Photo Credit: Lulu Hoeller via Flickr

I spent most of this afternoon in the veterinary clinic’s loud lounge area, awaiting news about our dog’s health. I passed the time by trying to read, checking the clock every few minutes, squirming in the hard wooden bench, tapping my foot nervously, and drumming my fingers impatiently.

After the anticipated hour-long wait turned into 90 minutes, my mind began playing a highlight reel of the possible worst-case-scenarios for our dog Maeby (any “Arrested Development” fans out there will recognize her name). Her cancer had come back and the oncology techs were all bickering over who would have to deliver the bad news. Or she had been rushed into surgery and they were too busy trying to save her life to give me the bad news. Or she had developed some new medical problem, in addition to the cancer.

As the minutes continued to tick by, I tapped my foot faster and drummed my fingers harder. And the horror of the past two years all came rushing back, memories of taking Maeby to the vet to discover that she was experiencing heart failure and that her heart, lungs, and abdomen were filled with fluid…

hoping and praying over the next few months that the condition would improve, but learning that it was worsening …

making the difficult decision to proceed with a radical surgery to remove the pericardium around her heart…

hearing the diagnosis that, as suspected, our sweet young Maeby had cancer and would probably only live another few months, perhaps a year…

enduring the monthly chemo treatments and follow-up appointments at a specialty vet clinic an hour away…

the waiting…

the hoping…

the praying…

With every passing minute, I grew more and more certain that the news was bad and we would face the nightmare once again. We had been too lucky. She had been given only a 10% chance of surviving a year, and she had made it two years. We were living on borrowed time.

As I waited, I rehearsed how I would deliver the bad news to my husband, knowing that I would never be able to come up with the right words to soften the blow. He had been the one to take her health problems the hardest. She was, after all, his first and only little girl.

Then finally (finally!) after waiting for two hours, Maeby came bounding through the double doors of the exam area alongside the oncology tech, who carried The Report – the report that would confirm whether the bad news would come today or whether it would be saved for another day.

“No signs of cancer,” the report read.

Our fierce and feisty Maeby has, once again, beat the odds.

And, thankfully, the sadness would be saved for another day. Tonight it is enough to just know that.


Cancer-free Maeby

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  1. Yay! Happy news for today! Love it! It’s funny how these dogs of our fill our hearts in a way that can never be replaced by anything else. Sure it make be bumped to the side or even dropped a peg or two when kids come in the picture or new loves arrive. But this love, this special dog love, is never redefined. It is always the same. And that is a thing worth celebrating!

    • Christie

      Thanks. There definitely is a special dog bond. Maybe its the mixture of vulnerability and unconditional love that they have.

  2. Oh, man does my mind wander to the worst places when I have to wait like that. So glad that Maeby is a-ok fine!

    • Christie

      The dramatic stories my mind comes up with are just astounding sometimes.

  3. What good news! You truly captured the helpless feeling of pet owners when their babies are sick, and that sigh of relief when they get the all clear.

    • Christie

      Thanks, Cindy. She really is just about the cutest thing. Photos don’t do her justice, especially with her underbite and snaggletooth.

  4. Aww i’m glad it had a happy ending and your pup is okay! I freak out and think worst-case-scenarios all the time.

    • Christie

      Thanks so much. We are just amazed.

  5. Well, that’s good news! Good for your little dog!

    Today, after lunch, I was supposed to go out and back to work. Except I had a Lab pup sleeping in my lap. So I let him sleep, because he was happy there, and to tell you the truth, so was I.

    I don’t know why we get so attached to dogs? 🙂

    • Christie

      Thanks! We are thrilled and amazed at her recovery.

  6. Oh I am SO happy that it was good news! I am a dog person (three pugs) and I know how awful those long uncertain waits at the vet can be. Your pup is adorable. I wish you all many more years together!

    • Christie

      Thank you so much. I know the sad news will come one day, but for now, I’m just enjoying the positive.

  7. Oh, she’s so so cute. I am so happy she’s ok. I was hoping that was the outcome. Beautifully written as always. I could feel the anxiety and sadness welling up. And then the gratitude.

  8. I am so happy for you and your husband.

    This post really hit home for me. I have a Golden Retriever that I love madly. His breed is very susceptible to Hemangiosarcoma, something I didn’t know until after he was already a huge part of our family.

    All I can do is pray this sweet boy stays a part of our family for a very long time.

    • Christie

      Oh, no! I feel your pain and stress and worry. I’ll be praying that he stays with you all for a long time too.

  9. Yay for your baby! I’m very happy for you–we are big dog people around here, and my Chihuahua is getting quite elderly. The great tragedy of our pets is that they are with us for such a short time.

    • Christie

      You said it. Way too short a time.

  10. What a beautiful pup, I’m glad she is ok! I couldn’t imagine if anything ever happened to my kitties

  11. What a cutie! So glad for you all that she has a clean bill of health. When I was reading the story I was really hoping that it would end well.

  12. So glad that Maeby is OK! Pups are family and when they hurt, we hurt. Also, Arrested Development is one of my favorite shows!!

    • Christie

      Thanks, Michelle. I can’t wait until the new A.D. episodes come out this spring.

  13. I love stories about pets, especially when they have happy endings. The suspense almost killed me, though! 😀

  14. We do get so attached to our furry family members. So very glad Maeby was okay. Your writing was great. My tension increased the whole way through. Fingers strumming and all.

  15. Thank you for happy news! I could feel your suspense and your relief. Maeby is darling and a lucky dog to be surrounded by so much love and attention. And you deserve a big hug and a celebratory vacation! 😉

    • Christie

      Thanks, Mary! Yes, I think a vacation is in order all right.

    • Christie

      Thanks! She’s got a brother named Jobe too (we changed the spelling from Gob).

    • Christie

      Thanks, Stacie. She’s definitely one tough cookie.

    • Christie

      Thank you so much. At first, I was pretty calm but as soon as it was one minute longer than usual, I started to panic. It was all too familiar. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts.

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