Thursday, January 03, 2013

i hate everything

Yesterday, according to my parents, the family dog refused to eat anything until Mom made him a fried egg. Kippy has always had a sensitive stomach, but my parents claim his pickiness has worsened since I lived at home for four months in late 2011—when he wouldn’t eat breakfast, I sat next to him and coaxed him to eat his kibble, feeding him, by hand, one piece at a time. Now he sometimes demands to be fed that way just for kicks.

After he ate the egg, Mom took him for a walk around the block, and they stopped at her friend’s house. The friend is one of a few people along Kip’s walking routes that keeps treats for him. There, he cheerfully devoured the same treats that my parents undoubtedly offered him before resorting to cooking. My dog is the best asshole I’ve ever met.

A few hours after that walk, the vet called to tell my parents that Kippy has cancer.

I was visiting last week when he had the mass removed from his eyelid. In less than a month, it had grown from imperceptible to dime-sized. We spent New Year’s hoping it was benign; at 13, Kip is covered with fatty lumps that don’t seem to make him uncomfortable. But this lump—which the vet removed, along with part of his eyelid—is a poorly differentiated, aggressive, amelanotic melanoma. There’s a chance the vet removed the whole thing, that it didn’t metastasize, and that my dog is cancer-free. It’s much more likely that the vet was unable to get clear margins and that this will kill him, especially since we all agree it would be inhumane to put an old, arthritic dog through painful treatments of questionable utility.

Kippy was bound to die eventually, but it seems like an especially cruel twist of fate that he’ll likely die from cancer, about a year after my bout with the disease, pummeling my family for a second time. During my months in the trenches, Kip refused to let me go anywhere in the house alone. My dog shadow followed me between rooms, curling up beside me. Normally, he prefers to spend his days napping unbothered, shifting as sunny patches move across his favorite couch. But when I needed him, he took care of me.  

Returning the favor is the least I can do. 

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