Monday, June 30, 2003

Called Monday morning to check on Xaros, he's ready to come home! I got to the clinic for my 1:00 pm appointment. Spoke to Dr. O'Neal, she told me some of Xaros's antics the night before while she had him out. He'd walk around, approach a hallway, and check both ways before entering - looking for bad guys, it sounds like. While outside for his walk, Xaros also helped protect the staff from the party-goers from the club next door. He didn't have to do anything - just standing there was enough to keep most drunks at bay. Once a police dog, always a police dog.

Xaros has several medications he'll get to take, we'll try the hot-dog or cheese wrapped trick, but he may end up just swallowing them. He doesn't like that much, but he'll take meds that way.

He stood up most of the way home and looked out the windows. It's a long drive, he really didn't get tired until we got close to home. Once we arrived home, he knew exactly where we were! He grabbed Little Baby out of the car and off he went to check to see if anything had happened to the front yard while he was gone. Satisfied that everything was normal, he easily climbed the stairs and we went inside.

Straight to the water bowl; he was thirsty! Ate some biscuits and chicken, but didn't really want the regular food. Didn't seem like he was sick, just seemed like he didn't want it right then. He wanted to walk around the house. He checked things out, and finally lay down, but kept watching everything.

Finally, after another half-hour, he decided it was nap time.

All this has tired him out.

His next appointment is in two-weeks to have his sutures taken out, and his first chemotherapy. I'll keep writing on this page until chemo starts.

Hey, I'm trying to sleep here! Been a long day!

I'm beginning to wonder if this is the same dog that was sick just last week! So far, we've played ball (chased around the house), we've been outside several times to play ball (leaping off the porch to chase the ball), we've had chicken, milk, biscuits, cookies, regular dog food, and an egg so far.

Xaros gets tired pretty quick, but I would too if I had my spleen out last week. He'll lay down for a little bit, then he's up and ready to go. It's also hard to believe he's still got a cancer. I don't want to remind myself of that.

Xaros looks pretty funny because of everywhere that he is shaved! His belly and part of his chest (for the surgery and ultrasound), a spot on his rump, a spot on his neck, and where his IV was. His incision is stapled close, he basically has been ignoring it.

Tuesday, July 1, 2003

I'm amazed at how well Xaros is doing. Went in this morning and tried to eat, but his bowl was empty. In the past, he ate mainly at night, so many times his bowl was empty in the morning. I went ahead and gave him some food, which he promptly scarfed up.

We went outside and played ball (me throwing, him chasing and bringing back). He had a little trouble going down the steps as I think he is still sore, but once down, he was fine.

Went to work - everyone wanted to know how Xaros was doing, so I referred everyone to this website. Checked on him at lunchtime (he was fine, sound asleep on his rug).

I had lunch at a cafe down the road and I had chicken and dumplings, I got a bowl to-go to take to Xaros for dinner. I enjoyed them, you should have seen Xaros! Boy, did he love those chicken and dumplings!

Boy that was good!

Here's the "this is my ball and you cannot have it" pose:

Just try and grab it...

Wednesday, July 2, 2003

Ate a big bowl of food this morning, then again at night!

My Mother came up from the metroplex to see Xaros. She brought a chicken she'd cooked especially for Xaros! (She frequently fixes chicken and noodles for me at her house, and I always take the leftovers to Xaros. This time, she fixed it for Xaros and said I could have the leftovers!)

Xaros is still a little apprehensive about going down the stairs on the porch to the yard, but once he decides to go, everything is fine.

He looks like he is getting stronger everyday. He still tires easily, but not as fast as yesterday, which was better than Monday, etc.

Oh, those pills! Five in the morning, two mid-day, and five at night. He tolerates them, and I give him a piece of turkey or a biscuit when we're done. I can't use the "wrap it in something" trick - he eats the wrapper and spits out the pill.

Friday, July 4, 2003

Well, Xaros seems to have his strength back! Eating like he always did, he jumps off the porch steps with a flying leap, was even barking at the cats that were in the yard, letting them know that "Xaros is back." Doesn't get tired as easily.

It is difficult to realize that he still has a cancer inside of him. I would love to believe that removing the spleen and tumor cured him, but I know it isn't so, not with this kind of cancer. He seems just like the Xaros I've always known, yet now I know that he's got something inside that will ultimately kill him. I wanted him to live to be so much older, but I always knew I would have to go through something like this with him. Dogs just don't live as long as we humans. I wonder why we put ourselves through this; I guess the rewards of our canine's life-long  love, devotion, and companionship outweigh our grief at the end.

Monday, July 7, 2003

Great weekend! Xaros is definitely back to normal. He saw a cat while he was outside, and it was a full-power chase until I could call him back!

He acts just like he did before he got sick; I was telling a friend about how difficult it was seeing him act this way while knowing he was still harboring a cancer, and her words made me feel so much better: "You know he's still sick, but Xaros doesn't. He's happy."

Wednesday, July 9, 2003

When Xaros left the hospital, he was taking three different medications. Today, he finished two of the three! He didn't enjoy taking the pills, that's for sure, but he would take them without argument. At least he's only down to one type left (unfortunately, it's two capsules, three times a day - for the Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever).

I gave him his usual dinner last night, he ate it all pretty fast and looked like he wanted more, so I gave him another can...and then another can...and then another can. He left about 1/3 of the FOURTH CAN of food!

Friday, July 11

This morning, we played ball in the yard, ran around, had a grand 'ole time. I left to go to lunch, came back early afternoon and Xaros could hardly stand. He was whining trying to get up, couldn't hardly put any pressure on his right hind leg. It appeared swollen and was even painful to the touch. He lay down on his right side, and let out a howl like you wouldn't believe! I called the vet, they said bring him over. He managed to walk slowly outside, but wouldn't even consider jumping off the porch. I had to lift him down the steps; he saw the car door open, and limped/trotted over and jumped in.

By the time we got to Dallas, it was nearly 5:00 pm. He got out of the car OK, and seemed to walk better. Once in the exam room, we couldn't get him to react to any pain at all. I know that the adrenaline can get going for him at the vet, but Dr. Novosad said that he was a "very stoic" dog anyway. He seemed to walk OK, still favoring the right a little, but he even stood up on his hind legs for us.

At least, while we were there, Dr. Novosad went ahead and removed the sutures from the surgery. We also noticed a bit of swelling by the incision, it looked like a slight side-effect of the surgery, a serum/fat build-up perhaps. It wasn't bothering Xaros, his x-rays looked OK, we was walking OK, so we went home.

That night, when he would lay down for a while, he had trouble getting back up as fast as usual, but favored that right leg - he would walk OK, even jumped off the porch (carefully) and chased the ball. Ate well, so I don't know what is going on with that leg; maybe he "slept wrong" or twisted it going up or down the porch. A day or so ago, he almost fell in the yard when he stepped in an armadillo hole, maybe it just caught up to him.

I gave him some ice cream; I never would let him have foods like ice cream before, as I figured it wasn't good for him. I guess I can let him have all the good stuff now and he can enjoy it.

Saturday, July 12

On Saturday, he was still moving slow, but ate great, went outside, jumped off the porch, chased the ball, just like always - still favoring the leg a little, but no whining or any show of any pain. The leg still looks swollen. I was worried that it might have been a bleed in his leg muscle or hip, but he had no other signs or symptoms of a bleed.

The Wise County Messenger did a story on him, and it came out today in the paper - most of page 2. Great picture of him, he's so photogenic. I had spoke to the author of the article on Friday, just before I got home and discovered the leg problem Xaros was having. She asked how Xaros was, and at that time, I thought he was fine and said so. Amazing how fast things can go wrong.

Xaros got some leftover steak and mashed potatoes tonight. That stuff didn't stay in the bowl very long!

Sunday, July 13

The swelling on Xaros's right leg has increased. It's about twice the size it should be and appears bruised and mottled. I think it probably is a bleed in his hip, which means the tumor has spread. He goes in tomorrow morning to start chemotherapy, so we'll find out then.


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