The joy of small things 2 – Dog walking

Every dog owner knows there are times when you just don’t feel like doing the walk. It’s dark, it’s cold. I’m too tired. There’s the endless repetition of winter clothes and boots on and off, on and off to trudge through wet, heavy snow, hoping the dog will do her numbers and you can both go home where it’s warm and dry.

Almost two years ago, our darling dog Dolly was diagnosed with a spindle cell tumour. It was removed, she recovered and we enjoyed 18 months or so of cancer-free life. She was bright and lively and life was good. She’s an outdoor kind of dog and she loves her rambles.

And then, a few weeks ago, I felt a lump on her belly. After several vet appointments, including a visit to an oncologist, and tests, we were told the same type of cancer had returned, but in a different place. However, the tumour was deemed operable and on Monday, April 16, 2012, she had the surgery.

The first few days post op went well, and then something went terribly wrong. She couldn’t get up. She couldn’t get downstairs to go out. She was confined to her bed.Image

It was terrible to see this usually active dog unable to stand up on her own. She could walk just a few steps and those steps were taken on trembling legs. She would collapse and need a helping hand under her bottom to get up again.

As she lay on her bed, I sat beside her, holding her and talking to her. My heart broke for her. I hated to see her like that, so not the dog she used to be. I regretted the surgery.

And what I missed most, what I would have given anything for, was to be outside with her once again, walking. Although I would have gratefully settled for walking along the street with her, in any weather, I longed for a proper ramble.

We ramble in Sir Sam Smith Park in Etobicoke by the shore of Lake Ontario where there’s beautiful scenery for me and amazing smells for her. She trots along at a pretty pace, taking it all in, looking around from time to time to make sure I’m keeping up. We used to ramble for about 60 minutes but now that we’re older, we’ve cut back to about 40. Maybe we don’t walk as fast or as far as we used to, but the sun shines on us, the air is crisp and clean and our ramble is a wonderful, welcome interlude from the demands of the day.

Dolly’s on the mend now. And we’re both looking forward to the day when once again we’re on the move. It can’t come soon enough for either of us.


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