Today, I was devastated by the news that my wonderful dog, my bestest friend, Mr. Gypsy has prostate cancer. When the vet called I was at the Whitemarsh Island Preserve measuring the race course for the upcoming Chase the Sun Ultra.
The vet and I exchanged pleasantries and he asked how Gypsy was doing. When it comes to things that are important and serious to me I do not like small talk. I want you to cut to the chase and tell me what’s up. So, that’s what I did during my conversation with Gypsy’s doctor. I said to him, ‘so, what are the results?’ The vet’s response, “Mr. Hernandez. I wish I had good news.”
There you have it.
I maintained my composure and listened carefully to what the vet was telling me. Nothing about cancer is ever good. From what the vet told me, there is no cure but having caught it early enough Gypsy may have a year or two of quality life ahead of him.
The next step is for me to meet with an oncologist. Yes, there are oncologists for dogs! Hopefully, tomorrow or Friday, I can meet with one and we can discuss how to approach the cancer Gypsy has
From now until that inevitable and dreadful day comes I will try to capture a moment in Gyspy’s life with me.
For now, I will share with you how Gypsy and I met…
In July of 2010, Gypsy came into my life. He was a compact, blue merle Australian Shepherd. Like all Australian shepherds, Gypsy was a good-looking dog with a keen intellect. Unlike an any other Australian shepherd I had come across or for that matter, any other dog I had ever come across Gypsy’s eyes captivated me. There was a depth in his eyes that I’ve never seen in an animal. I knew immediately that he was a smart dog and, I also knew immediately that he had experienced unspeakable malice at the hands of humans.
When Gypsy first came into my life I could tell he was sweet-natured but also aloof. Humans had hurt him in the past but he understood that his survival depended on humans. So, he moved into my house and played by my rules but he was withdrawn. Day by day, though, Gypsy opened up to me. Little by little he drew closer to me.
Although, I did not like his name it was the only name that he knew to respond to. So, Gypsy remained his name even til today. And, in a way, Gypsy is a fitting name as he has wondered from his first home which was an unhappy one to a Rescue shelter where some amazingly good people, Bill and Kathy Smith met Gypsy and offered him an interim home until his forever home could be found.
Gypsy did find a home with a man from Jacksonville, Florida for a couple of weeks but was returned to the shelter because the man claimed that the dog (Gypsy) refused to bond with him. The Smith’s took Gypsy to their home and kept him with their other two Aussies but Gypsy just never quite fit in with the other two Aussies. When the Smith’s told me that Gypsy couldn’t fit in with their other two dogs I understood entirely what they were talking about because prior to Gypsy coming into my life I had two other Australian shepherds myself and those two were inseparable and, would not allow another dog into their tight knit pack made of me and them.
When Bill and Kathy brought Gypsy to me (all the way from Jacksonville, Fl) they told me Gypsy needed his own person and I understood what they meant as well. Gypsy needed his own pack and that was with me. I also understood that Gypsy was an 8 year old rescue that had been mistreated and neglected. What I did not know was what to expect from an older dog that had been mistreated badly and had just recovered from heart worms. This dog was a total stranger to me but yet I felt so strongly drawn to him by the pictures posted on the rescue site. Family and friends told me to be careful with taking in an older dog with a questionable past. Conventional wisdom dictated that taking Gypsy into my home would be a mistake especially since it had only been two weeks since my beloved Isabella had died. She died just four days prior to her 14th birthday.
Was I about to make a huge mistake? Part of me said yes and the other part, a Faithful part, said no!
I met the Smith’s outside of my home. Mr. Smith handed me the leash Gypsy was on. I bent down to pet Gypsy and he allowed me to touch him. Gyspy did not seem very interested in me but seemed to know that I was going to be playing a big part in his life. He walked up the steps with me and into my home.
The Smith’s and I talked for a little while and then decided that a walk together, their dogs and my “new” dog would be good. So, from my house we walked to the old Roberd’s dairy farm. This hopefully would allow a little bit of bonding between Gypsy and I. Well, I felt very drawn to Gypsy but he remained aloof.
Finally, back at my house the Smith’s said their goodbyes and left. Mrs. Smith broke down and wept as they drove away. Gypsy, I would quickly learn had a way of grabbing a hold of your heart.
Alone in my house, Gypsy curiously explored each room and, the backyard. He accepted a large rawhide bone from me but remained aloof. That was okay. I gave him his space.
For the next few days Gypsy let go of more and more of his inhibitions and seemed to realize he had a new home and, he seemed to be content with that. So was I.
That’s all I’ll cover for right now. In the next few days I’ll add a little more on how Gypsy took over my life.