Our beautiful Max spent some time at the vet's having some tests done during the last school holidays and neither Hubby nor I was particularly surprised when the results turned up some bad news. He was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer that spreads quickly and we were told he probably had about a month left. Two if we were lucky. Looking at him, no one doubted that he was getting old but this crazy dog who pranced like a hula dancer when he saw his dad after a three day absence? Who ate everything put in front of him and eyed the kids toast through the glass door to make sure they left their crusts for him? Who followed his family around the yard, lying right in the way of whatever chores they were doing?. There was no way he was that sick. No way at all.
We were told to take him home, love him lots and do our best to keep him comfortable with a drug regime that would help control the growth of the tumour on his neck and hold his old-man aches and pains at bay as winter approached. Our very lovely vet offered us lots of support as well as some advice and a common sense approach.
So we did as he suggested and all was fine for a good few weeks. The drugs kept the tumour small, Max was his usual silly self and, what we laughingly call his 'old man drugs' ie, cortisone, eased his aches and pains enough that he even ran, yes ran, down to the front gate to bark at the postman. That was a very proud moment - even the neighbours were excited. But... you knew there had to be a but coming. The last week or so has seen a very sharp decline as the drugs no longer seem to be working. His tumour has grown enormously, he's just about lost his voice and, while his appetite for food is undiminished, his appetite for life is slowly waning. And so, tomorrow we're heading back to the vet. I'm still in a land called denial and am desperately hoping that the vet will tell us he's fine, that he's got a while longer yet and that we should take him home again. But I'm pretty sure he won't. And my heart is breaking - for Hubby whose boy he is, for the kids who don't get what's happening, for Maxie himself who has been such a loving, loyal, wonderful part of our lives and for me who, despite not liking dogs, or wanting a dog, fell completely and utterly in love with him from the minute we met.
So we're getting ready to say goodbye to the beautiful boy who has been part of our family for more than 12 years. And I'm just not ready for that.