At King’s annual check-up last Monday, the vet found a lump on his chest. She thought it was a lipoma, and drew some cells to check on a slide to be sure. Good thing she did. It turned out to be a mast cell tumor that needed to come out right away, I scheduled his surgery for that Thursday. King came home that night and has been recuperating since. His incision is quite large because the tumor was very deep. The biopsy report relieves it to be a low-grade mast cell tumor and the vet was able to get the whole thing out. Although this is the type of tumor that can spread, the fact that it’s low-grade makes it less likely.
I was concerned that I would have a hard time with Lily and Annie around King during his recuperation. I was afraid they would stir him up. But, they seemed quite in tune with the need for him to keep quiet and rest. They’ve been content to leave him alone and play together outside when the weather is good. King has been a model patient, wearing his e-collar without giving me any trouble. In fact, he has been more relaxed with it on than with it off. As soon as I take it off to give him a break, he starts itching at his incision with his hind leg.
King had a couple of rough nights, but is sleeping soundly now. His stitches come out this Monday and he’ll be a lot happier than, I’m sure. When an incision starts to heal, stitches start to pull. I always feel much better once stitches come out.
Lily has been doing double-duty as a Reading Buddy dog this week. She was able to spring into action, filling in for King at the Hilltown Charter School so the children there wouldn’t miss a week of reading. She also worked for the first time with children at the Kelly School where King started last week. There, King and Lily will be alternating weeks, working with the same four children to help them improve their reading skills. Lily proved, once again, that she can go anywhere and do a great job as a therapy dog. I was very proud of her.
Lily will “sub” again for King next week, including a special event he and I have been invited to attend at Smith College in Northampton, MA. I have been asked to speak on the meaningful work therapy dogs do. Lily will be a great model for this. And, King will be all set for our large Therapy Dog Stress-Relief Event that we hold at the University of Massachusetts Amherst during Final Exams at the end of April. He has many fans there, so I’m glad he’ll be ready for that. Good to have two working therapy dogs!