He Had to Have Surgery…Twice

This is a story of a loyal puppy and how he had to have two tumors removed (think Brady Bunch lyrics here…assuming you are old enough to know what I am referring to).

So on a wintry cold day last week when the temperature started in the single digits and never got above freezing, his loving family drove him to town for surgery.

Little did we know that this otherwise quick and uneventful procedure would turn into an epic adventure.

After leaving him at the vet for the day we returned around the close of business to pick up our almost nine year old pooch.   Although he was in a pitiful site, we couldn’t help but laugh at his appearance.  He was wearing the cone of shame, which I would later learn when I reviewed the bill is more properly called an Elizabethan collar.  I don’t think he feels very regal in it…just my observation.

But he was wagging his tail and happy to see us.

He had two streams of spittle running out of his mouth and ultimately hanging from his cone.  Since he had only been out from under the anesthesia for a short bit he was leaning a bit (like a ship that’s taken on a little water) and his rear legs were shaking.

But he was wagging his tail and happy to see us.

His left cheek (think posterior end of the dog) was sporting a nicely stitched lesion and he had a duplicate war wound on his belly, where they removed his second tumor.  They made me hurt just to see them…

But he was wagging his tail and happy to see us.

So we took him home and created a bed on the couch next to us and he relished the attention while the other dogs whined and sniffed under the basement door, eager to join us upstairs.  For the next few days it was like having a newborn in our house.  He required constant attention to keep him from licking his wound and removing stitches.  Somehow after all this nursing a few of his stitches still tore loose.

And this is where the dog surgery and the winter weather collided to make a colossal mess.

We called the doctor just a day before the snow storm, now famous for paralyzing Atlanta, dumped about four inches of snow in our neck of the woods.  But we figured that while we were in town visiting the vet we would stock up on some necessities in case we were house bound by the snow for a few days.  When we picked him up this time he wasn’t drooling but they had stapled his previously stitched posterior and it looked as if we had payed the vet to have a zipper installed.

We really thought that this would solve our problem, but when we got home we learned just how wrong we were.  I was sick to my stomach when I noticed that the staple in the center had let go and he now had a small hole in his zipper.

The next day, with the snow coming down steady Dad and our youngest son loaded Butch-the-wonder-pooch into the truck and headed to town for a second surgery.  After the doctor reviewed the wound she declared that it looked better than the day before and that she didn’t want to do surgery, but instead removed all the stitches and sent us home with an antibiotic cream to keep everything clean.

And with zero visibility and snow covered mountain roads they began the one hour drive home…only this time it took two hours.  I was so delighted to know that our lab wouldn’t need surgery and I was even happier when they pulled in the drive.

The next morning, however, we realized that we were back to square one as the skin had let go and he was now sporting a gaping wound.  And there was no returning to town.  The roads were too hazardous to travel.

Today being the first day it was safe to travel, we took the old dog in and they did the surgery over.  This time he was shaking but not drooling when we picked him up.  Throughout this tumor removing ordeal the kids have had to endure riding back and forth through the mountains four times.  That may not seem like much, but believe me…it gets old losing half a day in this fashion.  In an effort to lift spirits and make the trek more eventful I stopped at the grocery store and purchased a box cake to make Valentine cupcakes.  Add to that a package of hot dogs and my kids were thrilled.  Can you tell I rarely purchase junk food?

For the fourth time in a week Dad lifted the lab out of the truck and carried him to our couch, I got the fire going, and the kids unloaded the car.  While they made cupcakes I nuked the hot dogs.


Life was good…and in no time they were removing the goodies from the oven.  When I told them that the cupcakes must cool before they could frost them, they came up with a brilliant idea.  Lets put them in the snow to cool!  And they did…

Please note…No one seemed concerned when I warned that a critter could find their stash in the snow.

And off they went to get baths…and then I heard the shrieks, which brought me running.  Alas…Buck the other wonder mutt had been released from the basement by their unknowing father and he had found their dessert.  He was one very happy dog, too.

Let me paint a current picture of my household…

Buck is splayed out on the living room floor in front of the fireplace looking quite satisfied after his cupcake feast.  Next to me on the couch Butch is in a drug induced stupor on an old pink princess blanket while wearing his Elizabethan collar.  Dad is in his favorite chair with his iPad in hand…but he looks weary and if I had to read his mind I’d say he is just a little perturbed about wasting the last week of his life caring for and driving Butch around.   And the kids are sulking and bemoaning the loss of sixteen valentine candy enriched cupcakes, even though they prevented the dog from getting two and had them for dessert.  The other dogs are confined in the basement, where they are chasing our very unhappy cats.


And this is the story of a loyal puppy and how he had to have two tumors removed.

I can only hope that it will end soon.


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