Dogs make me happy.
The unconditional love. The uncontained excitement so intense they can’t help but piddle on the kitchen rug because you’ve been gone for forever (or 20 minutes). The cuddles. The pathetic puppy dog eyes because oh my god they’re starving and will absolutely die if you don’t share that loaf of French bread. The exasperated sighs echoing your own frustrations when you share your concerns. And the overwhelming affection – each in their own way.
Cooper is our yellow lab. He’s getting on in years (11.5 trips around the sun so far). And as elderly labs are wont to do, he’s got a lot of fatty tissue tumors bulging about on his body. While most are harmlessly benign, one on his tushy began to get uncomfortably large.
It started to affect his ability to poop. (Because we’re all about pooping issues here in the Stream household.) When it started getting aggressively large at an alarming pace, we headed back to the vet.
“Hmm,” pondered our doggie doc. “I don’t like the look of these cells…” Oh yeah? Well I don’t like the sound of that statement. (But I think we both agreed the smell of a tumor-impacted toot was unpleasant.)
The presumed diagnosis was liposarcoma, an uncommon type of tumorous cancer most often found in older dogs but easily treatable. (Again with the smart Stream propensity to get fixable cancer.) Surgery was scheduled.
Below is my interpretation of our black lab, Scout’s, reaction to surgery day:
The alarm went off. I heard it. No one has dished out breakfast. Maybe they didn’t hear. Oh god! What if they forgot? You guys? Hey! Down here! I’m hungry. Oh my god, they’re getting dressed. THINGS ARE OUT OF ORDER.
Why are the tiny humans hugging my brother Cooper? I want to be hugged. Hi. I love you. I will drool on you. Don’t cry, tiny human! I wouldn’t be so slobbery if I wasn’t so hungry.
OH MY GOD NO ONE HAS FED US!
Oh look! Dad’s getting out the leash. We’re going for a walk. There are lots of friends in the neighborhood. Dad. Hey, dad – you forgot my leash. It’s just my brother Cooper there. Oh god. Oh my god. He’s leaving without me.
Wait. Mom just ordered me outside. She has the food shovel. Yay! I love food. Oh god, but Dad’s got leashes. Walk. Eat. Walk. Eat. I’ll just run in circles. I know, if I catch my tail it’ll make the decision for me.
Ow. I ran into the door. It’s closed.
Dad’s back! Wait. Where’s Cooper? Oh god, Dad lost Cooper. Mom! Cooper’s gone. DO SOMETHING!
I will squish myself into the front door until he returns. DOES NO ONE UNDERSTAND THE CRISIS?
I am sad. Unless you have more food for me.
Cooper made it through surgery, albeit stoned beyond belief on anesthesia. For now, my snow-faced buddy is dozing away – pain killers keeping him comfortable and leaving only the humiliation of a bald bottom. (A small victory – no cone of shame currently needed.)
When I got home, he struggled to leap up to greet me as he always does. “It’s the thought that counts,” I praised him when he drunkenly toppled right back over.
He is presently wobbling around outside under the guise of doing his business. I am not fooled. His business is clearly searching for his tennis ball.
There aren’t any out there. I hid them. It’s for his own good. Because I love dogs. And they make me happy.