Saturday, January 8, 2011

Isn't It Ironic (Don't Ya Think)?

Unlike the song referenced by the title of this post, I have some sad news that is actually ironic.

You may remember my previous post about Bark for Life, the American Cancer Society's cancer walk for dogs and their owners.

Yeah, Ginger, who I walked in Bark for Life is the subject of yet another post here. But it's not a funny post or a serious post.

Well, it *is* serious. Also sad. Mostly sad.

Ginger LOVED doing Bark for Life. She enjoyed meeting new people and dogs. She loved the mile-long walk in the heat.

The rest of August, all of September and most of October, Ginger was her normal, happy self. In late October or early November, though, something changed.

She stopped eating. The dog we used to call part-goat stopped eating. We couldn't figure out why. She would sometimes eat her kibble, but not always. She ate less and less often as the month wore on.

When we went out of town for Thanksgiving, we took her with us. She was more active, and more perky, for those few days than she had been the entire rest of the month. Her energy and exuberance made me happy. She was happy for the first time in weeks.

And she was eating. Mostly people food, as I think everyone gave her some turkey (because she was so skinny and pathetic and cute), but she ate a little bit of dog food, too. (Not her dog food, mind.)

In December, she ate even less. We knew we needed to take her to the vet, but we couldn't afford to do so. Money's been tight since I lost my job last January. (Yeah, I still don't have another one, though I do have some promising leads.)

Again, we took Ginger with us when we left town for Christmas. She ate people food while we were there, but would not eat any of her dog food, not even snacks.

When we received a goodly amount of cash for Christmas, we knew we had to use it to take Ginger to the vet.

On 28 December 2010, we took Ginger to The Pet Vet on Patton. She really liked the vet and her assistant, despite the assistant having to take her temperature - always a traumatic experience for a dog.

They ran multiple tests, and finally diagnosed her with lymphoma.

That's right, cancer.

We'd known something was wrong with her, of course, but we thought it was pneumonia - she had all the symptoms.

The diagnosis of cancer came as a shock.

Of course, we couldn't afford the chemotherapy and radiation it would take to put the cancer into remission. So we got what medicine we could afford.

She took her medicine fairly well the first few days. Until this past Tuesday (4 January 2011), when she refused not only her medicine but people food.

We talked her into eating a little bit of food, and got most of her medicine into her. Later that night, I wished we hadn't; it all came back up. Every last thing she'd eaten that day. So I had to clean it all up before she or one of our other dogs ate it.

That was about 3 or 4 am on Wednesday. I found another spot when she woke me up whining a little after 9. I cleaned that up, too, and let her out.

Since she was acting like she felt better - excited over everything - we decided to go out and do our normal Wednesday activities (bowling, roleplaying, etc. with a group of friends).

We came home to 6 or 7 more spots on the carpet, some of which were old enough to be dry by then. (Eww. Also, not easy to clean.)

Obviously, she was not feeling better.

She couldn't walk straight, and her eyes weren't focusing either. She was just pathetic.

I spent the night on the living room floor with her, trying to keep her calm. About 8 am Thursday morning, I could no longer stay awake.

My hubby, Frank, had gone to bed about 5:30. I woke him up, and managed to stay awake while he called the vet.

At least, I think he called the vet. I don't really remember much from 7:30 am until 1:30 PM, when I woke up to Patch barking. Inside. He knows not to do that.

But he kept barking, so I finally got up to check on Ginger (Frank had come back to bed at some point).

Yeah, Patch isn't as stupid as he wants us to think.

Ginger wasn't moving. At all.

We buried her out among the trees, near the small animals she so loved to chase.

That was two days ago.

She only lived one week and two days after being diagnosed with cancer.

It's hard to believe I'll never see her again in this world. I'll never hear her whine again, never get ninja licked by her again. After a while, I won't have yellow fur all over my clothes - and everything else I own - anymore.

Despite my tears, some things can still make me smile. This song was such a comfort to me on Thursday, I thought I would share it here.

"Goldie's Last Day" - PFR: