This post was written by guest author Kristen Martin. Please visit Kristen over on her blog at Who’s Your Audience – Stream of Consciousness.
Wellington – the Black Lab / Chow Mix
Wellington is an eight-year-old black lab/chow chow mix with the sweetest disposition. I have had the honor of his companionship going on three years now. He’s the best friend to our beagle, Fred. In fact, since the day Wellington and Fred met, they have been inseparable…until today. Since I’ve known him, Wellington has had a lipoma on his side. For those of you who don’t know, a lipoma is a benign neoplasm made up of well-differentiated adipocytes. In layman terms, it’s a big fatty tumor! Generally, these lumps are noncancerous but there are some types that can become cancerous.
We had our veterinarian look at it every year and every year, the old farmer would tell us that it’s benign and Wellington is just a farm dog so leave it be. We joked about it and started calling it Clifford because Wellington’s Clifford doll disappeared one day never to be seen again. We figured he must have eaten it…hence the lump. But over the past year, Clifford ballooned to the size of a basketball! This year, a younger vet in the practice gave Wellington his shots and was very alarmed by the sheer size of the tumor. He advised that we see a specialist and have it removed. I agreed to a consult but was reluctant to have Wellington undergo what seemed to be a major surgery. A couple of years prior, my 15-year-old beagle, Buddy, underwent surgery and died three days later. Consequently—and understandably—I hesitate to let any of my loved ones undergo the knife (or more probably, the laser). Needless to say, when Robert and I noticed that Wellington’s gait was affected, we decided it was time.
Robert took Wellington in to Dr H’s office this morning expecting that we may have to proceed with surgery over the next month or so. Surprisingly, Dr H said it would be no problem and that he could take care of it today! His confidence gave me confidence and I agreed. Two hours ago, Robert spoke to Dr H who said that Wellington was doing fine. I will pick him up in a few hours, probably groggy, shaved, and grumpy. We’ve been advised that he will have a couple of drains that will stay in for about five days. Stitches will come out in about 10 days. Hopefully after a few weeks, though, he will feel like a spring chicken again. I know Clifford was probably getting heavy and may have been wearing on his hips…the price of some friendships!
Fred – The Beagle
On a side note, we had quite an adventure getting Wellington to the veterinarian’s office this morning. I was unpacking at around 6:45 this morning. I had just arrived from a business trip in Chicago the prior evening around 11:30 p.m. and wanted to get organized before work. I looked over at Fred, who was sitting on the floor of my closet, and noticed that he was having problems moving. He has a long low back and occasionally, it goes out. He had no control over his back legs and was shaking considerably. I got a towel and put it underneath him as oftentimes he loses his faculties when an episode like this occurs. I guess he got himself so worked up that he made himself sick because he ended up vomiting all over the towel.
I finally got him calmed down and he was able to walk (usually if you just give it time, the spine will work itself out and unpinch itself). I had asked Robert to take Fred with him to the vet. I knew Fred would be beside himself if he was left alone in the house and I had to get to work. Fred seemed to be okay so Robert leashed both dogs and left to make it to the veterinary appointment. Twenty minutes later, I received a phone call. Fred had vomited all over the back seat of Robert’s car and Wellington was stepping in it. I threw on some shorts, grabbed my purse and the keys, and left to trade out cars. When I got there, the back seat of Robert’s Corolla was covered and so were Wellington’s feet and leash. We traded cars and I drove home with Fred in tow. He vomited on the way home. Luckily, I noticed he was doing the chicken gag movement so I put a towel on the seat and captured the bile. When we arrived at home, I put Fred in the house, filled a bucket with soap and water, then headed outside. The clean up job wasn’t too bad but when I opened the front door to the house, I was in for more cleaning. Fred had thrown up again on the rug in the family room. Luckily it was one you could spray with the hose. It’s hanging off the front porch in the drying sun as I type.
Right about that time, Robert called to tell me that Dr H had recommended surgery. Fred got up on the couch and moped. As of the last phone report, Fred was still moping without his Wellington.
* Kristen currently works as a copywriter, creating marketing collateral for six business units at an educational advertising agency and successfully maintains her own copywriting and copyediting business, Who’s Your Audience. She is a member of the American Medical Writers Association. For more information, check out her professional biography page over at Who’s Your Audience