Update from the Funny Farm – Scout’s progress, my new job, and other mildly interesting things

Scout after a round of water dog, chasing soap bubbles, and playing catch.

In going through some old posts, I realized that I never updated you on Scout’s progress or our decision about treatment.

Part of that may be the fact that I really don’t want to think about it. Yes, I’m in denial. It’s a lovely place to live. You should join me here sometime.

After much discussion, we opted to not pursue chemo. It’s a quality of life decision. Just going to the vet is often traumatic for Scout, and a weekly visit to the hospital, where he’d be on an IV every third week and possibly with sedatives, just isn’t the way we want him to spend his last days. I was more confident after the oncologist said that he may not even survive the six months of chemo treatments. If in fact the cancer is in his intestinal tract, his prognisis is very dim.

And so he’s on Prednisone (which is how canine lymphoma used to be treated before chemo), which is ironically making him feel better. He’s had he most normal poop he’s ever had in his life, so if in fact part of his problem was inflammatory bowel disease, that’s definitely better. He tires more easily and he’s losing weight. But he’s still pretty peppy; just say the word b-u-b-b-l-e-s and he’s raring to go o-u-t-s-i-d-e and p-l-a-y.

But sometimes, I see him just kind of hanging on the fringe of the play, happily wagging his tail, tennis ball firmly in his mouth, ears up – but his spirit seems to be slipping away a little at a time. I can see it in his eyes. It’s as if he believes that a gradual departure will be less painful for us all.

And for now, that’s about all I can say. Someday I’ll write more. But not now.

And onward.

I started my part time job. It’s a nice job, the people are lovely, and I’m catching on OK. I expected more interaction with clients and their pets (like the shelter) but it’s really quite a bit more paperwork. I’m hoping when I go to evenings next week it’ll be a little different. Then again, I’m only working 10 hours a week, which is 9 more hours a week than I usually spend in the company of humans. The adjustment from work-at-home-writer to work-in-an-office-with-people isn’t as easy as one might think. No (major) meltdowns yet, but I’m not making any promises.

Bandit and Scout waiting patiently for David to play water dog.

Bailey is being treated for her third UTI. Last week she was a bit snappy whenever you pet her back half; we thought she just wasn’t feeling well again. When Dr. Hawkins checked her for this current UTI she also checked Bailey’s hips and recommended that when we had her spayed this week we do an xray. Turns out our little bundle of puppy joy has hip dysplasia. It’s mild, but of course it means we’ll have to be diligent in her diet, exercise, etc. to avoid major problems down the road.

I am glad that we ended up with her. I was tuned in to her enough to realize that when she growled and snapped at me, it was because she may be in pain. This dog really tolerates pain well; when she hurt her leg and it swelled up, she was still jumping on it. Had someone not so keen to her emotionally had her, they might have written it off as aggressive pit bull behavior, when in fact she was just telling me she hurt. Makes me wonder how many other dogs meet dreadful ends simply because their owners don’t learn Doglish, and in the translation mistake a snap for help as bad behavior. (Just one other reason I’m glad I made the switch from entertainment writing to dog writing. Less exploitive, more helpful. And I can sleep at night. But I digress.)

Murphy has recovered completely from his tooth removal and the poodle paws are almost grown back in. Bandit is … well, Bandit. He is working on a new book idea, though. He’s thinking of calling it “Bandit’s Guide To Learning to Bark Like A Human”. It’s a book for puppies on how to communicate with their people. But he’s been distracted lately by the new grass and the daily sessions with the sprinkler.

The neighbors joke that he's going to wash the paint off the new truck.

And David? It isn’t hunting season, but it’s pre, pre-hunting season, as in “plant the clover and alfala and handle other hunting property management tasks”. Between that, work, fussing over the new grass, and washing his truck, he’s been pretty busy.

This afternoon, Scout and I are going to see a holistic doctor for a consult on ways we can keep him as healthy and comfortable for as long as possible. He’s gone from 44# in March to about 38# last week. I’m hoping it’s due to different scales, but  his ribs, spine and hip bones are more prominent when you pet him. Thank God for all of that fur; I don’t know if I could handle seeing the weight loss as much as I feel it.

But for now,  Bailey is sleeping quietly (thanks to sedatives). Scout is asleep behind the recliner, Bandit is finally chilled out in the foyer, and Murphy is rolling around on the laptop. I’m so glad not to have to work until next week. All of which makes today a lovely day at the Funny Farm. And I am grateful for as many of them as we can get.


3 responses to “Update from the Funny Farm – Scout’s progress, my new job, and other mildly interesting things

  1. Hi Joanne,

    Thanks so much for your thoughts on Scout. They made me more aware of my Friskey and how gray around the muzzle she has become. We’ve been taking more walks and snuggling more because you made me think about how much I like having her around.

    On a brighter note, we need lessons on how to play water dog. I got out the swimming pool for Zoey because she’s visiting today. She seems to enjoy the water but she doesn’t play with it much and I’m not sure what to tell her to do. (Of course, the heat helped her figure out that laying in it is nice) Friskey’s not going to participate thank you very much. She’s 10 and Water Dog is too wet and undignified for her!

  2. When we first got Bandit, he wanted no part of the hose. At all. Now, he’s a MANIAC, lol. Same with Bailey. I just spray, they run thru it or try and fill their mouths. I have to be careful they haven’t eaten before or after to avoid too much water intake and bloat and/or barfing. Maybe Bandit should give her some water dog lessons!

  3. Denial land is a great place to visit. I go there often! I feel for you and your troubles. Taking care of an ill pet (or any loved one) and having to make decisions for them is tough and can be at times heart wrenching. Never easy. Watching a pet struggle is one of the hardest journeys we can take but it is also a gift. It may be hidden, but it is there. Trying to find out what it is, is part of the journey. Watching our Maggie Mae slowly slip into her elderly stages and then having to make that heart wrenching decision changed all of us and tore us up horribly. Yet, because of it all we have made new discoveries and learned lessons. Doesn’t make it easier or make up for the terrible loss…but it does have meaning.

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