All items on Hoover's bucket list are checked off, with the exception of eating bacon.
If you've watched someone die of a slow-moving disease or if you've read Tuesdays with Morrie, you know how illness gradually erodes activity. Restrictions creep into life, narrowing or limiting activity and movement. It's inexorable and so very sad to watch. But it can be handled with grace and dignity, too.
Two months ago, Hoover went swimming in a lake for the last time. He was delighted.
A month ago, he went on his last walk around the neighborhood, which he enjoyed enormously. But it took about 36 hours and lots of tramadol for him to recover from it. Now, he gets walks around our cul-de-sac. At first he protested the shortness of the walks. Now he seems to understand.
One item on his bucket list failed amusingly. We've never given Hoover a bone to chew, and he's never been interested in chew toys. He's a retriever with a very soft mouth (meaning he doesn't mangle dead birds he retrieves). When we gave him this big bone, he just carried it around and drooled. He knew it was a cool treat but had no idea what to do with it.
The vet gave Hoover between two weeks to two months to live. That was two months ago. As long as he doesn't exert himself, he is fine and doesn't even need pain medicine most days. In a real sense, this makes it hard to believe he's dying, especially when he's on full puppy alert begging for popcorn or barking at the UPS man, who as all good dogs know has come to kill us all. But the tumor is now bigger than my hand, spreading out over his whole left shoulder blade.
I'm off to buy some bacon.