Last week, Bo's neck acted up again. A couple years ago he took a header on the pool deck and has had the occasional bout with his neck binding up. This time, it was so bad that meds weren't going to do it, it was time to make a trip into the animal hospital.
Mike is our vet. I think he loves our dogs as much as we do and is one of the few animal docs around that will make house calls. On this trip, Mike was spending to much time rubbing Bogey's belly and not enough time checking his neck.
The word stopped us cold. Bogey is 13 years and 2 months, the life expectancy of a golden retriever is 10.5 years and the survival rate of untreated lymphoma after diagnosis is 4-8 weeks. Mike wrapped his arms around his big head while we tried to wrap our minds around facts and figures, protocols and side effects.
We chose chemo.
Dog chemo is not like human drugs. The emphasis is on remission, not cure. With this 15 week round Bogey has the potential of as much as another year of chasing frisbees and summer swims. He has the opportunity to spend a bit more time believing he is still a 2 year old while the world ages around him.
This morning I woke to 92lbs of fur under the blankets nestled in my arms. Bogey blew old dog breath at me with a smile that almost said, "Do I really get to spend the day with Mike...and go for a ride in the car to get there?"
As I write this Bo is attached to a drip with Mike at his side, reading the sport page out loud to him (I hope) recapping the Suns latest win. J. is trying to keep busy at work, Our young dog Zuri is pacing the house, whimpering and looking lost and I am trying to make it through the day working to build the belief that Bogey will go into remission and I'll spend many more mornings waking up to stolen blankets and old dog breath.
Not too long ago I fell on a walk, blacked out and when I came to my big old hero was standing over me, a monster paw on my back crying for the world to hear. He stayed there calling for help, he refused to move or be moved until my husband was brought to my side and he knew I was truly safe. Tonight it's our turn to be his heroes, and I hope we can achieve his level of loyalty and service, that we can serve him as he has served and protected us all these years.