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Our Furry Frankenstein


So I guess this would qualify under the "lows of life" category. Ms. Cheeky, our 10-year old Cocker Spaniel, had gradually developed a large benign growth on her back and wouldn't leave it alone (scratching, rolling, rubbing: all doggy efforts were brought to bear on that oversized chunk of bologna sprouting between her shoulder blades). Eventually, the poor dog was reduced to wearing one of Claire's old t-shirts with a maxi-pad liner to cover the offending intruder and protect it from further damage (see cover photo). Finally we were forced to decide: keep this dress-up game going for the rest of her life, or submit her to surgery. This was no easy predicament: as the vet noted, the dog was already blind, considered a "senior", and required a few grocery bills' worth of pre-op testing to see if she'd even make it through the anaesthesia. (That's PRE-op. Now I understand, too late, the concept of "pet insurance"). But in the end it wasn't much of a decision - her sightless eyes still sparkled, and her nose still twitched longingly at the scent of a backyard squirrel. So off she went, and one day-surgery and 16 staples later, we brought her home. At first, all was well. Then came day 3, when the wound started to bleed (see insert), and eventually a small infection formed. Readers, I can tell you it's a toss-up between what's a more effective appetite-killer: cleaning your mother's feces off the floor, or swabbing your dog's oozing pus as it drips down an open wound in her back. (Claire went to see her dad for a couple of days, so I thought I'd try a break from our vegetarian diet and cook up an old fashioned bolognese for supper: after looking at the pink, squidgy ground beef - grass-fed though it was - simmering in the pan, I simply threw the whole mess out and just ate the pasta). About a week and at least 3 vet follow-up visits later, the wound is finally looking better and the dog seems to be healing properly. Intermittently throughout the day she receives: 2 types of eye drops, one anti-inflammatory syrup, one codeine tablet (occasionally eyed longingly by her pet mother), and two separate antibiotics. Side note on this: a spoonful of sugar (in her case, a wrapping of prosciutto) seems to help the medicine go down. And after all of it, Ms. Cheeky seems strikingly oblivious to her circumstance, at least when she's being walked around the garden and the breeze starts to blow. The nose still quivers in the general direction of that squirrel.

Interestingly, around about this time, Claire has just finished "The Alchemist", the popular Paulo Coelho novel that I read when I was about her age. One of the more well-known quotes from the book reminds us that "The secret of life... is to fall seven times and to get up eight times". Is that what we're all trying to do these days? I'm pretty sure that's Cheeky's philosophy.


xo, love momy

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