Rest in peace, dear Hayley Elizabeth Wigglebutt Hoover Dog WoodenShoes, July 2003 – May 2014. Introduced to us as “the perfect dog,” by Elizabeth, the woman who ran the rescue dog organization, she turned out to be exactly that. Part beagle, part lab, 100% wonderful.
For the first six months we had her, she wouldn’t go any farther than four feet from her Favorite Person, The CEO. She loved Gator rides, chasing Frisbees, wandering and sniffing the 20-Acre field, bacon, getting ear scritches and belly rubs, 6-mile runs with Bookworm and Gaze, and playing in the snow with her people. She was famous for greeting her family with enthusiasm, shamelessly begging for pats, getting into the kitchen trash, vacuuming up crumbs from the table and unattended cat food, jumping into cattle waterers, never bothering the cows, showing doggy sympathy to anyone sick or sad, ripping out the window screens (twice!) and opening the basement door with her teeth to get into the house. Identified 24 of the past 3 potential intruders by barking at any vehicle or person approaching the house – including Jeff the farm guy and The CEO’s mother, both of whom she liked very much once they were close enough to be identified as friends. She barked like a bigger dog than she actually was, but if she got really excited you could hear the beagle in her voice. She liked to sleep on “her” couch in the family room, on top of the woven afghan that we designated as the Hayley blanket.
A slight limp that developed last weekend after a run with Gaze turned into a bigger one. We took her to the vet’s office on Wednesday, where they did a physical exam and some blood work, and gave her some pain meds. On Thursday she was mopey and in pain, and she slept a lot; the vet had warned us that the medication might make her dozy. By Friday she was in a much better mood, and thoroughly enjoyed her treat of deli ham (rolled around a pill) and her bacon-flavored treat. She wanted to go onto the porch and smell things and bark at squirrels, and she was as always delighted to get to go for a ride in the van, where she sat on Bookworm’s lap wagging her tail and sticking her nose out the partly-opened window.
They did x-rays at the vet’s office, and the initial diagnosis was bone cancer. Three to six months, the vet said, unless chemo helped. But they also tested some fluid from the lump on her elbow as well as from her lymph nodes, and those tests indicated lymphoma, which has a one-to-two-month course unless we decided to treat that with chemo. I called The CEO and we decided not to treat the cancer. Instead, we planned to manage her pain and make her last weeks or months as happy and comfortable as possible.
Then Hayley’s lymph nodes began to swell dramatically, right there in the vet’s office, and she began to have trouble breathing. Mast cell tumor, the vet guessed, although that usually does not cause such drastic swelling, and she didn’t respond appropriately to antihistamine or steroids. They sedated her and gave her oxygen, and she was relatively stable when Bookworm and I took her to the vet school at Virginia Tech, which offers a critical care unit and round-the-clock care.
By the time we got to the vet school hospital, she was struggling to breathe, and the vet in charge there told us that if – if – they could stabilize her condition, we would need to decide how to treat her. I called The CEO, who brought Gaze and Taz with him, and when they arrived, we made the decision to not continue to try to save her. We did get to go back to the ICU and pet her, stroke her soft ears and tell her what a good dog she was and how much she loved her.
Our thanks to the folks at Radford Animal Hospital and the VA-MD School of Veterinary Medicine for doing their best for her. Special thanks to Dr. Hansen and Dr. Bisoski, and all the techs.
On Saturday, Bookworm and Taz dug her grave, near dear Silvia kitty’s resting place and near where Hayley would wriggle under the fence to go play and sniff in the 20-Acre Field. When The CEO came home from Virginia Tech’s graduation, we gathered around and lowered our sweet puppy into the grave on her favorite blanket, folding it around her. Yesterday, I planted a peony bush as a marker.
We will miss our Thump-tail, the Flop-ear, the Underfoot, Canine Security, the Frog-dog, Official Greeter, the Insatia-Dog, the Pupful, sweet Hayley.