Anyone who has ever loved a dog knows. They just don't live long enough. I have been worried about Ruby for a few weeks now- and can only begin to address it now. She has a lump. A bump. Some lovely lady humps. I suspect its fat. Limpoma, according to my spotty research. Which is not as big a deal as say the ever prevalent C word that seems to strike every other dog I know these days. There I go exercising my superior veterinary knowledge. I don't know fat from tumor, I am not to diagnose my dog. I do have an appointment with an actual vet on Tuesday. And I am every so slightly dreading it. Even though I suspect she's ok. I can't help it.
I took Ruby and Mayo swimming today- which is one of my favorite things to do. I love watching them. Ruby swims so gracefully, hardly rippling the water- her head looking like the lockness monster. Her tail is a ruder, and she effortlessly swims in circles- just to swim. Mayo can't stand the water. He'll get his feet wet, but then jump back as if he's standing in acid. He wants to participate, but doesn't understand the appeal. Today the dog swimming hole was crowded, the usual labs, I think 4 today, 3 goldens, and a few mutts. Some teenagers drinking beer. Some preschoolers running around. Some guy trying to fish just down the creek.
I watched Ruby, who just turned 9, play bowing to all these young dogs- egging them on, chasing sticks. When it was time to go, I watched her back legs give a little. Mayo still trying to wrestle with her, she was right there with him, but I held her back. 9 is not that old for a dog- but Ruby has been turning white since she was 4- she looks ancient now. She limps. She can't keep up with herself.
The hike back to the car was a little slow. Once we got to the car, she gave it her all but only her front legs made it. I had to do the same heave I've had to do to help her into bed more nights than not lately. Since we've been home she's been sacked out on the couch, only occasionally hobbling around, and shes stiff.
She is such an integral part of this family. It was on the way to J and my wedding that I stopped and visited Ruby when she was just a few weeks old. She wouldn't be able to leave her mom for some more weeks. After the wedding, the honeymoon, close to my birthday, we brought her home.
I have met a lot of friends through Ruby. She is loving. She remembers everyone and makes people feel special. People I never met would to come up to me and ask 'is that Ruby?' I started down the road of helping her be a service dog, able to visit hospitals. I got side tracked by kids, and life and all that I want to get done. But she'd make a great service dog.
She's been biking with us. She's jumped off a 10 foot cliff into water. Shes fallen through ice. She's chewed up a lot of shit. Many shoes. She once brought the contents of my jewelry box down stairs, took out every piece of jewelry and had me do a panicking inventory with my hand on the phone ready to call the emergency vet. There was a time where she'd destroy the last thing I touched before I left the house. A remote control. My sunglasses. The toothpaste. She's had her stomach pumped after eating a whole box of cocoa powder. I came home to find her panting, saucer eyed on the floor, in a pool of chocolate vomit. She's been bit by something that made her nose swell up like a balloon that prompted the student vet to ask if we had snakes. She whines until you put a blanket on her. She still gets into the trash and goes through my bag every night checking for any of the girls snacks for the day had been left in there. Which they usually are. She loves the girls and has helped both of them learn to walk. She watches over them like they were her pups.
Shes a very good girl, and I hope she's just fat and not sick.