Little Lil

By isak, January 5, 2009

Lily and I are just back from the vet… seems that tumor on her elbow has reached the point that she may have just days left. It was diagnosed as malignant in September, just after Hurricane Ike. It was actually twice diagnosed. The vet that started the diagnosis was knocked out of electricity by the hurricane, so I went back to her original vet. At that time, the tumor was not affecting any other organs as far as the blood work showed. But it has been growing.

Sometime Saturday night, the tumor opened up in a couple places and began bleeding. It started and stopped and started and stopped, so I kept her cleaned up as best I could. Because it stopped, I waited until today to take Lily to her vet instead of an emergency clinic. Seems the emergency clinics generally bandage you up until you can get to your own vet in many cases.

We discussed the couple options available and I have decided to keep her comfortable for a couple days and wait for Lily to tell me when it is time. She has not eaten since Saturday night. At that time, she was still frisky and running and barking around the yard. Right now, she is hunkered down in a dog house in the corner of the living room not making a sound. She spit out the pills I try to give her — an antibiotic and a sedative, refused the food and hasn’t touched her water. What a difference a day can make.

Lily and her brother, LeRoy, were dumped out just down the street in maybe 1997. They were maybe 1-1 1/2 years old as I remember. Both are black and white. Lily has short hair and LeRoy has long hair, both are about 40 pounds. The vet first saw them in 1997 – I asked that today because I could not remember; I don’t know what month.

The two of them used to run up and down the road chasing every pickup truck that drove past. I guessed they had been dumped by a pickup. They would linger in the yard next door while waiting for the next pickup to chase. No one lived next door at the time. Of course, I started putting food and water out next door for them.

Not long after their arrival in the neighborhood, I started putting a fence around the front yard to keep my dogs in the yard. Just as we were finishing up the last stretch of fencing, Lily decided she and LeRoy should move in. And so they did. They claimed the front yard as theirs.

All went well for a while. Lily and LeRoy were fenced in the front yard. In the summer, they made their home under the house. It was cooler under there and they could keep up with us in the house. They actually laid under the room we were in… the living room during the evenings, the office during the day and under my bedroom at night. During the colder weather, they slept on the front porch in their insulated houses.

At some point, Lily decided she did not like sharing HER yard with other dogs. I would let some of the house dogs out in the front yard to go to the bathroom. One day, she went after one of them, Princess, quite viciously. Fortunately, I was right there and quickly tackled her to the ground. I would tie she and Leroy up to let the dogs out, but she would still try to attack anyone coming out front. So I took everyone out to the backyard to go to the bathroom.

Lily tried to fight through the fence with the backyard dogs a few times which resulted in having her lip sewed back together a couple times and the bottom of her left ear cleaned up after another dog ripped it off when she got too rough at the fence line. In that case, the dog that ripped her ear off left it on the back porch just outside the sliding glass door. I found it when I got home from work that evening. I also went through heartworm treatment with both she and LeRoy… they arrived with heartworms.

Lily is a 40 pound dog (actually 40.7 today). Just full of herself, but very loving and protective of me. When I sit on the bench in the front yard, she climbs up and sits beside me. This slowly evolves into her climbing into my lap for a good scratch. She moans all the time. It’s like her “love chatter.” She moans as she leans on you and as you scratch her. She doesn’t have many teeth left. I think part of that comes from biting the bottom of the house. She gets excited sometimes when I am getting dinner together for the kids and I hear what sounds like biting the floor joists.

There are essentially grooves under the house that join hollowed out areas where they lay. Kinda of like tunnels without the top. One such groove runs along the hallway. You can hear their tails hitting the floor joists as they run down their “hallway”.

Lily’s voice has changed. That happened quite a while ago. Her bark became hoarse,but nothing was found to be a problem.

The vet gave me a couple prescriptions for Lily today. I noticed they were very small prescriptions, so I asked the vet if this was an indication in her mind of how fast this cancer was progressing. And she said, yes. I have two 10-day prescriptions. Lily is laying very still in her dog house. She has not moved since I put her in there. I hope she feels she has had a good life with me. In my mind, she and LeRoy have just always had the front yard protected. I hope I shall always have visions of her running across the yard to bark at Ted’s truck when he drives by or to chase the neighbors’ cats and chickens back across the street to their yard or to let people know they cannot just walk into this yard unannounced.

And I hope LeRoy shall be okay. I let LeRoy sniff her when we came home from the vet. He took a whiff and moved away… seemed kind of disturbed by her smell. He is deaf and has counted on her for many things. I wonder if he will know when to come out from under the house for dinner.

This family is so large, but we are all so woven into each other’s lives.