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Friday, July 31, 2020

June 2019: the mast cell

Toward the end of May, Henry started growing a weird thing on his foot. At first I thought it was some kind of wound, but it grew so fast that I brought him in to the vet at Banfield pretty quickly. They asked if we could do a biopsy on it to be sure of what it was. 

It just so happens that at that time, I booked an acting job on a film out of town. I would be gone for about three weeks... 

And literally as I was checking into the airport to get on a Delta flight to Atlanta and then to Huntsville, Alabama, the doctor called.

Henry had a benign mast cell tumor on his foot, but we definitely needed to remove it surgically. 

This was not the news I wanted as I was getting on my flight! 

I messaged Carlo (my partner) right away. Carlo was a good sport about Henry. Originally not a dog guy, he had grown to love Henry in the four years we lived with him, since June 2015. But even before that, whenever I would get an out of town job and Carlo would be staying in Los Angeles, Carlo would watch my little boy for me. During that time, they would bond. I would come home to find Henry extra obedient, standing at attention like a little soldier. I can't help but laugh at that, since, after all, Carlo was a Captain of the Carabinieri in Italy before becoming a novelist, actor and screenwriter. I guess he was still a good leader after all, and truth be told, getting a willful, 15-lb rescue dog with a food-obsession-problem to walk to his position, sit and wait patiently before eating was extremely impressive. But Carlo had taught Henry to do that!

Carlo agreed he would bring Henry to the vet, take care of him in my absence. I was so grateful because I really did not want to wait until I got back from my job to bring Henry in for surgery, and I didn't want anything to happen to my little guy. I suppose I could have flown myself home on a weekend to take care of it but why, when Carlo was available to take him to the vet? 

The problem was not so much the surgery but aftercare. You see, Henry had these long long ballerina legs. I used to sometimes call him Baryshnikov because of those legs! So even though we got a cone, so he couldn't lick or chew on the foot and therefore take out the stitches.... the first cone was appropriate for a dog his size. And so he could reach that long ballerino leg of his around the cone and into his mouth. He tore those stitches out a few times before finally Carlo asked for the biggest cone they had! It was meant for a German Shepard! Carlo had to tie the ribbon around his collar and add a little neckerchief because Henry could actually reach his foot between the inside of the cone and his head if he worked at it a little bit. 

Oh, poor Henry hated that cone. With a passion.

When I finally came home from that shoot, Henry was so happy to see me. He tried to jump, as he always would do when I came home, but the cone kept him from getting anywhere. We started taking it off if we could watch him closely and in early August, when he could finally be FREE of the cone for good, he was the happiest dog in the universe.

This is the picture of him smiling from that day:

Soon he would need his yearly shots, rabies etc. I was supposed to be going on a road trip with my mom and her sisters for her birthday in September (well, her birthday was in October, but for her birthday that year she had requested I go on a Sisters trip with her, and I was excited about it.) I had a short job in Colorado right after the film shoot, so I set the appointment for his shots and annual exam for the third week in August. 

Little did I know that everything would change during that yearly exam.