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A few days ago, by pure chance I discovered that Lippa is not well. I was in the pool and saw her from a different angle. One of her breasts was very swollen and it looked to me like it might be a growth. So I thought to monitor her and see how she is doing. She seemed to be quite normal. She was walking and running around, especially with Frisky, was eating well and behaving like a normal, healthy dog does.

What should have alerted me though was the fact that Frisky was sticking to her like glue, and Frisky started going off his food. It never registered till I remembered a story I had read about a woman who discovered that she had cancer because her dog alerted her to it by his behavior. So it looks like Frisky has already diagnosed Lippa. I just have to get it confirmed.

My dilemma is: what do I do? I have decided that I wont have her operated on. The two previous ones I had who passed away did so after being operated on. It is too much of an invasion and the poor dogs go through such a horrible time, I simply cannot let another one go through that. I had nearly decided on that course of inaction when today, just now, I heard her groaning. It broke my heart. She is in pain. I just called the vet. He will come see her today. I am so afraid of what he will say and of the decision that I might be faced with. I cannot endure her pain. God help me make the right decision and help me carry it through and live with its consequences.

Later …

The vet came and gave her a thorough examination and God bless him told me it looks move like an abscess than a tumor. He prescribed antibiotic and anti- inflammatory shots, a cream and a tablet, to be administered over the next 10 days. I should monitor her for that period, and hopefully the growth would start to diminish. It is such a relief because I don’t think I could have withstood hearing her in pain. My tolerance threshold has diminished drastically where the pain of others is concerned, I can no longer stand that.

I am quite relieved that it did not turn out to be a malignancy like I suspected, and am very happy that Frisky turned out to be a rotten diagnostician. Dogs are a joy, they give you years of love and happiness, but when they grow old and their health starts deteriorating, the pain you go through with them is very difficult. They are a member of your family, they have their quirks and their foibles, their likes and dislikes, but a constant, unwavering, all-consuming love for their humans, and this is what finally hurts so much.

My Lippa is 13 years old; she has lived a full life of happiness and care, with her parents and siblings. As she was the smallest in size she was always being put upon by her much larger and much stronger siblings. But hers was always a very docile and lovely nature, she never got into fights of her initiation, but nevertheless was always bitten by others who fought together. Yet she has outlived them all, including her mother. She and her father Caesar are the only ones left of that clan of half a dozen. Caesar is now an old man; he is 14 years old, which is 98 in human years. He has retained his dignity and, thank God, his health. He is still a slim, spry dignified elderly gentleman, the most gentle and loving of dogs. The terrible trio adore him, quite understandably.

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