The Daily Atticus

Atticus Finch Andrews: October 21, 2001-May 29, 2015
May 30, 2015, 12:00 pm
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Atticus watches the sun set over the Cascade Mountains
at Pine Mountain Observatory on July 2, 2012.

Atticus Finch Andrews died last night at the age of 13, surrounded by family and friends in his backyard. He had experienced a decline in mobility over the last year due to a growing sarcoma on his leg and arthritis, but remained happy and relatively active until Thursday evening when he fell seriously ill. Symptoms suggest he was bleeding internally from a ruptured tumor—it’s possible the leg tumor had metastasized to the spleen or liver, or he may have been suffering from an undiagnosed hemangiosarcoma.

A more lengthy obituary may be posted at a later time.

Please share your favorite memories of Atticus here, whether you only knew him through The Daily Atticus or if you had the pleasure of knowing him in person.

Donations in Atticus’ name can be made to any of the following worthy endeavors:
Clackamas Dogs Foundation
Oregon Humane Society
Compassionate Care Home Pet Services
• DoveLewis


Unfortunate News: Atticus Has Cancer
June 7, 2014, 12:00 pm
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20140607-083528.jpg WARNING: Get your handkerchief.

We’ve got some bad news to report today: Atticus has a confirmed sarcoma in his right leg. Just before his semi-annual checkup in March a new lump appeared on the inside of his right knee, a mirror of the fatty tumor on the inside of his left knee. However, the new lump more than doubled in size within the course of two months, leading to another vet appointment earlier this week.

Atticus, as most older dogs, has developed a series of lumps over the years, and he has gotten used to doing needle aspirations. Most of these lumps have been fatty tumors. Each time in the past, the aspirate has appeared on the glass slide as small chunks of white cells, barely visible. This time, though, the aspirate was much more messy and bloody, suggesting an aggressive cancerous tumor. Even before the slides were sent out, everyone in the room was pessimistic about what the results would be.

These type of tumors are tough to completely scrape out, especially in places like the knee, where it co-mingles with lots of different type of tissue. Leg amputation might be a choice for a younger dog, but Atticus has also been getting arthritic—a longer recovery from an amputation plus making the remaining leg work harder would likely just prolong his suffering. He has suffered enough over the last decade due to his allergies.

According to the vet, soft tissue sarcomas generally grow for a time but can stabilize—they could even be stable for up to a year. At some point though they rupture at the skin. This is also when they metastasize to organs like the lungs and liver. The skin rupture means the dog will end up nursing the wound, and the alternative is putting an Elizabethan collar on for a prolonged period—but the wound will never actually heal. This means that when the wound ruptures, it’s about time for the dog to be gently walked to the rainbow bridge.

Atticus’ friends and family were devastated. Rest assured that Atticus is still active and happy, although his days of hiking and camping have probably drawn to a close.

Atticus has had an incredible life, and his family and friends will make sure the remaining months, or weeks, or however long, are just as happy as the previous 12.5 years have been. Atticus will leave this world knowing how incredibly loved he is.