NINE MONTHS WITH NO SIGN OF THE CANCER!!!!
We got back last night and I’m working today–no more vacation days left. I will (hopefully) post about the rest of our trip in the next few days–along with pictures. But wanted to make a quick post about what happened this morning.
Bailey and I were out for our first walk of the day. As we turned the corner a very wet little dog came running across the street to us. I’m always a little suspicious of dogs I don’t know, no matter how cute (and this pooch was adorable), so I picked Bailey up. This little stranger-dog then turned around and went back to “dogging” a fellow who was walking his dog across the street from me. He in turn shouted over “It’s not my dog.”
I put Bailey in the house and grabbed an extra leash—I had noticed a dog license on the stranger-dog’s collar. The fellow helped me leash the little pooch and I tied her to my garage door. Then I called animal control.
The animal control officer arrived about an hour later–he was able to return the little pooch to his owners which turned out to be a nursing home for the elderly. These folks were frantic for their little dog–they had just adopted him 2 weeks ago from the Humane Society and he had slipped out this morning when one of the staff opened the door at the wrong time.
1. Buy your dog a license, put the license on the dog’s collar, and the collar on the dog.
2. When you see a dog running loose without a human, leash the dog and call animal control–someone may be frantic with worry somewhere.
I’ve been trying to keep a running log of what’s happening on the trip. Tonight I found an unexpected source of hi-speed Internet–my cousin Sarah in L’Anse au Clair in Labrador.
We’re spending tonight “on the Labrador.” We spent today driving up the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland. At St. Barbe, we got on another ferry to take us back across to the mainland–only 90 minutes to cross up here. The ferry takes us to Quebec, and then we drive a few kilometers to Labrador. The only way to get here by car is to go to Newfoundland first–there are no roads from the south. But that’s another story.
I’ve posted some photos at Bailey’s Photo Album–I can’t seem to get the Blogger photo-insert to work. Here’s the first few days of our travels. I’ll post more as I’m able.
DAY 1– Dayton-Lanthum NY
Up at the crack of dawn, trying to be on the road as early as possible. We nearly made it except I forgot to forward the phone so we had to turn back. Luckily, we were still within a couple of miles of the house.
Nothing but interstate. 12 hours of interstate. I’m desperate for a cup of coffee, but the service area on the toll road is so busy they’re 20 people deep in line for each of the fast food counters. ARGH!! Will the interstate never end??
Bailey is very comfortable on the back seat. Did I mention that we purchased the car just for her? Because the back seat was so big? I specifically packed my clothes in 2 suitcases so that I could put them behind each of the front seats in order to make a larger “floor” for the pooch. She has a couple of pillows for her head, and can stretch right out across the seat if she wants. She seems to prefer putting her head on the arm rest between the 2 front seats and snoozing with her nose either in my arm pit or my mom’s.
The last hour of the drive was the hardest. Will we ever get there??? We’re exhausted by the time we get in the room. I’m so tired I forget to give Bailey her bedtime feeding. She’s so tired she sleeps right through it.
DAY 2– Lantham NY-Bangor ME
Easier drive today–a little interstate and mostly back roads. We decided to go this way on purpose, so that we could have a little “tourist” time.
Found a really wonderful deli in Brattleboro Vermont. They had the most incredible molassas cookies-each one the size of a dinnerplate. We got a turkey and a roast beed sandwich and chips and kept driving looking for a park to pic nic in. Spent half an hour circling downtown Brattleboro–the traffic was annoyingly heavy and the streets were narrow (maybe that’s why the traffic was so heavy). We finally gave up on finding a park and settled for a shady side street. We sat in the car and ate our sandwiches–of course, the pooch got fed first. The locals must have thought I was nuts–in the middle of a semi-busy street, trunk open, mixing up Bailey’s wet food and water. I had to feed Bailey before we could eat, otherwise she would concentrate on our food instead of her own.
New Hampshire and Vermont are really beautiful states–so many picturesque, cute little shops and boutiques along the way. Lots of pottery (ummmm pottery! I love pottery!). All kinds of bed & breakfasts. And everything looks so quaint-like-a-post-card.
OK, I thought it was an easier drive. Once again, we got to that last hour of the day and I couldn’t drive fast enough. FINALLY we reach Bangor. Nice big room right off the lobby (pluses and minuses in that). We eat the last of the deli sandwiches and conk out.
DAY 3– Bangor ME-Truro NS
Another “easy” drive day–we’re going to play tourist in the Bay of Fundy only the weather is not cooporating. The day starts out good, worked our way through the outskirts of Bangor. Got to the border in about two hours. Up here, the name of the border town is pronounced CAL-iss instead of the French pronounciation of Cal-LAY (Calais).
Had a bad moment at the border–they nearly confiscated Bailey’s Eukanuba pouches!! Seems the Canadian border patrol are on guard against mad cow disease being imported from the States and Bailey’s food has suspecious “meat by-products” which the guard says MIGHT be beef even after I assured her it’s pork. She looked at me like I was Ossama and told me she couldn’t just take my word for it, but that JUST THIS TIME she would let us cross the border with our nasty food. Which leads me to believe that she was only yanking my chain anyway–if this stuff was forbidden then she should have taken it away. Never mind that you can BUY this food at pet food stores in Canada. Who would have thought that Canadian customes would be so officious?
On to the Bay of Fundy! Only it’s raining and foggy!!
The Bay of Fundy is this place where when the tides go out THEY REALLY GO OUT! We had visited once before and we’re looking forward to this visit, but it was so foggy we sometimes had trouble navigating the road. So we canned the tourist visit to Fundy. Instead, we found a very nice restaurant in St John NB and had a sit-down dinner.
The lady at the information booth recommended a place called The Falls–so named because it overlooks a view of the Reversing Falls of St. John. The falls reverse when the tide comes in (this is the Bay of Fundy afterall), and the entire river delta is forced to flow in the opposite direction away from the ocean. We were there when it was tide-neutral, so were unable to witness this phenomenon; however, we had a really excellent meal–Duckie had lobster (DUH! she’s been whining for lobster since February) and I had a very nice fish cassarole. For dessert we took 2 rice puddings to go.
Back on the road to Truro–as we passed from New Brunswick to Nova Scotia the scenery started to change a little, looking more rugid with pine trees and rocks. The hotel room in Truro was small but–bonus–had a sliding glass patio door so Bailey had instent access to the potty and I had very easy access to the car (right next to our room). My third night with no Internet access. I think I’m starting to suffer withdrawal
DAY 4– Truro NS-North Sydney NS
Definately an easy drive today–only 3 hours. We make it to North Sydney in time to check in at the ferry terminal and then go find lunch. We find a nice little party house on the water to the side of the ferry terminal. I say party house because the place is as big as a barn and has that stale-beer kind of smell. But the food was good and they let me bring Bailey in–we did the Bichon-in-a-bag thing so the rest of the customers wouldn’t know that my dog was under my table. Bailey was very well behaved.
As we waited for lunch, we were able to watch the ferry come in. We’re going on the M.V. (motor vessel) Caribou.
After we ate, we got in line with the rest of the cars and waited to board–for 2 hours. Bailey and I snuck in some sleep time in the back seat of the car. Finally, it was time to drive aboard. We were in the lower vehical deck–which I was not too wild about–in with the semis and RVs. We cracked the windows and left Bailey in the back seat. This was not easy for me to do–it felt too warm down there. But the choice was the car or the ship’s kennels which did not look appealing. The deck hand who was positioning the cars assured me that when he travels he leaves his dog in the car, that the deck would soon cool off. OK, so we left her in the car.
I felt better about this decision when I heard the dogs in the kennel–talk about freaked-out dogs! There was a German Shepard mix that I had seen earlier walking beside a guy who looked like he was on a walking tour of Canada. This poor dog was probably REALLY bonded to the guy and was not at all happy about being seperated from him. At one point, the dog broke out of the kennel and they had to page the guy to secure his dog. That poor dog did nothing but bark for the entire trip–which made the other dogs in the kennels bark.
The ship had Wi-Fi in the lounge by the Purser’s office–my first opportunity to connect to the net! I posted some photos (see below), downloaded email and Sametimed (instant message) some of my buds at the office. THAT was a hoot!
A few hours out and I had an opportuity to check on Bailey in the car. Poor little sweetheart! It was warm in the car–not dangerously warm, but not comfortable. And I had a small freak-out because the situation in the kennels was just as bad in a different way. The steward who was with me (you’re not allowed down to your car by yourself) suggested I take Bailey to the kennels on the port side of the ship (there’s kennels on the port side?? I thought there was only one set of kennels on the starbord side). He said he thought they were empty. So I grabbed a rug for Bailey to lay on, and we worked our way to the other side of the ship–no easy feat because the cars, RVs, and semis are parked tight together. And we hiked from deck 1 to deck 6.
Blessed quiet in the kennels. And it was cooler. I put the rug on the kennel floor, rented a lock from the Purser (could not find the lock I purchased at home specifically for this possibility), and made my pooch as comfortable as possible. She soon settled in and had some snooze time.
Here is the wisdom I take away from the ferry crossing: deck 1 is far too stuffy for my pooch. On the return trip, I will try to have the car loaded to deck 2. Either way, if it feels too stuffy I’ll put Bailey in her bag and search out the least occupied of the kennels making sure that I can set up a “bed room” for the pooch. The car may be more familur to her, but I can visit her when I want to in the kennel.
Once again, we were exhausted by the time we reached journy’s end–Port aux Basques. It took FOREVER for the captain to “park” the ship–seriously, they were a good 40 minutes maneuvering at dockside trying to get everything lined up.
DAY 5– Port aux Bas-Twillingate
Bailey is now used to the routine: the alarm goes off around 7am. I dress and then walk her. Feed Bailey, make a cup of tea for the adults. Pack up all of our stuff. Load the car. Bailey now waits patiently on the bed until it’s her turn to be “loaded.” Once she’s in the car, she settles in for her usual morning siesta. It’s all become very routine for her, which is a very good thing.
So we’re finally on The Rock! The scenery is beautiful! Rugged. Desolate. Wilderness. Each hill is a new vista of post-card perfection.
We’re in Deer Lake in time for lunch. We stop at the Irving station–a tradition when passing through Deer Lake. Irvings are gas stations–the best ones have restaurants attached and the Irving in Deer Lake has a very good restaurant. I had (please hold your groans) cod’s tongues! WOO HOO!!! A typical Newfie meal and was it ever good.
On to Lewisport for a quick visit with my cousin Randy and his wife Janice. Had a lovely cup of tea and some blueberry cheesecake–blueberries are in season up here right now. Randy works on a supply boat for the off-coast oil rigs and his home is near the water with a beautiful view of the waterfront. Bailey is exstatic because there’s a yard with grass for her to run in.
Twillingate, where we plan to spend the night, is a little over an hour from Lewisport. It’s on the island of Twillingate and to reach it we cross over a couple of causeways–first to New World Island, then to Twillingate island.
We drive all the way to the end of the road–a very twisty, bumpy, hilly road that winds its way though the communities of Twillingate, Wild Cove, Crow Head out to where it ends at Long Point where the Long Point lighthouse sits. There are signs posted telling about whale and iceburg sightings, but I don’t see either out in Notre Dame Bay.
To be continued………
Bailey, exhausted after the first day of travel.
I am writing this from the Gulf of St Lawrence, on the M.V. Caribou . Only have a few moments because am on battery power and this is the first wi-fi signal I’ve been able to get (also, am sitting with the lap top in my lap–it’s gettting very warm). So am gonna post some photos. Will write more later when I can get back on the net.
Bailey telling me I’ve just taken the wrong exit.
To be continued………..
WOO-HOO!!!! Went to see Dr. B. this morning! Bailey is now, officially, EIGHT MONTHS FREE OF CANCER!!!
Here in the heart of the mid-west, there is a tradition of sitting out on the front porch in the evening and greeting neighbors as they walk by. Older houses have lovely porch swings that underline the conversation with an occasional creek of the chain that suspends them from the ceiling.
In my neighborhood, the front porches are not big enough, being mostly a tip-of-the-hat to this tradition, and so most people sit in their driveways. Lawn chairs are not nearly as comfortable as porch swings, but they get the job done. If it’s a nice evening (no rain, not overly humid) our neighbor, Auntie Joyce, will sit out with her dog Corkey. Her driveway is then transformed into Canine Central. Along comes Nipzi leading (pulling!) her mom who drops Nipzi’s leash just short of the driveway so that Nipzi can run (like she’s been wanting to do since she left her own driveway) the last few yards to Auntie Joyce’s feet where she gets a cookie. Nipzi then sets herself up as sentinal watching for the next canine–either from her mom’s lap or from Auntie Joyce’s. As soon as she spots another dog she goes on alert and starts barking a greeting (she does this because she knows that every dog who travels the sidewalk in front of Auntie Joyce’s is cause for the cookie bowl to come out, which usually means a treat for her too).
I love to watch the parade of canines that go by. Bear, a big German Shepherd, anticipates the driveway when he gets to the corner. His mom will usually drop his leash a couple of driveways back and he will run the rest of the way–all the way into the garage where the big dog treats are kept. Oscar is a Shih Tzu who lives next door–he has the softest bark I’ve ever heard from a dog–a soft, gentle sorta “how’re you?” kind of inquiry-bark that’s very musical. Miss Lucy, a Chiuahuah recently adopted from the shelter who has taken several months to get used to the rest of us and is still not too sure that we don’t mean her any harm. Max a slightly oversized Cairn Terrier who wants to play but has to be very careful because his back legs are giving him some trouble. And Cinque, a very dapper Schnauzer who very politely walks up to Auntie Joyce and sits for his cookie.
What a cacaphony of sound! Nipzi, with her sharp sticcatto voice. Corkey a counterpoint to Bear with his deep baratone. Oscar, seeming to roll the r’s of his “Rrrrrrrrrrrolf!” like a good Italian tenor. Such happy, NOISY dogs! (It’s times like this that I’m very glad Bailey is discriminating about performing in public.)
Other human-canine couples walk by calling out greetings–dogs are the best conversation-starters. After a couple hours of all this exciting inter-action, it’s time for four-legged fur babies to be in bed. Last to leave is almost always Nipzi, and it’s almost always against her will.
I’ve been meaning to post this for over a week–We saw Dr. B. on June 10 for Bailey’s annual exam. We’re still not seeing any sign of cancer in my little rotten dog! She definitely needs to take off a couple of pounds (I am such a bad mom!), but there are no tumors showing on the site where the tumor was removed (her butt). And it’s actually over 6 months since the surgery!
To celebrate, we went shopping and bought Her Nibs a new bed. She really seems to like it!
Have I mentioned how much Bailey dislikes wet or cold grass in the morning? This antipathy towards wet, cold grass has not been very helpful lately when I want her to pee. You would think after sleeping all night she would want to pee, but NO! Not my little fluff princess!
I WANT HER TO PEE AND SHE WON’T BECAUSE HER LITTLE FEET MIGHT GET WET OR COLD!
She sticks her nose in the air, gets a snooty sort of bounce to her walk and looks at me and says, “How can you possibly expect me to go potty when the grass is being so uncooperative? I couldn’t possibly pee out here.”
I worry because if she doesn’t void her bladder on a regular basis then the crystals start to collect and before you know it she’s got little bladder stones. We’ve already been through 2 surgeries to remove bladder stones–I would rather avoid any more of those during the time I have left with her.
My mom loves to tell the story about how when I was a little girl, and we were traveling, and I didn’t like the look of the restroom, I would refuse to go potty. It would worry her to have a toddler with a full bladder in the back seat. To this day, I will hold it if the restroom looks even slightly soiled. Coincidence? Or have I taught my dog some of my own neurotic habits?
[On a side note, we're now 5 months out from Bailey's cancer surgery. So far, no symptoms. I wanna say she's in remission, but I'm afraid to tempt fate. Dearest God, please just keep these normal days coming.]
Today is Bailey’s birthday, and we just got home from the vet. Incredible news! What Dr. B. thought was the tumor returning (see “Poop” we now think was merely scare tissue! Dr. B. said that the alleged-tumor was much smaller and felt different! And she found no tumor-like tissue in the pooch’s rectum (part of the exam I am happy to have missed.)
We have a big trip to Canada coming up in August–I’ve been half afraid to make any kind of hotel reservations because I don’t want to jinx Bailey’s progress (OK, I guess that is kinda silly). I really want to be able to live in the moment, but it’s hard because I’ve got to make SOME plans for the future and some of the biggest plans I need to make for this year happen around Bailey’s 8-month mark. Am I getting to be a self-pity whiny ass?
Bailey is stretched out on the bedroom floor snoozing–she just gave a decidedly lazy stretch, not a care in the world. Happy birthday little pooch! Life is good.
So here we are 3 months, 1 week, and 4 days from the surgery to remove the cancer, and we’re not finding any cancer tissue! THIS IS GREAT NEWS!!!
OK, so now I’ve got to dial it down and step back and remember that there were dirty margins left and the cancer (though not apparent now) is still there just waiting to rear it’s ugly head. Every time I buy her a case of food, every time I make a grooming appointment for 5 weeks from now is a statement of faith that Bailey will be around and healthy enough to eat or get groomed.
Since January 5, we have had 55 wonderful, normal days! Days where Bailey has been her sweetest most rotten self! Days where Bailey has had as many cookies as she has asked for! Days where Bailey has warmly snoozed in the comfort of her own bed (or beds, depending how you look at it). Days that I’ve enjoyed the wonderful aroma of warm puppy, and felt the joy of a snuggly warm furbaby next to me.
I am doing my best to look at this as a “glass half full” sort of moment, but it’s difficult. We have now reached the lower end of Bailey’s predicted life-span. Every day after this is like a gift we wrestle away from the cancer. I wonder if the fight will still be on come July (oh please I hope so!)
I am still convinced that I made the right decision regarding her treatment (or lack of). The surgery was devastation enuf. If we had done radiation the tumor might be “gone,” but my little sweetheart’s psyche might have undergone some damage. If we had gone with the chemo we would be half-way through and unsure if it was even working. Bailey has always been nervous of the vet–chemo treatments would have been like a never-ending trip to terror.
As things stand now, I have a very happy puppy dog who hasn’t a care in the world. She has a normal daily routine and the scariest thing on the agenda is an occasional visit to the groomer (she’s had 2 since the surgery). The weather is getting a little warmer, and all her pals are starting to strut their stuff again around the neighborhood. Screw the cancer! Life is good!