Those Gilroyans who read my column each month know I have two dogs. I adopted Bailey from a rescue organization six years ago after I saw her photo online and instantly fell in love. Cricket came into my life about two years ago when I found her abandoned on a desolate country road. With rescue dogs, you don’t know what you’re going to get. I don’t know either of my girls’ “real” ages, don’t know their health history, nor what conditions they were born into.
A few months ago, I wrote about Cricket’s ongoing battle with a lump on her leg and how it was a wait-and-see-what-happens situation. Unfortunately, it grew, and earlier this month she had surgery to remove it and have it analyzed.
That dog — like any animal — is a trooper. Despite having a dozen stitches in her little leg, Cricket was up and acting like nothing happened within two days. How are animals so adaptable? If that had been me, I’d probably be complaining and unable to walk.
The histopathology results weren’t good: it’s cancer — an aggressive form that will likely return in the same spot, and may move into her liver or spleen.
There is good news: the veterinarians believe they were able to remove the entire mass, which was initially questionable due to the small area where it was located. But even with the removal, the survival of an animal with this type of cancer averages about two years, with the max (that our vet’s office has ever seen) being five years.
Cricket had her stitches removed yesterday, and she’s doing great — she’s her normal, playful self. She doesn’t know what’s going on, but I do, and that makes it a little difficult. I’ve already decided that I won’t put her through any sort of chemo treatment. She’s been on various meds before and has a tendency to react poorly.
Amputation of her leg is an option down the road, but again, would that be a good decision? Thankfully, I don’t need to make those decisions at this point. For now, the mass is gone and she’s a sweet and happy-go-lucky dog.
What this experience taught me is that there was a reason I took that back country road two years ago when I usually don’t. There was a reason I found that terrified little Pomeranian who refused to let me catch her. There was a reason that — just as I was about to give up — those two cops randomly drove around the corner and helped me rescue her.
We were brought together so that I can take care of her when someone else wouldn’t, to make sure she has what she needs when she needs it. And to make sure she has as much love as possible during her remaining time, regardless of whether it’s two years, five years, or — fingers crossed — beyond.
Andrea “Andi” Joseph worked in newspapers for 18 years before transitioning to her current career as a website content writer and marketer. She lives south of Gilroy with her two dogs, Bailey and Cricket. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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