This little piggy went to market…and came home with cancer.

by statia on August 31, 2011

Gromit has always had issues with his dew claws.   They get snagged on every possible surface and rip off, and then he whines and we have to baby him, and put neosporin on it, and bactine, and watch him limp around pathetically wounded. But it would always heal and life goes on.   Until a few weeks ago.   He ripped it off, and it was bad, so we took him to the vet, for the third time in a month (“he’s SUPER healthy, and we’ll take that 2 grand from your bank account now for the suggested yearly geriatric blood work, thanks.”).  They put him on antibiotics and the swelling continued, and his dew claw started to look like something you’d see in a fun house mirror.

Me: Babe, PLEASE call the vet and get that thing taken care of, he’s been on antibiotics for two weeks and that thing grosses me out.  It looks like there’s a balloon hanging off his paw.

Him: And you can’t, because…?

Me:  I pay the bills, and take care of the kids, and sort of do the laundry, and uh, yeah, I’m not good for much else.  Just call them already.

Him: Fine.

So the hubs takes him in today, while I drop toys off to goodwill and consignment.  And I wasn’t prepared for “the call”

Him:  Babe, he has cancer.

$400 in x-rays later, it’s operable.  It’s TOE CANCER.   We lob off the offending toe, and hopefully, that’s pretty much the end of it.   And of course, the vet was non-judgemental, and like, “if you can’t or don’t want to, it’s now about making him comfortable… blah blah blah.”

And how do I justify my own selfishness to not have to sweep up dog hair every day, or deal with his festering garbage breath,  by just letting the cancer spread and cause him pain?   He’s 12 years old.  He’s had a good life, but I would be a total asshole if I just said, “we’re going to just ride this one out and let him die.”  I can’t do that.    Part of me wanted that decision to be made for me today, no matter how hard it was.   I wanted it cut and dry.   It’s a hard decision to decide to put your dog down, but I feel like, it’s almost a harder decision to let your old, decrepit, and otherwise healthy dog live.


donna August 31, 2011 at 3:54 pm

UGH. Sorry honey.

Huy August 31, 2011 at 4:00 pm

That is a hard decision. I don’t envy you. But I know whatever decision you make will be the right one for you and him.

Jen August 31, 2011 at 4:02 pm


Faith August 31, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Oh noooo! Oh, Statia I’m so sorry. :(

Shelly August 31, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Toe cancer?? Holy fucking shit. I am not trying to make light of it, but doesn’t that sound ridiculous?


I’m so sorry!

statia August 31, 2011 at 9:58 pm

I know. I feel bad making light of it too, because hopefully we just have to lob off the toe and he’ll live another few years, but seriously, TOE CANCER?

Theresa August 31, 2011 at 6:31 pm

Poor Gromit :( It is hard to know where to draw the line when they get to be that old. You have to balance how hard surgery will be for them to go through, how much they’ll benefit from it, weigh the costs, etc. I hope it goes well for all of you.

wendy August 31, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Aw, man. That breaks my heart for you guys. I’m so sorry. Poor Gromit. :(

Veronica August 31, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Well, fuck. What a decision to have to make, either way. xx

Amy September 1, 2011 at 7:24 am

:-( Well, that sucks. Poor guy. Hopefully the removal of the toe (what the heck is a dew claw? off to Google…) will be the end of it and he’ll have a few more good years!

Also – how long have you been blogging? Because I feel like when I first started reading you, Gromit was a puppy??? Or at least a much, much, much younger dog. How is it possible that he’s 12?

Wombat Central September 2, 2011 at 7:42 am

Photos? Not of the toe cancer, obviously, but of Gromit. :)

I can totally sympathize with what you’re going through. Our dog is 13, and has anemia. After spending several hundred on x-rays and specialized blood tests to see what’s causing it, they’ve ruled out all the easy fixes. Now it’s down to either being a bone marrow thing or liver disease. Both of which would require more invasive procedures to get an answer. We’ve decided to keep her comfortable and happy on some good drugs from here on in.

Good luck with the toe.

Tracey September 4, 2011 at 12:39 am

Wow, I never thought I would find a post about toe cancer. Of course, its canine, unlike the version I had last year, but hey. No seriously, Statia, I had melanoma diagnosed under my left big toe nail and to remove the melanoma, well, off came the top of the big toe. Which, while traumatic at first, in the long run seems like no big deal compared to leaving a four year old without a mama. And prognosis is good for no re-occurrance. I’m okay and I hope Gromit, your beloved, is too. Toe cancer sucks !

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