George and Gracie came to us on Christmas Eve 2015. They flew on a plane from San Bernardino to San Luis Obispo at the ripe old age of eight weeks. It took some time for them to get into the San Luis terminal as every airport worker (or so it seemed) wanted to look at the gorgeous puppies.
George was the first to figure out that if you climbed up the side a bit the soft crate would fall over and ESCAPE was possible. Another method of containment had to be found unless they were asleep!
But soon they were introduced to the outdoors and the newly created puppy run!
They grew and learned and played and slept and barked and did all the things that Cocker Spaniels do. Like digging and hunting lizards and, for George, chasing and chewing on tennis balls.
Except for a couple of visits to the vet, they were never apart. Even when that happened, the greeting when they saw each other again would make your heart stop. They are bonded and have never know life without each other.
A few weeks ago, George stopped chasing his ball. He would occasionally pick one up out of the yard but would drop it. He stopped running except for very short distances. He developed a head tilt. He insisted that I sit in the living room where he could sit with me. He became ravenously hungry. The vet thought it might be vestibular disease. The tests were run, an ultrasound happened. Nothing conclusive.
The tests did show extremely low levels of albumin. That’s a liver enzyme that keeps the body fluids in the organs. But we hoped that diet and treatment for possible vestibular disease would cure that issue.
Since then he has gotten weaker. His balance is off. He falls over just walking. He walks in a crablike fashion with his nose firmly pressed to the ground. He began stopping and staring. He started staying closer to me.
Today, we were told that George has a brain tumor. Most likely a lesion on his brain stem. It is the only diagnosis that fit all of his symptoms.
The prognosis is that he will cross the bridge very soon.
He is home now. He still eats. He needs help getting up and down. He has no depth perception in his vision.
But he is home.
Our vet volunteered to come to our home if it is clear that George’s quality of life has diminished to that negative point. I trust George to tell us when that is.
Until then, he is home, Gracie is with him (and seems to know as she is sticking close to him), he is getting treats again. His favorites are carrots, apples, unsalted popcorn and tiny slivers of bread crusts.
I intend to spoil him for the rest of his life.