SMUT CONSOLES ME REGARDING HIS OWN MORTALITY

April 14, 2012

Smut had two tumors removed from his rear end last December. They were benign. But another one has appeared in a rather sensitive place on his bung hole. He asked me to take him to the vet. We went yesterday. The vet said this one is different and deep. It may be malignant. Smut’s scheduled for surgery May 1.

On the ride back from the vet’s office, Smut and I talked about the situation. “Smut,” I said, ” you know it could be malignant, and, even if it’s removed, some little part could remain, and it may metastasize. At some point it could become pretty painful. Rather than having you suffer, I would ask the vet to put you down.”

“I know that,” said Smut, “and I would be thankful to you for not letting me suffer.”

“I don’t know what I will do without you, Smut,” I replied. “We’ve been together 13 years. I will miss you terribly.”

“You’re so maudlin and pitiful. But we’ve had some good times,” he said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed our talks, and, of course, our hikes, all the running, fetching and swimming. You will miss me, I know, but we have no regrets, do we? And you’ll still have Mischief to keep you company.”

“It just won’t be the same without you, you old dog. With whom will I discuss particle physics? You’ve given me perspective in my rants on politics and society. Mischief doesn’t care much about all that.”

“Well, you’ve learned from my input and I hope you will, as you think about all that, ask yourself what I would have told you before you think you’ve arrived at a definitive answer. And don’t underestimate Mischief. She’s been reticent to express herself about a good many things because of my awesome presence. But she knows enough to keep you in line.”

“But just having you around has been so comforting. You are so wise and serene. ”

“You must keep things in perspective, old man. This tumor may not be malignant. Dr. Rose is a good vet, but his suspicion may prove unfounded. It could be another benign tumor. Even so,  I’m 13 years old. That’s pretty near the end of my natural lifespan. I’ve had a good run. I want to live as long as I am healthy and can function normally, even with some aches and pains common to old age, but I don’t want to be one of those crippled and suffering old dogs that people look upon with pity. I want to go out while I still can inspire awe among you humans. Remember that, please.”

“You’re so full of yourself, you mongrel! You’ll be OK, and probably live for at least five more years out of pure stubbornness and pride, or at least until you have confirmed the existence of the Higgs boson.”

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