Petting your dog may save his life.

Ernest is a good boy.

 A few weeks ago Ernest was at his therapy dog prep class. In between exercises my husband was petting him, stroking his fur like we both do numerous times a day. I’m sure you do with your dog, too. But this time he felt something different. A small bump near Ernest’s shoulder.

Later that night he showed me. It looked like a mosquito bite. I didn’t think anything of it at all.

Mike shows me the lump.

It’s barely the size of a mosquito bite.

 A few days later we were at a vet appointment for our puppy. Ernest was with us. Mike happened to mention the bump to the vet. She looked, taking more interest in it than I thought, which surprised me. “I’ll aspirate it and take a look,” she said, inserting a small needle into the area. To be honest, my only thought at the time was, here goes our bill up, up, up!

The next night we received a phone call about 9pm. The vet.  “It’s not benign,” she said. I listened, barely believing her words. I thought Ernest was fine. He had no symptoms. And the bump was so small. But now the bump had a name: mast cell tumor.

Monday Ernest had surgery to remove the tumor.

Ernest’s scar on his right shoulder.

 Tissue was sent for a biopsy. Stage 1 is a pretty good prognosis. Stage 2 could go either way. Stage 3 means it has already spread. The biopsy shows it is a stage 2 tumor.

None of us know how long we have. It’s no different for Ernest. We’re just going to give Ernest the best, happiest, most loving life we can, and the best health care within our means. We have a wonderful veterinarian we trust and we know that she’ll take good care of us. We plan to continue with therapy dog classes (only one left and then he’ll take his test!) and if he passes, Ernest will fulfill his destiny (we believe) to be a therapy dog.

Paw Power!

He’s recovering from surgery well. The tumor has been removed. And all because my husband was petting him one night.

So petting your dog can save his life.

And you can bet, we’ll be petting Ernest a lot.