I am sad to say that Gir the beagle passed away this morning. He had been in a slow decline for…well, the better part of decade, frankly, but in the last few weeks, he seemed less cheerful and the skin around one of his eyes got swollen and odd and made him look like a prizefighter who’d lost badly. The young vet did not know what it was (mange? calluses?) and was baffled–the older vet, who owns the practice, took one look and said “cutaneous lymphoma,” and that was the end of the road. Lengthy chemotherapy for an ancient dog who can already barely walk…no.
I take a rather odd comfort that it’s an exceedingly rare lymphoma, and that cancer rates are already much lower in beagles than most other breeds, meaning that Gir died as bizarrely as he lived. You hate to think that something normal got him.
He was, if I’m being honest, not exactly a good dog–he was incontinent, largely untrainable, deafeningly loud, food-aggressive and prone to casually chewing holes in himself. His health issues were legendary and his pill case was bigger and more complicated than mine (and his pills substantially more expensive.) But he was cheerful and generally good-natured and we loved him dearly, and he lived so long with bits falling off that we started to wonder if he was the harbinger of some kind of canine zombie apocalypse.
“Ah, Gir,” said the vet at the end. “Genetics weren’t in your favor.” And lord, they weren’t, but he lived halfway to forever anyway.