Mar 142014

Phoenix and Dad

Last week I took my Golden Retriever, Phoenix, in for a followup to check on some (hopefully benign) tumors. I did not want to put my kid at nearly 11 years old through any unnecessary surgery. A new, golf ball sized, one had appeared on his belly and the Doctor took a biopsy and did a blood smear on it right then.

He came back into the room and said, “We need to get that one out, Mike.”

For those of you that have followed us on our blog know that Phoenix is the light of my life. He’s my kid. He’s not just a dog. Some may roll their eyes and think, “Wow, wayyyy too much attachment there.” Or, “Dogs are just pets.” Not to me.

He is a lifelong dream come true that by one reason or another was not able to come into my life until almost 11 years ago. I had wanted a pure bred Golden Retriever all of my life since I was a little boy. Be careful what you wish for because in this case I received a beautiful gift beyond my wildest imagination. A special soul that’s always full of playfulness, mischievousness and optimism about every day. He is so kind and gentle and ever watchful of me. And yes, there is lots of banter between us as he wonders what on earth I could be doing at any given moment.

We go everywhere together as he rides shotgun in his Jeep next to me. He always wants my right hand on him while I’m driving. I know, I know.

Phoenix is a leaner. If you could ever meet him (and I would love that) he would lean into you, smiling, tail wagging and say, “If you’ll just pet me for a minute we will be best friends forever.” He has a lot of best friends in our travels around the city and around the world via our stories.

He epitomizes unconditional love.

I came home early yesterday and his places of sleeping when I’m not home have transitioned over the years. A very mistreated Golden Retriever…


Now, he sleeps at the side of the bed when I’m not home and when I get into bed for the night. So it came as a surprise to both he and I when I walked in the door much earlier than he anticipated…

Phoenix On Bed

Phoenix, “Ooopss…”

I also wondered about any of his online activity while I’m gone. Umm-hmm…


We went to bed last night and of course I had a very heavy heart filled with anxiety…

Phoenix Sleeping Next To Bed

Him, “Cute girl Labradors…yes please…”

This morning sucked because he was not allowed any food. No guilt there…
Phoenix No Breakfast

So, I kept my best stiff lip, head up, being cheerful in attitude and we headed off. But, immediately something was amiss because he knows every where we go in town. He will react accordingly to each destination as we’re enroute…

Not Going To Park

Him, “The park is the other way. Rut-row…”

The gig was up…

Something You Would Like To Tell Me

Phoenix, “Anything you might be neglecting to tell me?”

I looked over to where my buddy always rides next to me as I was driving home after I dropped him off. The tears started streaming down my cheeks…

Phoenix Leash

Of course I was a pacing mess as I called (only once believe it or not) and the gal said he was still in surgery when he was supposed to have been done long before that. Then I just waited for the Doctor to call. In all he removed five growths all in separate places including one on his right eyelid. It was a very lengthy procedure and he said two of them concerned him enough to have them looked at by the laboratory. So, we will wait until next week for those results. I won’t even remotely discuss anything other than there is no problem at all.

I like the chalkboard in the front waiting room…

Office Sign

Probably the thing that eats me up the most is that he trusts me to always keep him safe as much he does me. To protect him and never let harm come his way. This had to be done and yes he will forgive me. Nonetheless I feel horribly guilty.

*** He absolutely refused to leave with me. The office girl had to come around the counter, grabbed his leash, gave him that girl-speak and he went trotting stumbling right out the door with her. Yes, that is funny ***

Got him into the Jeep…

In Jeep

Him, “I’m good to drive. I’ve only had a couple…”

Ten sheets to the wind…

10 Sheets

Phoenix, “Some Jim Morrison on the stereo would be nice right now…”

Me, looking for forgiveness…

Not A Happy Dog

Phoenix, “YOU did this to me…no, I’m pretty much going to be a hater right now…”

In the meantime I will be keeping him very quiet so that those incisions heal properly. Doggie drugs.

This guy who as you all know loves to cook and continually improve on those skills. This is dinner tonight…
My Dinner

Thank you so much to everyone who is always so nice to Phoenix and I in taking the time to get to know us. Two weeks recovery time. We will be back on our game soon!

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Mike Vogler

I have been told (many times) that I really need to write a book about my life. The past 40+ years have been an exciting ride, and these days I find myself with a great many passions. However, I feel that this website is a much more personal way with which to share my musings, stories, commentary, and (of course) my greatest love... my Golden Retriever, Phoenix.

  122 Responses to “When The Love Of Your Life Has Surgery, One Worried Dad”

  1. Very hard to read while im at work, my freind. Prayers being sent and lots of love. And for someone who has just gotten out of surgery, he looks pretty damned good! Love the pic with the cone riding in his jeep!

    • I so appreciate that Tony as I had a hard time writing it. No kidding on looking good for a “torn up” kid. I liked that pic too 🙂

  2. Hi Mike,

    I know how you must be feeling…all the emotions are reaching me through your words. I also know this doting dad is going to do all he can in the world to soothe his dearest kid…but Mike, he is a grown up guy! He can take all that! So cheer up and take good care of Phoenix, he is okay. Give him a smile each time you soothe him, that will heal him faster.

    I know it is heartbreaking to see your loved one in pain but smile therapy is as good as medicines. Wishing a speedy recovery to our dear pal, even I feel attached to him now…he is as much a blogger as you and I. Love you Phoenix.

    • Phoenix sends his love back to you as well, Balroop. He’s overflowing with it. Yes, he’s getting lots of doting attention though these first couple of days are going to be really rough. I loved you saying of your attachment to him…that got my eyes welled up, our friend 🙂

  3. I am the same way about my pugs. I go into a slight panic when their behavior is off and rush them to the vet. I have lost pets before when I was younger—but these pugs truly are my fur babies and I always worry about them. I’m going to be saying prayers for Phoenix that his test results come out fine. PLEASE keep us posted!

    • Thank you so much Marcia and I love hearing from doggie parents who relate to them being our kids. Your pugs sound so adorable and we wish your kids happiness and perfect health always! 🙂

  4. Oh man… I’m glad I was able to catch up on the story. Unfortunately, those damn lumps are part of aging in pets. My Penny dog has a few too. It’s so sad to watch this happen, but I also think that in the wild they wouldn’t get to an age where this would happen. So in a way, it is just a sign of a long life with dad! I know how hard this is though, so please accept my long distance healing vibes. There’s gotta be something good coming out of India. 🙂

    • Ya, those darn aging bumps huh, Colleen? I’m glad you can so relate through Penny. I love your positive slant on if he were in the wild vs what he gets here with me. Any note from you is something good whether it be from India or any part of the world you are in at that moment, our friend! 🙂

  5. It’s so horrid when our pets have to have surgery and are under the weather. Feel for you 🙁 As you say they put all their trust in us and give such unconditional love that the guilt piles up when we have to put them through discomfort or pain in the name of health. Mostly I hope that Phoenix is ok and is going to be ok.

    • I’m thinking and sending and “pulling down” only positive thoughts for him, Johanna. Thank you for understanding the guilt part…that’s the one I’m struggling with every minute. The eyes of a Golden Retriever are probably the most telling of any dog breed…bias aside 🙂

  6. Phoenix, you are totally rocking the cone! I hope you feel better and are back on your paws soon, Mike needs your help and advice for everything he does. May you lose the cone of shame and get back to chasing Chuck it balls.

    • I tried getting it off this morning with all of my might but my sucky Dad and sucky Dr Mark put on there really secure. I’m not done trying though…regardless whether it’s for my own good or not. All of the incisions and stitches hurt. I know Dad needs me but this sucks. Thank you for messaging me 🙂

  7. All the best for Phoenix. What a beautiful dog he is, with such wise eyes.

    • I sooooo appreciate that Sophie and what a thrill to hear from you! Thank you for the compliment and yes, bias aside, smartest dog I’ve ever known. Your kindness is wonderful 🙂

  8. Thinking about you both, and hoping for the best results Mike. It must have been a huge relief to have Phoenix home again where he belongs, and so he can recuperate. I completely agree with you, dogs aren’t just pets, they are family, and it’s a bond that shouldn’t be trivialised.

    • Oh lordy I was stressing even more because the surgery went much longer than anticipated. And if the Dr said Phoenix was going to have to spend the night there I was going to freak out. I would have literally insisted I sleep down there with him all night on the floor. Anyhoo, that was a bit too much drama huh ha, ha. Thank you SO much for your well wishes. He’s my Light, Shing 🙂

  9. Oh Mike, I’m so sad to hear about this. That must be such a horrible situation. Please don’t feel like you’ve betrayed him – you’re doing absolutely the right thing to ensure he’s as healthy as possible.

    Look on the bright side

    -The tumour was treatable
    -The facilities were there for you to access
    -Phoenix WILL get better from his surgery

    And even if he’s sulky, I have a feeling that the capacity in his heart to just love you, and let this go, will soon take over from anything else, and the two of you will be fine.

    • This was awesome and thank you, Lizzi. He’s not being too forgiving this morning. These first few days will be the roughest – gawd it’s got to get better. You are spot on with your cup half full perspective. Trust me, I stared at your comment for several minutes. I would love for everyone to meet him in person then they would really “get it”. So appreciate you, our friend 🙂

  10. ack, my heart! I do know the relationships between humans and dogs. I know what they can be. They are our children, 100%.
    Thinking deeply of you both! Sometimes, often, these things just really do work out.

    • They are going to work out great, Tamara and there is no secondary thought for me to have! Thank you so much for checking in and sending us your well wishes….especially Phoenix. That means sooooo much 🙂

  11. I hope by the time I type this that the P has lost his groggy feeling and is back to supervising you in the kitchen. You’d better get rid of that pizza packet before the boss is back on the watch. I always feel so bad when I take our dog to the vet and that is just for vaccinations. She hates it there and hides under my chair and then shakes when on the table. Yeah the women in our family are not that brave. But we do forget quickly. Hope the boss forgets soon too. He is lucky that he has you there to watch over him and get him operated on when needed. My thoughts are with you.

    • So appreciate this wonderful comment, Jan! I’m glad you’ve quickly learned through our friendship as to who where’s the pants in the family (albeit just Phoenix and I) ha,ha. He’s going to be intentionally groggy for awhile as I have to keep him quiet. This was quite a surgery. So sorry your little girl hates the Vet…let her know I shake going to the doctor too! Thank you for your warm thoughts as they are so appreciated 🙂

  12. Oh Mike, I thought about the both of you all day. I know how much he means to you and how much you mean to him. You’re like two hairy peas in a pod. Only he’s smart.
    I understand completely and I dread having to ever go through something like this with my dog who is a giant asshole. Kidding. Sometimes. He pooped on our patio because apparently, he’s too posh to go in the snow. See…totally asshole.
    He’s going to recover quick, he has to take care of you from the microwave and that dangerous looking banana peel 🙂
    Keeping you and your furry love (Phoenix…not you… get your head out of the gutter pervert) in my thoughts.

    • LOL! PERFECT timing, Kimberly! Here I am feeling sooooo sorry for Phoenix AND myself and here comes Blogger Happy Bunny to slap me across the face with some hysterically funny humor. You rock! Champ being an “asshole”…still giggling 🙂

  13. Oh Mike! Hang in there my friend….he loves you and soon this will always be behind you both although you may never get him into the vet again without doping him up first…Please, please, please keep us all informed. We love you both.

    • He actually does well at the Vet despite me making humor of it in a few posts, Sarah. I think it’s the whole lineup of cute office girls. Hence, that he would only go to his Jeep with one of them vs me. We so appreciate your love and thoughts, Sarah! 🙂

  14. Mike I saw the title of this post flash by my email or FB or somewhere when I couldn’t click on it and I think I’ve been avoiding reading it all day and most of the night. It’s now 3:05 a.m., but I knew I would not be able to sleep without knowing the situation. I’m glad Phoenix made it through surgery and forgave you enough to let the nice lady put him in the car. Next step I guess is to get Phoenix to the point where he won’t mess up his stitches, so he can lose his cone and then to see what the biopsy results are and to plan from there. I’d say, “Oh, it’s harder with a dog because they can’t tell you how they feel and what treatments they want or don’t want,” except my father refused to acknowledge his situation and to participate in his own health care planning, so basically, it was like making decisions for a dog. You have my heartfelt wishes flowing from Honolulu to Reno for Phoenix to make a complete recovery. And if, for some reason beyond your control, that is not going to happen, then I wish the both of you the love and strength and wisdom for you to be there for each other no matter what . The greatest, most difficult (for me) gift I gave my father was to preside over his death because neither he nor my mother could/would do it. Abrazos for you both.

    • Well, I’m definitely keeping it cup half full on the test results, Suzanne. And your heartfelt wishes have flowed through perfectly to us in Reno! He’s having a heckuv a time this morning. I’m a bit miffed at the Dr (who’s been Phoenix’s vet all of his life) in that he didn’t prescribe stronger pain meds. It’s Carprofen…and it’s a good drug but I need Phoenix “knocked out”. He is having fits. The Dr’s concerns with stronger meds were because of his age. The office is closed today and will try to get through the weekend w/o going to Emergency Vet (very expensive – and I don’t mind spending the $$ if necessary) to get some better stuff. Some laughters from our friends here on the post and ebb and flowing through emotions. Great example with your father, our friend. I’m sooooo glad you were there for him. What a blessing 🙂

  15. Oh, mike. I’m so sad to hear this. I read this last night and couldn’t even comment. I know how much you love him, but more than I do, he knows. Dogs are so funny when they get *mad* at us, but he’ll come around. I’m just so sorry he even has to go through it in the first place. Poor Phoenix. I hope you feed him his favorite meal today. And give him a belly rub from his cyber pal, mandi.

    • Belly rub definitely given carefully…he has these huge incisions all over his body including his tummy. He’s having fits right now because the meds aren’t doing the trick. I knew that would be a problem. I’m just “pissed” because he’s miserable and he just stares at me to make it better. Lordy, wrenches at the gut, ya know? Thank you so very, very much for all of your kind, wonderful words. They are very appreciated 🙂

  16. Oh mike…. I am sorry… I know exactly how you feel. I was there a few years ago with Alex. The drive home, with out your beloved pet is the hardest. As is the waiting. But when you pick them up and are able to shower them with lev it is exactly what you both need…after Alex had his tail amputated I thought the worst… But it ended up being the start to the best part of his life… You and Phoenix are in my thoughts and prayers….

    • Oh my gosh that had to be so difficult for poor, Alex! And you’re right on the showering them with love. I’m so glad he was ok and it was the start to a wonderful new beginning! I’m glad you “got” the drive home segment, Hilary. Thank you so much for your wishes to him…and me…they are deeply appreciated 🙂

  17. I think I’ve told you that for 18 wonderful years we were parents of two ‘gifted, talented’ Humane Society adopted cats; better known to all as ‘our boys’. Each year we had them was a blessing and although they’ve been gone now for nearly 8 years (and never ‘replaced’) I can still cry over their absence in our lives. Your post brought back memories of how we agonized (okay, me in particular) each time we had to take them and leave them for any sort of procedure. I literally would make myself sick with worry. We know exactly what you mean about them being loved ones. We will think good thoughts and send prayers that all those tests turn out just fine — I am sure they will!!! Take care. . .both of you.

    • I’m glad you and Joel understand on the loved ones part, Jackie. That is soooo awesome that you were mommy and daddy to those two wonderful kitties. What a blessing that they were able to spend all of those years with you two! Yes everything will be fine and thank you 🙂

  18. @Mike I am crossing my fingers for you that the tumours are all benign and no surgery is every required again. When our dog was just a year she needed cruciate ligament surgery – and then the other leg 6 months later. She’s been great for the last 8 1/2 years & I have no desire to put her through that again. We call her 5K now – and I think you’ll understand exactly what I mean.
    Phoenix has all the love in the world so here’s to quick healing and a happier Mike.

    • Yes, I know exactly what you mean on 5K, Leigh, and that made me smile. Lordy, I’m sorry she went through that. Those surgeries lay up a pup for many weeks if not months. Gawd, what a blessing that she fully recovered and then had that wonderful long streak with no problems! Thank so much for your awesome, wonderful thoughts and well-wishes, our friend 🙂

  19. I hope Phoenix has a speedy recovery! He’s such a cutie…and I love a good leaner!

    • Ahhh, then you and Phoenix would be best friends, Corinne! Thank you for the compliment and warm thoughts 🙂

  20. Hi Mike. I will send you an e-mail that is more personal in response. I agree that Phoenix is your kid and family; absolutely nothing wrong with that. Often times dogs are better friends and family than people.

    Thinking of both of you,


    • You are so right that sometimes they are. No drama and unconditional love. You are spot on there, Diane! We sooo appreciate your thoughts…and especially for Phoenix. You are awesome as always 🙂

  21. Hi Mike, I’ve simultaneously cried and laughed in this beautifully written post. All the best to Phoenix in his recovery! Please don’t forget to take care of yourself as well. I’m happy you had those taken care of even though it’s so hard to see him scared. He’ll thank you in two weeks and we’ll all be happy to see you two back and healthy!!

    • I cried and laughed writing it and again so right now as I read this comment of your’s, Lisa. I actually drafted the first part of it literally while he was in surgery. We are so blessed to have all of these friends who “get” us, like you. I was actually thinking of your happy smiling face last night. It just popped into my thoughts. Really good point on taking care of myself….words well heeded. Thank you always for everything, Lisa. We’ll be back 🙂

  22. Sending healing wishes your dog’s way, I’ve only had a dog for four months but she already means the world to me.

    • Thank you for your blessings to Phoenix and reading, Becky! I’m so jazzed you have a girl doggie that has wrapped her way around your heart. What is her name? 🙂

  23. Dear Phoenix –
    Well that just sucks, doesn’t it? I’m so sorry you had to go through that but here’s what I’m thinking… I think you can milk this for months to come. I’m not sure what you’re favorite treats are, but I’m guessing you can give your Dad the pouty eye and get just about anything you want. Feel better Phoenix. 😉

    • Patti, I’m on it. I feel miserable today and went into a tizzy this morning to try to get this darn cone off of my head! Milking this for months? I LIKE IT!! Oh, he’s getting more than the pouty Golden Retriever Eye from me. It’s full on stink eye! Thank you…I just need better meds but I will get better soon 🙂

  24. Please hug and kiss phoenix for me.

    I LOVE him dearly. xxxxxxxxx Licks))))

    Also, send me your address, Mike.

    • Oh Kim, I’m open minded but I’ve never been into cross-dressing. Sorry. OH! My AD-Dress!! Got it! Lots of your loves and hugs being sent to him from you always. Lordy, does he need it right now. My baby boy 🙂

  25. Aww poor little guy!!!:-( I was seriously tearing up reading this, I know how insanely stressful it is to put your bff through surgery (I went through this with Gills for gall blatter stones, so, so hard), but I’m so happy to see he’s home with you now and on the restful road to recovery. Know that you both are in our thoughts and prayers that it’s smooth sailing from here out, and keep us posted! Big scratch for Phoenix!!

    • Ayee…I get teared up when readers say that, Jess! That is just terrible that Gillman had to go through that…poor little guy. I can’t wait to meet him and give him big hugs when I make it to NYC! I want to take him for a walk on the sidewalks of the Big Apple…lordy that just got me teared up. Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers…they are welcomed, needed and appreciated right now, our friend 🙂

  26. I believe with you that NO problems on the lab work and that removing them took care of everything. BTW if you don’t already have this, check out because he has krill oil liquid pump (onto food) for pets (Omega-3) and which has coconut oil for pets (antibiotic, anti-fungal and antibiotic). Son’s dog was having joint issues and after being on the oils is a wild and crazy, energetic shiny dog! In other words no joint pains and no sicknesses. Pets get the same benefits people do. I’ve read some amazing stories about pets & the oils!

    • Hi Nan and thank you on the well wishes and the krill oil info! I’ve heard of it for years. I take fish oil supplements and the Omega-3 for Phoenix is an excellent idea. He’s on a real purist diet – my choice and his colitis since he was a pup. Only one in the litter with a sensitive tummy like that. So nice to hear from you! 🙂

    • Yeah, I learned about it for pets because son’s dog has mega sensitive tummy and there are many things she can’t eat. But the oil has helped her tremendously!

    • I am working on just getting him to eat right now. I keep trying every trick in the book.

  27. Awwwwwww. I don’t know who I feel worse for!! I know your heart is broken. It’s soooooo hard. I’m happy he made it through surgery, though. He’ll feel better in a day it two. Give him ear rubs and kisses for me. Hang in there. Xoxo

    • Well definitely feel worse for him, Beth. It’s been sooooo not fun. He’s having such a tough time. This time that’s not whining on my part. He truly is. Lordy, if you could see all of those incisions on his body. They are quite big. Definite hugs, rubs and kisses being sent his way and thank you so very much 🙂

  28. Oh, Phoenix! I sure hope you are feeling better by now, buddy!

    Mike, I know exactly what you mean about Phoenix being your kid. We have a chocolate lab. Her name is Chloe and she is five years old. We’ve had her since she was a babe and she is exactly like another kid. We love her so much and I can’t imagine anything happening to her.
    Both you boys hang in there and things will get better!

    • I would love to hear more stories about Chloe and pictures of her, Sandy! Goldens and Labs go hand in hand for me 🙂 We will get through it and it’s so wonderful to hear from you. Also, I’m glad you “get it” if you know what I mean 🙂

  29. Mike you could get lost in that babies eyes!! They’re so warm & tender they just pull you in. (esp. the pic with the tag above it. “This morning sucked….”) Inion & I said a special prayer just for Phoenix. (And then one for you, as we know how much he means to you.) And we absolutely understand, having 3 babies of our own!! On another note, if you have the time, we’d love for you to check out this story we’re sending you about………………………..A GOLDEN RETRIEVER!!!!!! ta da 😉
    Only this one’s name is Amber and HER daddy’s name is Otis Orth of Anchorage, Alaska. We have an online newspaper we’re subscribed to & have been since writing our Book, The Perfect 7 which just so happens to take place in Alaska. When we we’re doing the legwork or research for the book, we delved into Alaska and have kept some of the links we enjoyed. This one, as I said is an amazing story we read a few weeks back. And the second Inion read it aloud, both of us looked at each other & said at the same time: “Phoenix & Mike!”
    No joke, we thought of you guys! It’s truly a remarkable story & knowing how you love your baby, we knew you’d not only love it, but could truly appreciate it!! Just follow the link & once done, please do let us know what you think! Give Phoenix A big hug & kiss from his Irish, friends 😀

    • Ahhh, thank you so much ladies! That just rocks for your support and that you thought of us with that story about Amber. Phoenix would have said, “Rub some dirt on it (despite there being only snow). I’m going to go bark for…a ride for fun on a snowmobile!” Ha, ha 🙂 I’m so glad you too also “get it”. And so many have with Phoenix and I…we are both so very blessed with this support. I’m going to drop you ladies an email here in a bit. Hugs and loves to both of you always 🙂

  30. Ah, this is so sad, hope he’s feeling better soon! I totally understand seeing the dog as more than that, people who think they are just pets obviously haven’t had one themselves!

    • Kind of the takes one to know one huh, Catherine? So glad you understand. Thank you so much for your well wishes! These first couple of days have been a bugger. It will get better from here on out (fingers crossed)!! 🙂

  31. Oh Mike. I know how you feel and so feel for you and Phoenix. Been there, multiple times in different ways and SO SO SO have you both in my thoughts and prayers. I’m unbelievably sorry that poor Phoenix had to have the surgery, and is annoyed at you for how he feels but I believe you chose correctly. SO much so. And if anybody doubts he’s your kid? I will personally kick their ass. That’s a promise. Also? California Pizza Kitchen frozen pizza is the ONLY acceptable frozen pizza. It’s good. I think it’s because they refuse the nasty preservatives. But I’m not a banana fan. I think it’s a texture thing. Gross.

    And OMG baby Phoenix, scratching your belly in my mind right now.

    • A best friend friend and wing man that we adore so much defending us! I know I chose correctly yet have questioned it constantly ONLY because of this 2 week Heck he now has to go through. Still waiting to hear your story about your pup falling out of the Jeep! I’m glad you’re a California Kitchen Pizza fan – a buddy turned me onto them years ago. Best on the market. There has been no cooking this weekend. Not in the mood. I will give him lots of scratches behind the ears since his belly is all stitched up right now. You rock always for us, Kristi! 🙂

    • So the Jeep story. My dog before Chief was Arthur. He wasn’t really right in the head (part Chow and weaned too early I think) but I adored him. Anyway, I was up in the mountains in Colorado with him one weekend, and as we were heading back to Denver on Sunday, He jumped out of my jeep at a light. He ended up cutting open his leg really badly and breaking the bone in it. This was all pre-cell phone days, too. Somebody saw the accident and told me where the emergency vet was. We get there, I’m of course bawling, and Arthur was losing a LOT of blood. The first thing the guy did was muzzle him. I got SO mad that I told him to just stitch it up enough so that we could make it to Denver (a little less than 2 hours) to see my Real Vet. He did and charged me something like $800 for just that. Made it to my real vet, and poor Arthur got stitched up and had to have a cast on for what seemed like forever. The poor guy kept looking at me like it was my fault. And his cast used to slip on my floor. Anyway, of course it had to happen on a Sunday, and out of town, and all that. Really traumatic. But we both ended up okay after. 😀

    • Oh lordy, Kristi, that would have been horrible to have that happen and away from home and your regular Vet to boot! I’m so glad Arthur recovered but I would have been torn to shreds as well. Oh gawd, isn’t “that look” the worst? I totally feel you for your experience. Thank you for sharing it as I had really been looking forward to it…not Arthur’s pain and hurt…but the story. So nice to hear from you 🙂

  32. I feel your pain Mike, having gone through many medical emergencies with my dogs over the years. May Phoenix make a speedy recovery and here’s hoping for negative results on those two suspect tumours. My Dalmatian, Tasha, had a few of them in her old age and we were fortunate they were all benign. ((HUGS)) to you both!

    • Thank you so much for your well wishes, Debbie! Oh poor Tasha that had to be absolutely miserable for her and for you guys to worry about. Phoenix is going to be great. NO other option 🙂

  33. Phoenix, your Dad let me know you are needing some little bit more loving….sending LOTS of love your way. Listen up buddy, your going to get good results cause you have to. I said you have to and that’s that.
    Heal your stitches up, no licking them you hear?
    And give your Dad a big hug from me cause he is worried about you, but you tell him that there is nothing to worry about, right?
    Love you Phoenix from Australia to you xxxx

    • I appreciate that Lisa and I can’t lick anything because of this horrible cone! I had another tizzy fit this morning trying to get it off. But, it won’t budge. Daddy keeps saying, “Sorry…” I guess this was for the best but it’s no fun and he keeps giving me happy pills. I love all of you too and so glad your son, Hayden, is home safely 🙂

  34. Mike, my heart is broken because I can totally relate to your situation. My dog, which is currently in Poland, suffers from a tumor. We found out about it 3 months ago and his health condition is very poor. My mom is upset and she’s doing everything to keep him alive, but it looks like his days are already counted :(. I hope Phoenix will be OK!!!

    • Ohhhh Agness…talk about heart-broken!! I’m so deeply, terribly sorry to hear about your baby back home! I soooo wish you could be with him. I’m glad he’s with your mom. I will drop you a line here in a bit. Sending nothing but good, warm thoughts to him and you! 🙁

  35. Oh, my heart goes out to you both. Dogs are just fur-children and I’ve always loved them as such. I hope Phoenix has picked up by now and you’re not worrying yourself sick over the results. Beautifully written

    • I appreciate that soooo much, Caz! I love your fur-children comment. He is having a rough time but I’m staying optimistic and thank you so much for sending us your thoughts and well wishes 🙂

  36. You must have been really worried. I’m glad he came through the surgery ok and I hope he makes a full recovery.

    • Thank you so much, Arianwen. He’ll be back to himself soon it’s going to be a rough haul right now. You’re the best for stopping by 🙂

  37. What an adorable little guy. I’m glad he’s ok.

    • Just gotta get those test results and be in the clear then that will be one huge weight lifted, Angel! That is soooo nice of you to stop by and your comment is appreciated very much! 🙂

  38. Mike – I hate to hear that Phoenix is having some health issues, but I’m glad that you have a proactive vet who’s staying on top of things. I’m wishing Phoenix a very speedy recovery. Stay strong!

    • Thank you so much, Dana! He’s definitely not the Phoenix you know and love right now. Going to get him right and perfect soon! Thank you for checking in with us our dear friend 🙂

  39. So sorry to hear about your worries. I’m sure Phoenix will get better soon.

    • You are absolutely right, Mette. He’s going to be great and I so thank you and appreciate your good vibe for him! 🙂

  40. I’m so sorry to read this, Mike. I think it’s really tough to see our furry kids get sick. Even just a cold will reduce me to tears, knowing they can’t really tell us what’s wrong. I’m glad operation was okay, and hope Phoenix will get better soon! Such a lovely furry kid!

    • That’s the part that sucks isn’t it, Aleah? They can’t truly “tell” us so much of the time. Though they do have very interesting ways of letting us know. I can totally appreciate your having the same concerns and emotions with your beautiful kitties back home! I hope they are doing great as well 🙂

  41. Aww I would be petrified too if I had to bring someone I loved to the hospital! It must’ve been to hard! But great to hear that the operation went well!! Hope the 2 weeks go by quickly! Sending you some positive vibes to you and Phoenix from Germany 🙂

    • Hi Michelle and thank you very much! Funny on these upcoming two weeks as of course this is not a fun way to take a vacation. But, of course, more than well worth it. This is one vacation time off I want to fly by FAST for his sake! I like your last sentence in positives vibes from Germany – that put a BIG smile on my face, our friend. We hope you’re doing great! 🙂

  42. Much love to you and Phoenix

    I totally know the anguish you are going through. I have had my share of pacing around while cats were in major surgery. Your whole world stands still as you are counting on your baby to be okay. I had one that was running on borrowed time the day she was born, but you invest your heart into the little four legged family members. They love you unconditionally which is not so between humans no matter how hard we try to convince ourselves differently.

    Hoping for a speedy recovery.


    • Oh you nailed it spot on with unconditional love, Mary. And the waiting during surgery is just atrocious! Yes, on that investment part, as you and everyone else who has stopped by to visit knows that I put all my eggs into this Phoenix “basket” of life. I so appreciate your affection and caring thoughts to Phoenix and me too. We’ll get back soon and thank you dearly for your comment, our friend 🙂

  43. Oh My God Mike… Poor Phoenix. I’m sending you and Phoenix a lot of positive thoughts and prayers from Australia. I hope he will be better and back on the blog real soon.

    • Thank you so very dearly, Rita, and having some rough days right now. Put a funny story….blast from the past…up to read just now. Need some smiles and laughter around here! Your well wishes are so appreciated, our friend 🙂

  44. It’s always so hard to take the fur children to the vet. Phoenix sounds so much like my Speckles was back in the day. He’s definitely one of those once in a lifetime dogs. I hope his recovery is as speedy as can be.

    • Yes, the Vet is no fun despite how much adores his Dr and the gals in the office, Jeri. No kidding on once in a lifetime. I would like to meet, Speckles 🙂

  45. I’ve been so bad about keeping up on reading, but I had to stop in here. I absolutely know that feeling of guilt when you have to leave them at the vet for a procedure they don’t understand. And the tears that come with it. It killed me when I had to do it to Kona for a growth on her leg. I hope Phoenix is doing well and that his recovery is smooth and quick!!!

    • We are so thrilled you stopped by, Ally! We know you’re very busy and hoping you are continuing to get your feet wet here happily in Reno! We are working on the healing right now (fingers crossed) and I’m glad Kona is doing great now 🙂

  46. Phoenix I hope you feel better soon. Mike super big hugs too. You are better than me. My dinner would have been a six pack :-). I hope you both are doing better.

    • LOL…I didn’t put all of the beers in the picture, Adrian. That was for some restraint in the photo, our friend. We soooo appreciate your affection and well wishes. They are welcomed and needed here right now 🙂

  47. I’m sure Phoenix will get better soon…

    • Absolutely, Muza-chan…keeping the cup half full most definitely! So jazzed you stopped by. That is awesome 🙂

  48. Oh, I hope he’s doing better. I’m not very good with dogs (basically, I don’t know what to do with them!), but Phoenix sounds like the world’s best dog 🙂

    • Ha, ha on dogs, Tarana! You would have no worries or apprehension with Phoenix. He would show you what to do. Meaning play and give him pets and scratches. It’s really easy 🙂

  49. Mike, I can feel how hard this is for you. . . . harder, no doubt, than it is for Phoenix. Prayers are taking flight between Portland and Reno. I’ll bet you and your soul-mate have lots of good times and fun co-authored blog-posts still ahead of you.

    • Yes, it’s very difficult, Alison. Today is actually a bad one for him. Most definitely lots of great years and times ahead! 🙂

  50. Sending best wishes and healing vibes your way! Four-legged babies are part of the family, and it’s tough to see them suffering. We are going through something similar with our 10 y/o Vizsla right now, so I know how you’re feeling. Hang in there! And remember that Chinese take-out is always a good dinner option!

    • Ha, definitely a fantastic idea on Chinese take-out, Nicole! I may do just that as I do not feel like cooking. We hope Vizsla is doing better! What is wrong with him/her? If there is anything we can do please give us a holler. I’m so glad you “get it” on them being family and thank you! 🙂

  51. Aww! Get better soon, Phoenix! He is such a sweet, handsome dog. And as a fellow animal lover with three cats and two rats, I very much agree they’re our kids. We love them unconditionally even when they act out and get into mischief.

    Two of my babies, Arlen and Melvin, are in need of dental work that we just can’t afford yet. Arlen has a heart murmur we need to look into as well. Makes me sad that finances don’t allow us to handle these issues as soon as we’d like to. But, rest assured, they will be handled this year. Just need to give a few more months.

    Give lots of hugs to Phoenix for me! I’m going to go snuggle with the kitties.

    • Phoenix and I soooo appreciate your well wishes and thoughts, Kim! Thank you for your compliments to him also. Oh yes please do get Arlen and Melvin in as soon as you can. They depend on us dearly and have to help them keep their teeth in tact and good health. You’re a wonderful mommy! Hugs given and right back at your babies 🙂

  52. Poor Phoenix!! I hope all of the results turn out fine. I know how much he means to you. Just have faith. Is it weird for a dog to get so many tumors? I only had little dogs as a child and was just wondering if its a breed thing.

    • Yes, he’s my world, Krystle. It’s actually an older dog issue… they all get them often. 90% are benign fatty tissue growths. He was going to be under anesthesia and Phoenix’s Dr and I made the choice to get them all at once. Only two to worry about at the moment as test results are pending. So wonderful to hear from you 🙂

  53. Phoenix! The jig is up! We know you’re taking off that cone when Dad isn’t home…

    • Actually Daddy is home with me 24/7. This horrible cone is on very secure. He said if something happened to my stitches it would be really bad. So he keeps giving me feel-good pills, Chris.

  54. Wonderful writing, Mike. A German shepherd was a part of my family for 13 years… I understand.
    So sorry, Phoenix! Get well soon!

    • Oh thank you very much, Memographer, I really appreciate that. Definitely passing along your warm wishes and thoughts to my kid. What was your German Shepherd’s name? I know he/she was so was so incredible 🙂

  55. Awww. Poor Phoenix!! Glad to hear he is OK. He reminds me so much of our dog growing up. I’ll have to send you a picture. 🙂 Hope he has a fast recovery!

    • Just gotta get through those tests so hopefully I find out by Thursday. Thank you so much for your wonderful thoughts to him and I loved the picture of Nick. So appreciated that, Meredith 🙂

  56. Poor Phoenix. I’ll be thinking of you both and wishing for the best. We’ve had those moments too and our pets are truly a part of our families, so I get it. They aren’t just “dogs” or “cats” – they are family members! Hang in there and give that pup some extra hugs!

    • Thank you so very much, Michelle. He has a much longer road to travel in recovery than originally thought.

  57. Mike, you and Phoenix have been an encouraging, present and positive influence especially to many of us in the travel blog-sphere.
    Rest be assured, Phoenix will be WELL !!!

    • What an incredibly awesome compliment Rachel and it’s deeply appreciated. We do try our best and have a genuine blogger affection for all of those that we have built a community with. Yourself included. Week took a sour turn but he’s a strong boy.

  58. Late to the party as always, but let me add my best wishes for you and Phoenix as well. You know we have a small army of cats around here, each with their own unique personality, each contributing a little something different to my day, but all offering unconditional love and improving the quality of our lives in immeasurable ways. We are a mess anytime there is an issue with any of them. I feel ya.

    Phoenix get well soon – Mike, hang in there! 🙂

    • Thank you so very much for that, Mike. I never consider someone late to a party as long as they attend. I’m glad you and your family totally get it through your kitty kids, our friend.

  59. I don’t know what to say Mike poor Phoenix. I hope everything will turn out just fine. Hang in there Mike

    • Thank you, Freya, he’s a tough boy within his soul and tons of life and spirit too.

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