Dear sweet Charlie Waffles is getting dropped at the vet's office between 7 and 7:30 am to have the angry pink ping pong ball of erroneous fleshy stuffs, which is "probably not cancer", removed from his short little leg. While he is there and under the anesthesia he will also have his teeth cleaned, and possibly a tooth extracted.
He will be sent home at approximately 5pm wearing 'the Cone of Shame'.
Poor Charlie Waffles.
Charlie Waffles, aka Charlie Sunshine, aka Charles Barkley for more formality when he is being a bit hard headed, is a MUTT. A middle aged mutt of approximately 6 yrs, who was adopted from the Orange county pound in Orlando about 5 years ago. Other than his looks, which are a bit odd on their own, the strangest thing about Charlie is that I did not actually adopt him for me. I adopted him for my other dog.
Before Charlie the husband and I had two dogs. One was a Rottweiler, Flash*, that we adopted at about 6-8 moths old after he had been abandoned, dumped on the side of the road, or tossed rather... out of a moving truck into a rural area. Our brother in law saw this and took the pup home, but his adult male Lab had other opinions about a new intact male moving into the house. Husband wanted a big manly dog, we got a dog! This was in the spring. Later that fall it was my birthday and I was entertaining the idea of a puppy, a small dog for some lap time.** While visiting my family in TN my step-mother said she knew a lady at work with some Min Schnauzer puppies for sale, so we went to look. It was awful. The darn things had worms so bad their bellies were blown up like balloons and one of them had about half the hair it should have had... I took that one, he is the other of the two. This is the reason I believe that I probably have "sucker" tattooed on my forehead in some sort of ink that only evil people can see. The puppy got patched up slowly, but nothing ever did much to fix his temperament. Because he was the lovely black and brown mix that tiny little Schanuzers so often are, and he had a horrible propensity for biting, he was named Bear, Little Bear... after the cartoon because he is slightly ridiculous.
As it turned out both Flash and Little Bear were the products of the evils of the worst sort of people, back yard breeders. Flash never grew into a fine example of Rottweiler flesh. He remained forever in the 80lb range and had a tiny little peanut head reminiscent of a bitch rather than a dog. We loved him anyway of course, and were grateful that he at least won the genetic toss-up in spades in the brains and personality department. He was without a doubt the smartest and most cleaver Rotti I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Always up to tricks, but never hurting a flea in the process. Little Bear on the other hand has something all too common among Min Schnaus... neurosis! Yes, he is a neurotic dog. Worse, he is a co-dependent dog. We love him all the same, but he can be trying. He is smart, and sweet, and he loves my husband***
After almost 7 years of doggie bliss and hi-jinks in the family it was time for the yearly vet visit. In the month before they were due Flash had been a bit tired, but not off his food, and his nose had been dry and hot once or twice. I kept to the regularly scheduled appointment because I knew that sometimes dogs get bugs and colds, and I didn't think anything of it. When the vet examined Flash that changed. Our boy had lymphoma, everywhere. His throat glands were the last to swell and that's why we hadn't noticed it from regular petting. The doc tested and there was really nothing to be done. It was the aggressive type. We were informed that even if we did chemo he probably wouldn't last a year. We decided to do the best we could for him as long as he seemed happy and not in too much discomfort, and then when he got sick to have him euthanized. It was hard. We found out pretty quickly that we weren't going to have long as he went off his food and I had to start cooking for him to convince him to eat.
During this time of sickness we also discovered the depth of Little Bear's co-dependent neurotic issues. We started separating them so that we could walk Flash on his own slowly and quietly. And Bear proceeded to work himself into shaking, vomiting and loose bowel, fits no matter what we did. Separation was going to be the end of the world for Bear once Flash didn't come home at all. So the husband and I talked. And I made a list. A list of traits for a dog that would fit with Little Bear's personality, but also not annoy poor sick Flash. And then I had to search, and look at online dog profiles, and visit pounds that didn't have the dog I needed for the purpose that I needed but had 100 others that I had to walk away from and leave behind.****
But, eventually... there he was. Our Charlie. Almost 3 feet long, maybe a foot and a half tall, long tail that likes to curl over his back, shaggy reddish blond coarse terrier hair, young but not a puppy, very attentive and human focused, slightly submissive, and HAPPY to see me. Just another mutt someone had dumped. Even my softie of son was skeptical of the odd looking choice I had made. And when I brought him home my husband said "He looks ridiculous. Maybe he'd be alright if he had some legs." And I responded with "No, he's perfect."
And he was. He introduced himself to sick Flash but stayed away mostly and did not bother him because sick Flash was not fun Flash. And he badgered Little Bear just enough to distract him and begin a bond so that when we had to take Flash to be put to rest a few weeks later there was some slight pacing, and some moping and looking here and there for a while. Good friend Charlie was always on standby to be friendly and patient with him and encourage him to relax and not fuss, and maybe play a bit too. Today Little Bear and Charlie Waffles are still best of friends. Little Bear is 11 now, 12 come September.
Charlie has been perfect since he came home with me. He filled his role as new co-dependent fixation like a champ but is not co-dependent and neurotic himself, house trained in no time, learns commands at the speed of light, and just generally plays the part of Superdog in our house. Plus he likes MY lap, although at 35 lbs he's not quite the 'lapdog' I had envisioned.
But now Charlie has also let me down just a little.
Of course it's not his fault, it's mine. I believed in the power of MUTT. That Charlie would be healthier than Flash, and less neurotic than Bear, and just more durable because of the mutt factor. That whole hybrid vigor thing people like to talk about sometimes. I love his mutt-ness. It makes me smile and no one will ever convince me that his funny looks are anything other than sublime. Even husband no longer fusses about his looks, his personality makes up for it. But he is only 6, and he has a funny eye that the vets worry about that has just always been that way, and he has a tumor on his leg, and he needs a tooth extracted even though he has a nice length to his muzzle and shouldn't be prone to bad teeth so early. And it makes me worry.
So at 4am I was giving Charlie Waffles a bath so that he would be nice and clean for surgery. I was Enjoying his excellent company, and the enthusiasm with which he approaches the drying off process. I was getting kisses and hoping that either the vet is wrong and Charlie is NOT a middle age dog, that maybe he will be middle aged next year or the year after, or that she is right and that he is middle aged, and then I at least get 6 more years...not Less. Because he really is aka Charlie Sunshine for a reason.
My fingers are crossed for an uneventful surgery today, and a clean pathology report from the lab later.
*Flash was named after Roscoe P. Coletrain's beloved Basset Hound on Dukes of Hazzard. No, it doesn't make any sense at all.
** Big giant dogs like laps... Dear son played this game with the big dog, not I. Dear Son and Flash were best buds.
***Note: He is a lap dog, he just doesn't like MY lap! Lil' turd.
****Hardest thing ever! Don't ever send this girl into a pound unless you want her to come out with a dog in need of a home.