A week after Mina’s last chemotherapy treatment was her happiest period. She was playful and energetic and eating well and we had some hope for a few good months of high quality life.

Since then we’ve found enlarged lymph nodes (right prescapular and right mandibular), sarcoptic mange, a fluidy-feeling lump in the sagging skin under her chin, and more symptoms of arthritis. There’s no more spring in her step or trot in her daily walks, she has a look of pain about her gaunt face most of the time, and her breath could knock a buzzard off a shit-wagon.

Granted, she’s still eating well but she’s not gaining any weight. She’s bony and thin with skin hanging from her belly and under her chin.

Mina, it appears, is in decline. I’ve been wrestling with this all weekend and have probably made us both sick (she has the runs, I have the runs and a slight fever). I’m still hoping the homeopathic medicine will do some good for her but I feel like things are winding down.

Here’s what else I know about Mina … she’s very perceptive and very keyed in to my emotions. I believe she can tell by scent when I’m in full-on high anxiety mode and when I’m relaxed. She probably wishes I’d drink more wine. She still enjoys going for rides in the car. She still enjoys meeting other dogs on our frequent walks around the complex, and she still enjoys a long belly rub and some butt scratches. But I don’t think she feels particularly good at the moment. Maybe this will change, but my brain tells me that it probably won’t change.