A Farewell to a Friend?

I like to keep this blog about fun, happy, uplifting things.  But it is supposed to be a chronicle of my life/day (of sorts) and there are bound to be bad days.  This has not been a good day…and I fear tomorrow may be even worse.

I’ve mentioned my dog, Casper, many times in my DayBreaks posts (http://daybreaks.wordpress.com) and in this photo blog, so you know how much I love this dog.  I’m his biggest fan…and I think he may be my biggest fan, too.  Whenever I’m around, he’s my constant boon companion and has been for about 7 years now.  Alas, I fear our run of time together is coming to a much too rapid close.

Over the past month, we started noticing that sometimes at night he would breathe really rapidly.  But, to start with at least, that usually subsided and he was able to breathe normally the rest of the night.  It’s been getting worse, not better, and the past week hasn’t been good at all.  During the daytime he seems pretty normal, but whenever he lays down to try to sleep, he starts very rapid breathing (60 per minute – one a second!) and is very uncomfortable to the extent that he can hardly sleep.

Saturday, I called the vet and got an appointment for this morning.  He had a truly horrible night Sunday evening.  I loaded him in the car for his appointment and to make a long story short, the vet said he had a lot of air inside his chest cavity that shouldn’t be there.  They tapped it with a needle on each side and withdrew 2 liters of air!!!!  (That’s like a large bottle of soda you’d buy in the store!)  She said that there are 3 reasons it happens: 1) it can be the result of some traumatic injury; 2) it can occur spontaneously for no known reason; 3) it can be the result of tumors, especially in the lungs.  Boxers, by the way, are prone to cancers and cardio-myopathy, so the mention of tumors isn’t something a boxer owner wants to hear.

So, I brought him home after the air was taken out and he’s still breathing rather harshly, which is very concerning.  They are doing blood tests and will have the results tomorrow – and those could indicate tumors, although the vet said she couldn’t see any on the x-ray, but that x-rays aren’t always all that conclusive.  The only other bit of good news is that she said his heart sounded very normal.  It’s also possible that his breathing is being affected by heartworms…but that isn’t typical for the area of California we come from as there are hardly any mosquitoes there.

So, I’m teetering back and forth between hope and despair.  I’ve already cried my eyes out in anticipation of having to have him put down.  He can’t go on like he has been lately.  I can’t go on watching him struggle like that…he’s been too good to me for me to allow him to suffer if he has tumors.  Pray that his breathing is better tonight and that he (and I) can sleep!

This is a picture of him when he was about 1-1/2 or 2 years old, in the full glory of his youth.  He’d just come in from the back yard and was SO proud to show me the piece of grass in his mouth.  I love this picture of him and will cherish it, and him, always!  Isn’t he a great looking dog?!!!!!

My baby when he was young and strong and healthy...

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1777, George Washington settled his troops into Valley Forge for the winter.  When I was in junior high, I did a book report on Valley Forge, called Blood in the Snow, in which I made up the name of the author, publisher, the story, etc.  I got an A on my report.  I feel guilty about it now.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: in the ancient Greek city of Athens, the olive tree was considered sacred.  All the fruit of the olive trees belonged to the state…and the penalty for anyone cutting down an olive tree was death.


4 thoughts on “A Farewell to a Friend?

  1. my heart aches for you, as you face this unknown nemisis. i pray that you and Casper both have a much needed good night’s rest. i’m sorry that you have this unhappiness in the wake of such heartwarming news as you found your house, etc. God bless you all, Galen, Laurel, and Casper. (and you’re right, Galen; he’s beautiful!)

  2. I am so sorry you are going through this. I went through this last year with my Golden. Ruby lived to be 18.5 yrs and I had her since she was 8wks old.
    I agonized for a week about the decision as she had renal failure. Please keep us posted.

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