I knew it! I knew it a year ago when I first told you about it. I knew the business of the lump wasn’t over and that some day mom and the Doc would want to do something about it. At least I was pretty sure.
Back then, when I wrote that piece, I told you the lump had been there a long time, it was getting steadily larger, and that about a year ago the groomer—who I haven’t seen in quite a while, there’s a new guy now, same kind of set up, door bell, barking, run to the door, get ambushed, led to the truck and bathed—except he doesn’t use that stinky soap so I don’t have to spend the next couple of hours rolling in the dirt to tone it down—anyway, the old groomer made this big deal about how big the lump was and how old I was and how I’d probably die or something if anyone tried to remove it. Wrong. Probably why the folks fired him.
You probably remember all this so I’ll bring you up to date. The lump did get bigger. No surprise. At least not to me. It seems to be what lumps do. And my aches and pains have gotten a little worse. Especially in my right shoulder, which is the side of my chest the lump is on. I limp now, and once in a while my right front leg goes out on me a little and I stumble. OK—it’s not like I’m some sort of invalid, so save the ‘poor Kaya’ stuff. I get enough of that at home.
When I walk my right front leg hits the lump—you know, left leg forward, right leg back and straight into the lump which makes the leg move in a bit of a weird way. I caught the Doc eyeing me on more that one occasion. Finally, on our morning walk the other day, he asked me about it.
“Hey, Ki, looks like the lump could be interfering with your gait.”
We have a gate in my yard, two of them, actually, and my lump wasn’t interfering with either of them as far as I could tell. “Huh?”
“You know, your G-A-I-T, the way you walk. It looks to me like the lump is putting your shoulder into an abnormal position and might be making your arthritis worse. Maybe that’s why you’re limping and stumbling once in a while.”
I don’t know why he bothered to spell the word ‘gait’. Spelling’s not my strong suit—since I can’t type there’s no real reason for me to know how to spell. I just need to be able to tell him what to up-load. If two words sound exactly the same but mean completely different things that’s not really my problem, is it? The people who invent words should think things through a little better.
But I thought about what he said. I sensed a certain amount of danger. I had to construct my answer carefully.
“Uh, I don’t know. Hasn’t really crossed my mind.” OK, maybe I could have come up with something a little more convincing. He stopped walking and stared at me for a long minute.
“All right, maybe. I’m not sure. It’s not that bad.”
“Hmm.” We started walking again and nothing more was said about my gait, the arthritis, or the lump.
Later that evening, though, after dinner I heard the folks talking about it. I was on my bed in the living room, they were on their usual sofa’s with the TV turned to one of those channels the Doc likes to yell at once in a while, the one where people are all talking at once and no one seems to be having any fun. Politics or something. There’s been an awful lot of that on TV lately. Annoying.
Anyway, they must have thought I was sleeping, not a bad guess since I do that a lot, and during the gaps in the TV noise I heard them mention the lump. They also said something about a ‘new vet’ and a ‘consultation’. None of this sounded particularly threatening, I’ve heard it before, so I ignored them and tried to get some nap time.
A few days later mom and I piled into the car and went for a ride. I don’t really care where we go, I just like being in the car, so I didn’t bother to ask. Maybe we were going to that street with all the shops—the ones with the leather shoes and good smells. Maybe we were going to the food store or up to the park for a walk. ‘Surprise me’, I thought to myself.
A little while later we stopped in front of a place I’d never seen before, but before I even got out of the car I knew it was a vet place. They pretty much all smell the same—nervous animals. Surprise! In we went.
There were a few of my guys hanging around, a few nice people. Not too bad. Everyone seemed calm and friendly. I got into a conversation with a woman who said she was a ‘cat person’. No tail, no pointy ears, no evil slit eyes. I tried to find out what she was talking about but before I got a complete answer I heard my name called and mom and me were taken to a different room.
“Hi, I’m Dr. So-and-So.” He was big, with white hair, but even though I knew he was the vet there was something about him I liked. I guess he was reassuring or something. After the introductions he got down to business. He looked at my teeth, listened to my chest, poked around on my stomach, then started feeling the lump. He had me walk a little. I did my best not to limp or look like anything was the matter. A nurse was there, too. At least she looked like a nurse. They have vet shows on the animal channel so I know what they look like.
When the vet was done he asked her to get me weighed and she walked me out of the room. Mom stayed with the vet. I didn’t give it much thought and a short while later I found her in the waiting room. The cat person was gone, so I might never know what the deal was with her. Mom did some paper work at the desk and then we left. Easy.
Two days later, two!, I was back at the new vet’s place. It was early, I was hungry because I’d insisted on a long walk that morning after which I needed to catch my breath before chowing down, but there was no time. A couple of bites, some water, and off we went.
This time it was different. Serious. Mom handed the nurse the leash, with me attached, said goodbye, patted me on the head, and left. Then they put me in a cage. I’ve been in a cage only a couple times in my life and I don’t like it. Once when the folks sent me to this fancy camp they put me in a cage at bedtime. All the other dogs were in cages, too, and seemed OK with it. Not me. I made such a fuss they eventually let me out and I spent the night in the office with the guy who was working there.
I don’t know how long I was in the cage, but it seemed like forever. They let me out a couple times for a short walk but otherwise I was in lock-up. Later, much later, they let me out again, and took me to a room I’d never seen before. That’s all I remember.
When I regained my senses I was back in the cage. I had a headache and felt like I was going to throw up—except there was nothing to throw up because like I said I hadn’t eaten anything all day. There was some pain in my right side, where the lump was. When I looked I saw my fur was gone. There were bits of string sticking out of my skin in kind of a straight line over where the middle of the lump was, except now there was no lump. It was gone.
I was still groggy but a couple things did occur to me. The lump was gone, and I was still alive. If I ever see the old groomer again I’ll be sure to remind him he’s not a vet. I was also aware of something else—I was not happy with the folks.
A while later, not too long, mom showed up. ‘Oh, Kaya, how’s my girl, blah, blah.’ Knock it off and just get me out of here. It wasn’t easy but I managed to walk out and with a little help from one of the vet people got into the car. The Doc was at home, waiting for me. He took one look and knew I was in no mood for small talk. He lifted me out of the car—I really hate when he does that but there was probably no way I would have gotten out by myself—and I staggered into the house.
That was yesterday. Today it’s been about a short walk—not bad– mom and the Doc trying to get medicine down my throat, (always good for a few laughs though this time they figured out some way to squirt it down my throat, or at least some of it), and sleeping. My side hurts but not that much. Haven’t been too hungry, but part of that has been because they were sabotaging my food, hiding medicine in it. I’m hoping that now they’ve discovered the squirt thing they’ll leave the food alone.
I’m actually looking forward to dinner. I’ve been working the guilt angle pretty well and I’d be willing to bet there’s a steak in my future.