Murphy has had two blood draws and they have both come back clean. Lucy accompanied him on his trip to the University of Minnesota for his first round of blood work, but refused to wear her Batman costume (it was her birthday weekend and I think she was a little worn out from celebrating). But she did have fun greeting all the other animals who were there for their appointments and posing for pictures with the Charlie Brown and Snoopy statues in the lobby.
The Veterinary Medical Center at the U of MN is a massive building. But in order to make it easy to know where you’re going, they’ve devised a simple-to-follow paw print color scheme on the floor. Oncology is purple so our little troop set off along the purple path, like Dorothy and her friends in search of the Emerald City.
I watched Lucy’s eyes light up upon seeing all the other sick dogs and cats throughout our journey and I thought of the amazing work that therapy dogs do. That would be a perfect job for her. Instead of a therapy dog coming into the hospital to assist in the comfort and healing of a sick or injured human, Lucy could be the equivalent for animals. I can picture her walking around in her Batman costume distributing cookies and hugs to all the dogs and cats. When I had to put Chico down, I told his vet that I was worried about how it would affect my daughter. She asked how old she was and when I said two, the doctor said not to worry about it, she was too young to understand. But she did. And three months later she is still asking for him. When I mentioned it to Lucy’s pediatrician, she was impressed with her level of compassion and empathy at such a young age. As I watched her strutting down the path of purple paw prints alongside her best friend Murphy, I just smiled and thought, “Never lose those qualities sweet girl. They may bring you heartache at times like this, but they will also bring you unimaginable levels of happiness and love and many times, it will be because of an animal.”
We arrived at the Oncology door, where Lucy was excited because she got to ring the doorbell. Murphy’s doctor came out to retrieve him and sent us back to the waiting room. We had just enough time for a few poses with Peanuts statues before a happy Murphy came bounding back out to greet us, unfazed by the needle prick because it meant that he got to cuddle with his doctors and play with the other patients.
His doctor explained that the Oncology room was basically a daycare and at his second blood draw, I got to see what they meant. And they were right. There is a large circular room where the dogs (if they play well with others and are well enough to play) hang out with the doctors. To Murphy, it is a dream come true, even if it means they quickly poke him with a needle. There is nothing he loves more than playing with friends. Now I understand why he gets so excited when he recognizes where we’re going when we drive onto campus.
At his second appointment, they also aspirated a lump we found on his side. Thankfully, it was just a fatty lump and nothing to worry about. He will have another round of blood work at the end of this month and then next month he’ll have another scan to confirm that the cancer has not metastasized. Unfortunately, that means that they’ll need to shave his belly and sides again. But this time, at least it won’t be -30 degrees and we won’t have to bundle him up in my fleece jackets – hopefully.