I was going to write about an annoying thing that happened at daycare last week but then this happened today:
Yep, that's a Cone of Shame.
Jake is a golden retriever/chow mix. His fur is really fluffy when we don't keep him clipped. Many, many inches of voluminous, thick fur. I usually let it get pretty long and crazy before I finally take him to the groomer because DAMN, do you know how much that costs? More than I pay for a haircut, that's for sure.
He got his hair cut on Saturday and when he came home Chris announced that the dog had a tumor and all I could think about is that scene in Kindergarten Cop where Arnold Schwartzenegger is all, "It's not a tumah!" They hadn't even walked all the way into the house and I was rolling my eyes at whatever new knobby-tiny thing Jake has that Chris had declared a TUMOR, of all the crazy things. Dude, IT'S NOT A TUMAH.
And then I saw the freshly clipped dog and HOLY SHIT there was a tumor-y mass type thing, right there on his hind leg and my God it is the size of a plum. Maybe a peach. At least the size of my fist. It is significant. I thought, "The dog has a tumor."
We felt very badly at first. We seemed to be terrible dog parents: our dog has a tumor-y mass type thing (TMTT) that is huge on his leg and we...didn't ever notice it? GAH! That's awful. And yet, I am not in the habit of petting Jake on his back leg, towards the upper inside of it and his fur DID cover it up. He's been eating and drinking normally, running and jumping and playing. He lays on that leg and runs up and down the stairs. He hasn't been MESSING with it. Plus, he was just at the vet last December AND he had a haircut then too and that TMTT? Was not there, at all, four months ago. In fact, his bloodwork was pronounced perfect and everyone at the vet's office thought he was half his age. (Jake is 14!)
Maybe he got bit? By a...snake or something? Perhaps? We don't know much, but we do know that a trip to the vet is in order. We secure the first available appointment which ended up being Wednesday. If it wasn't bothering him before, we can wait until then to get it checked out.
Sometime while we were at work today, Jake licked all of the remaining fur off the TMTT and it started to bleed. Chris came home to two bloodstains in the middle of the living room carpet (always the MIDDLE of the carpet) and a dog that looked miserable. He was able to get squeezed in at the vet this afternoon, between apppintments. Claire and I get home and I have to talk to Claire about Jake's boo-boo and how he will go to the doctor today to get it fixed and it might hurt but it's okay. She pets him on the head and says, a million times, "It's okay Jake. You go to doctor and she fix your boo-boo. Boo-boo be okay."
Even after that pep talk, Claire bursts into tears when they leave. She whimpers, "I want Jake be okay!" I try not to get worked up about what news he might come home with. I just hope he comes home with the dog.
While Claire and I play outside with the water table, Chris learns that yep, that's a weird TMTT and it should be surgically removed and, hard to say for sure, but in the vet's experience and based on its location, size and speed of growth, TMTT is probably actually a legit tumor and probably cancer of some sort. He might be able to tell more once he removes it and we can send it to a pathology lab to find out for sure what it is. But, he warns us that it may not be worthwhile depending on what we would DO with the information the pathology lab gives us.
If it's cancer are we going to pursue chemo and radiation? Probably not. If it's not cancer and it's benign? We just spent $150 - $200 to find out nothing and do nothing. Huh. Probably don't bother sending a sample to the path lab then, doc.
It will cost $700 - $900 by the time this week is over to take care of Jake and the (probably) cancerous mass on his leg that is bleeding. After that, it's anyone's guess as to how much longer he'll be a part of the family. He doesn't appear to be in pain, which is the most important thing to me, and I'm hoping that simply removing the mass will make him more comfortable from a licking/bleeding standpoint. At the very least, we can't allow the tumor to stay put and get bigger and, in the meantime, let him keep licking it and bleeding all over the carpet.
I'm not sure that Jake is dying or really, what the exact deal with Jake is right now. It seems pretty clear that he may not be around as long as I was thinking he would be. The signs are all there: he's an elderly animal that can't see as well, can't hear as well, can't walk as far and is a lot less energetic than he was seven years ago when I first met him. He's our buddy, but he's our elderly buddy.
I don't WANT to say goodbye to him (obviously!) but for the past few years Chris and I have been asking ourselves just how much longer he's got. I'm not really sure how I'm supposed to feel about this. On the one hand, he's an older dog and this is expected. On the other hand, HE'S MY DOG.
I suppose if you keep asking the universe a question, the answer will eventually present itself. Too bad it's kind of a shitty answer today.