We got the terrible news today that Caney definitely has cancer and it has spread to his spine. Fortunately he didn't have to undergo the biopsy to confirm this, and fortunately, we waited long enough on the planned surgeries that he didn't spend the rest of his life recovering from a needless and complicated surgery.
We are obviously heartbroken, not only because we love him, or because he is still so young and energetic (even at 11), but because he has been a part of Aimee and my life really almost from the beginning. He was born at just about our 1 year anniversary, and we got him after just 16 months together. Really a whole stage of our life has been spent with Caney, and he was a big part of it.
For some time he hasn't been very energetic around home, not seeming to want to take walks, but he has been a different dog on the trail. I joked that he was saving his energy for the trail, and maybe he has been, but the tumors on his spine have sapped him of his mobility, regardless of his boundless desire.
I knew something was wrong 3 weeks ago when he wasn't keeping up on the steeps on Hadley, he finished the hike though, 4 miles and 3000ft gained and lost. Then 2 weeks ago he wouldn't walk with me to the mail box after I noticed he was having trouble on the steps. For a dog that would get faster the more technical and steeper the terrain, this was a definite sign something was wrong.
Although I feared there would be a day he would have to be carried out from the mountains, he has yet to ever let us down on a trip. Now I wish that would have been the case rather than this.
Caney never ceases to amaze us, even at almost 11, with tumors on his spine he was able to walk the same muddy rutted portage path as us multiple times this past weekend after I wasn't even sure he should come, and when we finished he still looked the least tired of the group. The only difference was he didn't carry his usual load, but he still no doubt had the toughest job of all. He did his job, keeping the group together and making sure we got done at a reasonable pace. We have never hiked with anyone who wasn't impressed with him on the trail, even those who normally don't like dogs always seem to say, "If I could get a dog like that, I would get a dog, he is such a cool dog." We have always been equally impressed and equally proud of his abilities.
While there isn't a lot to be happy about, the good news is he still feels well enough to eat, and maybe take a few more easy hikes and camping trips over the next few weeks.
For the last 16 months he has been on a restricted diet of what looked like dried carboard to increase his urine output and acidity, and for the last 2 months a highly restricted diet to keep him well hydrated, due to the problems that are now clearly more than stones and an abscessed prostate. He was such a different dog post cystotomy in 2008, the old Caney, even playing with the cat 4 days post op, and we just hoped that the problems could be fixed again. We always had the hope and belief that what was wrong with him was fixable, and we just needed to get him well enough to have it all fixed. As a result he wasn't able to eat any of his favorite foods.
Today he had steak with cheese, and as soon as I can find him some edible bagels or croissants he is going to get a dozen of each. Believe it or not, for a dog he is very picky about bagels. We once got him those stale hard bagel treats at the pet store and he refused to eat them, he never liked Milk Bones either and thought the Border Collie on the front of the box was a sellout.
On the menu canolis, bagels, croissants, steak, cheese and more cheese, and no more peas Caney...not in stews, and certainly not pureed!
Everyone loves you Caney!!