{ Wednesday, February 23, 2005 }


I visited Steady. He's recovering remarkably well. I stayed as long as the hospital would allow. He might be home as soon as tomorrow, or maybe not. We'll see.

(This isn't to say that I didn't cry most of the way home about my poor boyfriend with his three tubes and shaved belly. I did not, however, cry in his room and that counts a lot.)

I returned home to a voicemail of bad news. Mom told me she'd have dog news around six pm, so at 6:10, I called looking for it. She called me back at home and left a message.

The dog had a scope this morning. And they learned that there is a tumor outside of her stomach, right where the stomach should empty into the intestines. This is the cause of the problems.

Mom said she's going to try to talk to our old vet from Ft Thomas... and somehow somewhere along the way they've got to determine if it's cancer or not. And then I guess the answers will become clearer.

She just kept repeating that they just have to decide what they're gonna do. My mother is not one who really believes in surgeries for dogs (not once they're spayed anyway), but she does keep telling me that Julie still has some spunk and happiness in her. There may yet be hope for the dog to have (expensive, invasive) surgery and come out with a quality of life.

But I suspect that's not how this is going to go down. (please excuse the rest of this entry. I'm sort of in a fit right now)

When I was ten years old, my sister and I got a dog named Tansy. This came at the end of many years of me bringing every leashless dog I encountered home with me and begging to have one of my own. Finally, my father had puppies at his house and my mother relented.

Tansy was a terrible hell-spawn dog, but I loved her anyway. She bit people and broke my hand. And one day, after we'd had her for about four months, three days before my eleventh birthday, Tansy ran away.

I called the pound every day for six months asking if they'd found my dog yet. One day, they told me that I'd have to come down there and see for myself since the report was so outdated...

So, I begged and plead with Mom and she drove us way out into the county to the pound and Tansy was nowhere to be found. Somehow, I think because of the way my little heart was so broken about not finding my dog, we walked out with a big wire hair terrier. We named him Panter.

Panter loved people, loved children, was just adorable. Panter also hated all other animals. He broke through countless screen doors (this was summer and we had no air conditioning) in order to get free and chase and maim the other animals.

Well, he killed the neighbors' cat. And some of its kittens. (He relocated the rest to a storm pipe for later, I guess.)

And then the game warden came to our house to take my dog away.

This is what I'm sure my mother was remembering as she tried to decide how to tell me that my dog might have to die...

I locked myself and my dog in the bathroom (the only locking door in the house) and cried like someone had come to take my arms and legs away. Wailing, screaming, shrieking. The biggest fit I have ever thrown in my entire life.

They were not taking my dog.

Well, the game warden didn't know what to make of this, because I absolutely refused to leave the bathroom until I had been promised that the dog was staying. Somehow, while I was in there, Mom managed to talk him into letting us just find a home for my dog.

Panter moved to Dad's. Dad punctured a lung and was in the hospital for a long time. Shortly thereafter and Panter jumped the fence and ran away in the meantime.

I was inconsolable. Mom swore up and down that we would never have another dog.

And then she went to the grocery store and came home with Julie. The nicest, most docile, obedient, friendly dog you could ever hope to sneak into your bed at night.

She's thirteen years old. She's going blind and she's nearly, if not completely, deaf. She has arthritis, and now I have to pick her up and put her in the bed with me and take her out in the morning when I'm home.

I'm trying really hard not to call Mom right this minute. It's nearly midnight there now and I'm sobbing and it's not going to do me any good to call her and sob into the phone about how I love my dog and I don't want her to be put to sleep. My mother's a hardass and if that or let our pet suffer, it's really better that I let her handle it...

posted by mary ann 9:18 PM