On the way down to Gainesville I kept wondering what I would do if they told me they would have to take off half of his face to save him and it would cost a billion dollars. Lucas acted nervous the whole way down. The departure had once again gone badly; Lillith damn near tore the back door down when I put Sam and herself out, and she realized I was taking Lucas. The love between those two is an unusually strong thing. I cannot say that I have witnessed anything like it before.
The way was long. The flash drive was loaded with classical music and very intentionally I had picked songs that were over ten minutes in length a piece. One hour could pass with just four or five tracks played out and the drive was over in just over two hours.
The UF small animal hospital is a great place. Everyone there seemed focused and friendly and they knew who Lucas was before he got there. Lucas didn’t like the place and liked even less the odd and rangy looking mutt that took a shot at him. But Lucas didn’t react at all he just backed up a bit and sneered at the mutt. For as little outside socialization he has had with strange dogs Lucas does very well.
It would seem that Lucas is now pushing close to one hundred and eighteen pounds and the vets I saw told me this was going to be a problem if I didn’t do something about it soon. To have cancer doctors talk diet with me was sobering. I really have to get some weight off that dog and soon. They took him in to be CT scanned and X-rayed so I went to see my old friend Tom.
I’ve never been to Tom’s farm, or met his border collie, Houdini, or his wife, and it was a great place to go to wait out the testing. Life in rural Florida is something most people miss because of the tourist traps and all, and most people do not realize that most of Florida is still a very simple and good place. It is disappearing very quickly though. The big Oaks are all being killed for strip malls and that is a terrible thing. Tom told me I would do the right thing and in this, I knew that whatever I did most people would agree with so it’s not like there would be a lot of people second guessing me. Except me.
At three...There was a room full of people at the meeting and the surgeon brought out a dog skull to better show me where the cuts would be made and how. There was a computer there with the CT scan on it and they walked me through where the tumor was and what it would take to remove it. They had a file full of computer photos that showed a dog that had been through the same type of surgery.
“How long will Lucas live if everything goes as well as it can?”
A dog that size might live four or five more years anyway. Who knows? Six would be the high end of it.
“What are the chances of reoccurrence?”
Low, if the surgery goes well but we really won’t know until it’s over and done with”
“And if the surgery fails?”
“There are other options but at that point it’s not good at all.
“So I try it and it could fail and I would still lose Lucas?”
“What happens if I do nothing?”
The tumor grows at the rate it has been until it begins to kill him. Three to six months.
“Where are you from, doc?”
A little town outside London.
“You have many snakes there?”
No, we don’t what we have are quite pathetic, actually
“A year or so ago, Lucas charged a Cottonmouth and for his trouble he got bit. But that’s Lucas. All that mattered to him was to protect me and everyone else from the snake so in he charged like an idiot.”
“We go in. If it works it works. Lucas will die as he has lived. Let’s do it. “
Lucas goes under tomorrow. It’s going to cost more money than I can hope to gather up but I do not care.
I am going to save Lucas. I do not care what it costs.
He would do it for me.