Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Dawson's cancer

Looking through nose printsMy beagle, Dawson, has cancer. I haven't written about this on my blog until now.

I found out about Dawson's condition several weeks ago. He looked like he'd lost some weight, was moving around a little slower and was experiencing some back pain. I asked his vet (who is my friend and neighbor, Julie) to come over and take a look at him, and she suggested some medical tests.

The back pain turned out to be severe arthritis, but an x-ray and ultrasound revealed tumors outside of his heart and also within his spleen. I don't recall the technical name of the cancer, but it's a kind that comes on very quickly. And unfortunately, kills very quickly.

I was told that Dawson has a couple of days to a couple of months left.

There are no treatment options for his cancer, and even if there were, I don't think I'd put him through that, especially given his age. He's somewhere between 12-14.

I asked my vet what to do. Her advice: Give him whatever he wants. Make him comfortable. And appreciate each day with him.

That's what I've been trying to do. I've taken him on more walks than we've gone on all year. He gets lots of yummy treats. I take him with me on errands, as he loves to ride in the car, especially in this cool fall weather we're having.

And with my renewed passion for photography, he's become my favorite photography subject of late. Fortunately for him and his eyes, I've been doing a lot of no-flash photography.

Dawson's spirits seem pretty good. He seems to be enjoying life. I worry that he may be in discomfort from time to time, but I'm told that this type of cancer shouldn't cause him to be in pain. Instead, he'll just continue to slow down until he reaches a point where he has almost no energy. That will be when it's time to help him out.

This experience with Dawson is reminding me to truly enjoy and appreciate life, one day at a time. That's certainly what I'm trying to do, for both Dawson and myself.


Kathy said...

Aww..Tom..You're such a loving parent. What a great pair you and Dawson are - you were so lucky to have found each other.

Tom said...

Thanks Kathy. And you are right -- Dawson is my buddy. He's a very nice dog.

Violet Lemay said...

Indeed Tom. Ever since you first told me about Dawson's condition (and that you were going to give him bbq chicken for dinner that night), I have been very touched by your compassion and by the whole situation. Kathy is right, the two of you were brought together for the best of all possible reasons: love!

Tom said...

Violet, my dear cousin, I couldn't agree more. Love is the best reason for just about anything, anytime, anywhere. :)

Margo said...

I was wondering why Dawson seemed to getting lots of one on one time form your various posts. Now I understand. I am so sorry. It looks like you are making him quite happy and comfortable for his final days. I love your neighborhood watch picture of him and Bose.

On a side not I was disturbed by your post about the person knitting at the Rep. I mentioned it to Steve last night and he also was upset and wished he had been there cause he would have put a stop to it. I would have made a complaint to the person and the House Manager.


Tom said...

Thank you Margo. And if I spot anymore knitters at The Rep, I'll definitely say something to the House Manager and/or the knitter.