Rusty’s Mini-Vacation & Good News from the Vet!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

On Wednesday, August 25th (which was Rusty’s seven month Ampuversary) we headed to the Central California Coast to celebrate Rusty’s Grandmothers’ 89th birthday.  We gave Rusty his oral Chemo treatment on Tuesday which was a day early, but we wanted him ready for the trip on Wednesday.  It is 350 miles from the desert to my mother’s which is a long ride for him.  We stopped in Ventura which is the half-way point for an In-N-Out burger, including a patty for Rusty, and a chance to stretch all of our legs in a park area before getting back on the road.  He was a little nauseous for a couple of days from both the Chemo and ride, but quickly recovered.

My mother appreciated that we were there for her birthday and really enjoyed having Rusty there with her.  On Sunday we asked her to keep Rusty for several hours while we did some shopping and enjoyed a nice lunch.  She was pleased that we left Rusty in her care and had some of her friends come by to visit with Rusty.  We showed her the video of Rusty Surfin’ and left a DVD that she can loan to her friends; she was amazed at how well he is doing. It is going to be very difficult for her when we lose Rusty; she said tonight that she misses him and when he was there it gave her a reason for getting up and dressed rather than staying in her pajamas.

We also decided to make it a mini-vacation for all of us to get away from the heat of the desert; the last two weeks of August are usually the worst as the Arizona monsoons elevate our humidity which along with the high temps makes things very sticky.  We chose Cambria, which is about 30 miles north of my mother, for its dog friendly places and better facilities for a longer stay.  It was 117 on Tuesday in the desert and the temps on the coast ranged from the upper 50’s to low 60’s.  Rusty enjoyed the cooler weather and that we able to walk anytime of the day; one evening around dusk on the main trail we encountered five deer.  Rusty had never seen deer before and was in awe at their size and the way that they ran down the trail (jumping).

We stayed at the Cambria Pines Inn, which has a lot of trails for walking on and is close to the center of town.  They have a covered outdoor dining area with fireplaces and heaters that allowed us to have breakfast with Rusty.  We had planned on having a dinner there but with so many other choices in the area we never made it; we will do so next trip.  Cambria has one restaurant that was just featured on The Food Network (Linn’s) which was our favorite and we took one of their famous Olallieberry pies to mom for her birthday.  Rusty did very well for the first couple of days, and we were careful not to let him walk too far, but on the third day we were walking and he looked up at us and turned around to go home.  We let him take it easy for the rest of the trip; at my mother’s he could explore her yard and then could come in with us to rest.  Surprisingly all of us were ready to come home after a week; Rusty enjoyed the trip but missed his brother & swimming and we missed our adjustable beds.

We visited Rusty’s breeder who is in Atascadero, CA (which is about 20 miles from my mother) for her to see Rusty and for us to see Rusty’s brother who is one of her studs.  Rusty was the first born, and Becky had planned on keeping him but gave us our choice and we took Rusty.  Rusty is about 2” inches taller than his brother which she attributed to his being neutered; Becky was pleased to see Rusty but also very sad to see him missing a leg.  She said that if she had kept him, she would have been unable to provide treatment for him and would have put him down.

Again, we have the feeling that Rusty is with us for a special purpose, both for him and us; we are not sure why or how it is all going to play out.  Maybe he is just a “dog” or a messenger or possibly an “Angel”?  He has been a real blessing for my mother, whose health is failing.

Becky has offered us a replacement puppy when the time comes, which is very generous of her; we also discussed the possibility of taking one of her retired breeders.  We are not sure that we want to go through puppy hood again when we are in our mid seventies.

To help Rusty deal with our high temps we lowered the thermostat in a spare room off our family room and set a fan that blows at his level.  When he comes in from outside we tell him to go to his “cool room” and he heads in there until he has cooled off.  The pool is still the best place for him to cool down as the water temps are usually 86 or 87 degrees.  With summer ending our morning temps are cooling down and it is a great time in the desert to walk; it took us twice as long as normal on our first day back as everyone had to say “hello” to Rusty after being away for a week.

We met with Dr. Macy last week for Rusty’s monthly checkup; the timing was good as Rusty had started coughing and wheezing the last couple of days and we were concerned that the cancer may have spread into his lungs.  Great news; the X-Rays showed no sign of cancer in his lungs or abdomen!  Dr. Macy identified the problem as Bronchitis, most likely from swallowing too much pool water or the cooler weather from our recent trip.  Rusty is on antibiotics and no swimming for the next week (ouch!).  Rusty’s blood work was pretty much the same as last month, a few readings were a little lower but still within acceptable limits.  Rusty has lost a quarter pound the past month; however, his appetite was less than normal when we were on our trip which probably accounted for the weight loss.  After the results from the X-Rays and blood work, Dr. Macy was very pleased (he was also alarmed at the coughing and wheezing) that the cancer has not returned and will keep Rusty on the twice monthly oral Chemo treatments as planned.  The cost of today’s X-Rays put our year to date expenses over the annual plan limit of Rusty’s insurance coverage; fortunately, we start a new policy year on October 1st and will again have 70% reimbursement coverage for his future expenses. Our next appointment is October 6th.

Author: ceholli

Retired – Rusty is our first dog because of my allergies, he is a Labradoodle and I have not had any allergy problems with him.

4 thoughts on “Rusty’s Mini-Vacation & Good News from the Vet!”

  1. Thanks for the wonderful update! Rusty is an angel indeed.

    What is the oral chemo he’s getting? We gave Jerry Cytoxan every other day.

  2. Dr. Macy is keeping him on the Lomustine; two 10 mg capsules every two weeks. He was on Lomustine once a month for the six months that he was receiving the Vinblastine by IV. So far his side effects from Lomustine are fewer than from the Vinblastine.

  3. rusty, what a wonderful vacation!!! so nice that you can go visit your grandmother – we’re sure you had as good of a time as she did!! take it easy with that bronchitis…geesh brother…you better plan some medicinal naps to get over that. you don’t want to miss too much pool time. stay cool,

    gayle & charon

  4. Hi Rusty,

    You look like a poodle to me! I love to swim too. I read your entire blog. You ROCK! I hope I can do as well as you are doing.

    James the poodle

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