Yesterday was not a great day for Cheyenne but she is still alive so that's good. Last week her limp got worse and over the weekend her hind leg started ballooning and so Dr Edie came by to check on Cheyenne. That was when the afternoon spiraled badly out of control.
Suddenly the house call turned serious and it seemed most likely Cheyenne had bone cancer and there weren't any options for an old dog. I wasn't going for amputation and surgery in case seemed likely to kill her, quite aside from the fact that Cheyenne copes terribly on three legs. I carried her down to the car and drove to the hospital 5 miles away with tears streaming down my face. My wife left her job at Marathon making me promise Cheyenne would be alive to say good bye when she got to the Cruz Animal Hospital.
Dr Cruz, the kindly looking guy with the moustache ran his hand over her hind leg and made the exact same face Dr Edie did, like he had sucked on the world's most sour lemon. I insisted we do an x-ray, as much to give my wife time to arrive as anything. I figured Cheyenne was a goner and I said goodbye as they took her back to confirm the terminal diagnosis.
Dr Cruz came back shaking his head. "If I wasn't in the room I'd swear we got the wrong dog," he said in puzzlement. "Her bones are fine, no cancer at all. But look at this," he said pointing to a little white dot on the x-ray. "She was shot in the leg by an air gun." And there it was, on her perfectly formed leg bone a little white speck that had been there for years. They shaved her leg and could find no entry wound.
They did a complete blood work on her and she was fine over all, no infection and slightly over worked kidneys owing to her recent drug regimen. What was wrong with her leg? Dr Cruz thought it was possibly a dickey lymph node but the tests proved nothing. Cheyenne lay on the table pretending she was in her happy place. My wife had arrived and suddenly everyone was happy even though the workers were staying after hours for us (and another dog in the room next door).
We took her home and I carried her up and started her pills. Hopefully they will get the swelling down and end the pain and allow Cheyenne to walk again. We go back next Tuesday and if the pain is still bad we will have to call it curtains for Cheyenne. That will be a right cheerful day and I can't think about it now. For the moment she is in a Tramadol haze and I hope the rest will allow the swelling to go down in the next few days.
I know she's old and her days are numbered one way or another but I would like to see her lose a lot more interest in life before her life has to end. But as always it's not fair to listen to her pant in pain because I don't want to let her go. And I don't.
Here's hoping the leg gets it's shit together and heals, whatever it is, and Cheyenne stops panting in pain. My plan for my unusually single minded dog is that she gradually slip away and one fine morning she not wake up on a day of her choosing. I've not been that lucky yet with any dog, but we both deserve that kind of ending to our story.