simply read, I wish I could do more. I hope Angel makes it. God bless you.
A dog who had no family had been adopted by us all. She had no one and nothing. Suddenly she had everything, except a healthy body. One day after arriving at Cornell the critical biopsy revealed the tumor was a Squamos Cell Carcinoma. It likely travelled through her lymph from another carcinoma near her paw that Angel had gnawed away. Taking the leg, resecting the tumor were possibilities, but not a cure for cancer.
The Matthews, the Shamrock Animal Fund and the veterinary staff at Cornell reached an agreement through the tears of knowing the end was near. The most humane treatment for Angel was making her comfortable and putting her down. Her doctor described it as what TMs best for her.
Diane and Dave Matthews from Conquest and Jamie Pomilio-Mulcahy from the Shamrock Animal Fund made the drive to Ithaca to say goodbye. Jamie brought a new pink collar and blanket so Angel could go out in style. There were kisses and pets. One last look into Angel TMs big warm eyes. There were tears and sniffling noses in a room full of people who just days before had no connection to Angel, but now felt an inexplicable bond. As quickly as she entered their lives| she was gone.
Her rest is well earned. Her pain is over. Her legacy is lasting. Sweet dreams, Angel. Sweet dreams.
Any questions or comment please forward them to mattsmemo@CNYcentral.com . I may even use some of your thoughts on NBC 3 News at 5:00, the 10:00 News on CW6 or on CNYcentral.com.
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