|Ming the Merciless|
I don't have children, and so I want to make something clear before I get into this whole mess. Remaining child-free is a choice I made, and I stand by it. I don't secretly long for a baby to cuddle, and I don't sometimes regret the decision to pursue a career rather than a family. I love my life, and the life Husband and I are working to build. My dogs are not "replacement children." But they are nonetheless my babies. I love them both, very much. They have personalities, emotions, souls. If you disagree, un-follow me. I look at my little guys, and I know that they love Husband and me - not just because we feed them but because they are cared for, told they are good dogs, and treated with love and kindness every single day. I don't want them to be my children; I want them to be my happy, healthy, loving little dogs. Forever, even though I know that's not how it works.
Which is why what's happening now is killing me. Ming is a little old man of indeterminate age. He lost his teeth some time before he became a part of our family, and so it's hard to judge. When he came to the shelter where I worked, the best we could do was "elderly." That was four years ago. He has vacillated between puppylike running and geriatric limping as long as we've had him, but this time seems different. Yesterday, Rand and I noticed that his little fluffy bottom was pretty disgusting. When we began the process of cleaning him up, we noticed what can most discreetly be described as a hemorrhoid-like swelling, so we called the vet this morning.
The vet's news thus far has not been encouraging. As of 20 minutes ago, the swelling itself had gone down, but his abdomen is distended and hard. Our vet's best guesses are heartworm, intestinal parasite, and tumor. She is continuing to do bloodwork and various other tests, and we should know something this afternoon. I'm pulling for a parasite; at least that is treatable. So this could turn out to be nothing. But it could also be something really, really bad. It could be something that results in my little Mingus not coming home again, not snoozing in my lap while I read or peeking grumpily from the depths of his bed as Alfie dances around begging to play.
Intellectually, I tell myself that even if the worst happens, Ming had four good years he might not have had otherwise. I tell myself that we knew he was old when we brought him home, and that I knew from experience that dogs don't live forever. But emotionally, it's a whole different story. If you're a pray-er, I'll take prayers. If you're a good-vibe-sender, I can use those too.