Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Buster, 2000 - 2012

He looked up into A.’s eyes as he went.


After slow but steady improvement, Buster’s health took a quick and decisive turn for the worst Friday night. Belle, A., and I went down first thing Saturday morning and spent some time with him, loving on him, calling him all his many nicknames. Then we let him go.

It is the hardest thing I have ever done.


Buster. Silly Goose. Goose. Orange-headed Goose. Damn Goose. Buster Butt. Orange-headed Mutt. Damn Mutt. Super Mutt. Littlest Boy. Little Guy. My Baby.


I remember exactly when I fell in love with Buster. We were snuggling close, and I was petting the back of his neck. His hair changed from super soft orange to soft orange and black to course black and blond. I was studying the different colors and textures.

If anyone hurts a single hair on your body, I will kill them. The thought came to me clear as day and as genuine as a sunrise. I loved every single hair on that dog and every breath he took.

Buster was simply the sweetest dog. There is not other way to describe him, cliche as it may be. He was 100% love and innocence. He was the epitome of a good dog. He was perfect. Really. He trusted everyone. He was so loyal. My goodness, it warmed my heart to see how much he loved A. Buster would look me right in the eye and just love me.  His big, beautiful, incredibly dark brown eyes, rimmed in black. I am so glad A. was his daddy. Anyone less tender and kind could have really hurt Buster.

Buster just wanted to be with the people. (Though kids? Not so much.) He always wanted pets and loves. He’d stick his nose under your arm or hand and nudge you for pets. His ears were the softest I’d ever felt. That was his favorite spot. If you rubbed his ear just right he’d lean in and moan. He was a champion snuggler. He’d curl up with us, right in our armpits. He’d have his nose one inch from my face and snuggle in for a long session of cuddles. He’d sleep on my feet. He always let out a big sigh when he was settled in for the night.I miss the weight of him so, so much.

We always teased him, saying he wasn’t very bright, but that is not actually true. He was a very quick learner. He figured out to tip over the auto-waterer thing when it was almost empty. He’d just take a paw and knock it over, matter-of-factly.

His favorite place in the house was a spot where the sun shined just right in front of the wood stove. He’d just lay there and cook himself, happy as can be.

When he was happy and content he would roll over on his back and squiggle and scratch, using of his hind legs to really get some momentum going. He’d stand back up and shake, then pant and grin at us.

I could go on and on. I loved everything about this dog.

I am not used to talking about him in the past tense.

I feel like I am still supposed to go to Fort Collins and pick him up. How is he just gone? Just like that? I watched him go. I knew the very instant he was gone. It literally took my breath away.  I just don’t believe it. And, yet, I have cried for days straight. I cry at the slightest mention of him or when I look at the places he liked to nap. I look outside our window and can imagine him trotting around, just as I’d seen him do just days ago.

How is he just gone? I am so very, very sad.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Five

1. I am exhausted. Basically, on Wednesday night it seemed that we would be saying bye to Buster if his health did not improve within a couple of days. Of course, he woke up perky the next morning. (Yay!!! Roller coasters are fun!) It was a tiny improvement, but it meant a lot to me. Wednesday night he didn't really care I was there to visit. He did not attempt to get out of his crate to see me, or go outside or anything. Thursday he walked to his potty appointments and up to me and was perky-ish. He did not wag his tail, but he definitely paid attention to me. 

He is slooooowly improving and is not out of the woods yet. I have been working half days and driving to Fort Collins for 15-minute visits with Buster. Totally worth it. I even brought Belle yesterday and they set it up so she could visit him, too! I am telling you, the CSU Vet Teaching Hospital is fucking fantastic.

2. Apparently, the Universe did not think I was freaking out enough about the well-being of dogs. When Belle and I were walking up to the hospital entrance yesterday we had to make way for the Humane Society van. They were unloading a hurt dog for emergency treatment. Oh, hello. My heart is dead now, thanks. 

My mind raced through all the possible worst-case scenarios of how this poor pup came to be in this sad situation and I walked in to the hospital crying. I had left the day before crying. 

I am a real treat to be around, lately.

3. So, this extended (and unexpected) puppy hospital stay has put a rather large DENT in our budget. LARGE. 

But I still want my new dryer!!! (Insert self-pitying sniffle here.)

What do I do, Internet? Keep the dryer or return it? It hasn't even been delivered yet, so I am sure returning it won't be a problem.

4. My heart is so heavy for A. He loves Buster so much and is so, so tender toward him. It is amazing. And heart-wrenching.

5. On the drive home last night, a car came up on me really fast and then passed me on a two-lane highway with a double yellow line! I was so pissed! I flipped the driver off.

It was a highway patrol.


Happy Friday to you!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

So many cycles!

In other frustrating news, over the weekend I bought myself a brand-spankin' new dryer to replace ours that has not been drying worth a damn for a few months. It takes nearly two to three hours to dry a moderately-sized load of laundry. Uncool

On Saturday, I’d had enough. I replaced the venting tube, dismantled the damn dryer and vacuumed every possible hiding place for lint to build up. I felt empowered and kick ass as I tore apart an appliance that could electrocute me. (Yes, I unplugged it first.) 

Still no improvement.

So. I decided to buy myself a new dryer. I did not want to mess with having someone come out and maybe put in a new heating element or some such. If I was going to spend that much money, I wanted a new goddamn dryer. (For those who may not know me well, I agonize for weeks over spending $40. So to just buy a dryer on a whim? Uncharacteristic.)

I marched downtown and bought a dryer. For me. A dryer. For me. New and shiny. It arrives on Thursday.
I have never owned a new washer or dryer. Or a new dishwasher or fridge. I have to admit, I am really, really excited for this new dryer! It is huge and fancy. It is not one of those super fancypants front-loading pretty ones, but it is still pretty spiffy. It has more options than our current machine, which offers HOT or LOW and that is it. What about medium? Why no medium?

It can sanitize. You guys! I use microcloths to clean everything in the house - including the toilet (not the inside of the bowl, but everything else). To know that I can sanitize those fuckers before using them again DELIGHTS ME TO NO END. 

[Cleaning info tangent: Currently, I wash the cloths in hot water, then again in cold water with bleach. Normally, I would dry them on HOT AS HELL as well, to kill any leftover grossness. I have a designated set of cloths for the toilet, because I was never convinced they would be clean enough to use for anything else. Even if this new dryer does sanitize, I am still not ever using them on the kitchen counters. GROSS. The end.)

Yesterday, I went out back with Belle. As we were returning to the house I noticed the dryer vent on the outside of the house. I was convinced it was a rigid plastic vent and so never bothered to check it while searching for the cause of the dryer shittiness. But, no.It is not rigit, it is flexible. It is some flimsy metal dealio. That was squished against the house.*


A. pried it open for me, and removed a couple of clumps of lint I'd missed.

I put in another load of laundry to see if the dryer worked any better. I hoped, silently, that the dryer would still be a piece of shit. At the sound of the buzzer, I slowly opened the dryer door, dreading what I might find.

The clothes were dry and piping hot within 35 minutes.

Damn it. I wanted my fancy new dryer. But I suppose the responsible thing to do is to return it, seeing as how I have a dryer that works pretty damn well, apparently.

But I don't want to. I am thisclose to pouting. For real.

Our budget has no wiggle room right now with Buster's treatment and the oodles of tests and whatnot he had to get diagnosed with lymphoma. We rarely have wiggle room as it is. I am usually quite okay with this. I have never been in a place in my life where I have extra money to spend on things for fun rather than necessity. Rather, growing up and for nearly all of adulthood I have not had extra money for fun stuff. We've been a bit more comfortable lately, before the Buster Cancer. I have a hard time buying stuff for myself. But that is another post for another day.

I try really hard not to let myself want things, as I usually cannot have them. This usually works.

But, damn. Once I let go of that hesitation and guilt and just BOUGHT MYSELF A FANCY THING, I do not want to give it back.

Anyone need a dryer? Do you know of a family who is in a dire financial situation who needs a dryer? I will gladly give them mine. So I not feel like an asshole about keeping the shiny new appliance.

* Also another story for another post: We figured out the dryer vent got smooshed in when A. FELL OF THE ROOF and hit it. He was fine, but damn.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Feeling Helpless

(Please forgive the state of the grammar and spelling throughout - I just don’t care to edit today.)

I will try not to drown you in details. There are many, as we went through two weeks of unenlightening vet visits and test and whatnot to figure out what was going on with Buster. But first! He is still with us!

Buster has lymphoma.

We made many, many more trips to the vet and were finally sent to the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital. (Excellent institution, if you ever find yourself needing their services. Also, not nearly as expensive as you might assume.) After more ultrasounds and aspirates, the folks at CSU determined he has Stage 4b Lymphoma.

The good news, is that 95% of dogs treated for this go into remission and get another year or so of happy, healthy, comfy living.

So, we decided to go with the most aggressive treatment. It is not nearly as horrid a process as that which humans undergo. He might feel a little nauseated or have a bit of diarrhea for a day or two. He has actually tolerated chemo quite well, so far. He gets one treatment a week for three weeks, then a week off for a total of 15 treatments.

His appetite has returned, and he was getting stronger. He looks much, much happier. He is still too skinny. He hangs out with us and goes for short walks around the house. He wags his tail and suns his belly on the front lawn. He trots over to me when he hears me opening a treat bag. These are all improvements.

A. took Buster down to Fort Collins today for his third chemo treatment. Upon arrival, his vet thought his breathing was labored and admitted him into critical care. They are measuring his vitals and will likely do another chest x-ray. This completely blindsided me. I guarantee he has not had any labored breathing, at least at home. (And I watch this dog obsessively for any signs of change - of whatever sort. I have an entire binder I created to keep all his discharge papers and prescription info, and I write a daily journal entry of every damn minute detail of his behaivor. I am a pain in the ass! I am THAT PERSON!)

If they don’t think he is strong or well enough, they will postpone this chemo treatment for at least another week. While I don’t want him being treated if it could further kick his ass, I also want the cancer to be attacked! Don’t let the cancer have a week off!

You guys. We only agreed to do this because it seemed to make him feel so much better. My heart is breaking all over again. We won’t put him through treatment if it doesn’t make him feel better. That is all we want.

He is so sweet. I am not ready to let him go, dammit. But, I suppose I never will.