This is a tough blog to write as I'm in a very reflective mood. In my previous blog I was busy moaning how the year had got off to a bad start. Whingeing about a lost phone and a punctured tyre. Now those things seem to pale off into insignificance with what's happened since then. A lost phone can be replaced, a punctured tyre can be replaced, but a life, that can't be replaced and a dog certainly can't be replaced. I have three dogs of the same breed, yes they have similar characteristics and traits but each of their personalities and characters are unique.
So since my last blog, my Dad had a heart attack which was a total shock to everyone and completely out of the blue. After a ten day stint in hospital and surgery, I'm pleased to say he's home and recovering.
While Dad was in hospital, I noticed a little problem with my boy Buddy-Love. He had had a couple of little poop accidents indoors a few days previously which is extremely unlike him. He is always such a very clean boy so my suspicions were raised. I did think perhaps he had picked up on my heightened emotional state and the fact that I'd been leaving him a lot with the girls with the many hospital trips back and forth day and night. Never underestimate how dogs are so sensitive to any change of routine.
However, the next day he had started chewing his back end so I thought this could be two things; either fleas or anal glands. No sign of fleas so I expressed his anal glands (sorry if you're eating while reading this!). On doing so, he cried out a little in pain, so obvious something was up. Vet appointment made for the same day.
The Vet didn't seem overly concerned which is more than I can say for Buddy! He was clearly uncomfortable because even the lure of the peanut butter jar wasn't enough..........he really didn't want the Vet going anywhere near him. She did though and said it was clearly sore and she could feel a small lump which was probably inflammation. So we were given a week's worth of steroids and asked to return.
After a couple of days of steroids, he seemed absolutely fine and had not chewed at his backside since. So the week goes by and we go back to the Vet. I wasn't really prepared for the next step as I had stupidly assumed that it was some kind of anal gland infection or something. The Vet examined him again, which was much easier this time and she said he was clearly more comfortable but................there's still a lump there.
Now lumps in the anal gland area are not good. They're extremely rare apparently (trust Bud!) and are nearly always malignant. He was booked in Friday to have a biopsy and a blood test (she wanted to see if his blood had high calcium).
Friday morning arrives, the toughest of all things today is not only Bud spending hours at the Vet but not being able to give him breakfast. Now we always have "Fishy Friday" and it's their favourite day of the week. I think they should really be cats because they all love their fish so much! I decide I have to starve the three of them otherwise there's going to be a fight. They all then spend the morning wandering around following me just looking as if to say "ermmmm haven't you forgotten something Mummy?"
We get to the Vets and she explains what she's going to do. She also says she's going to do an x-ray as well as blood tests while he's under so they can see if there's any obvious mass on the lymph nodes, which again is quite common with this type of condition. I know all of this because the night before I've done the usual Doctor Google which I really don't recommend and is the reason I had about four hours sleep!
Friday late afternoon (feels like I've been waiting an eternity!), a phone call from the Vet. He's fine, having a little snooze (no change there then). Several biopsies taken, blood test done. He has a couple of small bladder stones which would indicate high calcium levels but that will be confirmed when the blood test results are back. Good news is the x-ray showed no signs of it having spread to his lymph nodes. Apparently my diligence means it has been caught early if it is something nasty and it is currently around 2cm in diameter. Vet explains these things grow and spread very quickly so as soon as we have the results we will need to act. Surgery is the option whether it's benign or malignant otherwise it will grow and grow and make it very uncomfortable for him to go to the loo. The Vet says she is treating it as malignant until she knows otherwise. So I ask her if it is and he has it cut out what is the prognosis. Apparently we're looking at average survival rate after removal of ten months. My heart sinks..................I can't believe I could only have him for a matter of months. Mr Furry says we don't know yet that it's malignant and if it isn't and it's removed then problem solved but, I am preparing myself for the worst.
Now I have a very long wait to get these results. I'm hoping it's going to be middle of the week rather than the end and there's no doubt I'll be jumping to answer my phone all week.
So Friday night, I start to reflect on my boy's life. This wasn't meant to happen yet. I thought I had at least another few years with him. Will he make his 10th birthday in July? Mr Furry says if the average life span of a Basset Hound is 10-12 that means that some must have died much younger and some lived much longer to make the average. Sure enough, I take a delivery in and the DPD Driver noticing all my Basset paraphernalia says he's just lost his Basset Hound a couple of months ago at the age of two with a brain tumour. How devastating is that? I'm finding it hard enough with a nine year old dog, at two I couldn't imagine. Saying that, we had a very close call with a one year old Peach where we almost lost her due to Seasonal Canine Illness. I read an article the other day about a family that had lost their fifteen week old puppy after it had contracted Leptospirosis at a local park in Shoreham.
Whether your dog is fifteen weeks, two years old, nine years old or sixteen years old, the pain is the same. It's heartbreaking. Does it stop you from having them? I've heard so many times people say to me that they won't have another dog because it's too painful to lose them. I can't understand that, yes it's painful but for all the joy they give you while they're here, however long that is, it's a pay off for that pain. I did think having two or three dogs instead of just one would make it less painful but I suspect now that I'm wrong on that too. The girls spent all day Friday looking out of the window for Bud which upset me because as and when something does happen to him, they're going to miss him too.
So go off now and give your dogs a massive hug and enjoy every moment you have with them. When I said I was reflective, I meant it, I've looked back over all the photos I have of Bud, all the stories I have about him, all the places I've taken him. He's had a wonderful life and I'm so proud of that. I've done everything I can for him and the Vet said that there was nothing else I could have done. This is of course assuming that this is the worst but, as I said earlier, I'm preparing myself. Mr Furry says all the time to me don't keep telling them off or shouting at them for being naughty because one day you'll long for them to be naughty just one more time and they won't be here. So whether they've stolen someones lunch, raided the bin and eaten something they shouldn't, jumped up at the worktop and stolen a whole birthday cake, chewed up your favourite cushion, chased the cat, ran off in the opposite direction, rolled in fox poo or eaten horse poo, enjoy it, enjoy every minute of it because that is their life however long or short it is.
Much love Sally xx