BEFORE YOU READ ABOUT PERCY, I must tell you about his current health situation......
During his annual physical on June 14th, his veterinarian found a lump in his anal gland. A biopsy lead to us finding out that he has cancer. It's a rather aggressive cancer that is always malignant and over time matastasizes to other parts of the body. We were referred to a veterinary oncologist and lucked into taking a cancelled appointment. After their tests, we found that the cancer is in its early stages and with surgical removal of the mass followed with chemo, his prognosis is excellent, as long as he gets treated now.
So far, with the vet visits, biopsy, oncologist and surgeon visits, it has cost $2,000. His surgery is scheduled for July 1, 2016. It is expected to cost $3,000 for the surgery and lab work. The results, from the lab, will tell the oncologist the course of chemo he should have. That will add to the cost of his care.
Percy had the surgery July 1st and they didn't see the cancer anywhere else in his body. They did an ultrasound and X-rays to see that. He came out of the anesthesia very well and we were able to take the cone off after one week.
They wanted to do radiation therapy, but the side effects as well as the cost was prohibitive, $4-5,000! Just because you can, doesn't mean that you should.
Three weeks after Percy's cancer surgery, he came down with an unrelated condition. It started out with him hanging his head down, his tail was down, too. And, he was shaking. He was in so much pain, that I had to hold him in my arms to comfort him. If any of you know him, you know that this dog hates to be picked up and held. My dear friend, Netta Davis, and I took him to the vet emergency hospital, called Blue Pearl, in Waltham. The vet wasn't sure what was going on, thought maybe it was another episode of degenerative disc disease, which hadn't shown it's face for nearly 2 1/2 years. But, the vet could turn his head any which way, and it didn't hurt him. Yet, opening his mouth, Percy let out a sound of distress that no one wants to hear. Percy was given some pain meds and some other drug.
Two days later, he didn't show any improvement, so we took him to our regular vet, Sheila Gastrock, at Millbrook Animal Hospital, here in Arlington. After examining him, she determined that it was an autoimmune disease that was attacking the muscles in the head and face. It caused him so much pain to open his mouth, that when the vet tried to do so, he squawk in pain. It was a sound that I had never heard him make before this time. She changed his medicine and was concerned about his ability to eat. The only way we could tempt him, was to give him a very liquid slurry of food, which he could easily lick up. Not knowing how much the condition would effect him, and how far it could go, the Dr. was concerned about his losing weight. And, that the condition might go so far as to freeze up the muscles he uses to swallow. Which, was pretty much a death sentence.
This happened barely a week before I was going away for a month. We couldn't take him with us, so dear Netta, offered to nurse him. The most effective medication for this condition is prednisone. This caused him to drink huge amounts of water and then need to go out to relieve himself several times a night. The good thing is that it made him want to eat. He actually gained 2 pounds, even though he couldn't chew.
During this time, the condition cause his third eyelids to cover his eyes and not retract. You're probably wondering, "What the heck is a third eyelid?" Well, we humans have an upper and lower eyelid, making two. Dogs have another eyelid inside of those. You can see it in the inside corner of their eye. I doubt I've ever seen it being used. But, his covered his eyes, didn't retract, and that made him blind. During that time, he bumped into a sharp edge. Netta found the gash when she discover that his fur was matted with blood, on his head, in front of his right ear. Another trip to Dr. Gastrock, and she said it needed to be stitched up, and he had to be sedated for that to happen. $750 later, he was back at Netta's house. The good news is...(Yes, there is finally some good news) the prednisone made him better. He started being able to open his mouth without pain. The third eyelids finally retracted and he could see again. Netta reported that the day he picked up the squeaky ball and was able to chew it hard enough to make a sound, brought tears to her eyes because she knew he was finally getting better.
Percy is now back to his happy, delighted self. He can go to the park and run around and bark. He can chew dry food and treats. And, I think he somehow realizes the joy of chewing, because he's been chomping on natural chewy things, even though, in the past, he had no interest in them. This is good because it will build up his muscles again. Will it recur in the future? I sure hope not. But, for now, he is the Percy we all know and love. And, I hope he will be with us for many years to come.
Percy is only 10 yo, which, for his sized dog, is middle aged. I expect him to live quite a bit longer. And, his health is excellent overall. A friend asked if I could set up a way to take donations for the cost of his care. If you would like to help financially, I have put a box at the bottom of the registration form for you to insert any amount you wish to donate. All of the money will go towards his care. There is a small processing fee for processing your payment, but it is 1/3 of what a gofundme account would cost. Click here to go to the registration page: https://laurassewingschool.rainadmin.com/registration.htm
My name is Percy. I came to live with Laura when I was almost 4 months old. She found me because this nice lady, Marcy, brought me to Massachusetts from where I was born in Florida. I don't remember much of that time. I was supposed to go live with some people who wanted a poodle puppy, but they never called Marcy after I arrived. She said not to worry, that the right person would come along. That they would really like me, and want me, and be the best alpha dog in the pack.
A family came to visit. The dad and son and daughter were great. But, the mom wasn't so sure that she wanted a dog. So, I waited just a little bit longer, and Laura showed up. I was so cute, she couldn't resist me. She had her sister come visit a few days later. Her sister has had many dogs and know how to tell if a dog will be a good one. She told Laura that she would help pay for me, because it was really important that Laura take me home.
I bet you can guess what happened next. You are probably almost as smart as I am. I knew I had it in the bag when Laura brought her sister and her daughter to meet me. I showed her how I could run and fetch and play. And, my stance was as good as any show dog would have. My puppy fur was so soft and fluffy. I only weighed 9 pounds. And, Marcy had given me a bath. (That was 10 years ago. And now, I weigh 25 pounds.)
I am very attached to Laura. I just can't help myself. She walks me and feeds me and throws my ball to play fetch. She took me to puppy school. I know how to sit, shake hands, lay down, and I even ring a bell to tell her I need to go out. I get to sleep snuggled up on her bed at night. I hate being alone. And, since she has her own business, I get to earn my keep by entertaining and greeting her sewing students.
It's a very important job. I don't want anyone to feel left out. I want everyone to know that they are welcome and I am happy to see them. Sometimes, it is so exciting to me, I have to go lay down and rest. I like being around people and want to catch as much attention as I can, so, I often lay in the middle of the floor. That way, people have to take notice of me. They usually step over me. But, sometimes, they stop and scratch my ears, then I offer them my belly and it doesn't get better than that.
I LOVE John, the mailman. He comes in to drop off the mail. I get so excited, I start telling him about my day and how it's been much too long since he's been to see me. He has me sit and he gives me a treat. We have a good conversation and bid each other good-bye until the next day.
I try to pick one person in each class to take me out on walks. My favorites right now are Susi, Maureen, Patty, Alison, Sharon, Netta and some of the kids. They are the bomb! I go wild when any of them come in the door. I know they are coming and I stand there and wait from them to arrive. I can barely contain myself! If one of them takes me for a walk, I give her a gift in return. She bags it up and takes me back to the shop. I am so proud of myself. Don't get me wrong. I simply love everyone. I haven't met a person I don't like.
I had a Middle School Student, Charlotte. She would come early to her class and take me for a walk. Then, she'd take me out again before she went home. She's now graduating from college. But, we still get together. She has me visit her at her folks house, when she's home. She likes to have me sleepover. She plays with me, takes me on walks, brushes me, and feeds me. I whine when she leaves me to take a shower, but her family is OK. In fact, I think they really like having me around. Who wouldn't? And, sometimes, she takes me away for the weekend with them. You can see a picture to the left. She took a selfie with me last year. Don't we look fine together?
The list can go on. If you haven't met me, yet, I would love to meet you. But, if you can only come on Saturdays, I won't be available. I have a standing play date with my Tibetan Terrier friend, Sakhi, and his "younger brother," Bennie. We play together all day long at his house. It's the best. They have a dog door, so we don't need anyone to let us out of the house. They have my food there, and they have this cat I like to chase. Though, he is faster than me and I haven't caught up to him, yet.
You can see me sitting on a rock, in the picture below. It was during one of my trips to New Hampshire with Charlotte. Doesn't it look beautiful there? I thought so.
If you are afraid of dogs, I know you can't help it. And, I am not offended in the least, because I know who I am and your fear does not reflect negatively on me. So, I am happy to stay at home when you come to class. Or, maybe, I will pay an extra visit to my pal, Sakhi. Whatever makes you comfortable while you take sewing classes with Laura.
My paws are tired. I am going to go rest with my head hanging over the side of my dog bed. Or, I'll lay in the chair with my head on the arm. It is so refreshing and relaxing at the same time. I'll be talking to you again, soon.
Percy the poodle.