If the veterinarians are right, my Bently has less than 2 months to live. In September I found a lump under her jaw. Her vet in South Dakota, and the latest vet in Arizona have both diagnosed lymphoma. Options were chemotherapy or medication. My treatment of choice is low dose steroids. She already needs those for her chronic allergies. I decided no more tests, just the meds, and my love.
It’s funny the milestones we set. As soon as I was told, I thought, “I want her to live to be 10.” Her birthday is sometime in February, so she has made it. I thought of my Dad. On my father’s 75th birthday I went to see him. He came down the hall toward me singing, “Happy Birthday to me!” I told him he sounded happy, and he replied that he had reached a goal. He had wanted to make it to the age of 75. I asked what the next goal was and he said his 80th. Sadly, he died two months before.
Bently is my travel companion, my confidante, my heater in bed at night. She takes me for walks at least twice a day, and roams in directions I hadn’t planned on taking. I have discovered so much with her by my side. We have traveled down the east coast twice, and crossed the country three times. She is my guard dog and my protection. People fear her because of her breed. It serves me well.
It isn’t easy being a pit bull with low self esteem. Bently just wants love and attention (and snacks) from the people she meets. She would like to play with other dogs, but many owners won’t let their dogs near her. The ones that do, find a playful companion, although she does like to play rough. She is a bully, and has to prove she is dominant. If the other dog agrees, they are set to be friends. When she barks, I know she is pretending to be the tough guy that pit bulls are meant to be. Those that know her well know that she is a sissy at heart. The bark is to keep danger away so she doesn’t have to deal with it.
Bently isn’t displaying many signs of the disease. She still eats well, and walks with me. But she tires more easily, and pants on our walks. I make excuses for her. We are both getting older, and I am tired and out of breath much of the time too. The vet says some dogs are more stoic than others. I kid myself into believing the doctors are wrong. Then I pet her and feel the lump and know we don’t have much time.
by Diane Moore
photos by Diane Moore
For those that know the story of how Bently came into my life, it is a typical one for parents. One of your children brings a pet home, and you end up keeping it. My Mum used to tell my son that Bently was the best present he could have ever given me. She was right. I miss her so much and she isn’t even gone.