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A dog’s day afternoon – and, how many lives do dogs have, anyway?

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It has been raining like crazy here in the great “wet” north ! All the rivers and creeks are swollen, the grass is amazingly green, and the weeds are taking over my yard. I have dandelions so big they are forming “prides” in the back yard. It’s lush. And it’s dangerous. If you’re a 3-legged dog who likes to swim.

Sophie, as you know, goes for walks – well, rides in her Chariot, actually – with a good size pack of dogs every day with our friend, Angie (aka “the Dog Pied Piper”). Angie walks a lot of retriever, lab types who love to swim, and on the days when it hasn’t been torrential downpours – it has been really darn hot. So, web-footed dogs – and even some who aren’t – like to get into the water and paddle around. The trick has been to find a safe spot for them to play.

Late last week Angie called me and told me that Sophie must be a cat – that she had used up another one of her lives. We laughed – me, a little nervously. Why, I asked, what happened?  They had gone to a small creek in the centre of town, to an area of the creek bed where the water was not deep, where there were pools of water in which the dogs could play without worrying about getting swept away or pulled under by a current. The dogs were all splashing around – rolling in the water – getting dirty as dogs will do. Buster, the mutant golden retriever, had wandered a bit further out into the faster moving water. And suddenly, Sophie was nowhere to be seen. After several minutes of unanswered calling, the search was on. Angie and the pack went up and down the paths, certain that Sophie would appear any time.  After some more minutes, a very upset Angie spotted a soaking wet and mud-covered woman coming from the creek bed dragging along a very wet, mud-caked, 3-legged dog. “I found her on the sandbank – she was stuck in the mud” she said. It seems that Sophie had followed her step/brother/dog, Buster, into the faster water and been swept downstream. The woman who rescued her – and, yes, there are angels among us – saw Sophie bobbing down the creek, trying to swim. When Sophie wedged into the sandbar, with her one front leg stuck underneath her – having no way to free herself – she just lay down and gave up. The woman waded into the creek and dragged her out.

Sophie slept for hours when she got home – after a nice warm bath and rub down with a fluffy towel.

But that was last week. When she had  2 of her 9 lives left.

Sophie has just rebounded from a bad reaction to the last (I decreed it was the last) chemotherapy treatment – which saw her hospitalized, sick, dehydrated, vomiting, severe diarrhea, and so on. She lost a lot of weight, and was in very bad shape. I wasn’t at all sure she would make it through that whole episode. BUT…. she did. And the light came back in her eyes. She started eating again – she wanted to play again. My best friend came back to me. We dodged a bullet.  She quickly – really quickly – put on a substantial amount of weight – and I really didn’t think that I was feeding her THAT much. I mean, I have decided to “go dog” – to live in the moment with her – and not worry too much about the foods she is eating and all – but it’s not like I opened a buffet and let her go at it, either. I just wanted to ensure that she WOULD eat – and drink – and that she would not vomit and get diarrhea and dehydrate again. It was going really well.

Until four days ago – Friday, July 16.

Sophie snubbed her food. Chicken – nope. Salmon – nope. Dog biscuits – nope. Rice – nope. Nothing. The cats really enjoyed the salmon – and the chicken. Sophie drank a little – but was having NOTHING to do with that food. I took her out to do her business – nope – she was having none of that either. We were up most of the night (again) going in and out – lots of flatulence – but once outside – nope. After I finally passed out – she went into my son’s room and left a small pile of diarrhea on his carpet. I had to leave her alone in the house on Saturday for a short period of time. We came home to a huge pile of diarrhea in the living room. Oh no, I thought, here we go again.

But then – nothing – I mean – she hasn’t had a BM for two days.

So – today – back to the vet for some more tests. I thought I had ended this cycle when I said “no more chemo.”

The results – multiple masses in her abdomen. Large, visible from the outside (once her hair was shaved) masses all around her abdomen. Liver? Kidney? Fluid around her heart? We don’t know. She doesn’t know – and I’m not going to tell her. The vet gave us some Prednisone to give her. They gave us a 30 day supply. I don’t really think that we’ll be needing that many.

So – “going dog” – I said we were going to do it. Now the rubber has hit the road. I don’t know how much time I will have with my best friend. None of us knows that, really. What would SHE really love to do if she knew it might be the last time she got to do it ? I guess I better make a “bucket list” for Sophie and start checking things off.

Say what?

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10 Responses to “A dog’s day afternoon – and, how many lives do dogs have, anyway?”

  1. My Dear Friend Sophie,
    Well you certainly know how to scare your mom! I know you aren’t scared but she is.

    I hate that you are feeling rotten. I wished I could cheer you up…….
    I know! Let’s have one of your famous “Flour Parties”!!
    See if your mom will buy a 100lb sack of flour and let’s you and I have at it! It’ll be like a makeup party! I’ll make you all white like me! It’ll give your mom something to clean up afterwards and hopefully she won’t worry. (she secretly loves to clean!)

    Plus, you’ve still got things to do! Smartypants Productions hasn’t done your Chariots of Fire video! Although, your mom was getting pretty good! She hasn’t made it and she owes it to you!

    I know I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…keep your chin up Sophie! It’s how us older girls keep from showing our double chins! We have to always look beautiful even if we have to glue and tape ourselves together!

    Until next time, my friend and yes, there will be a next time.
    (the cool one)

  2. Ah Comet – watch for a special delivery (UPS) … 100 lbs enriched white flour coming your way … Sophie always loved a good road trip ! 🙂 Wouldn’t that be fun !! I think you’re right – the Chariots of Fire video must be done – absolutely. I can’t think of anyone better to put it together than Smartypants. Thanks.

  3. Oh Tana,
    I’m at a loss for words…my heart just sank as I was reading your post and am so sorry that you got this latest news on Sophie. I so admire how strong you are being for Sophie and I really hope that Sophie surprises you with that predinsone. We will be keeping you in our thoughts and prayers and hope that Sophie is feeling comfortable. You definitely have to do the chariots of fire video — afterall, she’s the queen!

  4. Tana and Sophie, so utterly sorry to read this latest update. Man, this sucks.

    It’s absolutely time to go dog. And go dog hard.

    This is too sad. I’m sorry, Tana.

  5. Thank you for sharing these details and bless you for all you’re doing for Sophie Keep enjoying every moment together.

  6. tana, we are very sad that sophie is feeling so rugged – no way for such a brave and beautiful girl to be!! we’re sending our best ‘ju ju’ your way, hoping for many good days ahead (without the scary sandbars…). blessings from gayle & charon

  7. Tana, please keep us up to date on the progress of Sophie’s bucket list. She’s a darn lucky dog, so hit the pavement running girl!

    Spirit Ruthie’s Mom,

  8. Ok – sorry this will be a long comment, but I had to share this with you…I am new to this site (my 9.5 yr old dog has a tumor in his shoulder – tomorrow we go in for a chest x-ray and if it is clear, we plan to do the amputation Friday). I have been on the tripawds site every day for the last week reading everyone’s stories and experiences and if it were not for this site, I don’t know if I would have had the courage to go forward with the amputation just because of lack of knowledge about the procedure and recovery. Today I talked with my daughter (she’s almost 7) about Chance’s diagnosis and the amputation, then we sat together and looked at photos and watched lots of videos on this site so she could see how happy three legged dogs could be. She especially loved Sophie’s Chariot video, and when Sophie hopped out and began running, she said, “Hey, that dog runs just like a four legged dog!” 🙂

    I can’t imagine how heartbreaking your situation is right now, to be facing the moment we all dread when first hearing the cancer diagnosis, but I just want to thank you for being so open on the tripawds site and your blog and for sharing Sophie’s story.

  9. Sophie, I’m so glad Comet posted this in the Forums, I just now saw your news.

    Girlfriend, I know whatever happens you’ll face it with courage and show your Mom that there’s nothing to be afraid of. That’s why we are here on this earth, to show these humans that living life takes courage and fearlessness.

    We never know for sure what will happen, so heck, why not live life to the max every single day, huh?

    We send lots of hugs your way and good thoughts for a never ending bucket list. Love you sweetie.

  10. Tana,
    I’m so sorry to hear about Sophie. I too admire your strength and courage.
    Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you.

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