As I write this, my best buddy Rufus is very seriously ill. He is normally a healthy, fit hound who bounces back from anything life can throw at him. Last year when he tore his cruciate ligament, he wanted to continue chasing the rabbit he’d nearly caught when he did it, despite only being able to walk on three legs. Compare that with Leigh Halfpenny’s cruciate ligament injury, done at about the same time, which kept him out of the world cup! So when Rufus is laid low like this, I know it’s not just an act to gain sympathy.
We’d been for two long walks on the weekend, plus his normal daily walks and it was only when I discovered some blood in his saliva that I knew something was wrong. It turns out that he has a large, bloody lump under his tongue, he’s extremely anaemic and he has a rock bottom platelet count which has led to internal bleeding. All this should have knocked him out but even just before he went to the vet we went for a 30 minute walk (this was before I knew the full extent of the problem, of course) and he was fine afterwards. When we went to see him on Tuesday night, while he was still recovering from the anaesthetic, he still tried to made his way to the door of the surgery and it broke my heart to see him nosing at his lead in the hope I’d put it on him to take him for his evening walk.
The treatment he is having is for the blood disorder because the tests to determine the underlying cause will take a while to come back. It could be cancer or an auto immune disease causing the low blood counts. Either are very serious but there is more hope if it’s the auto immune disease as there are treatments available which can help. Even then, there’s only a 50/50 chance that they will be fully effective.
I’ve just brought him home from the vet and its great to have him with me where he belongs. He’s obviously happy to be home too, and after having explored the garden to make sure I’d done an adequate job of protecting it in his absence, he settled on the sofa and was soon snoring away.
As you may imagine if you’ve read any of my blogs before, we have a close relationship and I’m finding this all very hard to take. I’m not naive and I know that as he gets older, Rufus will continue to slow down and there’ll be one day when he doesn’t want to go for a walk and one day when he takes his last walk without me. But nevertheless, I’m not ready for that yet and deep down, despite all that’s wrong with him, I don’t think Rufus is ready either.