I recognized the expression on the vet’s face when he called me into the office. I’d seen it before, the “I am now going to turn off my emotions look” in order to tell this woman something really, really bad that is going to make her cry hard and a lot.
“Cancer? You’re kidding me, right?” I pleaded as if this would change the diagnosis. “It was only a few little drops of blood at a time.”
The vet said Mesa’s tumor, called a TVT Canine Tumor, was common in wild dogs who “over copulate” at will. We didn’t notice it at first, but that wouldn’t have changed anything. The girls and I still would have rescued this dog off the Hopi Mesa Indian Reservation in Arizona where we found him scrapping for food in the hot desert. Only he wasn’t mangy like the dogs in his pack. We assume he got loose from his owners or that someone abandoned him. A quick check with the restaurant employees confirmed that he had been hanging around for about three years. We had him checked him for an ID microchip. He had none. That meant he would embark on our cross country RV trip back to New York . He was already in the front seat waiting for us, wagging his tail and ready to go.
I fell more and more in doggie love with him as each wag of his giant tail sent my girls’ hearts back into childhood. The best was watching them teach him how to swim in Lake Powel, Utah. Beach goers literally cheered when he finally mastered the doggie paddle. He gave presidential kisses to babies on sidewalks, walked by our sides without a leash, and never once peed in the RV. At night, he and the girls piled into a sleepy heap of paws, arms and legs as they cuddled up with him in front of our nightly campfires. Mesa was truly the best dog in the world. Everyone said so even though we already knew it.
“Now what?” I cried to the vet.
I called my late husband’s best friend, a doctor, asking for advice.
More tissues later, I had my conclusion.
I took Mesa home, once again. We got him the biggest bone we could find and started the chemo treatments.
One thing is for sure. We will need a lot of Hopi for Mesa.