Well, September was nowhere near as fun as August. Remember my owie toe, the one that had a lump on it that we thought was maybe a weird reaction to a bee sting or spider bite? Well, I took the antibiotics and steroids and at first it seemed like the lump was going down, but then it popped right back up again, so back to the vet Mommy and I went. We saw my regular vet and she poked and wiggled the lump and she looked at my toenails and she told Mommy that she was pretty sure it was a fatty tumor in a really weird place, and because of all the damage I had done to the nails on that foot and the fact that I had managed to remove the skin tag on that shoulder, and because it was only going to get bigger, it needed to come off. Mommy was very nervous about this because I am eleven years old which, for my size, makes me a senior citizen and she wasn't happy about having to knock me out. The vet told her not to worry because she would use a special anesthetic that was very safe for old dogs. Mommy then asked the vet if the surgery needed to be done right away or could we wait a week because she and I were supposed to go up to Wisconsin to help move some furniture, and, more importantly, to see Mommy's youngest brother and his partner (Mommy calls him her brother-out-law because the idiots who make the laws say that her brother and his partner can't get married even though they have been together for a lot longer than a lot of people who CAN get married. So, since he can't be her brother-IN-law he is her brother-OUT-law.). Anyway, Mommy and I rarely get to see her brother-out-law so we didn't want to miss the trip. The vet told us to go have fun and we'd do the surgery when we got back.
So, off to Wisconsin we went. I had a great time. I got to swim and take two peddleboat rides, and because Grandpa was there I got to go for a ride in the big boat, which is lots of fun even though Mommy and Grandma hog the best seats. Best of all I got to see Mommy's brother-out-law who is the GREATEST! No matter what I did he thought it was wonderful. When I'd get in trouble for something he'd say, "Don't listen to your Mommy, sweetie. You are perfect!" When I would squeak my toys he would clap and say, "Yeah!!" instead of pulling a pillow over his head and saying, "Stop it! I have a migraine!" like Mommy does sometimes. When we were having dinner and I was sitting on the other side of the threshold like Mommy likes me to do in the Wisconsin house he called me over to sit by him! At one meal I sat on the other side of the threshold and squeaked my toy and he was busy talking and didn't clap and say, "Yeah!" so I whined and he got worried and asked what was wrong and Mommy said, "He squeaked the toy and you didn't clap. I told you that was a bad thing to start." so he clapped! It was nice having someone around who understood how important and clever I actually am.
But, all good things come to an end and Mommy and I had to go home so I could have surgery. The plan was that the vet would take the lump off and do a bone scraping to send out for biopsy and I'd be home by noon. We went to the vet and Mommy was very nervous about the anesthetic and I was NOT happy about being taken into the back room without Mommy who was in the waiting area talking to my vet. When the vet came in back she gave me a shot that made me happy and not all that worried about Mommy not being around and being put up on the big table in back for an x-ray or having my foot shaved for the surgery. Then the vet said, "Oh dear." and I got put back in a cage in back, but I still wasn't too worried about it because of that shot. She went away and called Mommy and told her that I needed to have my toe amputated!! She had seen a weird lump on my x-ray and in the past when she has seen weird lumps like that on black dogs' toes it has ended up being a really bad form of bone cancer that gets very aggressive if a bone scraping is done. Mommy was NOT happy about that call, but she agreed we couldn't risk me losing my front leg since my back ones don't work right, and the vet had assured her that my walking wouldn't be affected by one missing toe so into the operating room I went to get my toe cut off! Because this was not a lumpectomy anymore it meant that I wasn't coming home at noon either, but the vet knew I would make myself sick if I didn't get to go home until the next morning (which is normally what she would do with an amputation) so she told Mommy I could come home around 3 p.m. When Mommy came to get me I was still very woozy but I was sure happy to get out of the vet's office and back home. Mommy had moved her mattress to the floor of the living room so that I could sleep there with her, since I couldn't climb while my foot was all bandaged up and when we got home she brought me over to it so I could lie down, but I got myself back up and staggered into the kitchen and stood by my Milkbones because I ALWAYS get a Milkbone when I come back from the vet. Mommy said I wasn't supposed to eat anything so soon after surgery, but I refused to leave and kept tipping over, so Mommy gave up and gave me the "ears" off of one small dog bone and I was happy and went back to bed.
Because of the nerve damage in my hind end that day and the next I kept falling over or my back end would slowly sink down to the ground when I stood up so Mommy made me wear my lifting harness at all times so she could catch me if that started to happen. It was strange wearing the harness inside, but I didn't object. I DID object to not being allowed to walk for more than a quarter mile at a time and I refused to poop for three days. Mommy said I needed to poop so I wouldn't get sicker like when I broke my back, and she even tried to get me to poop by driving me to some of my favorite pooping spots. Finally, Mommy gave in and went against the vet's orders and let me walk a 1/2 mile and I agreed to poop. I also refused to pee for the first two days because I WILL NOT pee like a girl, and I was too unstable to lift my leg. Dignity is everything you know.
On day three I decided I was sick of being stuck in the house so when Mommy went out to the porch with the recyclables I went out too and then I refused to come back in the house. It was only 50 degrees outside so Mommy covered me up with a blanket so I wouldn't get chilled. I stayed outside for about 3 hours.
Mommy had to go back to work after a few days and I had to wear a CONE. Mommy and the vet knew I would freak out with a normal cone so Mommy went out and bought something that looked like an innertube. When she put that on me I laughed at her because it didn't block me from getting to my foot AT ALL!! Mommy returned it. So she ordered something called a Comfy Cone which is like a plastic cone but it is soft and you can bend it into different shapes. The first time Mommy went to put it on me she opened up the Velcro strips that hold it together and I got really scared by the noise and took off screaming out of the room. Mommy caught me and put it on me, but there was something on my head so I tore around screaming again. Mommy wondered how in the world she was going to be able to go to work if I couldn't wear the cone, but then, while I was hanging out on the porch, she realized that she could put it into the shape that worked for me, and, if she made the collar it was attached to tight enough, she wouldn't have to open it in my presence. Then she discovered that she could really bend down the top part and to be safe she tacked it down with some thread and I actually wore the cone without screaming through the house. It DIDN'T mean I was happy about it though.
Everyone was really concerned about me when they saw me walking with a sock over my bandage on nice days and an IV bag over it on wet days. Lots of people at Mommy's work asked for updates on me and Emily, who works with Mommy and was on my Relay for Life team one year, baked me two bags of really yummy chicken flavored treats in the shapes of M's and W's and little vets. After the first few just for being me, Mommy decided they would be my special "Putting on the Comfy Cone" treats. I get one for putting my head in the cone and one after Mommy clicks the collar closed. I hate the Comfy Cone, but I can't resist those yummy treats.
Mommy and I were supposed to go up to Wisconsin with Auntie Naomi and Uncle Fred for a special weekend festival and Auntie Naomi's birthday, but because of my foot we had to cancel. Mommy was very sad about that, but she hopes we can do it next year. Finally, after FOREVER, okay two weeks, and a million trips to the vet for bandage changes, or maybe it was three, I got my stitches out and don't have to have a bandage on my foot anymore. I DO have to still wear a sock on most of my walks because I have a sore spot on the non-toe and I need to build up a callus. I can walk on the foot just fine though if I don't overdo it and scrape the sore spot and I can take long walks again! Mommy has ordered me a boot so that I can go back to taking hikes without having to worry about the gravel on the trails and that will be great because I'd hate to not earn my trail badge this year. I still have to wear my Comfy Cone when Mommy isn't around (and sometimes when she is) because I'm licking the sore spot too much. I think that is mean.
Oh, and the vet techs and receptionists were worried that I wouldn't be able to paint with a missing toe on my painting paw, but Mommy doesn't think that is going to be a problem. I pretty much retired from painting when I turned 10, but Mommy plans on having me paint something for Relay for Life next year if possible. And FINALLY AFTER REALLY REALLY FOREVER, or maybe it was three weeks, we got the results of the biopsy on the original lump and the bone lump and it ends up that both were benign fibromas. The vet says fibromas on bones are rare, but then, I'm me, and weird rare medical things are my specialty. So, Mommy and I don't have to worry about that nasty bone cancer that black dogs get! Hooray!!