Day 17: On the upswing


Roo is feeling much better. She’s not feeling great, but only insofar as she’s still tired and her arm hurts. The chemo meds are not having any visible effect beyond that. Her mood is good. She has starting digging for mouses.

Previously I mentioned my dissatisfaction with the veterinary clinic she went to. Three days ago, when Roo was energetic enough to take a slightly longer walk, I began to survey local dog parents about vets. It’s a sad testament to how toxic the environment, even in a place as clean as Brunswick, Maine, is to dogs. Everyone had a dog with cancer. And everyone agreed on which oncologist to see.

I called her office and left a message. She called right back and spent about ten minutes on the phone — more time that the previous vet had been willing to spend in total — asking questions about Roo. Her background and qualifications are sound. We made an appointment for Roo’s next chemo to be done at her clinic on Friday. She also mentioned something the other vet never did, probably because she didn’t want to waste the time. There is a vaccine for B-cell Lymphoma, the kind Roo has. A dog has to be in remission before it can be administered, but studies show that it can more than double life expectancy. 

The main relief now is that Roo is so much improved. So far, so good. 

A few people on facebook have said in comments that Roo should be put down. I choose those words — put down — because ending the life of a dog just because she’s sick, even if she’s very sick, for a while, when there is every hope that she might return to feeling good enough to enjoy her life again. I find it ridiculous. Of course there’s a time for euthanasia, when there is nothing but misery in a dog’s future. But I don’t know of anyone who would decide that being sick for a while is too much to endure. Roo was sick for a couple of weeks now, terribly sick for some of that time. There were plenty of times when I thought she seemed to be too sick to survive. And I expect more of those. But I also know what a brave dog she is. And I know that she would not want to end her life because of a period of illness. Dogs can handle those. What they shouldn’t be expected to handle is nothing but suffering. So, to those very few of you suggesting I put a speedy end to Roo, forget it. She’s going to get every chance to have as much good time as she can get.

I’ll post on Friday after her next round of chemo at the new vet. The drug that will probably be administered is vincristine, and that didn’t seem to bother Roo the last time around, though it’s hard to tell, because she was feeling bad to begin with.

Until then, if you’re having any trouble sleeping on a real quiet night in the next week or so, take a step outside, turn your face to the northeast, close your eyes, hold your breath and listen as hard as you can. Far off in the long distance you just might hear some clonking and bonking. That’ll be Roo trying to crash her way into her usual sleep corners with her e-collar on. Take it like I am trying to — as one of the good signs.

She can take wearing that collar for a while. She can take being sick for a while. She wouldn’t have it any other way now.

By the way, the accompanying picture was taken exactly two months ago today. Roo was looking a bit grizzled. She looks much better now.