I’m a bit behind on posting, due to the change from one computer to another, but I had to take time to post a bit of news that I learned about Arnie.

Arnie, my sweet, little, old man…has cancer.

Monday I went into my bedroom where he was resting to brush him. He’d been sleeping, so I gently woke him up so he’d not be startled by the prongs sweeping through his coat. I said “Hi there, sweetie,” and he lifted his head to look at me. It was then that I noticed he had blood on his paws and on the floor. I dropped everything, called the animal hospital and told them I was coming in.

While in the waiting room I was chatting with another client, and Arnie was busy exploring and sniffing. I was feeling better, as I’d not seen any blood on the trip in, nor while we waiting. Suddenly the lady with whom I was talking said “Oh my…he is bleeding…everywhere….” I looked over to see decent sized drops of blood covering (seemingly) the entire floor. I panicked as we carried him into the room. All I could think about was that in the past bleeding from the mouth always proved to be a fast acting cancer in it’s eleventh hour.

Well, I was incorrect in my assumption of hemangiosarcoma. The technician came in and looked deep into his mouth as I held it open. She saw what appeared to be the source of bleeding – a tear or lump in his mouth that had burst open, probably due to his chewing. I felt instant relief…good…he’d bitten his tongue, silly boy.

I ran quickly to the rest room while she sat with him, returning to find Dr. Shrum looking at Arnie’s mouth. It was indeed a tear, but the tear was on a tumor in the back of his mouth.

Arnie has a black tongue, and apparently tumors forming on these colored tongues is known. It’s one of the few types of cancer I’ve not had to deal with throughout my years in rescue and having pets, but as soon as Dr. Shrum showed it to me…I knew.  I looked at him and said “Is that cancer?” He replied, “Yes….”

So, this sweet boy who has been through so much, who has been ferociously beaten and who is afraid of touch, is now dealing with this cruel and heartless disease that cannot be treated. I’ve just not had him long enough, it seems. I want him to feel loved and know he’s safe. A boy who’s been through so much deserves to know that he’s been adored in his lifetime.

Yet when I slow down and take a breath, I realize that within the three weeks I’ve had him, he’s grown to let me hug and kiss him. He let the vet tech hug and love on him. He lets me open his mouth to medicate him, pick him up, and gently takes treats out of my hand. He even follows me around the house, and he wants to be where I am.  Maybe he does know, and maybe, God willing, I’ve helped him to forget some of his horrific past. He’s had pain relief, a soft bed, and a lot of “I love you, sweet boy,” and I’m certain he’s never had any of those things prior. So, possibly…and I pray that it’s true…he does recognize that someone adores him. Without question, his huge eyes and soft expressions make my heart just a little bit softer.

I will keep Arnie comfortable as long as the cancer will let me, and when the time comes that it’s too difficult for him I’ll let him go. It most likely won’t be much longer, but I can still provide him with baby talk, a warm bed, and an abundance of love.  Keep the little guy in your prayers. He’s such a pillar of strength, pushing along for all of these years in a world that was unkind to him. What a darling boy…what a blessing to have in my life, even if it has only been three weeks.

I love you, old man.


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