The long way home

The news struck like a bomb when Luther was diagnosed with lung cancer.
How? Why?
Luther Vandross named after my favorite soul singer,
whom I hand picked from a handsome litter in Cayuse Prairie 10 years ago, last spring.
Couldn't afford the "whole dog", mom pitched in- she bought the front and I bought the back- 
but he was all mine- this soft beautiful black lab.
Entertaining the the kids for hours "letting" them throw the ball, Frisbee or stick (what ever was handy) and tirelessly fetching it for hours.
Luther has world cup talent- sans the beard I swear he is our Tim Howard never lets a ball in the goal.
Best sniffers in town, a present gifted to me on my birthday, wrapped in soft pink tissue paper this lovely gold box of Godiva chocolates (my favorite) Luther attacked and devoured from meters distance he knew what sweet delicacies was to be found in that package.
- you know what they say about sharing...
Built Fjord tuff his line of work includes head rest while reading, swim instructor at the lake, " left overs" cleaner upper and emergency tissue paper when your heart is heavy. Most excellent conversationalist- introverted at times but will blatantly bark out when in agreement. His back side works as a powerful air conditioner with his epic tail wagging.
A passionate food lover and taste tester- always epicurious. Never critiques or complains...anything given is always well received, devoured and consumed.
Luther's a friendly guy- sticks his nose where it doesn't belong- right in peoples business. Yep, the middle area....once the greeting has ended- you're in, welcomed and loved.
It's that simple- Luther has a job to do...and he is damn good at it - all.
We said our good- byes to Luther.
Buried my face in his soft jet black fur trying to hold back the tears.
One last hug.
Hours dragged by.
The surgery went well, they removed the tumor and 20 % of his left lung.
He lived.
We breathe.
Luther breathes easier all though heavily sedated and medicated. He breathes.
We are able to visit with him for a few minutes the next day at the hospital- greeting us sleepily wearing a bandage t-shirt covering his shaved middle section, stiches, staples and tubes. A slow but recognizable wag- there is still a little Fjord tuff in there. Lays down on the cold hospital floor with his head in my lap- the kids tear up and pet him.
Overwhelmed yet grateful.
Hesitantly we leave after a short visit.
2 days, 3 days pass...the news is not good.
Air leaks in thru the staples. They extract air and fluid from the incisions.
He has to be bullet proof for the 5 hour car drive home.
Nervous we wait....
On the 5 th morning we meet again-
he is up and attem
awake and alert
no more air coming thru.
He is finally cleared to go home.
The gratitude I have for the doctors and students at WSU- especially Nicole for her loving care has made this nightmare better than any dream possible. I can not recommend their service and care enough for anyone in need - who might live in the North West!
We bring Luther home with less of lung but with more of a life.
He has the rest of his life to live
He breathes
I breathe a little easier.
After a very official Idaho state trooper stopped us for speeding only 10 min into our journey home,
he winked at us when he saw Luther in the back seat in bandages-
 seemingly aware that we had gone thru hell and back.
...said he wouldn't harass us and let us go with a verbal warning... we were on way home.
Luther took the long way home - slow and steady
Fjord tuff
built to last
he did it.

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.
~Roger Caras


Thank you all for your kind comments and well wishes on the prior post.


  1. You have me in tears my friend. So happy to read this wonderful news this evening. I totally agree with that quote. xo

  2. Go LUTHER!! So glad to hear his is back on his feet.. gosh he looks good!!

  3. Oh this is such a good sweet post! Love that Luther has a life and you can breathe easier :)

  4. Gorgeous dog, so worth all the love and care, sending him get well wishes from here in the UK! x

  5. HOW DID I MISS THIS!? I am so glad I went back and found it. I LOVE HIM! And I so get it and I love you for being such a good friend to your dear pup. So glad to hear he is well. Beautiful story telling. I love the folks you have photographed...MD/students...I want to hug them! Heros, they are, right?

    This new girl we have...I already love her so much that I am just mad that the most we can ever realistically expect her to live is 15 years. Silly. But... some of these 4-legged creatures, they are just so freaking powerfully beautiful. SO happy you get more earth life with Luther. Love everyday. I know you will.

  6. 'he breathes' Happy tears xxxxxxx


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