About Finn.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

You may not be interested in dogs, or maybe dogs having surgery, but Finn did recently, as Hailey did several years ago though hers was different.  I wanted to chat about Finn here today.

First and foremost, nothing can prepare you for when your beloved four-legged best friend, vigilant protector, your Trusty Furry Assistant aka TFA, and literal shadow gets sick, like big sick.  And then, the after part when they come home.

Finn assisting on screen repair
Helpful as always, here with screen repair.
Of course coming home is an ecstatic moment but it’s also freakin’ terrifying.  And anxiety-riddled, frustrating, hard, messy, filled with fear, yet more tears, and, well, just plain exhausting.

You can be all big and tough and smart (and you are), but until you pile inside, try to settle in, look at their sweet sad face then start reading the doctor’s lengthy instructions, it hits you.  

Finn adopting day photo
Finn on adoption day.
You are not a vet, do not know what you’re doing, do not have any answers, things do not go as described, and any slight wind direction change sends you into a (internal) screaming panic…you find out fast how small, helpless, clueless, terrified, and terrible you can feel.

Finn came down with the Big C.  Something was awry around the beginning of the year with a (sorry) runny rear and throwing up.  We went to the vet a couple times, things cleared up but it kept coming back.  X-rays and ultrasounds didn't lead us to answers.
Finn looking at laptop screen
I have what??
We next went to the vet hospital, mainly because our regular vet felt he saw some kind of unknown blob near Finn's abdomen.

More x-rays and another ultrasound later, the blob indeterminate, most likely his spleen folded over for some reason, but that's when they said we think he's got other issues, let's test.

Test they did and cancer it was.  Cancer in lymph nodes around his abdomen and in an (again, sorry) anal gland.  His spleen was mottled but they felt it wasn't cancerous.  Let's operate, they said.  Distraught, upset, scared, we agreed to do so.

The cancer surgery went smoothly, we were told.  Did his parents handle it well?  Hard to say but we managed somehow.  

Finn on the front porch
He’s short a lymph node or more, that gland, and that non-cancerous spleen now.  Bonus, he even got a slight tummy tuck so it wouldn't expand into the now-vacant spleen area and cause (be careful reading this upsetting link ahead but knowledge is power) life-threatening bloat.

Finn is not a normal dog.  The post-op medications messed him up.  He's a delicate flower in his daily existence already so this was hugely unsettling.

As a parent, you're trying so hard to do everything right but life is not a straight line like that.  The unyielding stress, fear, tension, and exhaustion you feel…like an aneurysm is imminent.

But.  Finn is here.  

Finn caught napping
Pre-surgery several years ago napping on a floor vent.
He gave us a few tail wags, a couple kissies, happy-to-see-you ear drops between the what-on-earth-did-you-do-to-me why-am-I-broken yet something-seems-better-but-I'm-not-happy-with-you looks.

We corraled him into his corner in the living room with air mattresses* and slept (ha) surrounding him to be close, reassuring, comforting, and to keep an attentive eye on him.  I spent 24/7 sitting next to him, tending to his every need for a week solid.

Well, Finn was here, I should say.

Things took a turn after that week was up and went downhill from there.  We brought him back in because he was vomiting, not eating, blood present in places it should not be.  We overheard that the surgeon was quite booked that day and they were short-staffed.  Mike and I stared at each other with tense, distressed apprehension.

Several hours later, Finn was released, sent home with some pills.  Stop with the antibiotic, the surgeon said, and Finn's incisions were fine (that wasn't the issue).  But he wasn't fine.  That's why we were there.

Finn being his weird self on the couch
He is such a weird dog.
Well.  Things turned to sh*t directly.  And by sh*t, I mean sheer hell.

He stopped eating entirely and a laundry list of other concerning things was piling on.  He's a pain in the a** to feed in general but this was not normal.  His breathing was weird, he was lethargic, something wasn't right.  What was missed on his drop-in visit?

Finn on the beach with Mike
Finn and Mike on the shores of Lake Michigan.
We didn't know if it was the new medicines causing his problems or what.  Every living minute was harrowing.  We just didn't know.

When you're just a regular person, not a vet, you're constantly second-guessing everything, your grip on reality slips, feel like a rotten mom, drowning in fear, don't know which way is up.  

And yes, we could have gone right back over there but we thought if we waited out this medicine or that one, things would improve.  And absolutely not that money > Finny, but this place is a wallet destroyer too.

Finn at top of stairs
How he was greeting me for a while there after I'd been out.  Weirdo.  And the wall organizer too.
By the weekend, he was sick.  Very sick.  Scary sick.  His back legs stopped working, he was coughing, his breathing was awry...it was not the medicine.

Look, we are well aware there are risks involved with surgery, absolutely.  We're aware things may or may not happen, that Finn could fall into risk categories.  He did.  Rare ones.

We brought him back in.  He went directly into ICU.

He had septic pneumonia. 

He spent a week in the ICU.

......a week.

Big Finn on the bed
On oxygen then onto high flow oxygen, pumped full of antibiotics, a feeding tube, a myriad of tubes, fluids, drugs, things, stuff.  Tests, x-rays, tests, I meannn....

As in, we've got like fifteen pages of invoice stuff.

Every day we thought we were going to lose him.  Multiple times a day, in fact, we felt that crushing terror.  

We frequently called to check in, one or both of us visited him two, three times a day, the doctors and techs called us several times a day.  

Finn made progress at first then took a dip backward then finally, thank every deity that has ever existed, he made a big bounce forward.

Keep your head up graffiti
There have been bright spots in this darkness.

The critical care team was beyond exceptional.  Beyond.  There are zero appropriate adjectives to describe these astonishing people.  They honestly cared, understood his weirdo-ness, and several of them even had goofy nicknames for him.  They texted each other on their days off for updates.  They were all pulling for him.  Hard. 

As much as Finn dislikes people, he was a good boy for them and he won all their hearts.

Our friends and relatives poured love, support, and good wishes Finn's way.  We could not have gotten through without them. 

My pal Sabrina gave us a pile of towels and a handful of treats.  Strangers on the internet in our local Buy Nothing Facebook group came through with more piles of towels.  The LG washer and dryer set* down in our spiffy laundry room valiantly powered through three to five loads of said towels daily.
Finn and I in the park
From Finn's early years with us, hanging in the park.  No, I'm not a Jager fan, just a fan of that hat, heh.
Still though, I honestly don't think I've ever been so stressed in my life. 

Everything is a massive blur.  What day what happened, what day it was even, what I even did in a day, days felt like years but also felt like thirty seconds long. 

I have gotten nothing done.  My life went on hold.  Frozen.  Only in moments where I was feeling ok-ish enough about Finn's progress was I able to do something like start repainting the bathroom after I had just repainted it two weeks prior.

I have projects languishing, duh, of course.  I'm now a Hometalk Ambassador which means I'm on the prowl for products for shoppable tutorials.  This means I have some hot damn super seriously cool projects percolating.


This was brutal.  I'm torched.  Emotionally and physically destroyed.  I probably don't realize how so given I have to keep going.  A walking ball of knots.  My hands are drier than the hottest, driest desert from washing them incessantly (please tell me your go-to curative hand lotion, please!!) but also relieved and optimistic.

Finn on the new Interior Define couch
Just pre-surgery.  With all the attitude of a regal king too, haha.
Today he got on the couch by himself which is a very happy leap forward.

He’s going to be ok.  Well, the pneumonia part.  The cancer is going to come back though, as the surgeon and ICU doctor no-holds-barred made upsettingly clear. 

I know, I was leading you toward a happy ending there but there won’t be.  All we can do is our best, give Finn even more Best Life Ever, and love him like mad in every moment because we don’t know the future.

In the meantime, I'm sedentary.  Back on 24/7 Finn Duty.  Keeping a keen, tight, and very watchful eye on him.  Working on getting him back on his giant feeties, back to his independent, shadow-of-me, Trusty Furry Assistant self.  I can't guarantee regular posts or any fun projects yet but I'll give it the ol' college try.

Finn trying to be helpful
Trying to help me paint the stair, or, mad that he's not allowed to.
In the meantime too, please delve into more posts, rifle through the Flippin' Topics in the right sidebar there, hit up the search bar for specific topics, shop my links, shop my in-the-works revamped shop, get inspired to make, do, fix, and create the life and home of your dreams.  

Finn back home on his deck
Back home on his deck earlier this week, breathing in all of the warm spring outside air.
Most of all, slow down.  Be like Finn and sniff the flowers then love on your furry ones with reckless abandon.  xo

*The air mattresses are an Amazon affiliate link.  LG laundry machines are an Abt affiliate link.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


  1. Oh man, so very sorry to hear this! Finn (and parents!) is a trooper!! Been through cancer with 4 beautiful dogs and it never ends well. I feel your pain. Continue to spoil him rotten, as all pets deserve, and treasure each day. Big hugs from Ontario...Carole

    1. Carole, thank you very much for your kind and warm words. I am so incredibly sorry for your struggles, that's tremendously painful and heartbreaking. I am sending you big hugs right back! Spoiling and treasuring is definitely happening here! All my best to you and thank you for taking the time to write.

  2. jannaon1@aol.comSaturday, April 29, 2023

    Saw the bread picture, traveled into "Finn". Like a recent movie comment "I SEE YOU" coming from an owner of some 29 large and small birds, a dane, a husky, two Pom-chi's.....someone always sick, hurt needing. I am waiting cautiously for the end of my love affair with "Gimlet".....the love of my life and feel your sadness. I try to make every little moment he gives me a memory and decide I have been so very blessed to even have known him. My heart out to you and "Finn". He has been a lucky dog!

    1. Wow, you've got a wonderful menage! I'm so sorry your love affair with Gimlet is heading in the direction that it is. There is very little more painful than losing a beloved fluffy or furry BFF, so I hear you. My deepest sympathies and I'll be thinking of you. Indeed, I try to absorb as much love in the present as I can and stash those memories, just like you. Thank you for your warm thoughts on Finn and thank you for taking the time to write, I truly appreciate it.


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