Last week, our veterinarian told us that our dog may have cancer. At a routine visit, the doctor found a lump on the top of her paw. She seemed concerned and when I asked her what she thought it could be, she looked at my five year old son, then at me, and said, “I’d rather not say.” As in, “I don’t want to be the one to break it to your kid that his dog is going to die”.
The next day, I took our dog back and left her at the vet’s office for x-rays. Back home, without her around, things were so strange. There was no barking when someone walked by, no putting the trash can on top of the refrigerator when I left to run errands, no rolling of my eyes after seeing she had climbed onto my bed for her half-day nap, and I freely left a plate of food on the table when I went to answer the phone. That’s just unheard of in this house.
That night, when we were still waiting to hear the radiologist’s report, my husband and I couldn’t help but look back and talk about the things we’ve been through with her…
Like the time she wrestled a 20 lb., frozen turkey out of the sink and to the floor. I came home, nauseous and pregnant to find bits of that raw bird everywhere.
She once ate a nursing pad, and my husband had to go through her stool for three days to make sure she had passed it. And, another time when she ate a nursing pad I had to induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide, which resulted in something akin to the canine version of the Exorcist right in the middle of my kitchen.
There was the Thanksgiving shortly after she had surgery on her paws, when in the excitement of a road trip, she jumped up and dead-bolted the door with her lampshade collar, as we were outside packing the car…without our keys.
The many instances when my husband has let her off her leash to run, and she immediately heads for the stagnant pond water, then comes home smelling like a dead fish.
And, there’s the time she jumped the fence, at midnight, when it was 15 degrees, snowing, and there was a howling wind. My husband drove around for hours, while I stood outside our front door hoping for a glimpse of her and wondering if she was all alone, freezing to death somewhere. Ah, good times, good times.
The morning after her x-rays, with her back home, we got back to our routine. She barked at cars and smeared nose juice and slobber all over the windows. I shut the bedroom doors so she wouldn’t get on our beds, only to walk into the living room and find her sprawled across the love seat.
Everyone was back to saying, “Watch my food!” if they had to leave the table for any reason, and the fresh fruit on the kitchen counter was pushed back as far as we could get it.
The trash can was up on it’s perch, and I found a knife, spoon and a plate on the floor which she had dragged out of the kitchen sink and licked clean.
That night, we got a call from the vet letting us know her x-rays didn’t show any sign of cancer. I’m so glad she’s okay, because now that I think about it, I’d like to wring her neck.