Thursday, July 9, 2009

Wonder Dog Gets Unleashed

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!!


  1. Sorry to hear about this Justin, I hope all of you continue to enjoy the time together. Caney sounds like a wonderful dog and I've enjoyed the numerous photos of him you post on photo net and flickr.


  2. Sorry to hear that Justin. Caney was and still is a good dog. Paamper him to no end.

  3. Thank you both for the comments. We are doing our best 2 pamper him, and he seems to be happy and not in too much discomfort. Actually he has had a lot of pep in his step (a lot being relative) the last two days, but I know that my mom had good days and bad days, and you can't take any of them for granted because they are fleeting.

  4. I'm a bit behind in my blog browsing, so only just read the sad news.

    You know Caney is my favourite e-dog, and I'm a big fan of his work in front of the camera. I can only imagine how hard this must be for you guys and I hope you can enjoy your remaining time together as much as possible.

    Be strong, Justin. I know Caney will!

  5. So sorry to hear that Justin. Please give him lots of love and respect now and let him go later, he will show you when it's time. Markus

  6. Justin, This is terrible news. frankly my friend he has been a mascot to all of us for a number of years. We've thouroughly enjoyed every post and story about your exploits together. My favourite is caney climbing the ladder up some rock face and I was certain you had done some camera trick to make it look vertical. Indeed caney could climb mountains and ladders.

    Honestly this brings a tear to my eye. I once had a faithful Border Collie who would sit in my little sailboat every day. We spend every available moment together. They can be better friends than the people we know.

    I feel for you on a number of levels and only wish Caney all the best for as long as possible.


  7. Dave HollanderFriday, July 17, 2009

    I think there must be very few dogs who have had lives so full of adventure, companionship and purpose. Regards to you all--especially Caney.

  8. I think there are few dogs who have had lives so full of adventure, companionship and purpose. Best wishes to you all!

    Dave Hollander

  9. I'm so sorry to hear this, but at least he's had a great life and you're both enjoying the good times.

  10. I'm so sorry to hear that Justin. I hope you enjoy and cherish the time you have left with Caney.

    Sean Leahy

  11. Thank you everyone for the kind comments.

  12. Justin,
    At the very least you will have him in memory and of course through the photographs you made. Take care my friend.

  13. Hi Justin, the Adventures of Caney are as much a part of the Pentax Forum as you are. We are going to miss him. I'm glad that he is no longer on a restricted diet :-). I'm sure everyone's thoughts will be with you and Aimee for the next while. Regards, Haig

  14. Justin, my dad (Yvon) linked me to your story, and I am so glad I got to read Caney's interview and see the pictures of him. What a phenomenal dog! I am very glad that despite his illness, he is feeling alright, and is being pampered like he is. You're a very good friend to him, he's lucky to have you and Aimee. Good boy, Caney. Take care all of you.


  15. My heart goes out to you. Nothing in this world is tougher than when our furry friends are ill, and no words can express my empathy for you. I know you will be enjoying every moment with him while you can. Caney is a beautiful animal and has clearly been a wonderful companion. Hugs to all of you.

  16. Just wanted to thank everyone again for the comments and well wishes, both via the blog and privately. Caney, Aimee, and I really appreciate them.