With our appointment with oncology booked, my father, Beauford, and I headed to Guelph on a quiet Monday evening.
It was the calm before the storm, literally.
Our bags were packed (I was told by my boyfriend that Beauford packs like a girl!) and we were as ready as were going to be to face the fierce realities we were about to hear.
That Monday morning, Beauford had barfed. Woke up at around 5:30 and just vomited. Now, in the old days Beauford throwing up wouldn’t have been alarming. He used to suffer from bouts of (chronic) pancreatitis as a puppy. No matter the fat content, or whether a food was grain free, holistic, veterinary prescription, etc., Beauford would get sick. He’s a dog that’s dog food intolerant.
The thing is he just likes the finer things in life, loves to be spoiled, and deems himself worthy (which he totally is) of home cooked, fresh, real food. FYI if your dog struggles, researching a home cooked diet is worth it. The food might cost more, and you definitely exert more effort in having to cook, but once you’ve got your recipe, vitamin supplement and you’ve got a balanced diet, you’re golden.
As soon as Beauford went “real” the bad terrible poops ended, and so did the barfs. Prior to that Monday Beauford had vomited only twice in 2 years.
Instantly, as I struggled to survive on what can only be described as epic lack of sleep, I panicked a little, convinced that this was possibly the cancer rearing it’s ugly head. You see, up until that moment the only “symptoms” Beauford had of cancer was some increased lethargy and weight loss. The sudden and consistent weight loss was what started this journey.
Beauford, who is the most sensitive of souls, looked at me immediately after he threw up. His eyes said “sorry” since a little bit ended up on the carpet. I gently told him everything was going to be okay as I cleaned up. But we both knew it wasn’t. He didn’t feel like walking, which worried me, but listening to Beauford, and allowing him to determine his exercise level is all part of this diagnosis.
Despite his pukes he was still hungry. Still came to the kitchen door wondering why the felines were eating and he wasn’t. I had texted my vet at 6 a.m., to see if it was okay to eat (I am so incredibly lucky to have a primary care provider that has given me her cell number in case I need advice) , but hadn’t heard back from her yet given the early hour. I figured what the hell, why not feed him a little? The worst case scenario is that he throws up again, best case he keeps it down, and starts to perk up.
I stood there in the kitchen, and popped the meatballs in his mouth and he already started to look brighter. When I spoke to vet only moments later, she said he may have actually barfed because he was hungry…RELIEF! He kept all that food down, and even asked for more…so I fed him. You see, I know eventually Beauford is going to lose his appetite, and his appetite and food are what gives him so much joy. He is a Retriever that I am certain would nibble on his own leg if he knew he could survive on 3. So, at the moment, he eats, and eats some more.
That afternoon as I packed for him, his medications, supplements, treats, his travel bowl stand, his coat, boots, bones, blanket, food, and some “guys” – including the ever important ‘Roosty’ (whom I attempted to pack several times only to have it retrieved from the bag, clearly he wasn’t being packed – he was just going to be carried to the car by Beauford himself).
As I packed I thought about everyone that helped get us there. All the kind words, the generous donations, and the remarkable friend we’ve made at the insurance company, Danielle. She made sure that we would arrive in Guelph with a pre-approved claim. She spent hours on the phone with me, listening, and helping make these financial arrangements, and ensured within hours that coverage was guaranteed.
The drive to Guelph was a quiet one. Beauford had to fast after 8:00 p.m., so we had an evening snack in the car. We all shared some banana (Beauford’s favourite snack) and he enjoyed some extra liver treats. He was GREAT in the car, snoozed away as my dad and I rode mostly in silence.
When we got to the dog-friendly hotel and checked in Beauford couldn’t contain his excitement, – the guest service agent upgraded us to a room that would allow me to work more comfortably, yet another kindness – eager to check out the room, he quickly bounced on both Queen beds, and seemed to select the one he’d play on, and the one he’d rest on. I wasn’t quite sure where I was sleeping 😉
He got some hugs, and a pep talk from his Zadie (my dad) while I unpacked the car, and shortly after my dad left to head back to the City.
It was just going to be the two of us, me and my guy.
That night Beauford slept for a half an hour, that’s it. He snuggled up next to me and could only find a peaceful sleep for 30 minutes. It’s as though he knew what tomorrow would bring.