By Ruth Bayang
Northwest Asian Weekly
It happened so fast. Exactly one week ago, my dog was diagnosed with cancer.
OK — technically Titus is my boyfriend’s dog, but I’ve grown to love him and I claim him as my own.
An inoperable tumor, the doctor said. Terminal. Chemotherapy or radiation wouldn’t do any good.
A couple of days prior to the diagnosis, Titus was Titus — full of energy, a seemingly insatiable appetite, and a great love of playing fetch. He would drop the ball between your feet and he would be laser-focused on the ball until you kicked or threw it. Sometimes, he would literally stare at the ball for several minutes if you did nothing. It was comical to watch him.
But literally the day after the diagnosis came in, things took a downturn.
Overnight, his appetite lessened. Then he would eat only if I placed food in front of him. A few days later, he would eat only if I hand fed him. Now, he outright refuses to eat. His breathing is labored, his body tremors, and he spends most of his day sleeping.
He can still get up without help and go outside to use the bathroom. But otherwise, he lies on his bed, quiet.
Titus is approximately 13 years old, rescued about a decade ago from the Humane Society. Sixty-five pounds, brindle, half German Shepherd, half greyhound, and 100 percent pure love and joy.
Sure, I’ve had many pets before, mostly cats. And before Titus, I always considered myself more of a cat person. As a young child, I was afraid of dogs and had a terrifying experience of being chased by a big dog. I managed to escape unscathed.
Over the last year, when I was dealing with unusual amounts of stress, Titus kept me sane. His presence calmed me and I learned to look at life through his eyes. Every day, start with a clean slate. Play more. Go for walks. Take more naps. Do what feels good and makes you happy. Greet and be happy to see anyone who walks through the door.
Before Titus, I would have never allowed any pet to ride in my car. Before Titus, I was too focused on my own world to see what an incredible gift every new day was.
Pets are a great energy balancer. I truly believe they are here to teach us and remind us of the gift that is life.
I hope I am wrong, but I sense Titus will not be around for much longer. In the meantime, I am taking every opportunity to give him lots of love and tell him that he is the best dog ever.