Amos M. Coonbritches here.
The Manager took me in for my one-month-post-chemo checkup on Thursday, Feb. 22. Those humans at Upstate Veterinary Specialists are good to me.
My chest radiographs were CLEAR. That means no signs of any new pulmonary carcinomas growing at this time.
The Manager got teary-eyed over this moment of light.
I’m twelve. That’s geriatric for my size and breed. On March 15, I’ll have been with my Manager for four years — she adopted me from the Athens-Clarke County animal control facility. She says I was an “adopt-to-rescue,” and was supposed to go to a rescue group, but the two rescues involved weren’t the best places for me to be. Manager became my Mom and that’s been the best. I have three 4-legged sisters and a set of grandparents who think I’m awesome. I have a huge fenced yard and Granddad takes me for walks in the woods. Mom cooks for me, and I get too many treats. I have dog beds in every room and free range of the human furniture too.
So I do have senior big-dog issues. Arthritis and spondylosis — sometimes I fall over, slide on slick floors, can’t get on the couch by myself. Urinary incontinence—I drink a gallon of water every 24 hours and pee everywhere. An enlarged spleen—Mom worries about that. Corneal scarring on one eye so I don’t see very well. Recurring ear infections, and I hate ear drops but love ear massages. Thunder and gunshots terrify me. Plus, I’m a Treeing Walker Coonhound, so I’m stubborn, food-obsessed, LOUD, and selectively deaf when it comes to humans talking, though I can hear a plastic bag crinkling three rooms away.
The lung cancer thing was a wildcard.
I’m now super-expensive and high-maintenance, too. I bully my sisters on occasion—old guys can be assholes. I pester Mom by baying at her and following her everywhere for a full hour and half before mealtimes, every single day. I refuse to go outside in the rain, sometimes for days.
But the cool thing is that she loves me anyway.
She loves me.
She reminded me that even while we’re celebrating my good checkup, there’s tons of dogs like me who aren’t getting good checkups, and who are dying every day. Tons of humans no different from my Mom who are grieving. I don’t worry about all that, but Mom does.
She says that both joy and pain are universal. I have no idea what that means. I’m just napping until one-and-a-half hours before dinnertime.