I sat there in the examination room with Scooter, while he wandered around lobbying for more doggie treats liberally provided by an adoring staff, waiting with guarded anticipation for the return of the vet. She steps back in, nodding in the affirmative, confirming what I had instinctively known all along. His cancer has returned.
Last October we found a lump which we quickly had diagnosed and determined that it was cancerous and needed to be removed. We had the surgery performed almost immediately and were given two treatment options. Chemo or a less invasive herbal regimen. We chose the latter, since chemo was always an option in the event it failed.
Sunday night, while watching TV with Scooter curled up on my lap like every other night, I discovered what appeared to be another lump. Yesterday they confirmed my suspicions. He would require another surgery.
I drove over to the vets this morning although I do not remember anything about the trip as my mind was so preoccupied with today’s impending events. I would glance from time to time at the little ball of fur curled up next to me with his head propped up on the armrest, trusting brown eyes staring right at me. “You’re a good boy” I heard myself say while reaching over to pat him. I know the words of reassurance were for me. Inside I harbored the same feeling of dread that I would if it were me, our bond being that tight.
The vet tech took his leash and began to lead him out one door as I turned to exit through another when he looked back and realized I was not coming with him and attempted to follow me. I quickly left the building after being assured that they would call me as soon as he came out of the anesthesia.
As the day wears on, I go about doing busy work, trying to get my mind off him, unsuccessfully. The house is full of his absence. His favorite squeaky toy lays on the floor by my recliner. He is not there to move from room to room whenever I do. No barking out the windows (keeping the elephants out of the yard as we like to kid). The silence is overwhelming. The house is empty. Sophie, our other dog who is our resident flower child and not given to being demonstrative, or even that visible, goes about her day with her patented calm demeanor. I wish I could do the same.
I know he is in good hands. I know that he will be back tonight with a large shaved spot, multiple stitches, and probably an attitude better then mine. But that doesn’t change anything. I hurt for him. I pray this is the last time he (we) have to go through this. I hope we have licked this vile thing that has encroached upon his little body. Only time will tell. The next few days he will be spoiled rotten, even more then usual. We will watch him, fawn over him, and stack pillows and things on the furniture, discouraging him from jumping and pulling the stitches.
It’s only a dog you say and I can understand that. There are people that don’t care for pets and that’s OK. You may like snakes and I don’t. But to me, he is family. He has established himself in our home and our hearts. That is his job, and he does it well. As silly as it may sound to you , I am his Dad, and I love him like any Dad would love any child.
So now I wait, listening for the phone to ring and for life to start moving again.