Sunday, November 30, 2008
The lighting was totally uncooperative for photos, so this was the only good shot I got of the day, as the low sun came between the slats of the railing and lit up Gus’s white face. He looks just fine in the photo, but there’s something that still not quite right in his health.
It seems very unlikely at this point that he has lymphoma, though the tests weren’t totally conclusive on that score. The fact that his lymph nodes calmed down once he was on antibiotics is really encouraging, but he’s just not himself, especially the last few days. In fact, his lethargy is almost as bad as it was when his nodes were swollen, and he has lumps, almost like bug-bites, in a collection on one hip and scattered a few other places. His eyes still don’t drain quite right, though they seem better. His right eye is still a little swollen, though, so his gaze is slightly lopsided.
He’s also sneezing like crazy if he runs around or sniffs at the ground outside. I’d write it off to a cold if it hadn’t been going on so long.
After ten days of antibiotics, he’s definitely better, but he’s not cured, so we’ll definitely be back at the vet again this week so we can iron this out. It’s just so frustrating that he can’t tell us if his joints ache or if his throat hurts. He can’t tell us if he’s only acting tired because he’s stuffed up or headachy.
He still perked up when I left the house today: he stood by the door and stared at me, which is his normal way of demanding to come along once he’s seen me put shoes on or heard me grab my keys. He’s still eating fairly normally and better than he was a week ago. I’m probably just getting worked up over something fairly minor. Ah well...such is the fate of a dog dad.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Today, though, was a lazy Sunday, so we had the prime daylight hours to spend together in the woods. No need to rush, though the dogs took every opportunity to spring up and down the trail. I, however, strolled and kept a look out for birds. I even spotted a couple of deer off across the meadow. They were downwind, so while the dogs missed them completely, they took off once they smelled us, too fast for me to swap to the telephoto.
I took him to the vet the Friday before last, and she was very concerned about the lymph swelling. She was even more concerned to find that other lymph sites were also moderately swollen. She took needle aspirates (tiny bits of tissue pulled out by a needle) from two lymph sites and sent them out to the lab, along with a blood sample.
She wanted to test for canine lymphosarcoma (lymphoma), which is unpleasantly common in Golden Retrievers. While it’s treatable with chemotherapy, the medicine usually only buys the dog one more good year with a high quality of life. Learning that Gus might be getting a countdown timer was obviously upsetting, and I’ll admit with some embarrassment that I was kind of a wreck about it.
After a stressful weekend last week, we received the results of Gus’s tests, and it looks like he’s in the clear. We’ve started him on antibiotics and the lymph swelling has come down dramatically. His appetite seems to be returning to normal (he’s never been much of an eater), and his energy level is getting back to where it belongs too.
So it was no trouble for him to hop up on the log and stay there for a minute while I snapped a few photos.
Gus is now a middle aged fellow, and though he’s as intense as ever about tennis balls and walks, he never had exactly the kind of silly exuberance I see in Comet. Gus has always seemed so purposeful, so driven, even when all he’s doing is running up and down a trail or a beach, smelling and rolling. He pursues joy like he’s under contract.
Comet, though, lacks either the attention span or the sense of gravitas, or both, and he does everything wholeheartedly, bouncing from smell to smell as the spirit takes him.
Chickadee. He called his little heart out in these reeds, but I didn’t hear any call back.
A lonely Chickadee is a little bit sad, but I hope he had some family up in the high trees.
I’ve spent a long time these last six years teaching this good dog to stay reliably, and I realized that the time might come that he might not be able to obey that particular command.
The reprieve from the lymphoma diagnosis notwithstanding, I was reminded of what brief, bright creatures these dogs are and how powerless we are to call “stay” when we most mean it.
Come what may, though, I’ll always remember my sundog at his best.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
no secret of my feelings for the Bush administration. I’ve been disappointed since the election that put him in office, and I’ve gone from unhappy to disgusted over the last eight years. But history will surely Bush-bash thoroughly over the next few centuries, so there’s no reason for me to do it here, no matter how badly I feel the need to shake him off.
Obama, however, has been my candidate since the primaries, and I’m overjoyed to see him elected.
I borrowed my mom’s camera, a 12MP model one step up from my XTi, as well as her 100x400 lens. I got some great, crisp shots of them frolicking in the autumn woods. Echoes of Peter, Paul, and Mary there, but no mist today.
These photos also have a certain kind of Baywatch flair.
That’s Gus’s wake in the background, not a boat’s.
Skilled hydrodynamics experts will, however, notice Comet’s wake ahead of Gus.