I had a bad day yesterday.
First, as I have mentioned in other places (like my Facebook page), my dog, Connor, has a liver tumor the size of an orange that must be removed. This has been stressing me more than I care to admit, even to myself. He is scheduled for surgery on May 4th.
This was a difficult decision. Connor is 8.5 years old. Not old, by any means, but he’s a big dog, an Irish Setter, and that means he’s roughly 60 in human years. They tell me the surgery will be a little tricky, to say the least. It was a choice of letting him live out his years on medications to control his symptoms for however long the tumor would allow, or getting it out of there and giving him a chance at having some happy golden years. I am not ready to lose him, and he is not ready to leave me. It seems to be a no-brainer, right? And yet I was hesitant, because there is the risk that I could lose him during or shortly after the surgery from complications. Well, that is the risk we all take, isn’t it? I am responsible for this dog, I am his steward. I discussed his case with 4 different veterinarians (and many other knowledgeable friends), because I do not want to make a mistake.
So, there is that, weighing heavily on my mind, as the appointed date approaches.
Yesterday, I body-clipped Alf, and that is the second source of my angst. For those of you who know me, and those of you who have been reading along on this blog, you know that Alf is my heart horse, the equine love of my life. You also know that Alf has some health challenges, and that he has been having a hard time over the winter. It has been one struggle after another, with the cold weather causing him pain, and his sudden dislike of certain things in his food that are necessary to maintain his health, and the development of a barking cough that makes me cringe every time I hear it. Oh, have no fear and no doubt that this horse is receiving the best veterinary care money can buy, and even that money can’t buy (because I have dear friends who love Alf as much as I do). DSLD is a horrible disease that causes muscle tearing and muscle wasting, and, coupled with his refusal of good, nutritious food, Alf has now lost enough weight to look like the poster-child for the Humane Society Neglected Animal Seizure. Or, at least, that’s what I see when I look at him. He is a half-Percheron, after all, and for his whole life, he’s looked like a tank, with wonderful, full, and firm muscles. His tendency was to be slightly overweight at all times.
Yesterday, he looked…old and thin, once I clipped that scruffy winter coat away. No, it was not a good day. If it wasn’t for my friend Eleanor, to whom I confided my fears, I may still be wallowing in that dark place I visited yesterday. Eleanor always has an action plan. Eleanor never gives up, and she doesn’t let me give up, either.
Truth be known, Alf is still happy. And so is Connor. And as long as that is the case, I owe it to them to give them both every chance in the world. If that ever changes, then I will do the responsible and loving thing, and let them go — but until then, I will keep fighting, with them and for them. I won’t ever give up, because, as a wise friend of mine always says, hope is never lost until we choose to abandon it.
I just hope Connor and Alf will forgive my momentary lapse. And I want my friends to know how much I appreciate them being there for me, for listening, and for lifting me up when I find myself in a rare moment of despair. Whatever would we do without our friends?