We have had Laney for quite a while. We're not sure how old she is because we adopted her from the Humane Society. She was picked up as a stray. That was way back in August of 2004. At the time the people at the Humane Society told us that she was two years old. She didn't look that to us - we guessed more like a year old. Our vet at the time guessed the same. So we think she is about eight or nine years old now but we aren't sure. She's doing well for her age. She is still active. She still likes to tear around when we take her for a walk. When we let her off leash she races off at full speed and leaves us behind while she goes to check the trees for birds and squirrels and sniffs the popular doggie pee spots. She can still chase and catch a frisbee although she usually quits and sits down to rest after a half dozen tosses.
One result of aging that Laney has not been able to avoid are lipomas. These are benign fatty tumors that are common in middle aged and older dogs. Females get them more often than males. Some breeds are more prone to them than others and labrador retrievers are one of the more susceptible breeds. So Laney had three strikes against her. It's not surprising then that Laney started to develop them. Lipomas are just lumps of fat. Laney had a number of these form on her belly. They aren't harmful but they can get to be quite large and unslightly. A few of Laney's got pretty big so Sandy talked to the vet about removing them. Since they are just under the skin it is a minor surgery. Sandy decided to schedule the surgery for the Friday before the three day weekend for MLK day.
I was back in Milwaukee visiting relatives so Sandy was handling this on her own. She took Laney in to the vet first thing in the morning. Just like a human, Laney couldn't have anything to eat after dinner the previous night. That meant no breakfast. Laney was not too happy about that. Usually she is up very early because she is hungry and often she will come in and wake us up to let us know about it. During the week our alarm clocks go off way too early anyway so having Laney wake us up at 5:00 or 5:30 am is not popular. Weekends she can be downright annoying. She thinks that waiting till 7:30 for her breakfast is a real ordeal. So you can just imagine that leaving for the vet and 8 am and still not having eaten her breakfast did not make her a happy dog.
Sandy went to pick her up at the end of the day. Kim Reid, a friend from Hp, went along to help. It turned out that Laney had a tough time at the vet. They were using gas to anesthitize her but she kept waking up during the surgery. They eventually had to use an IV to knock her out. Doesn't sound like she had a fun time. Sandy had a dog ramp so Laney didn't have to jump in or out of the car and risk tearing her stiches. When she got home she used a trick that she had learned from a friend with a dog that had the same procedure done recently. She put a tshirt on Laney and used a rubber band to take up the slack at the bottom. That way she couldn't get at the incisions to pick at them. It also meant that if there was any minor bleeding it was caught by the tshirt. There was a drain tube to prevent fluid from accumulating and forming a cyst where the two largest tumors had been removed and the tshirt caught the discharge from that as well. The tshirt worked really well and had the added benefit of covering up the fact that her belly had been shaved. That evening I got a picture of Laney on my iPhone showing that one of my tshirts had been pressed into service. I had to admit that it was for a good cause. And Laney looked pretty sporty in her tshirt to boot. By the end of the weekend Laney had appropriated several of my tshirts as well as a couple of Sandy's. But if there is one thing that we have plenty of it is tshirts.
Sandy said that she seemed pretty out of it the first evening. Sandy blocked off the stairs so she wouldn't try to climb them and especially couldn't jump up on the beds. She was worried that Laney would tear her stiches. Sandy got out some mats and her and Laney had a sleepover on the floor in the family room.
By the next day Laney seemed to be herself again and by the end of the weekend she was getting rambunctious from being confined for so long. Sandy took her back to the vet on Tuesday and the drain tube was taken out. In another week or so the stiches will come out. She has to wait about two weeks or so before we can let her run off leash again - the vet is still cautious about her accidentally tearing her stiches. I suspect that she will be wearing the tshirts for a good six months. When she has them off she definitely looks funny with a shaved belly. It is going to be a while before her coat grows back. But she looks pretty good in her tshirts as you can see from the pictures. When the cleaning people came over this week they thought that she was just wearing them to look sharp. Fortunately she has been really good about wearing them. She is very patient whenever Sandy changes her tshirt and doesn't seem to mind wearing them at all. I'm just not sure how many of my tshirts I am going to lose to her before her coat is completely grown back.