When I felt the little lump in her undercarriage I wasn’t concerned. When we took her to the vet for a general check up and her health certificate to fly and they took a biopsy I wasn’t concerned. When I asked Husband to call the vet for the results – reminded him, really, in a hey-honey-could-you-check-this-errand-off-our-list kind of way, still, I wasn’t concerned. When he walked out of the room with the phone still to his ear and our eyes met, I was concerned.
Real Time: I’m sitting, waiting for Olive to come out of her surgery and coping with it the only way I know how, by writing about it. But the writing today isn’t helping. It isn’t stopping the shakes or the wanting to throw up – me – not Olive. It isn’t helping to stop the tears that keep fighting their way out and that are sitting in a lump at the base of my throat.
Olive has never been the more gentle dog. Our other dog Jersey, poor Jersey, with his puppy mill past came to us a nervous wreck. When we first attempted to train him to walk on a leash, he would drop to the floor, terrified of what this thing attached to him was. He wouldn’t leave my carpeted bedroom for the first few weeks in fear of the dreaded tile flooring. On wood floors, his own pitter-patter scared him. We didn’t know he had a tail for weeks since it was tucked between his legs. He shakes uncontrollably when he’s nervous. And now he’s blind so he walks terribly slow and bumps into walls and stairs and furniture.
But not Olive.
I found her on the street in East Orange; Shepard Avenue to be exact. I worked at a school there and let’s just say East Orange isn’t the nicest neighborhood in NJ. I saw three boys surrounding something on the sidewalk and somehow knew immediately it was a dog but I was shocked when I saw her. She wasn’t the typical street dog that I had seen plenty of in the neighborhood and I had seen plenty. She had a dirty, red collar but no tags. She looked pretty dirty but not overly dirty; she had belonged to someone recently. Her teats hung lower than normal and looked enlarged? Was she sick? Was she lost? Abandoned? I didn’t have much time to think; school was starting in an 45 minutes but I couldn’t leave her here. I didn’t think she’d make it on the street, so I quite literally tossed her in my car and drove 30 minutes to my parents’ home Cruella De Vil style. Luckily, they were away so I gated her in their front entrance and left her with a bowl of water and some canned food I had stopped off to buy and drove frantically back to school.
That afternoon, the vet told us she had just had puppies (hence the enlarged teats) but that she was healthy to take home to our house where Jersey already lived. We gave her a bath, took her picture, and made posters that we hung the next day.
After a couple of weeks of waiting for a phone call that never came Then-Boyfriend and I decided that if no one claimed her, we would keep her. 3 weeks later, she was on vacation with me in Delaware.
Olive is a big dog trapped in a small dog’s body. She is short but rock hard, a fullback of dogs. She is not graceful and has taken out our children a number of times when she starts running. When we began trying to adjust her to her airplane carry-on case, it was like trying to stuff a broncoing bull into mouse-hole. And when we did get her in, she’d shove her snout into the zipper, forcing it open quicker than we could close it. We’d learn the only way to do it was to drop her in, snout first, and give her a tranquilizer for the plane. And even the tranquilizer wouldn’t knock her out completely. She’s a tough girl. She’s like one of those dogs in the old Mighty Dog commercials.
So when the lump came back malignant, I wasn’t sure how this dog who runs up and down four flights of stairs with silly ease could be sick? Which leads us to here.
Still sitting in the waiting room. Nauseous. Nervous. Wishing I could go back to a time when the mortality of my dogs wasn’t so apparent. I know this will end sadly one day, cancer or no cancer. They don’t live as long as us, it’s that simple, but I really wish they did.
~ Until the Next bottle ~
I’m happy to report that Olive / Miss Olive Oyl / Mama Girl / Olive Girl is doing well. Although she is drinking a lot of water and peeing all over our floors she is walking, eating, and able to climb one or two steps. The vet found another small tumor that was not able to be removed on Thursday but for now, we are dealing with her recovery.
Visit the VetCenter, Facebook page for more information on the amazing surgeon that took care of Olive.