Just A Dog

My daughter is driving home from college this evening so she can spend some time with our dog, Kasey. My wife is cutting short her weekend trip — I had planned to go with her, but chose not to — for the same reason.

Two days ago Kasey was diagnosed with lymphoma.

I had taken her to the vet because she was stumbling, especially when climbing steps, which she used to bound up. She was also lying in one spot for much longer than usual. And, she had stopped eating her dog food (I can still get her to eat a bit of cooked chicken or a fried egg, thankfully).

The vet said that besides the lymphoma itself, Kasey has an infected lymph node in her abdomen, which is probably causing pain.

Our options are to give her palliative care while she lives out the few months, or possibly just weeks, she would have left, or to have her treated by a specialist.

The vet said cost of specialist treatment would probably run $4,000 to $6,000. But she also said that if a dog is going to contract cancer, lymphoma is the “best” kind to get. With treatment, there’s a high rate of remission, she told us.

I’m taking Kasey to a veterinary oncologist on Tuesday for a consult, at which time I’ll also get a better idea of what the cost would be.

Kasey is 10 years old. We know she’s nearing the upper age range for a large dog, anyway. But if we just let the disease take its course, I can imagine myself wondering, three or four years hence, if she would still be with us had we gone with the treatment.

Anyone who has ever loved and been loved by a dog will need no further explanation of the emotions we’re going through. For anyone who hasn’t — or who would say, “It’s just a dog” — no explanation would suffice.

As you can see by the widget here, I’ve started an effort to raise funds to help pay for Kasey’s treatment. I’ve set the goal at just $2,000 because even bringing in a portion of the cost this way would give me confidence that I can make this happen.

I’ve never done anything like this, and feel a little awkward about it.

To be completely transparent, we could probably cover the cost of Kasey’s treatment with no outside help; we could put it all on plastic if it came to it. But coming on top of some other large expenses we’ve had, it will definitely be a straing.

I also know there are people, and even other animals, who are in more desperate circumstances. But Kasey is my family member, and the one I can do something about right now.

I’ve never so much as put a tip jar on a website (I’m happy, though, to accept the fees Amazon pays me when people buy things through the affiliate links on my site!). So, again, this feels strange. But if you’re reading this and have a mind to chip in even a little, I would be grateful.

*The phrase, “I’m working on it,” always brings to my mind the Saturday Night Live skit in which Mike Myers played a hero called Middle-Aged Man; his sidekick, played by Chris Farley, was Drinking Buddy. After using his middle-aged wisdom to save some younger person from a serious life mistake, he would say, “You’re looking at my gut, aren’t you? I’m working on it!” (Levity helps me at times like this.)

See also: Dear Kasey …

I just noticed my friend David McElroy’s latest blog post, What does it it say about my life if my biggest motivation is a dog? It’s not strictly about dogs, but it’s an interesting read nonetheless.

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