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Rimsky and I, part two

MCT : Mast Cell Tumor is the most common malignant skin tumors in dogs. They are usually found in individual masses, though in some dogs there can be multiple. Appearances are found in canines aged 6 and older. By this time Rimsky was 7. Luckily, we only found one tumor on Rimsky’s skin, though it was growing daily- a scary thing to witness.

The Operation

Oky brought him to a good vet. Rimsky was drugged for days after, but thankfully there has been no regrowth since the surgery.

At the age of 8, Rimsky experienced the sudden harrowing death of his caretaker. If I thought I was devastated by Oky’s death, it was nothing compared to Rimsky’s emotions. The edge of his ears to the tip of his tail was flushed with absolute loss. He did not bark for a week. The only sound he made was whimpering near the chair Oky usually sat. Each morning he waited by the gates of Gupondoro. With every car and guest that arrived, he never lost hope that Oky might return. When guests petted him sadly, he seemed to absorb their emotions directly into his furry body. He stayed unenergetic for a couple months.

One afternoon, he chewed through an expensive leather wallet of mine. His bad behavior was returning. I looked him in the eye and decided to put him to sleep. It was clear I could not take proper care of Rimsky, so I thought perhaps his spirit could accompany Oky’s wandering soul. I began to ask around for how to accomplish this. As it turned out, nobody would do it. A neighbor even called to say he would gladly adopt Rimsky- no need for me to end his life. People thought I had snapped! And perhaps, I did. I wanted to take out on Rimsky all the anger and injustice I was feeling over the whole situation of Oky’s tragic death.

A couple weeks later, I moved out of Gupondoro into a studio apartment. Gupondoro was to be a high-end mountain villa, available for rent on AirBnB. The income would help me maintain the property I inherited. What happened to Rimsky? After all that drama, the golden went back to my parents house. Now that they were retired, they had time to love and care for the dog.

Now Rimsky is 10. He is healthy and happy again, being spoiled by treats from my dad. He recently proved to us his intelligence and quickness by catching a a rat hiding in one of the bookshelves. He still snacks on tissue though, especially when no body is looking.

I only hope we can give him the love he craves for until his last day.

The human – pet relationship is something so special. Do you have a dog or a pet? How is your relationship?

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Rimsky and I, part 1

I have dried my tears in his hairy neck, warmed my toes with his golden retriever fur, dug my fingers and found a huge tumor between his forelegs.

He has pooped in my bedroom, eaten through my favorite goat skin wallet, and regularly steals tissue from tissue boxes all around the house.

We have been through a lot, Rimsky and I.

He was two months old when I bought him from the petshop. I was a 23 years old who had just moved back to Bandung after 6,5 years of studying in the States. It was a huge transition : I went from living independently to being under my parents’ roof, I had a master’s degree but no friends, and the worst of it all I was dating a white boy who had not finished his graduate program. Long distance relationship? Been there done that. It was a promising relationship which ended catastrophocally a year later.

When we broke up, I was devastated. There was one particular day when I literally couldn’t get up from bed. My neck had spasms due to the intense emotional stress. I drowned my sorrows away by hugging Rimsky often. He faithfully licked my tears dry. Who cares about him? Just play with me, the retriever seemed to be saying.

When he was 3 years old, I started a professional piano trio group called Cascade Trio. We performed concerts and gave workshops all around Indonesia. Needless to say, I was never at home. And when I was, I had to practice piano for long hours. This was traumatizing for Rimsky. He was left alone days at a time, starved of the attention goldens so needed.

Attention Starved

On the rare moments I could play with him, he got out of control because he was too excited. Being a large boisterous golden retriever with tons of energy, he could jump and easily knock me over. Retrievers also love to retrieve, so he would bite my hand asking me to throw something for him to fetch. I became scared to play with him as I was afraid my hands would get hurt. The gulf between us grew further apart, and Rimsky’s behavior became uncontrollable. I realized I was to blame. He was there when I was lonely, but I neglected him when my career started to take off. Out of selfish reasons, I didn’t want to give him away to others who could have taken better care of him. Poor, poor Rimsky.

When he was 5 years old, I met Oky (my first husband) for the first time. The months when we were getting to know each other, Oky would play with Rimsky, taking him out on walks. Walks! OH THE JOY!!! Rimsky was saved from almost going crazy. Having someone routinely give him the care he needed, Rimsky became much calmer in attitude.

I moved into Gupondoro (Oky’s house) after we got married. Rimsky came also. He flourished there. Routine walks and hikes on hills, almost constant attention from the architect. I was still busy travelling with work and concert schedules, so all the credit really went to Oky. Funny though, there was one spot between Rimsky’s forelegs which Oky rarely scratched. This was where I found the tumor, already the size of a tennis ball. My golden retriever needed an operation as soon as possible.

(To be continued)