Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dog Blog: Round 3 - My Tail of Woe

Hey everyone! It's me, Mattie! Mom (you know her as Claire) left the laptop unsupervised, so wheee! I'm going to stretch my blogging wings here on this Claire Uncorked thingy. (For those of you that were around before, you'll remember that I have great fun blogging.) You know, I'm not really sure how my my mom came up with Claire Uncorked...I guess it's because of that stuff that her & Dad drink all the time. Eh, who knows - I've been with her for over 13 years, & I'm not going to question just wouldn't do any good. I'm not complaining, I'm just sayin'.

Let me tell you what's been going on lately. Get yourself comfortable, 'cause I've got a lot to say! I gotta say, I've been through a whole lot.

I went to get my teeth cleaned back in March & somehow the vet discovered that that cancer stuff came back. I heard Dr. Gwen say that word, but I really knew it was back when my mom came to take me home. She looked so serious, & she only looks like that when I have that crap. I don't know why it comes back, it's not like I like the stuff - you'd think it'd know that after I kicked it out of my body twice before. But even had the nerve to come back on the paw where it all started! I guess taking 2 toes the first time wasn't enough so it wanted another one. Mom says cancer's an asshole, & that must be true. Doesn't it have toes of its own?

Two days later, I was back at the vet's office to have surgery. There was a lot of concern about how Dr. Gwen was going to handle it - this tumor thing was on the only toe that I can really stand on, & Mom said I'd be "screwed" - whatever that means - if something happened to it. Lucky for me, Dr. Gwen loves me & managed to save my toe. Not without cutting the dickens out of my poor paw, though! She thought she was being clever when she put a green bandage on me for something called St. Pat's, but I was unamused. I'm wearing it in the picture at the top...I don't look like I think it's funny, do I? No, of course not. Actually, I felt really funny - Dad kept giving me these pills. They made me not mind the embarrassment & torture of that damn lampshade thing I had to wear.

Let me talk for a sec about that lampshade. I've worn those things many times & it doesn't matter - I'll never just get used to it. You try conducting the business of your life with that thing on your head. You can't turn corners, you can't navigate stairs, you can't lay your head down without laying on plastic, & the worst part is that you can't lick your butt or any other place that's bugging you.

I knew what was coming, & I could tell from Mom & Dad's conversations that I'd be headed back to Mizzou for more of that radiation stuff. However, something told me that this time would be different. My mom was really stressed (but she's cool, she tries not to let it show), & they were talking about possibly cancelling their trip to...oh, wherever it was. I was hoping that they wouldn't because I like hanging out with Grandpa. He feeds us a lot of treats & lets us stay outside for a really long time - he doesn't have to go to work, so he's never in a hurry. They decided to take their trip, but that had me a little worried. What was it about this time that had them so freaked out? I figured it was best to just not think about it - maybe nothing was going to happen.

One night, Mom & Dad had a party. A bunch of really fun ladies came over (& Mr. Luce, who watched a movie with Dad), & they drank a lot of my mom's wine. The next day, Dad went to work, & Mom loaded me into the car. Uh oh. We started an all-too-familiar trip, & I knew exactly where we were headed - Mizzou. So much for my not thinking about it - now I was really scared.

Mom drove really fast. Every once in a while, she'd see one of those cars with the things on top, & she'd slow down a little. Not sure why. People are really weird, you know that? Soon enough, we turned onto that exit...the one that I dread so much. Within a few minutes, we were there - at that place. I didn't want to go in, but I could see that Mom was getting upset, & I didn't want to add to that. So, I went inside with her & we waited in this room with a bunch of other dogs & people. Thank goodness there weren't any of those wrinkly dogs - I think they're called pugs. I don't like those.

We then met Jen, who was to be my student while she was on the oncology rotation, whatever that is. She really wanted to be my friend, but I was really leary. Then Dr. David came in - & I was so scared that my teeth started chattering. You see, Dr. David is a nice guy, but his being there only confirmed what I knew - I was going to get burned again. Dr. David took care of me last time, & I remembered him since I'm such a smart girl. He felt really bad about my being scared, & I felt a little bad about his feeling bad, but hey - I was the one that was going to get hurt here, not him! Dr. David & Jen talked to my mom for a bit, & then they told her something that made her pretty happy - I wasn't going to have to stay at the hospital alone in a kennel every night, I could go home with Jen. Now, I've always hated being fenced in, so this sounded like a pretty sweet deal. I wanted to go home, of course, but it became clear that I wasn't going to do that when my mom hugged & kissed me & told me she'd see me soon. Looking back, I know that was hard for my mom to do.

I made friends with Jen that day at the hospital - what a nice girl! She knew I was freaked out & sad, so she talked to me a lot. She actually talked to me like Mom does, so that made me feel really good. She even told me that my mom got something called a ticket on the drive home - apparently, she got caught driving too fast by one of those cars with the things on top. Whoops. When we went home that night, I got to meet her dog Nora, & I was overjoyed to have a new playmate. I was so tired, though, that I waited until the next day to really play with her. That weekend, Jen's boyfriend Todd came to town with another dog, Roxy. What fun!

Here we are! That's me, the cutest one on the left (duh), then Jen, Nora, & Roxy. Jen & Todd took us to the park where Nora likes to swim in the creek. I don't join her, though - I hate, & I do mean hate, to get my feet wet. Swimming is silly, but I see a lot of pictures of Mom & Dad swimming in a really big creek called an "ocean". They like it, & so does Nora, but I just watched her swim & then avoided her when she shook the water off of her fur. Oh, & Todd took the picture. I really like Todd, I became quite attached to him that weekend. Jen really likes him, too - they're getting married! Dad's not doing their wedding, though...

As if my weekend wasn't great enough, my mom & dad came to see me! I was so very happy, & so were they, but I was really confused. We didn't go to the car. We just walked around Mizzou. We watched a bunch of girls playing some game with a ball & flags. That was cool, but I really just wanted to get in the car & go home! I mean, I was having a great time with my new friends, but home is home! After a while, we walked back to the hospital, & my parents left. I was really sad, but then Jen & Todd took me to back to play with Nora & Roxy.

Jen took this picture before Todd & Roxy went back home. I know I don't look like I like Roxy very much, but I really, really do! She's a fun little girl, although I have to say that she's a lot smaller than what I'm used to having around me. I'm not so sure she'd fit in at my house very well, but she's so cool that we'd find a way to make it work. Anyway, Todd & Roxy went home, & then Jen & I were very sad.

This thing called radiation therapy really wore me out. I was getting it in 2 places, my paw & my shoulder, because Dr. David said that would make me better. They had to make me go to sleep every day while they did it, & then I went back to my kennel until Jen finished with her work & then took me home. Jen always fed me while I was there, but I liked eating at her house much better. As I said, I hate being in any kind of cage, so I always knocked my bowl over. Dr. David & Jen thought that was really funny, & Dr. David said that I wasn't afraid to "express my opinion", whatever that means. I've heard the same thing said about my mom & dad, so I'm sure it's nothing bad. If it is bad, there are a few people who are going to see my wrath. (I don't really know what that is, I've just heard that on tv.)

A few days later, Jen seemed really sad & her house was all boxed up. Uh oh... I knew what that meant. Her eyes were getting a little watery when she talked to me. When she put me in my kennel at the hospital, I didn't get a good feeling, so I made an awful racket until she kept her with me. In the end, it didn't matter... I knew Jen was leaving. I met 2 new guys, Jeremy & Jeff, & Jen told them everything about me. By noon, she was gone, & Jeremy came to take me to my daily appointment with Dr. David. He took care of everything I needed that day, & then Jeff came, leashed me up, & put me in his car.

I liked Jeff, he was really nice. He showed me his place, & I took a nap. I must've been out for a long time. When I woke up, Jeff was sleeping right next to me. We never went to bed, & my new pal was sleeping on the floor. Whoa. He must've thought I was really cute! Well, he's no dummy, because I am, but I'm no dummy, either...I got on the couch!

We went to school & back for a couple more days, with every night ending up in the living room. I heard Jeff tell my mom that he was worried that my fur would wreck his "suede comforter", whatever that is, so he didn't want to sleep in his bedroom. Bummer. I tried to tell him that we could just take the suede thingamajigger off the bed, but he didn't get what I was saying.

One day after the hospital, we got in the car & went for a long ride. It was fun, & I looked out the window the whole time. I was a little worried, though - we weren't headed to my house. We saw a whole bunch of stuff that Jeff called "corn". A couple of hours into the trip, we pulled into a town called St. Joseph, MO. Jeff said he was home, but that didn't make a whole lot of sense to me. I met his parents, & they were also really nice to me. We stayed there for a couple of nights before going back to Jeff's real know, where we sleep.

Not much else happened, really. Jeremy & Jeff said that Mom & Dad were in Mexico - I really don't get why they go there - & that they had to email them every day. My treatments continued, & it seemed like they made me a little more tired every day. Jeff would always take me home, I'd sleep for a little while, & then he'd take me for a nice walk. Dr. David lived right by Jeff, so I'd see him sometimes, too. That was ok, I decided I could forgive him for what he did everyday because he's just so nice. He really wanted me to like him, too, & I felt really bad for him, so I let him pet me & walk me. Yeah...I liked him, too. But I really grew to love Jeff, & he kept me with him all the time. He even took me back to his parents' house while he did something called "the Guard". He looked really funny - he had to wear clothes - "camo" - that people wore in this place not far from our house. Valley Park. That's the name - Mom & Dad drove me there when the river was really high, & we saw all of these people in "camo" drinking beer & watching the river. What a strange thing to do. Anyway, Jeff was really busy, so I hung out with his parents. They thought I was really cute, too. (That's because I am.)

Time went on, & I was really missing my parents, my house, my sisters...I was the only dog at Jeff's house, but he did his best to keep me busy. I really slept a lot, I was so tired, & my paw really started to hurt. Jeremy spent as much time with me as he could, which was good because I really liked him. A lot of the other dogs were mean to him, so he'd come to me when he wanted someone to be nice to him. Everyone was constantly looking at my paw, & I really just wanted them to leave me alone. And then the worst happened....the lampshade came back & rarely came off of my head. Damn! My paw started to get redder, & I just didn't want to use it, so I walked on 3 legs most of the time.

Hang in there, guys - I'm gettin' there.

One day, Jeff was acting sad, just like Jen did before she left. Oh no...not again. And then my new daytime student, Tina, gave me a bath. A bath!!! I hate to get my feet wet, but since she was new I decided to go along with it. You see, Jeremy went to another "rotation", so she took over. Anyway, I was wet & smelled funny. Jeff came back to see me & I got all excited, thinking that he really wasn't leaving & that we were going to his house! But no....

Tina put my leash on & walked me out to the front. Heh...time to get the lady behind the desk to give me a bone, I guess. Nope, no bone - something better! My parents were there!! So was Bella!! My mom yanked that lampshade off of my head & they were both on the floor with me, hugging me, & Bella was all over me, too. I was so happy, & so were they. Then, Dr. David came out, & a few seconds later, Jeff & Jeremy! It was a real party, & it was for me. ME!!! Everyone was petting & kissing me, which was great, but after a few minutes, I just wanted to hit the road already. Apparently, Dr. David had quite a bit to say, although all I paid attention to was the many times that he talked about how cool I am. I'm tellin' you, these folks at Mizzou are really, really smart! For the rest of the time, I just pulled on my leash, headed towards the door. Finally, everyone said goodbye, & this time...I left with Mom & Dad, got in my own car, & headed HOME.

Ah.....home is a wonderful place. I'd been gone a whole month!!!

Ok, I'm tired of typing, I've been going at it a while. Let me show you some pictures - some of them are kind of yucky. You've been warned.

Here I am, at home, on my NEW bed. It's mine...all mine.

Ok, so there's a close-up of my foot. Looks painful, doesn't it? Well, you're only looking at it.

Here's my foot a week later. It's better, but I had something called an infection.

Yuck. Never fear, Mom & Dad gave me pills & soaked my foot every night in this blue stuff. I hated it - remember, I hate to get my feet wet - but I gotta admit, my foot did get better.

See? It's not as bad as it was.

Here I am, again. I thought you guys might want to see me since I'm so adorable. I know I am because everyone tells me so. They also tell me that I'm very strong & a fighter. I say I'm tired & would really love to have the lampshade off my head.

One more time - this was taken last night.

MUCH better!! If you look to the right side of the picture, you'll see a pink little stub. Well, I was at Dr. Gwen's for a check-up/show-off, & my whole toenail fell off!!! Ew. I'm ok, though...there's one growing back already.

(I apologize if these pictures are placed funny. I'm just a dog, after all.)

Mom still keeps in touch with Jeff & Jen. She says that they both tell her that they miss me a lot. I think I'm going to see them again soon, & that'll be really nice. I've missed them. My mom's also heard from Erica, my first vet student from my first go 'round, & she's moving to St. Louis soon! I know I'm a super lucky girl to have so many people that love me. In the meantime, I keep getting better & better, I have my very own bed for daytime, & I sleep on my mom's side of her bed at night. Oh, & I know Dad's only kidding when he tells me I need to get one of those jobs... That just doesn't make sense, they don't like their jobs, so why would they want me to get one? People. I'll never understand.

Ok, so thanks, everyone, for reading my story. I really appreciate it. The lampshade is still on, but I think I've almost got Mom to let me sleep without it....almost. She says hopefully sometime this week. I sure hope so. It's awful. They do let me go without it for a little while, but only if they can see everything that I do. I really, really want it to be gone by Sunday. Mom says that the Luce Whippets are coming over... I have a rep to protect, you know.


LucyinStLou said...

Oh Mattie...your POOR foot! That looks like it really, really hurts. You were very brave while your people were gone. I'm sure the vet students really liked having you around. The Luce Whippets are looking forward to seeing you on Sunday. I hope the lampshade is gone too!

Claire said...

Thanks, Aunt Lucy. (It's Mattie, not Claire.) I won't have to wear the lampshade on Sunday, Mom already promised.

And yes, my foot hurts, but not so much anymore. I'm sure that if you bring me a nice treat on Sunday, it'll make it much better. =P

Jaime (The Original Girly) said...

Mattie! I had no idea the ordeal you were going through!! Your poor, poor foot :( - I hope it feels good as new in no time. Give your peeps a big smooch for taking such good care of you!! xox

Tracey said...

Mattie! I'm glad to see you are feeling better. Poor baby. Hopefully, that mean cancer stays away for good this time. Love ya!

Kelly said...

Awwww... Mattie you're so brave! I'm glad you got to meet some of my friends while you were at Mizzou. It's always nice to hear that things have worked out well when doggies leave the hospital. Dr. David is fantastic! I'm so lucky to be going on my oncology rotation in two weeks. I took oncology as an elective last year and I loved it. Jeff will be on the rotation with me. Hopefully cancer gets the hint this time and doesn't come back!

Kelly said...

Jeff is going to be there Monday! I showed him all the nice stuff you wrote about him, hope you don't mind! We don't always get to hear how much our work is appreciated.