Sunday, January 20, 2008

The small dog casts a long shadow

Princess Sunni has been having a difficult time. She staggers and slips and falls a lot, and she has trouble taking food in her mouth and chewing. This was not what we were expecting when Judi decided on the radiation treatment. We were told that the mean life expectancy was nine to twelve months, and we certainly didn't expect to see her deteriorate so far in less than six weeks.

On the other hand, Sunni's mind is as sharp as ever -- she's one bright girl -- and her nose is as keen as ever, and she comes as fast as she can the moment she smells or hears food. And she is very loving, and wags her tail for the slightest reason. She has been unable to lap up water, and from time to time we have to give her water with a syringe, but she has discovered, entirely on her own, that she can crunch up ice cubes in her mouth and get drinks for herself that way.

We really don't know what's happening with the Princess. Her local vet -- who isn't a specialist but who we trust -- says the problem is that the tumor has resurged, while her neurologist -- who's a specialist but who we trust less -- says it's not the tumor, but rather a problem with her medications. We don't know what's happening, and we don't know what to do. We have no idea whether she will get better, or how long she might have. It's very frustrating.

But what's really remarkable is the dramatic effect that this lovely, winsome little dog and her struggle is having on Judi. Sunni's smallest ups and downs drive Judi to extremes of happiness and despair. Sunni will take a bad fall and Judi will be on the phone wailing, "Greg! What can we do?" Another time, I'll get a gleeful IM from Judi: I heard a crunch crunch crunch and I went out and Sunni was crunching down at least a dozen ice cubes! The Princess just made her mommy's day! It's as though Judi is in a distended elliptical emotional orbit around her beagle.

Such is the power of love.


Oh my heart goes out to you and Judi. I am glad the Princess can chomp ice and make Judi smile. Of course she is a loving dog -- I can't imagine more loving people than the two of you.
Poor Princess S. But what a trooper! Lola sends her love, and if she were there, she'd give the Princess a thorough dental exam. Weird dog.

Hugs to you and Judi.

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