We had a phone call this morning confirming what we were expecting to hear. Spike, our 12 year old Labrador, has cancer. It's in his back foot and is eating away at the bones. We knew things weren't right a couple of months ago when some lumps popped up overnight. At first the vet thought it was nothing to worry about but, with his walking getting slowly worse, he had x-rays and a biopsy taken earlier in the week to see what was going on. I saw the x-rays myself and you could see where the bone had been eaten away so getting this phone call this morning wasn't a shock. Still upsetting though.
Spike is what our vet calls a milestone dog. Basically he has been with us through everything. We got Spike in July 2004, just before I graduated from university. In the time we have had Spike our lives have changed beyond recognition. I started teaching; we moved into our first house and got married. Gareth swapped his job once or twice and I've moved onto a different school.
We found out we were expecting a baby in January 2009. Sadly it didn't work out so well- it turned out the pregnancy was ectopic. I'll never forget how Spike looked after me in those days and weeks afterwards. He would lie in bed with me, his head tucked under my chin and his back running down the length of my body. If he wasn't there, he was sleeping outside my bedroom door. Protecting me.
He's since survived through numerous things. We've had three children for starters! Every time we've brought another bundle of joy home from the hospital he must have thought- not again! Although he always enjoyed when they started eating and threw their food all over the floor. We even had a cat for a while, until she was sadly run over, and he managed to get on with her. In fact Spike has got on with everyone and everything he has ever met. His tail is always wagging, even now when he is in so much pain he still manages to wag it.
So now we find ourselves in this awful situation. We could give him treatment, but whilst this may get rid of the cancer, it certainly isn't going to grow his missing bones back. We've always said we wouldn't want him (or any of our pets) to be in pain so we could try pain killers. The fact of the matter is, at the moment, he can hardly walk on it. We're going to sit tight over the weekend and see how he gets on. Maybe he is struggling to walk after the surgery and if he picks up over the weekend we may try pain relief. Maybe there isn't anything that can be done.
Whatever happens we're going to give him lots of cuddles and love over the weekend. And lots of yummy food! We're going to be thankful that we got him for 12 years and we're always going to be grateful to him for being the best dog you could ask for.