There is an expression, “Sick as a dog”, that means just what it says – when dogs get sick, they get very sick. When Auguste was a puppy, he got his first or second round of vaccinations, and when I took him home and looked at him, I noticed I couldn’t see his eyes anymore. His little face was all puffy and his eyes were just slits. I rushed him back to the vets, where he got some emergency care for a violent allergic reaction. A few hours later, we were back home, Auguste asleep on Julia’s lap, his face back to normal.

A few years later, I noticed a bump on his back, near his spine.  It looked like a blood blister, but I took him to the vet, and she took a sample and had it tested. It turned out to be a particularly nasty sarcoma – so off that went. Operation, recuperation, home  for the holidays. He has a small scar, but everything healed nicely.

Auguste loves bones – he used to get veal bones as a treat – until the day he ate his, then stole Rusty’s veal bone and ate that too – and got an intestinal obstruction. That was serious. I rushed him to the vet after seeing him walking around, straining. He spent nearly a week at the clinic and came back home covered in feces, but healed. I dumped him in the bath, scrubbed him, and put him out on the porch in the sun to dry (he was so tired, all he could do was sleep). He had a large, infected sore on his back too,  and as he lay outside, a fly laid its eggs in it, and the next day, he was covered in maggots. It was horrifying – but oddly enough, they cleaned the sore so well it healed within days and never left a mark.

Auguste didn’t learn from his bone debacle. He scarfs down anything he can fit into his jaw – crunches and swallows it before we can get it away from him. Most of the time, we can, if we act quickly, grab his muzzle and stick our fingers into his mouth to pull the whatever it is he’s eating (dead bird, chicken bone, fossilized pizza crust, candy along with wrapping…) out of his jaw. But he’s a dachshund – he is low to the ground and he’s fast – he smells garbage and dives at it before we can see it! The upshot of that is he gulps a lot of garbage – and he comes home and is sick afterwards.  Our conversations go like this:  “Quick! He’s sick! Get him off the rug!”   “Where did he go today? The stables? Weren’t you watching him?!”  “Of course I was! (fingers crossed behind back – who can watch a dog every second?) He went into bushes!”   “What did he eat?”  “How should I know. Ugh. You clean it up!”

Sick as a dog. Makes sense – they eat everything and decide later if they want to keep it. But then, yesterday, he didn’t look good at all, and he refused his food. That made 2 days in a row. We took him straight to the vet, and he was diagnosed with a large tumor in the spleen. How did we miss it? I was devastated, but the vet reassured me. Apparently these tumors develop in less than a month – in three weeks it can go from nothing to a grapefruit size. Auguste didn’t even notice until it started to press on his stomach, taking away his appetite. He wasn’t in any pain – he just seemed slightly less boisterous than usual – and as he’s nearing his 12 year birthday, we figured he’d finally calmed down.

An emergency surgery took place last night. He’s resting this morning (minus one spleen & tumor). Hopefully he’ll be able to come home in a few days and with any luck, he’ll be up and around in a matter of weeks – ready to go back to the stables, chase cats, ride Kalin with Julia, and eat all the garbage he finds on the ground!

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