Ben in his 7th year

A month ago to the day, Ben, my boxer dog, was diagnosed with lymphoma.  It’s hard, but that’s life.

Since then Ben’s treatment has been adjusted a few times, I’ve come to judge dog food by how well it’ll disguise medication and I’ve learnt to appreciate injectable anti-emetics.

More importantly, Ben is his lovable, clownish self and I’ve already enjoyed his company for longer than nature would have allowed (without medical intervention).

As they say in the media: This is a developing story.

It was a cold Friday afternoon on May 7, 2021, and I had been crouched uncomfortably on the floor next to the low table where Ben had been subjected to a number scans for what had felt like days when the specialist vet paused and looked straight at my fogged-up glasses.

Then she said, “Okay. So, it’s bad.”

And before that could really sink in she added, “But you knew that when you walked in here.”

She was right.  Although a small part of me had desperately hoped that she could just fix him up, I knew that would not be the case.

Sooner or later bad news comes your way — that, too, is life.

Ben is 6 years, 8 months and 4 days old today. He has stage IVb multicentric lymphoma. He’s responding well to treatment.

Boxers typically have a life expectancy of 10 years. Neither of my previous two boxers reached 10.

It is now likely that lymphoma will eventually take Ben, and it most probably won’t take 3 years.

But life can’t really be measured in numbers.

I want to stop short of stringing together a bunch of cliches about the fragility of life and the need to savour it.

What I will say is this: Now more than ever my heart goes out to everyone who has had to face a process like this under any circumstances whatsoever.

I’ve loved Ben since the first time I saw him. Every day with him is precious and even when the inevitable heartbreak comes — it’ll all still be worth it a thousand times over.

One thought on “Ben in his 7th year”

  1. Jammer om te hoor, weet hoe jy oor Ben voel. Beteken dit dat ‘n mens, wetende waar so ‘n reis onwillekeurig eindig, dit nooit moes aanpak nie? Absoluut nie, sal jy sekerlik se as jy oor die heerlike somtotaal van julle samesyn peins. Hou daaraan vas as anker in hierdie donker tyd. Ons Bella, pitbull, roep steeds uit elke hoek van die huis en tuin na ons, en bring ‘n glimlag in haar afwesigheid. Sterkte en vrede.

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