Dog Life goes on during treatment
Doggie Life goes on. Your dog in chemotherapy will still beg for food, tear up newspapers, want to sleep on the furniture and love to go out. The temptation to indulge -- yes, to spoil -- your dog will be even greater than before.
Mundane dog health issues will continue to occur. Four months into treatment, Berry contracted campylobactor, a "bug" that causes diarrhea and vomiting, from his Golden pal, Cody, and gave it to his Golden "mom", Amanda Jones, before he had any symptoms. Nine months into treatment, a hot spot emerged on Berry’s neck during a week at the beach. And over the fall and winter of 2000-01, Berry developed persistent skin problems including rashes, and dramatically thinning coat -- ultimately diagnosed as scabies and a related bacterial infection which took up residence and were hard to shake.
Berry occasionally threw up for no reason -- or at least for no reason related to his cancer or chemotherapy. At first, we approached each incident with alarm, but as time went on, we didn’t immediately attribute every "off" day to the disease or drugs. Your dog’s immune system will be compromised, but in our experience thus far, normal precautions have been sufficient – Berry isn’t a "bubble dog" confined to the house and separated from the rest of his species.
To give you an idea of Berry’s quality of life since his diagnosis and chemotherapy began, here are some of the things Berry did in 2000:
Graduated from obedience school; took walks every day; celebrated his 4th birthday in a party hat; learned to "shake" and to catch food thrown to him; played in the waves in the Atlantic; beat out his pal Cody retrieving sticks in the ocean; dug halfway to China in the beach sand; chased a horseshoe crab; ate an entire fresh baked rhubarb pie that he counter-surfed when we turned our backs for 10 minutes; sponsored the 9th hole at the Animal Welfare Association of Southern New Jersey annual "Putt for Pets" golf tournament; accompanied his buddies Cody and Pal for long walks in the Wissahickon and at Jacobsburg; romped at the DVGRR annual reunion picnic and participated in a training demonstration there; went swimming in Bill and Linda’s pool....
Whew.... What an active doggie!!!! But that's not all.... Because Berry then:
celebrated his anniversary by stealing from its box the cake his foster mother Lois had bought from Bone-Appetit; been video-ed practicing his superior water entry at his favorite swimming hole; distributed holiday gifts at VHUP disguised as a reindeer; slept on the beds; rolled in the dirt (and the snow); become a devoted patron of the culinary arts; shredded a dozen stuffed toys; yowled in concert with passing fire engines and police car sirens; hunted down stray chicken bones on scores of blocks of sidewalks; licked hundreds of plates; and absorbed more petting and brushing than any other dog on planet Earth (with the possible exception of the doggie owned by you dear reader.....)
Now, to update you on Berry's doings in 2001:
Learned to play with "Dubs", the German Shepherd rescued from Fairmount Park in January; celebrated his 5th birthday on April 22; put up with (and maybe even learned to like) Otto, the "pound dog" who joined our household in April; had his portrait painted; romped at the new Dog Park all summer; luxuriated at "Spa Woislaw" in August while Carol and DC went to Norway; led the way through the new dog door; went to Tinicum Wildlife Refuge for long walks (and occasional unauthorized duck chasing); attended the annual Blessing of the Pets at St. Francis de Sales; posed for photos at AWA's 2001 Putt for Pets Tournament on September 10; was named Director of Homeland Security after scaring away a burglar in October; visited with residents of Park Pleasant Nursing Home at the Grand Opening of the Chester Avenue Dog Park; celebrated 2 years in his new home; and dissected innumerable stuffed toys (good-bye, Sherman, Little Man, brown bear, reindeer, and all the others).
In 2002, Berry's owners got a little complacent and didn't keep such good records, but Berry continued to have a blast, especially that summer. In June, he and Otto spent a week at Camp Gone to the Dogs in Vermont where Berry took long walks in the woods and tried sheep herding, weight pulling, and lure coursing while Otto did agility, tracking and obedience. He also went to an All Goldens pool party at Bill and Linda's in August and practiced his superior water entry. He invested some time at Lois and Richard's bringing up Hannah, a rescue Golden puppy taken in shortly after Amanda died. In November, he enjoyed the first of many walks in the woods at BerryBrook. Most importantly, Berry kept the Dog Park safe all year, vigorously guarding it from the trolleys passing to and fro on Chester Avenue.
Before Berry's health decline after Labor Day, 2003, the winter, spring and summer were filled with many trips to BerryBrook, where Berry learned the trails, found coveted deer bones left by hunters, swam at the "Dip", rolled in the luxuriant lawn, and wallowed in the mud at Swamp Donkey Flats. He was wet, dirty, and happy there. Back in Philly, Berry continued to defend the Dog Park, and did pet therapy at Park Pleasant Nursing Home.
Go Berry Go!!!!! We Love You....