Tuesday, March 31, 2009


The flashback was very intense. The setting was different but the words were the same.

"I am so sorry......" The doctor saying this was a veteranarian, but it is the same words the the doctor started with that told me Jim had died.

Mercury's biopsy came back with the results that we thought Squamous Cell carcinoma. The vet I spoke to is not the vet that will be treating him so we will see the new one on Saturday.

I hope some heavier pain meds can be gotten. Poor Mercury woke me at 3:30 this morning with a whimper that sounded like, well, like a human with a toothache. With every breath there was a little 'mmmph' that was high pitched. They sleep in the living room downstairs and usually I don't hear them. I am got up and gave him some pain meds. I let both dogs out and both peed so I was happy. Then it was snuggle time. I sat on the couch with a dog on either side and stroked ears and rubbed necks. Mercury settled down right away and yet, every time I stopped or slowed he would move his head and look up at me. Tigger on the other hand was excited that mommy came down to visit during sleepy time and refused to go back to sleep. She would lick my hand if I stopped petting. Of course, I stopped as I was falling asleep again so her licking would wake me up. After about an hour, I decided the drugs had kicked in and I went back up to my bed.

Mercury's demeanor is a split one. Some of the time Mercury is behaving normal. He is up beat and excited for food. He is ready for a walk or to go out back. Then I sometimes I come into the room and he is laying on the couch just looking miserable with his head on his paws and moving slow.

I am not sure if I have posted the story of Mercury and Tigger and how they came to be in our lives. Our first Dalmatian, Gryphon was a beauty with one blue eye and one brown and a fantastic personality. He passed at age 5 1/2 with renal failure. We went to the vet with him when his life was more pain then pleasure. Jim held him as the vet gave the shot and cried. We both cried. We sat in the truck and held each other. With no children, Gryphon was our baby. We bought him from a breeder at age 12 weeks. We trained him, had photos and fun stories.

We had been doing Dalmatian rescue work for a couple years and fostering Dals was a big part of it. We would take in a Dalmatian in need till a home could be found for him. After Gryphon, I told Jim no more rescues. I was grieving. Of course, we got a call a few weeks later. A Dal about to be put to sleep. Jim told me that he would handle the dog, I didn't have to do anything. He went down to the shelter and brought home this terror of a dog. No discipline and no social skills. Jim worked with him for 3 weeks and got him to the point of adoptablity. And we found him a home.

Then a few weeks later came the next call. Two puppies in NYC have 24 hours or less to live. I said okay because we had a family wanting to adopt a younger dog. This was a great rescue. It was a 'hand off' from one couple that got the dogs in NYC, to a family in CT, and they met us up in Providence. I sat in the back seat with a 6 month old and 4 month old puppies. The 6 month old pup was bouncing around and the 4 month settled at my side and looked at me with these big brown eyes.

I remember calling to Jim in the front seat that "This one is not going anywhere". Jim laughed and said that was fine with him. And Mercury was adopted by us (oh yes, the other puppy went that day to his new home too). Our other Dalmatian, Tigger is also a rescue, but her story will come later.

Tigger seems healthy as a horse, acts like she is 2 and will probably live to be 30. Dals have an age range of 12-15, and Mercury will be 10 in September. I have started taking photos. I will try to take some each day. If only I had known with Jim, I would have taken lots and lots more.

I also ask that any men in my life - friends or family, stay far away from me. I lost Jim, my Dad and now my male dog. Something emitting from me?


Rach said...

What a wonderful story of rescuing Mercury. He is one lucky and blessed dog. Your love for him is so evident in how you talk about him and tell his story.

I'm so sorry you have to go through this yet again.


Sharon said...

Betsy...I am sooooo not a dog (or pet) person -- too many years of living in apartments/rentals where pets were not welcome -- plus the feeling that I had my hands full as a single mom with two children to raise...

All that to say, I have always liked the Dalmation breed and larger dogs, but again, our places were small and I've always enjoyed seeing dogs have space to roam (after all, this is Montana ;)

I'm so thankful for your generous spirit and caregiving nature -- and I know you have been blessed by both Mercury and Tigger over many years.