Day 5: You've got to be kidding me — a tadmouse?

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If you’re Roo and you come down with lymphoma, there is one immediate and priceless benefit: Daddy stops playing the mandolin. The reason for that is in the same family of reasons I brought her north as soon as she was diagnosed, to try to give her as much peace and quiet as possible. Here, in Maine, there will be thunderstorms, but they don’t hit every day or with the ferocity of those in the south. And though the mandolin doesn’t frighten Roo it annoys her.

With everything in the camper quiet, Roo has been able to get some of the sleep she needs, and late last night she looked like she was as relaxed as she was when she was healthy.

Prednisone makes her thirsty, so she has to get up earlier to go out, and this morning, around 7, while she was taking a long pee, her ears went up. A squirrel. She dropped everything and took off after him at high speed. I couldn’t believe it.

She followed the squirrel into the trees where it of course disappeared, but now she decided to check a pile of sticks to see if anyone was hiding there. There was, and she started digging.

“No digging, Chig,” I said. I hated to put a lid on her, but she’s weak and getting exercised now might not be a good idea, even if the swelling in her belly and the lymph glands is all way down.

She listened. She knew it wasn’t a good idea. She came back to the camper, had her breakfast, popped her prednisone and went back to sleep.

A few hours later I clipped her harness on to take her for a short walk down the block. For the first time in a week she wasn’t dragging.

“Hang on a second, Bearface,” I said. I put in a call to the vet to ask how important it was to limit her exercise. I assumed that she should be taking it easy — she’s anemic and on chemo — but did that mean I shouldn’t let her have any fun if she was feeling better? The vet wasn’t there and someone would have to call me back.

“Chuggi Bear Beker,” I said, “let’s go in the car.”

There’s a place where you can park right next to the tadmouse pond, and I drove her there in the hope that a brief taste of the park might improve her outlook after the hellish week she’s been through. She sat in the passenger seat with her ears up when we got there and bolted out of the car when I opened the door. Since her paw surgery in early April she’s been told so many times that she can’t go in the water that instead of just running in the way she normally would she stopped to check with me.

“Okay, Chigi Bear. In the water,” I said, and she ran in and began dunking her head and shaking it around underwater. She felt great.

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The official tadmouse pond is about 200 feet away and she wanted to go there. When we got there, there was a problem. The tadmouses had arrived early this year. I didn’t want Roo to get excited about them and start jumping around. She was happy to see them, and took one dive at one of them, but then just enjoyed prowling in the water and checking the old hunting ground. I let her do this for another ten minutes.

When I told her it was enough she came right out of the water and we left. She wasn’t going to be unreasonable, as she had been in the past (in case you missed the public service announcement about this, click here). She’s the one, after all, who isn’t feeling too hot.

As soon as we were back in the car the phone rang. It was the vet clinic. They said to make sure Roo took it easy. Nothing but short walks on the leash. So, I blew it.

Then again, the whole escapade lasted about 15 minutes, and I think it did Roo a world of good. And the medicine seems to be doing its job. There are many rough days ahead. I didn’t expect an improved one this soon.