a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: And Still Watching

Thursday, February 27, 2003

And Still Watching

Took Rem to agility class last night. Got there about 20 minutes before Jake's class so he could stand around on a chair and watch the proceedings. Was very alert, checking out the driveway where there are often sneaky cats attempting to take over Power Paws Agility. Loved the junk food offered by other people. Took mine halfheartedly--also that was the first time I've ever gotten a limp-wristed Shake from a dog. Walked around the area and he was interested but not pulling on the leash. Offered him a 4" jump to go over so he'd feel part of the process, but he walked around it.

He gag/coughed a couple of times during the night again. Not as much as previous night. Slow this morning. Became somewhat animated when I headed upstairs to get dressed, but when he lay down in the hallway to watch (well, he's a watchdog, right?), it looked like his was breathing so hard that he was rocking. But that stopped after about 30 seconds, so I don't know what that was. When he got up later, I thought it looked like he staggered, but I've seen no signs of it since.

I took only him out to the gopher park, which has Gopher Hill and Squirrel Copse. As we drove, he sat up in the car, leaning lightly on the seat, and looked out the window with some interest. In the past, when we drove into the neighborhood of gopher park, he'd be on his feet and whining with anticipation. This time, he sat upright and emitted a whine or 2, but you could tell he's very subdued. The old method of attack was to run full tilt straight across the first meadow to the gopher condo area and check everything out. This time he walked slowly around the path with me, sniffing a little bit and mostly eating grass.

When we got to the gopher condo area, he checked a couple of them desultorily and went back to eating grass. He walked with me around the big hill, very slowly. Stopped for a minute or two to gaze out over the lands below in search of official Cows or perhaps mere amateur Sheep, but saw only a few schoolchildren. Every time we hit a stretch of land or walkway that had the slightest downhill slope, he'd break into a ground-eating trot, but the rest of the time he remained slow. Checked out the squirrel trees casually, sniffed a few obstacles extremely thoroughly. Ears were only halfway up most of the time, although he looked mildly interested in what was available (as in: more grass to eat) but mostly walked slowly fairly close to me. We wandered around for about half an hour. He didn't seem to want to get back into the car, so I took that to mean that he didn't *feel* like he was done with the park, but I brought him home anyway.

He went and lay down in the other room instead of waiting for breakfast, although when I asked from the kitchen if he Wanted Breakfast, his ears perked right up and he came on in. Sniffed slackly at the chickeny dogfood substance, though. Watched the other dogs eat their kibble for a bit, took a couple of bites of the dogfood, then walked out into the hallway. I defrosted some genuine chicken for him, which he scarfed. At the end of the 3rd small batch of that, though, he was slowing down, too.

I still don't think his gums look that pale. But the vet asked me to call in every day & give status, and maybe we'll see about another blood test just to see. It could easily be getting to where the tumor is taking too much of his heart's energy, or has metastasized more into his lungs (remember these were on the very first original list of known probably outcomes, along with tumor ruptures). Those aren't as easy to diagnose and are less easy to treat than the tumor bleeding, although that's iffy enough.

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