Among dog folk there's the idea of your "heart dog," that one dog that captures your heart and ensorcells your spirit.
Walker at eight months.
Walker is that dog. I knew it when I met him, a gorgeous little tricolored hunk of Corgi puppy about five months old, the grandson of a Westminster Best in Show-winner named Carbon Blue. He came to us permanently at six months old, joining our brindle princess Rosey (née Pawcific Postit of Penrose) and adding a spark of spunk to our sedate household.
He's certainly not perfect, by any means—hyper vigilant, barky, dog reactive—but sometimes you just can't help who you love. As I said to a friend recently, "He may be a butthead, but he's our butthead."
Walker with Rosey.
At nine years old now, he was recently diagnosed with a malignant tumor called an adenocarcinoma, an aggressive cancer around his anal gland. It was only discovered by accident when I noticed that he'd been drinking lots of water, more than was normal even in the summer heat. Thinking it might be a urinary tract infection (UTI) or problems with his kidneys, I took him in to a vet new to us, Heartfelt Veterinary Hospital, to be tested.
Walker and Kitty.
In drawing the urine sample—non-dog owners can stop reading right here—they found a swelling around his anal gland and did a biopsy. It was, as noted above, a malignant tumor. X-rays were done that indicated no metastisis of the tumor to his lungs or lymph nodes and blood work showed the same, so surgery was done.
On the beach.
A large (2" by 2") tumor—in situ, with no rupture—was removed, and he's resting next to me on the couch as I write this. It'll take a couple of weeks for the healing process, with lots of pain relievers and ice on the wound, but with luck he'll live a full life and have many more squirrel chases, ball retrieving and walks on the beach to look forward to. None of that is guaranteed, of course, only fervently hoped for.