Elsinore has taken the title Emerita and has retired from breeding. I, and the rest of us here at Rosewood, found it most difficult to take this step, even though, having recently turned nine, she had every right to step down. She is often mistaken by other dog owners as much younger. Because of that, along with her sometimes ditsy temperament, I often think of her as newly minted.
Besides her age, several of her offspring have had health concerns that most likely were passed on through her. Preventing the possible re-occurrence of these problems was the most important factor in the decision to retire her. I was experiencing a stand-off between head (don’t risk passing on health problems to puppies) and heart (she, and her offspring, have so many other terrific qualities) when our vet made a discovery that prompted us to act: several growths in her mammary tissues. While dogs are prone to canine breast cancer, it occurs almost exclusively in intact (unspayed) females. While we didn’t know if the growths were malignant, we couldn’t afford to do nothing. Within a week, she had combination surgery to be spayed and to remove the growths.
Sublimely oblivious to the swirling decision-making that has gone on among the humans charged with her care and well-being, Elsie continues to be her happy, confident self. She seems to have bounced back from the required surgical procedures. We have been charged with limiting her physical activity and creating a serene and quiet environment during her recovery. Staying calm has been the most difficult for her, much worse than wearing “The Cone,” a lightweight clear plastic shield.
What lies ahead for Elsie? The lab results indicate that while the lumps were a low-grade form of cancer, they were completely removed and it’s likely we’ve seen the end of that story. We both look forward to resuming our pleasant hours of rambling in the woods. More than that, I have been threatening for years to start her in agility classes and this seems like the opportune time. Will you hear from us next from the training ring? Watch this spot.