This story is the second featuring Walter the Wonder Dog. Read the first installment here.
We were sitting in a hotel room in Garden City, Kansas, when my mom noticed the weird bump on my dog’s leg. Walter was sprawled on the bed next to me, snoring, and barely stirred while we examined the bump. It was an angry pink, about half the size of a penny, and on the inside of his foreleg a few inches above his paw. I had no idea how long it had been there.
I tried not to panic, but my mind immediately leapt to cancer. And it had to be a fast-growing kind, or I would have noticed the spot before then.
This was on a Thursday night before a holiday weekend. The next day we left as early as we could manage and drove back to Wichita without stopping. We went straight to the veterinarian’s office and begged the receptionist to work us in, since they would be closed for the next three days.
The doctor agreed that the bump was suspicious and needed to be removed, but she told us not to worry. It wasn’t necessarily cancer. There were all sorts of causes for a mass like that. She scheduled the procedure for the following Tuesday.
I worried all weekend and dropped him at the vet’s office on Tuesday morning with my heart in my throat.
When we went to pick Walter up that afternoon, he had a bandage wound around his foot and halfway up his foreleg. The doctor told us that the procedure had gone fine, and she would have pathology results in a few days. In the meantime, just keep the bandage clean and dry overnight and it could be removed the next day.
Outside, Walter was obviously still groggy from the anesthesia and a little wobbly. He stepped off the curb with his front feet, then stopped and let loose a torrent of urine. The liquid rolled down the slope and soaked the bandaged foot. When he stepped off the curb with his back legs, he stumbled and managed to tear the bandage and pull free about four inches of gauze, which he dragged through the steaming puddle. Then he found the only patch of dirt in the parking lot and trailed the wet gauze through it.
We had done a stellar job of keeping his bandage clean and dry.
The receptionist glanced up when we brought Walter back inside. We pointed at the bandage and her mouth dropped open.
“How did you manage that in sixty seconds?”
When the vet saw it, she laughed. She removed the bandage and didn’t bother to replace it. Walter slept the rest of the day, so he managed to stay out of trouble.
A few days later I got the call I had been dreading for the past week, but it turned out to be good news. The weird bump was a histiocytoma, which is a benign growth. The vet told me she had gotten all of it, so Walter didn’t require any further treatment.
When I got off the phone, I told Walter he didn’t have cancer and that he was not allowed to ever scare me like that again. As always, his doggy brain translated the mumbo jumbo coming out of my mouth into “bacon.” He stared at me with big, hopeful eyes.
I gave him a Beggin’ Strip and we went on with our day.