This is going out to a lot of people, so excuse
it for not being personalized.
Blarneystone Miss Valdez, F. Ch., a.k.a. Val,
a.k.a. The Jiggy Whippet, a.k.a. The Wonder Whippet, at age
6-and-about-2-thirds, has about 3 months to live. Today she had a
malignant tumor the size of 2 grapefruits removed...and there's plenty more
small ones where that came from. She should be back to her old self...for
a while. Then they'll eventually grow, and pretty soon she'll be
in the same shape as she was today: low energy, not eating much, mysterious
swelling in her abdomen. She'll be coming home possibly tomorrow, maybe
Monday. We just called and she's doing okay. On pain meds and still
groggy, but she's doing as well as can be expected. When the other tumors start
growing and she seems miserable enough, we'll be calling the nice grim reaper
vet who makes house calls, the same woman that did Puder the cat in our living
room about a year ago. So far, this has cost us somewhere between 2000 and
4000 dollars. We're not sure yet.
Now for the minutiae and eulogy-in-advance:
We've had Val for just over 3 years. She's the only pet that we didn't
bring into our marriage (I inherited 2 cats, Cathy inherited some tropical
fish), and she's been the only dog in the house. She was supposed to live
to be about 12 or 14. We got her as a rescue, from the exceptionally cool
Laurel Wilkes, who has a house full of Whippets.
We can't get another Whippet. Val ruined
the breed for us. Yes, I know, everybody says that their pet is the best
one in the world. Trust me, another one would be a second-rate
substitute...and we know a lot of Whippets. They're all great, but not
like Val. Val was perfect. She didn't chase small animals (she's
always been pretty much oblivious to all other animals, actually), was the
opposite of stubborn, had the absolute perfect temperament, and basically had no
detectable faults. Maybe we'll change our mind, but that's what we think
at the moment.
Most of the credit for making Val's too-brief
life a happy one goes to Cathy. Val was passed over as a puppy by Whippet
owners because she "showed no interest in the lure." Cathy
worked with Val in the backyard with a plastic bag on a rope, and Val went on to
become a Lure Coursing Field Champion after only 4 races. Cathy worked
with Val in obedience and agility classes. How many Whippets do obedience
and agility? Cathy was mostly the one who made sure Val was covered up in
the middle of the night. Cathy made this: http://home.attbi.com/~whippet-cw/MissVal.html.
I insist that you check it out. (It is now www.missval.net,
which is the site you are reading this on.)
Other important folks in Val's life include
Laurel (who I already mentioned) who used to baby-sit Val when we went out of
town, and who I used to pester on the phone anytime we had a medical question
about Whippets; Jo and Glen Sowards, who let us come over to their house and
practice box racing and who let me (Eric) drive the 3-wheeler and reset the lure
at lure coursing events; Beverly McKibbin at Blarneystone who bred Val in the
first place; the band, who always got Val all wound up on Sunday nights; and
Deb, Candace, and Laura who were Val's (and Cathy's) teachers at BEDOG for
obedience and agility.
Val lived for chasing white plastic bags that
were pulled very fast on a string for a few hundred yards, playing Frisbee,
mangling her bunnies (the stuffed-toy kind), going for car rides, getting cozy
with her humans on the couch/bed/wherever, treats (especially broccoli, Brussels
sprouts and asparagus), lots of petting and summertime.
Val's birthday was the same day as mine.
She probably won't make it to the next one. But we won't forget her.
Eric and Cathy