Caring for a dog with a terminal illness is weird.
Some days, he’s completely his old self and everything seems to be going great.
Some days, he’s a bit slower and I’m second guessing every pant, movement, and wince.
Today’s one of those second guessing days. Yesterday wasn’t; people were asking how he was doing, and I would reply “great as ever,” joking that he doesn’t know he’s sick – we’re the ones who know.
We’re pretty confident his cancer is lower intestine/colon, and now he’s on Hills I/D which has greatly been helping, along with a pain medication and a steroid. Despite the tumor continuing to grow, his behavior is pretty normal (when he’s not peeing every two hours from the steroid making him thirsty.)
It’s all things that are manageable; I have pee pads in the apartment (luckily hardwood floors), and I’ve lifted up all the floor rugs. And, just in case of any little misses, I’m being pretty diligent about giving the apartment a good mopping weekly.
Increasingly often, he’s been waking me up in the middle of the night panting. He usually licks my face to wake me up, and I snuggle up and roll over to go back to sleep, but that’s starting to increase as I suspect the pain may be bothering him at night.
Derek and I went to Disneyland last night when he was off work. We’d been trying to go see the Christmas decorations for weeks. Mumford and I chilled all day, and he seemed great. I took him outside to pee, and we had our usual routine of me taking his leash off him, and us running down the hall back to the apartment (I’m sure, to the disdain of my neighbors.) It was fun and felt like old times – I even commented how well he did.
When we got inside, he stood by the front door, and I noticed he wasn’t putting any weight on his front right paw, which has a medium-sized tumor on the back of his leg (which has been growing, but nothing obstructive.) I tried calling him, and he limped quite noticeably. He couldn’t jump back onto the bed, so I picked him up. He’s limped from being tired before, but usually after long walks. I examined his paw and figured he may have just strained himself.
Derek and I went to Disneyland and didn’t get home until about 1:30 am – six hours later. When I get home, Mumford’s always laying next to the front door. Last night, he was still on the bed, exactly where I left him.
The hard thing for me is figuring out the line between overreacting and being in denial. I don’t want him to be in pain or suffer, and I want to give him the longest (comfortable) life possible. I wish he could just **tell** me how he feels. It’s a tough guessing game.