Tuesday, May 01, 2007


A few weeks ago, Steph and I went away to North Carolina for the weekend. As usual, the dogs went to Wag-A-Lot for the weekend where they spent time in doggy daycare and cursed us for leaving them for the weekend. Upon our return, Steph though Java was limping, but I dismissed her concern since I didn't observe it myself.
Java at the Braves game

A few hours later I was standing at the butcher block in our kitchen. I turned quickly and my foot hit Java's right front paw. He flinched, pulled his paw back and made a noise. At this point I knew something was up, so I bent down for a closer look. What I saw worried me: Java's "pinkie toe" was swollen and had a sore on it. The toe itself was really tender and he wouldn't allow me the opportunity to look at it.

The next day I left on a work trip and Steph took Java to the vet. They couldn't find any obvious issues and gave us some antibiotics and instructions to watch his toe to see if anything changed over the next few days. Unfortunately, the swelling didn't go down, so late in the week Java had another vet appointment where they took some x-rays and a biopsy of his toe. That was April 13. When I called the vet that afternoon she indicated that the x-rays didn't show anything abnormal — we had hoped that he had a piece of glass or some other foreign object stuck in his toe. The x-ray also showed that its not cancer of the bone, apparently a common affliction of dogs. The biopsy was sent off to the University of GA for review...

Its now 2.5 weeks later and the biopsy is still not back from the University of Georgia. The swelling in Java's toe hasn't gone down, though the tenderness has improved. Is it an infection of some sort? Cancer? Something else? We have no idea and neither does the vet! I am anxious as can be about the results and what this means for Java. Of course, my thoughts are turning negative and I am thinking about amputation of his foot or leg due to cancer. I have no reason to think this is the case, but I don't have any hope that it's not, either. I'm scared to death and want an answer. Now!

Java is celebrating his 11th birthday this Saturday. Unfortunately, I won't be around to celebrate with him. Thankfully, he can't tell time, so he won't know that he gets his annual ice cream from Bruster's — I'm a cheap mofo and get him their doggie bowl of vanilla ice cream with a dog bone — but I'm sure he'll enjoy it just as much when I get home next week. My only hope is that his birthday gift is good news from the vet.

Whatever happens, we're going to do whatever is necessary to ensure he is happy, healthy and comfortable. I know the day will come some day in the future when we need to make tough decisions about Java's care. It won't be easy when that day comes. Let's hope we don't have to make those decisions anytime soon.