Category Archives: pets

Chest Lumps

About a month ago I took Conan to the vet because I felt a little lump in his chest. He also had one on his side, but neither lump was large enough that a sample could be taken. Over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed these lumps growing and, probably due to my own experience with cancer, I grew concerned.

The vet could no longer say that it was nothing. It is definitely worth investigating, although it could wind up just being fat cells. Not only that, but there are three lumps that need removal. Actually, there were three options: a needle biopsy where, while Conan is awake, they freeze the area, hold him down, and remove a piece of the area with a needle. #2: They biopsy the area while he is under by taking a portion out – meaning a second operation if it turns out to be cancer. #3: Complete removal of the lumps – the only 100% guarantee since, if it is cancer, it is a form that doesn’t spread to muscles or bones.

In discussions with the vet, there was the question all pet owners hate to ask: What is this going to cost? I’m thankful that I live in a country where I don’t have to put a monetary value on my health, but, of course, dogs don’t have that luxury. (Yes, there is pet insurance, but if you put that $50+ a month away into a bank savings account, you’ll have a small fortune saved by the time you need it.) As I waited for the doctor to tell me the estimate, I tried to come up with a dollar figure that I wouldn’t pay or borrow to ensure that I would have my companion by my side for at least another ten years. My mind went blank.

I chose the third option, to have the lumps completely removed. Thankfully, it was an estimate that fits in with my budget. It will mean tightening things up over the next few months, and not taking as many weeks off this summer as I’d hoped to do. (Though I will be able to spend a week at home with him while he recovers.) It means not taking my Alaskan cruise, and it means not buying the new couch I was hoping for. But these are sacrifices I’m willing to make for the health and comfort and companionship of my little buddy.

His operation is a week and a half away. I’ll keep you all informed of his progress.

Pets Need Homes

Living in Vancouver and being a pet owner is tough. Landlords all over the city have a blanket “no pet policy,” citing reasons from “animals are too loud” to “animals damage apartments.”

Even my own home is now “no pets allowed.” When I first moved here, it allowed dogs and cats. Most of us had small dogs, and we knew each other from walks and our dogs playing in the courtyard. 

The building was friendly, and it attracted a nice quality of tenant.

Now my dog is “grandfathered” into my lease as new tenants are not allowed pets. The neighbours I knew are all gone, and no one knows anyone in the building. Correction. No one knows everyone, but everyone knows me. Why? Because when I’m walking my dog, people feel comfortable to say hello and start a conversation.

The fact is, anyone with a pet that destroys an apartment will be a nightmare tenant even without the pet. If they don’t have a dog that barks at 2 a.m. unchecked, they’ll have a stereo blasting at 2 a.m. If they don’t have a cat that urinates on the hardwood floors, they’ll have a party where guests … I think you get the idea.

This law is doing only one thing. It’s punishing law abiding, responsible citizens. Actually, it’s doing two things. It’s also crowding the SPCA with animals from people who had to make that ultimate choice: live in a home without the pet, or on the street with it.

On paper, the landlords sound as though they have an iron clad case. In practice, however, their case falls apart. Several years ago Toronto adopted a law that forbade landlords from discriminating against tenants with pets. At first there was the typical outcry, but eventually landlords discovered there was zero increase in problems due to allowing pets.

If you live in Vancouver and want to make sure pets always have a homes the online petition.