Duffy -- 13-year old male
Subject: [KBL] Update on Duffy the Rescue
Date: March 26, 2008 9:17:06 AM PDT
Just thought I'd send out an update on Duffy, who was rescued by the KBT
Foundation last October. Duffy had been turned in to a shelter by an elderly
owner whose own illness prevented him for continuing to care for his
Duffy, shortly after his rescue from a NJ shelter.
Duffy is a love bug and boasts an adorable teddy-bear face - so
surely some nice family would adopt this guy? Well, probably not, because
Duffy himself is coming up on 13 years old, and had tentatively been
diagnosed with terminal cancer.
As always, a million billion thanks to the
Foundation for not closing the door on this guy. Through the
miraculous-as-usual chain of Kerry angels in the Northeast, Duffy was pulled
from the NJ shelter by Agatha Hughes, who gave him his first insights into a
world of walks and yummy food. Victoria Kneiring got him up to Mimi Wight,
and we were finally able to collect him and bring him to our chaotic house,
full of young kids, guinea pigs, the stray cat, etc.
From the moment we met him (and he was faced with two shrieking preschoolers), Duffy was only too happy to try to please. He was a bit foggy and stiff-jointed and didn't have alot of muscle, but for an elderly dog with cancer, what would you expect.
Mimi wants me to add that it was a fabulous moment in her kitchen
when this frail and apparently spirit-less "Steiff bear" heard the kids
laughter [they were shrieking, really] and rose from the dead and bounced
across the room to play with the kids. I remember this moment as more of
Duffy thinking, "Good lord; something is so loud that even I can hear it. I
guess I will check it out from my sheer disbelief that anything could be
that loud and hyper," but that's just me.
He was a perfect gentleman on the ride home, settled into our house and was
accepted (grudgingly) by Bits, our 14-year-old kerry, and was plugged into
the oncology program at a major veterinary teaching hospital. The
prognosis, as feared, was that the cancer had entirely filled his sinus
cavity and was on the verge of bursting into his brain or crossing his
septum and making it impossible for him to breathe through his nose. We
flat-out refused chemotherapy (it was unlikely to do anything other than
kill him faster), and considered but rejected radiation.. Duffy was game but
frail, and why put him through something that could blind him, interfere
with his ability to eat, and cost a huge amount of money when it was
unlikely to prolong his life. He was given 2-4 months to live, and we took
him home to "be comfortable."
Okay. That was six months ago. Duffy is still very much alive.
Very, very, very, very, very much alive. The cancer is still growing but the symptoms are 95% controlled with one small anti-inflammatory drug a day
- though we might need to switch to something more powerful soon. Duffy refuses to eat dog food - we tried everything, from ambrosia hand-crafted by
spiritually pure Tibetan monks all the way down to supermarket crap -- to the point
where he will get literally weak with hunger, so we gave up. His diet
yesterday was a whole pack of beef hot dogs, several pieces of cheese, half
a pint of cottage cheese, a piece of meatloaf, a few Triscuits, several
carrots, and whatever else he might have found for himself on the floor of the minivan. His only sign of age is that he is world's deepest sleeper. He will fall down on the floor between the sections of the couch without waking up, the idiot. He can barely hear, he can barely see, but he now gallops along with laugh-out-loud gusto on walks - taking his cues from whistles, clapping, and Bits' straining herself to be nice enough to bark at him when he goes off-course. He is a barrel of fun and a true pain in the bum in the kitchen (he bounces around on his hind legs trying to see what you're cooking), he play-bows, he incites Her Majesty to gallop around the
back yard (this is unheard of. Madame has NEVER galloped around the back
yard before), and the other day he chased a cat. Though the cancer has
broken through the roof of his mouth and the side of his face, I question
now whether cancer will be the death of him, so to speak. There wasn't
anything particularly wrong with the rest of him, and he's doing so well and
having such a ball. He adores children, and will happily submit to being
draped in dress-up clothes and being enlisted into tea parties, games of
"bear in the den," etc. I used to rescue him from this stuff, but he just
goes right back to hang out with the kids, so fine. He grows three inches
with pride and anticipation when he realizes that the family is walking over
to the playground, where he wags, curls, and beams at all the little kids
who descend on him (this has been very hard on Bits, who does not
particularly care for children. She would rather be left in her ivory
tower, but if she holds back from the kids, Duffy gets all the attention and
she gets ignored. Hmmm. Dilemma. :-) ) . Duff is hugely curious, hugely
affectionate, is just plain thrilled with life and every possible
ramification thereof, is gracious and appropriate with all the dogs and
people we meet on our off-leash walks, and just generally is a big love. He
almost never barks, but when he does - well, you've all probably heard it,
no matter where in the universe you live. Yeah, that noise was Duffy.
Thanks to the Foundation for its commitment to the old ones - they have the souls of puppies but much more dignity (in Duffy's case, it's a sort of dorky idiot dignity, but he has it) than their human caretakers.
Please consider making a monetary donation to the Foundation which will help to defray Duffy's expenses.