I’m a bit down today. I dreamt of dying dogs – although not Biba – and keep expecting her to come around the corner…and remember her lying on the brown blanket at the veterinarian’s, her body relaxing after the needle, her mouth sagging and tongue lolling out. I’m stuck on that at the moment. I should have made her stop smoking as a puppy.
Biba didn’t eat all of her cancer, although she did try. Being a dog, she liked her walks almost as much as eating and sleeping. She died this morning at 13 years, 4 months. She will be missed.
Biba was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago, right after Hurricane Sandy. It was grossly evident by the tumor on her right hind leg and was confirmed by the veterinarian shortly after that; her nodes were infected throughout her body. Her energy level declined rapidly; she could barely stand for more than a minute. She ate little – this the dog who ate eyeglasses, ant poison and an entire blueberry pie in her youth – vomited frequently and spent most of her time in bed. She hated her walks; she just wanted to be left alone. I bandaged the tumor regularly, necessary because the tumor was massive and bleeding, and she ate it raw; she tore and ate at the bandages too. That was all she was eating at that point. It was a most unpleasant affair. I wanted it to end. So did she. I upgraded her food to moist and organic to get her to eat a little. And she did, but too quickly, and vomited again and again. But at least she was enjoying the food. That was something. And then, after a most monstrous and vile up-spew of bile, beef chunks and old bandages, she seemed a bit cheerier. Maybe it was wishful thinking, but she was willing to walk more than a block. And then more than two. She was still slumping in her back legs, still sleeping a lot, but she wasn’t bone thin and always tired. She looked alive again. And miraculously, the tumor started to heal. It didn’t seem possible, but the bleeding sore was getting sealed by skin. And she’d stopped chewing on it. Suddenly she was ready for her walks and wanting to play. I looked into her cloudy eyes and she looked back. “That’s right. I ate my cancer.” And she wanted a treat for doing that.