Death: A Blessing for a Friend to All

Amante, the dog, nose tumorI’ve been blessed yet again. 

My patient Amante came to see me this morning, before he was going to be put to sleep. What an amazing dog.

You see, Amante got a diagnosis, back in November of last year, that he had a tumor in his nasal passage. He’d begun sneezing, then finally sneezed out a piece of tumor, and it was analyzed and found to be a malignancy.

His loving owners were given two options:

  1. Take him to A&M for a month’s worth of radiation for $11,000, or
  2. Three rounds of chemo to see if the tumor would shrink

They opted to do neither. And his “dad” is an MD. That should tell you something about the perceived value of conventional cancer treatment from an expert who lives in that world.

Luckily, I got to be his doctor. Until today. I’m welling up with tears as I think of where he’s been from then till now.

Amante is this bigger than life white German Shepherd, weighing in around 128 pounds. With a heart as big as any I’ve ever met. Always came in with tail wagging, looking for petting, putting his head right in my chest.

He was given a two month death sentence last November. I wasn’t able to work any real miracles with him under homeopathic care, other than bringing a bony hard nasal tumor to soft, spongy, and discharging some. That’s when we got pretty hopeful that he was dissolving this mass, and might  just beat it.

But it wasn’t to be. He had ups and downs, discharging and closing the opening, and the tumor slowly, steadily grew. Until today, when I got to see him and help make the decision about euthanasia.

Friend to all

Amante loomed large in his family. He helped raise four kids, and got to be part of a third generation once a couple of grand kids came into his world. He loved to swim, go for walks, hated thunderstorms, and kept his work-from-home mom constant company. He was friends to the neighborhood dogs and their people. Everyone who knew him was fond of him.

And I got to be his doctor.

But today was inevitable. When the door opened, Amante strode right in and parked his head in my chest as I stroked him and welcomed him once more. His nose and forehead were misshaped by the tumor. He was breathing with a sort of snorting, choking sound at most every breath. But his tail was still fully wagging. Happy, bright soul, loving Amante (means “lover” in Spanish).

Bobbi told me his tumor had broken through the roof of his mouth. And came to see if I’d agree that he should be put to sleep now. Before he really suffered.

As I bent to examine him, I hoped I wouldn’t have to pry his mouth open and upset him by this act. He complied. He raised his head as I caressed him, and panted with his mouth open, showing me clearly, for as long as I needed, the ulcerated tumor on his hard palate.

What a difficult call!

But I had to agree. His parents had decided it was time to call it the end for Amante. I concurred. He was still eating, drinking, wagging, walking, even swimming. But we could see where this was going. And none of us wanted him to suffer.

Although I no longer offer this service, I recommended euthanasia. It would be a blessing to end his life while he still felt good. No need to prolong this till he couldn’t eat, started bleeding, or lost his love of life.

Amante’s family knew a house call veterinarian who would come. Come to where he was on familiar ground. Where he could leave this body that was failing him behind, without the fear of a strange place filled with stainless steel and odors of strange chemicals. Perfect. A blessing.

I only added some arsenicum album, a homeopathic remedy known to help the death process.


So, Amante, you larger than life dog. Fare thee well. You’ll leave us, and we’ll miss you and all your hugeness, your benevolence, your deep lovingness for all you came in contact with. We’ll mourn your passing.

And I got to be your doctor. A truly great fortune.

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Leave a Comment


  1. Allison Peacock on October 20, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Just beautiful!

  2. Natalie Durkin on September 23, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Now that my dear, regal, patriarch, Franklin is on similar territory with a nasal mass of probable malignancy, I too feel connected to Amante. Thank you for sharing his story. I can’t express adequately how much it means to know that others have been down this path– Patient, Owner and Good Doctor. Much love and thanks.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on September 24, 2012 at 3:49 pm

      I’m glad it helps, Natalie. Yes, others have gone before, and still others will surely follow Franklin and you. It does help to be part of a larger community, though, that’s clear. Those who follow the natural path especially need to be in touch with others of like mind so they don’t feel like they are going it alone.

  3. Amy on August 7, 2012 at 9:42 am

    It is always sad to see an animal leave especially when they are so loved. The story reminded me of my girl. When she came to us, the previous owner dutifully vaccinated her. Within a week I had her in for emergency surgery. Apparently there was a prenatal tooth left in her molar. The swelling and tumor had gone up through her nasal cavity within that short amount of time. Talk about a trigger! The dentist went into try to remove the tumor and clipped an artery so had to leave the rest of the tumor in. For months she would deal with this regrowing tumor in her nose and sometimes blood would come through. Homeopathy has helped with this as I no longer see evidence of this.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on August 7, 2012 at 2:38 pm

      Yes, Amy, in their lives and their deaths, animals provide us so much to grow on. I see the animal kingdom as very much a gracious bunch of canaries in the coal mine quite often. A year for a generation instead of the human 18 or so.
      The use of homeopathy in the parent’s generation helping the offspring is one of the most hopeful health models out there.

  4. MICHAEL NICOLAZZO on August 4, 2012 at 8:05 am

    Amante was truly “God’s Blessing” to his loving family and neighbors. In turn, Amante was blessed to have you as his veterinarian. Bravo Will.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on August 4, 2012 at 6:27 pm

      Thanks Dr. Michael. I was the lucky one, to have met him and had a small role in “staying his execution” for several months, though. One of those souls who touched everyone he met.

  5. Melissa Miller on July 31, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    My condolences to Amante’s owners. We learn so much from our animal companions- so much about life, death, love, and compassion. How lucky you were to have him, and how lucky he was to have such caring, brave owners, and a wonderful doctor.