The dachshund is back! A HUGE thank you to Cécile & Frank – you were wonderful. Auguste was in good hands, and he is looking so much better. For one thing, he’s Hungry.  All he wants to do is eat. When I’m in the kitchen he’s at my feet looking up at me with an “I’m starving! Feed me, Seymore!” look.  He goes off on his walks with a spring in his step and trots at my heels. This does not last – soon, he’s quite exhausted by his ordeal and in minutes he’s walking slowly, pretending to be very interested in a speck in the grass so I let him rest. 

He has a huge scar on his belly, from stem to stern, but it looks very neat and he doesn’t bother it or try to scratch it. Last night he slept with “The Cone of Shame” around his neck, but that was more to keep him from trying to leap on the furniture, as he’s used to doing. He has a cozy doggy bed. He prefers the couch. Today, I managed to keep him from leaping up with me and told him to behave, so he’s sulking on the balcony. I like sulking – it means he’s feeling good enough to stage a minor protest.

Alex came in and Auguste was thrilled. He made a huge fuss over Alex, and Alex fussed over him, and then Auguste got tired and had to lie down.  It’s hard recuperating. I told him he’d be fine next week. Auguste is also upset because his doggy neighbor friend wanted to play with him today and I said “No!”. He’s forgiven me. He’s now curled up at my feet. Dogs have an amazing ability to forgive and forget.

We won’t get the analyses back for a while, so for now we are being blissful and optimistic (at least I am!). The tumor was large and ugly, but it’s gone now (along with the spleen!). Perhaps it will never return. I know that Frank and Cécile did everything they could to save him. They like him almost as much as we do, and Auguste is always happy to see them. (He loves his vets!)

So we have our dog back home. The empty space I felt is gone – it’s amazing how a dog takes up an empty space – a space in the heart, in the home, in the family. A home without a dog is a quiet place indeed – without Auguste I felt unbalanced. When I went to get the bread, I felt bare. At the bakery the baker inquired about him, at the pharmacy, the pharmacien leaned over the counter, looked, and asked where he was. People in the neighborhood saw me walking without my dog, and they all asked about him. When they saw he was back, they came up to pet him – even people who had never pet him before! He’s quite the little mascot.

The mascot is eleven years old, and even if he pulls through this, I know our time together is running out. I can’t bear to think about it though. I’m one of those people who likes to avoid reality – maybe why I’m a writer – and so I’ll imagine a heaven for dogs. It will have endless lawns of soft grass and flowerbeds just for digging. Couches and beds are everywhere for naps and sleeping. There are squeaky toys, chewy bones, and other dogs to play with all day.  And there are people – because no matter how much Auguste loves to sniff in the grass and dig, and gnaw on his bones – his favorite thing in the world is when we bend down, scratch under his chin, and tell him he’s “A good dog”. (Or when Julia holds him on her lap and gives him lots of cuddles.)