Saturday, July 2, 2016

Lucky 13

"I will be a birthday angel and wait patiently for my treat!!"

Last summer, shortly after Ranger turned twelve, his health began to rapidly fail. 

Tumors erupted on his rear end. 
His appetite fell off but his thirst was insatiable; he dropped a lot of weight. 
Wilting in the (not that hot) summer heat, he dragged through his summer walks. 

I saw the writing on the wall and suspected that he would be gone by Christmas.

"That smells delicious!"

Around November, my boy's appetite had bounced back but his biggest tumor was growing unchecked. His vet sadly turned him down as a surgical candidate; big tumors are too risky to open up and he would likely not survive the procedure. 

"Take him home and give him a good life," Dr. Bennett consoled me. 

I measured Ranger's future in weeks. 

"Lamb chops? YUM! Let me take that off your hands."

Then, on February 20, my boy was attacked by another dog who bit his tumor and broke it open. Losing blood rapidly, he barely made it to the emergency vet. She got the bleeding stopped but told us that Ranger's wounds never heal and advised us to euthanize him on the spot. 

"No," I said, faster than my husband could blink. "We will give him a chance to recover."

We faced a long road in nursing Ranger back to health. I prayed he would make it to Easter. 

"Mmmmm! What a tasty morsel. I'm in birthday heaven."

And now, here we are in July. 

My boy has made it to another birthday, and I must say, he's cruising along pretty well:

His appetite and attitude are both on point; he's worked his way back up to his full 45-minute walks.
His wounds are all healed, his tumors look as healthy as evil lumps can look. 
And every day, my dog surprises me with his good spirits and scary-clever problem solving skills. 

Surely, at the impressive age of ninety-one, Ranger is in his twilight years. But I've given up guessing how long he will survive. 

{video of lamb-chop eating dog available here}

All I want to do today is celebrate another year of fine living with my good boy, Ranger, and pinch myself to believe that he actually made it to Lucky 13. 

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