It takes a village … to care for an aging dog.
One of the things I like best about living in Missoula is the wonderful community I have here. I tell myself that it extends to Cali (and now Orly) as well; in truth, it’s their community, and the kind members are welcoming to me as well …
Cali recently had some unfortunate medical news. She had had an ultrasound where the vet saw suspicious lesions on her spleen. The spleen had to come out.
It’s a serious surgery, and Cali’s community rallied. Friends visited her the weekend before; I took her swimming; a friend and I took Orly and Cali to Dairy Queen.
Two friends stopped by post surgery to comfort Cali. Still groggy, she was reclining on her bed and unable to get up without help.
When I mentioned that to another friend, she very kindly offered to come over and help me carry Cali out and back in, a wonderful offer. Cali weighs 56 pounds and is pretty awkward to carry. Even so, I had gotten her in from the car, as well as out and back in that afternoon and evening.
The next morning, I got Cali outside and set up a bed for her on the grass. She had a water bowl, shade — everything she needed. A little while later, I saw that she’d gotten up and made it up onto the deck. I put her bed on the deck and she happily spent the day outside, mostly sleeping on her bed, but occasionally napping on the grass.
Though Cali’s recovery went quickly after that first morning, her friends continue to rally ’round, checking in on her, stopping by to visit, and offering walks. Within a couple of days, though, the biggest headaches were trying to keep Cali from playing too roughly with Orly and resisting her pleas to play ball.
More bad news
Then we got the biopsy results. Cali’s going to need her village.
Cali has a very aggressive type of cancer called hemangiosarcoma. It spreads through the blood and generally, by the time it’s found, there are small (or large) hemangiosarcomas throughout the dog’s body.
We’re “luckier” than many who get this diagnosis, though. For most dogs, the cancer is found only after one of the tumors ruptures, causing internal bleeding. that didn’t happen.
We’re figuring out treatment, and we will know more after Cali’s next ultrasound, which will take place a month post-surgery.
The “good” thing about hemangiosarcoma is that the dog doesn’t have any symptoms or pain unless/until a tumor bursts. Cali’s definitely not feeling sick, and she’s enjoying the extra attention she’s getting from her community of friends.