Happy Friday, everybody! As I wrote in today’s travel blog post, we had gorgeous weather yesterday. We went to the weekly market, since Bill is pretty much done with COVID. Afterwards, we came home and listened to the last of Bob Woodward’s Audible book, The Trump Tapes: Bob Woodward’s Twenty Interviews with President Donald Trump. I must admit that I was glad to hear the end of the book, not because I don’t think Woodward did a good job, but because I hate listening to Donald Trump. And because this is an Audible book, it doesn’t exist in a print version. I can understand why it’s not in print, as I don’t think people would get the same experience from reading text as they do actually hearing Trump speak, but I still find listening to Trump a very painful experience. However, I am not sorry I bought Woodward’s first solely Audible effort. It was very educational.
—“I’m doing something here that I’ve never done before, presenting the lengthy, raw interviews of my work. In the fall of 2019 through August 2020, I interviewed President Trump 19 times for my second book on his presidency, Rage. I had also interviewed him in 2016 when he was a presidential candidate. I decided to take this unusual step of releasing these recordings after relistening in full to all 20 interviews. As I listened to them again I was stunned by their relevance to understanding Trump. Hearing Trump speak is a completely different experience to reading the transcripts or listening to snatches of interviews on television or the internet.”—Bob Woodward from The Trump Tapes
While I can’t speak for everyone, I know that Trump’s effect on my attitudes regarding politics has been remarkable. Just a few short years ago, I was one of those people who didn’t pay a lot of attention to politics or politicians. I didn’t care who people voted for, and I mostly didn’t care who ran for office. I mean, sure, in my 40s, I cared more than I did when I was a young woman. But I mostly didn’t think it mattered much who was in office. Trump’s time in the White House changed all of that, and now I find myself watching political pundits on YouTube and CNN. I find myself deeply resenting unhinged, extremist politicians who seem to be hellbent on destroying democracy. And I think Donald Trump is the main reason this has been allowed to happen. While I do appreciate that he’s made me a less apathetic American voter, I despise Trump. I did hesitate before I downloaded Woodward’s project, but ultimately decided that it was something Bill and I could share. So, over the past three nights, we’ve been listening to Woodward’s interviews… as best as we were able to, anyway.
I’ve read a few books written by Bob Woodward, who has enjoyed a long career as a journalist for the Washington Post. He is an excellent writer and researcher, and he’s a very good, patient interviewer, as he obviously had to be to have conversations with Trump. The Trump Tapes was released on October 24, 2022, and the work represents twenty interviews the ever patient and professional Woodward had with Donald Trump, before and during his presidency. Woodward has interviewed many politicians and former presidents, as well as our current president, Joe Biden. He is well qualified to undertake this project. I think he did a good job, although I know this project will obviously not be a hit with everyone. Trump still has his cheerleaders, after all.
As we listened to the eleven plus hours of content in The Trump Tapes, I noticed that at the beginning of his political “career”, Trump seemed a lot more rational than he does today. The first interviews start off sounding somewhat sane and sensical. By the end of the book, Trump talks over Woodward, interrupting him constantly, spews lies and obvious untruths, and makes some truly ridiculous comments that are easily disproved. He honestly sounds like a deranged maniac by the end of the book, and I couldn’t help but really appreciate Woodward’s ability to stay cordial, congenial, and professional as he struggled to cover his subject. Woodward has what sounds like a strong Midwestern accent, and it’s obvious to me that his strengths aren’t necessarily in narration. Still, I had no trouble understanding him, except in a couple of interviews when the audio quality wasn’t as good due to the circumstances of when and where the recordings were made.
I mentioned in yesterday’s post, when I mentioned The Trump Tapes, that Trump is very friendly and forthcoming to journalists who convince him that they’re “on his side.” Woodward manages to stroke Trump enough to get him to speak in an astonishingly forthcoming manner, which as an American citizen who also has a tendency to be outspoken, was shocking even to me. Trump speaks to Woodward as if they’re old buddies, casually referring to him as “Bob”, while Mr. Woodward deferentially calls Trump “Mr. President.” You know that Trump was LOVING and expecting that “respect” and deference, right?
Hats off to Mr. Woodward for his incredible patience, which allowed him to achieve that impression of respect for Trump. I think that’s what made it possible for him to deliver the goods in the form of a hell of a story. That’s a true gift, in my opinion. I don’t think I could have done it. Trying to interview Trump is obviously extremely frustrating. Listening to him is frustrating, too; but I think that was Mr. Woodward’s point. A person who is running the United States shouldn’t act or speak like Trump does. There were times, especially toward the end of the book, when Trump sounded a bit like a lunatic. And yes, as to be expected, Trump constantly self-aggrandises and congratulates himself. It’s infuriating, yet illuminating.
I see that a lot of reviewers on Amazon are polarized on the subject of The Trump Tapes. Woodward is, after all, preaching to the choir. People who like Trump aren’t going to buy and listen to his blather as put out by a journalist who obviously has a negative opinion of their orange Jesus. In fact, those of us who agree with Woodward might not want to buy this book either, because we don’t want to listen to Trump. I know I paused before buying for that reason. I did notice that a lot of people who clearly didn’t buy the book left one star reviews and accused Woodward has having TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome). Frankly, I think if anyone is deranged, it’s the people who doggedly defend Trump, in spite of the overwhelming evidence of what and who he is.
I certainly didn’t need to hear Trump’s unhinged bullshit to know that I won’t ever be voting for him or his acolytes. However… I am actually glad that Bill and I listened, because it confirmed what we already know, and I gained new appreciation and respect for Mr. Woodward’s skills as a journalist. He might not make a lot of money on this project, but I think he’s done a great service for the nation. Truly. Some people are saying that maybe these interviews were “edited”. I don’t think so. I’ve heard enough of Trump to know that he’s as bad as he sounds. I suspect that some of his supporters, even in the face of actual recordings, don’t want to believe that they voted for someone this corrupt. It’s a hard thing to admit. We all make mistakes. I just hope some people will open their eyes and make better choices before it’s too late.
One person complained that this book is only available on CD or on Audible, which they said they didn’t want to join. I want to comment that I don’t make a habit of buying Audible books. The only title I have, besides this one, was James Taylor’s book Break Shot: My First 21 Years, which was only available on Audible. I didn’t have to “join” anything to get these books. I just bought them on their own. I double checked my Amazon subscriptions, and I’m still just a member of Prime. Maybe Audible is included in that. I do see that people can join Audible Plus, which I guess offers books for a monthly fee. I prefer to read rather than listen, so I wouldn’t want an Audible Plus account. I don’t know. I do have an Alexa device, so maybe that was also an issue for the people who complained. The commenter also asked who has a CD player these days. Actually, I have one of those, too. In storage, I have several hundred CDs, so I’m going to keep my equipment for as long as it functions. I also still have a VCR, but I’m not sure if it still works.
I wouldn’t want to subscribe to Audible Plus just for this book, but I am glad that I was able to download it. I’m also glad I’m done with it and don’t have to listen to it again. As important and valuable as I think Woodward’s book is, I don’t want to subject myself to it again. I’m hoping I won’t need to, as Trump someday rides off into the sunset… or finally passes away, as even he must mercifully do at some point.
Below is a screenshot I took of an Amazon review that I think pretty much sums up what I think about the content, only she says it better than I can. I will admit that we were a bit distracted as we were listening; I didn’t take notes, either, so the experience is a bit of an aural blur. What I do remember is that a lot of his emphasis was on the stock market, money, and whether or not people were with him or against him. In other words, it’s nothing we haven’t heard before from Trump, or any other obvious narcissist.
Should you listen to The Trump Tapes? Well, that depends. As I mentioned, I didn’t find listening to this book particularly pleasant, nor did I pay attention with rapt concentration. But I did hear concrete evidence as to why I can’t ever vote for anyone affiliated with Trump or his minions. A lot of innocent people suffered and died due to Donald Trump’s insatiable greed and complete lack of regard for the citizens of the United States, particularly during the height of COVID crisis. He is an irresponsible, arrogant, incompetent, and uncaring man, and he has no business serving as an elected official. I knew that before I listened to The Trump Tapes, but now I am even more convinced. Basically, we had the Wizard of Oz in the White House for four years. It’s time for us to wake up and elect someone who cares, and actually wants to deliver something to every citizen, not just the super rich and powerful elites. If you need further proof as to how disastrous Trump is, then yes, you should listen to The Trump Tapes… if you can stand it, that is.
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Last night, Bill and I listened to more of Bob Woodward’s Audible book, The Trump Tapes. I’m hoping we’ll finish it tonight, mainly because I hate listening to Donald Trump speak, but also because I look forward to reviewing Woodward’s work. One thing that immediately sticks out to me is that Trump was amazingly forthcoming to this respected member of the press. And Woodward, like any good interviewer, does his best to stroke Trump’s ego, which of course, works like a charm. Trump, like so many narcissistic dictator types before him, loves an audience, and he loves to be stroked. As long as you’re stroking, he’s talking… and Woodward is an expert at extracting information and recording it. So that part of the book is interesting, even as I cringe listening to Trump’s gravelly voice with its weird, sing-songy cadence, and constant spew of bullshit.
Another thing that sticks out to me about The Trump Tapes is that Trump’s focus was almost entirely about money. At one point, he talks about a discussion with the Saudi Arabian king, in which he tells the king “You need to pay…” He was talking about the king needing to pay the United States for military security. He sounded like a mafia boss. I might have been impressed with Trump’s shameless appeal for money, except I know that Trump doesn’t like to pay for things. He has a long list of former lawyers, contractors, and employees who weren’t fully paid or paid at all for their services. Trump seems to think that the so-called “prestige” for working with him ought to be enough. He doesn’t see that if you don’t take care of your people, they won’t take care of you… at least not willingly.
A couple of years ago, I read and reviewed Disloyal, a book written by Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen. Mr. Cohen, like so many others who have worked with Trump, eventually learned that working for Trump will lead to misery and losses. Cohen admitted in his book that his job was mostly about getting Trump out of having to pay for things and using legal muscle to keep people in line. For this work, he was paid less than what he was used to earning. He also had to be at Trump’s beck and call, and it was not at all unusual for Trump to interrupt Cohen’s personal time with phone calls and demands for last minute jobs. In his book, Cohen wrote that Trump never pays full price for anything.
Cohen once admired Trump, and wanted to be like him. But he made the mistake of thinking that Trump would respect him and see him as an equal. Cohen, for all of his legal acumen, did not understand narcissism, and he fell for Trump’s charm. Then later, he realized that to Trump, Cohen was a mere tool to be used at his sole discretion. Cohen paid for his tenure as Trump’s legal lackey with prison time and the loss of his license to practice law. However, I have seen Cohen making the rounds all over YouTube, and he has a new book out called Revenge. I will read Cohen’s next book, because even though I think Cohen is pretty narcissistic himself, he’s entertaining. I also enjoy hearing him throw Trump under the bus. Cohen may have lost his legal career, but he’s laughing all the way to the bank as he generates a career selling out the guy who sold him out repeatedly. Perhaps, in his own way, he’s finally making Trump pay.
This topic comes up today as I look at my Facebook memories from October 27, 2018. Four years ago, Bill and I were in the midst of house hunting, as we made plans to move from Jettingen, Germany to Wiesbaden. At the time, we were renting a house from someone who later reminded me a bit of Trump on many levels. I was feeling psychologically unhinged, due to the passive and active aggressive harassment and false allegations lobbed at us by the ex landlady, whom I knew full well would try to rip off our deposit. Four years ago, I was anxious and upset, and there was a lot of adrenaline building as we geared up to stand up for our rights in a country that is foreign to us.
For the first time ever in our married life, Bill and I were very picky about which house and landlord we would accept. We saw seven houses before we finally decided on the one we’re in, which was the last house we viewed. We are paying a lot for this house, but it’s been worth it. Our current landlord treats us fairly and with respect, and this house is a lot more to my liking than the other one was. So we don’t mind paying, even if it is a lot more than what we used to pay. And, in the end, our former landlady also had to pay.
I read my blog post from October 27, 2018. It was partly about something I saw on The Angry Bartender’s page. Someone had decided that they were “too drunk to tip”, and promised they’d tip the next time they visited. Having worked in the restaurant industry myself, I had sympathy for the bartender, even though I don’t care for the tipping custom myself. I mean, I absolutely DO tip where tipping is the norm. I just think it would be better if paying staff wasn’t passed off to customers. I prefer the way tipping is in Germany, where servers and bartenders are expected to be paid by the people who hired them, and tipping truly is a token of gratitude from the customer, rather than an obligation. However– in the USA right now, tipping is expected in most places. And if you’re too drunk to do math, then you probably shouldn’t be exiting a bar without an escort, especially if you can’t walk to wherever it is you’re sleeping. My guess is that the Uber driver isn’t going to want to be stiffed on a tip, either.
Some people on that post were saying that the bartender ought to report the non tipping patron to the police. Naturally, someone else was outraged by that idea, and said so in the comments. From my post four years ago:
I read the comments and one woman suggested getting the person’s license plate number and calling the cops, telling them the person left the bar too drunk to drive. Another commenter left an irate shaming comment about how jacked up it is to “fuck up someone’s life” just because they didn’t tip. But think about this for a minute. This person was too drunk to do math. If he or she was so intoxicated that tipping properly was too much of a challenge, he or she was certainly too intoxicated to drive. And people who are that drunk have no right to “fuck up” or end an innocent person’s life by driving drunk.
I continue to be amazed by some people’s senses of entitlement. I see it every day on any newspaper comment section on Facebook, where people constantly complain about paywalls. One guy wrote this:
Why do you post this if only subscribers can read it? You should create a close[d] group only for subscribers.
People pointed out to the guy that if he was reading so many articles that he’d used up his free limit, he needed to become a subscriber. The guy came back with more nasty, entitled spew, as he didn’t seem to realize that he obviously values the paper’s articles enough to read them. But he doesn’t want to pay for the news, even though good journalism is a profession that takes training, expertise, and a fair amount of natural talent. Isn’t that worth paying for? Journalists have bills to pay, too, and it takes money, training, and time to bring you the news. I want to ask the complaining guy if he works for free. Better yet, is he one of those people who resents people who don’t work? Writing the news is a job. People who work jobs should be paid. Newspapers and other media outlets generate money through subscriptions and advertising. You want to read it? You need to pay.
I don’t know what is going to happen with Trump. I see a number of people are trying to hold him accountable. In the past, he’s been eel-like in his ability to slip out of financial obligations. He seems friendly and energizing to those who stroke his ego, but people don’t seem to understand that what they’re seeing is simply superficial charm. There is no substance to it. I listen to Trump act like he and Bob Woodward are great friends, but then Woodward went on to write books about what a dishonest slimeball Trump is, and how his administration was dogged by constant chaos and lies. Woodward is polite and respectful to Trump, not getting offended when he doesn’t let him get a word in edgewise. He gets the story by letting Trump speak for himself. Listening to The Trump Tapes is painful on many levels, and yet we can hear straight from the man’s mouth what a lying grifter he is. He’s someone who never wants to pick up the check, as he tells other people “You need to pay.”
It’s not lost on me that Bob Woodward’s Audible book is coming out just before the midterm elections. I hope it has the right effect on enough people. I don’t think we can afford another Trump term. It’s time Trump paid for his fun, instead of pushing the check on to the American public. It’s time that we, as a society, told Trump, “You need to pay.”
Hopefully, I’ll be ready to write a real review of The Trump Tapes soon. For now, it’s time to do my usual Thursday chores, which now includes taking Arran to the vet for his chemo. Cheerio!
The featured photo is Arran this morning. He was able to jump up on the bench for the first time in a couple of weeks. Two days ago, he jumped up on the bed by himself. Why? Because he wanted me to share my lunch with him.
Wow… Wednesday, already! Tomorrow, it will be time for Arran’s third chemotherapy appointment. I don’t necessarily enjoy hanging out in the vet’s office for an hour while he gets his treatment, but Bill and I have both been loving the results of the chemo. It’s giving us precious time with a very special and wonderful dog. Arran clearly feels so much better than he did a couple of weeks ago. I still don’t know how much this will cost, but at this point, I think whatever it is will be worth it.
Last night, as I was watching Arran interact with his beloved Bill, I went looking for blog posts by people who have also made the decision to treat canine cancer. I didn’t end up finding any blogs, although I will admit that may be because we were distracted by The Trump Tapes. It’s a new Audible book put out by the veteran Washington Post reporter, Bob Woodward, that reveal 20 interviews he conducted with Donald Trump. I can barely stand to listen to Trump speak, but I decided that book would be interesting, so I downloaded it. Bill and I listened to a large part of it last night, although I will admit as the evening wore on, we were less attentive.
In any case, while I wasn’t paying attention to Woodward’s interviews with Trump, I went looking for first hand accounts of canine cancer treatments. I found an article that was published last summer in the Washington Post. I have unlocked it here for the interested. The piece, by Kim Kavin, was titled “My dog needed advanced cancer treatment. The price tag stunned me.” Kavin, whose article was published on July 24, 2022, wrote about her 12 year old dog, Blue, and the cancerous tumor he developed that was causing him to have a watery eye. Kavin happened to have pet health insurance for Blue, which enabled her to access the high tech treatment for the dog’s cancer. Still, the cost of treating the cancer was formidable. From the article:
It was a cold shock of reality when I added up Blue’s total projected expenses on paper. Getting the best available treatment for his tumor could cost more than $15,000 — and that was if everything went right. I’d already spent a lot. And it was unclear how much time it would buy him.
The oncologist at NorthStar VETS in New Jersey said they make sure pet owners understand up front what they’re getting into financially because many people can’t afford that kind of cost — many don’t have enough money in the bank to cover their own, or their kids, medical care. The call like the one I got is usually the heartbreaking beginning of the end of their pet’s story.
Kavin happened to live near NorthStar VETS, a high speed veterinary clinic that offered advanced oncology services for dogs. She had also spent about $700 annually to insure Blue. Because of that, she had the opportunity to access cancer care for her admittedly old mutt. Kavin still had to use her credit card to pay for the services until the reimbursement came from the insurance company. Also, Kavin explains that there aren’t a lot of veterinary oncologists available, particularly given the huge surge of “pandemic pets”. She was fortunate, though, in that the vets were able to get to Blue and start the treatment before the cancer killed him. Kavin writes:
Within a week, the CT scan and consult with a radiation oncologist were done, and within two weeks of the initial trip to my regular vet, he began the first treatment. About 48 hours after his treatment was completed, he was back to bounding around the park and chasing squirrels in the backyard. He had no side effects other than temporarily needing drops in his eye, which was dry. There was a lump on his face where the cancer mangled some bone, but he’s on the doggy version of ibuprofen and showed no signs of discomfort.
Sadly, in Blue’s case, the cancer did come back with a vengeance in June. In July, Kavin wrote that Blue didn’t have much time left. But she also wrote this:
He has been comfortable, and on pain meds, and I’m at least comforted that I did everything possible for him. We gained another two to three months of walks in the park, swims in the river and snuggles in bed.
If I had to do it over again, I would do the same thing.
I’d pay double.
I’ll be honest. I was very skeptical about trying canine chemo. When we learned that Arran had lymphoma, I figured we would be saying goodbye to him within weeks, especially given that it took some time to get the diagnosis and arrange for the chemotherapy treatments. Arran is 13 or 14 years old, which means that he’s lived a full life. The practical side of me told me that treating him was a dumb idea that would cost too much money, and be inconvenient and annoying for us, even though I know that healthcare and veterinary care is significantly cheaper in Germany than it is in the United States.
I didn’t worry about Arran being sick from the treatment, as I knew that dogs don’t get the same amount of medication that humans do. The focus on treating animals with cancer isn’t so much about curing it. It’s about improving the quality of life for the time they have left. I had expected our vets to give us some steroids to make Arran comfortable, which is what we did for our previous dog, Zane, during the week we had him after he was diagnosed with lymphoma. Zane wasn’t as healthy as Arran is, and we caught his cancer later. I also suspect that the type he had was more aggressive than what Arran has (B cell lymphoma).
Our vet said that they didn’t typically give steroids to dogs with lymphoma that weren’t undergoing chemo. Basically, it sounded like we could choose chemo, or we could just wait for Arran to get really sick and die. Bill had to go away on business for two work weeks this month. Arran and Bill have a very special bond, and I worried that Arran would decline while Bill was away. The vet said she thought that, in spite of his age, Arran was a good candidate for treatment. Moreover, we could get the treatments in her office, which is maybe two or three miles from where we live, rather than at the local high speed vet hospital. So then we decided that we might as well give chemo a try. At worst, the treatment would kill him, which the cancer is eventually going to do, anyway.
Two weeks ago today, I sent Bill an angry email, because Arran was getting sicker and was in obvious pain. I was pissed off, because I didn’t want him to hurt. Our first chemo appointment was for the next day. Bill called the vet, who prescribed painkillers. I picked them up and gave one to Arran, who seemed to feel better after taking a dose. Then, on Thursday afternoon, October 13th, we finally went in to see the vet for cancer treatment… You can see from the photos, Arran looks a little bit sad.
I took Arran home with some Prednisolone and Endoxan, another chemo drug. I gave them to him with his dinner. Then, he slept for the rest of the evening, until the wee hours, when he woke me up for a bathroom break.
The next morning, Arran was clearly feeling noticeably better. As he was getting sick, he was not wanting to get up in the mornings. But on Friday morning, October 14, he was up early and ready for his breakfast. He continued to improve all week until last week’s treatment, when the vet said that based on his blood test, Arran’s bone marrow appeared to be working to replace his low red blood cell count. He’s had almost zero side effects from the chemo whatsoever. His lymph nodes have gone back to normal. He’s eating, sleeping, taking walks, and demanding food. Best of all, he made it through Bill’s business trips, and they are now spending precious time together, making their last memories.
After I read Kavin’s article in the Washington Post, I checked out the 734 comments that were left by fellow readers. Much to my shock, the vast majority of them were about how stupid, pointless, and even cruel it is to treat canine cancer. I noticed a lot of comments from people who complained about dogs getting treatment that human beings can’t get. Below was the first comment– it was one of eight highlighted by the WaPo:
I’m actually kind of mad that veterinary medicine is expanding into things like cancer treatments and canine dissociative order. I love my pets with every fiber of my being and yet, putting them through these treatments doesn’t seem like kindness. You can’t explain to your dog or cat that scary and painful days at the vet hospital are “for their own good” and will, hopefully, make them feel better eventually. They are just scared and alone and in pain. It’s one thing to improve on surgery techniques so that a dog hit by a car has a better chance to fully recover. Putting them through radiation treatments to get a few more months of walks in the park just seems selfish. I ugly cry when my pets pass on because I am personally devastated, but I know it was time. I don’t want to also feel guilty because I didn’t do absolutely everything the vet suggested.
This was the third comment:
I am a dog lover. I have always had a dog. My Blue Heeler is curled up beside me as I type. I am also a Buddhist who believes, as the Buddha said in so many words, that the root cause of suffering is clinging to the delusion of permanence. Everything ends, and it was this dog’s time. I can’t conceive of putting a canine through chemotherapy with no chance of a cure. But that’s just me….
Are you doing this for the dog, or for yourself?
The overall average lifespan for dogs across breeds is 10 to 13 years. Subjecting a 12 year-old dog to the discomforts and fatigue of radiation treatment, making the last months of life a combination of misery and confusion, doesn’t sound like you’re doing it for the dog.
There are literally hundreds of thousands of young dogs needing adoption. Give one of them the gift of a long and happy life instead.
There can be a point where care is more about the humans than the animal.
These weren’t the worst of some of the judgmental, and frankly ignorant, comments left on this piece. Here are a few more samples from the comment section:
All who were surveyed said they would do anything to save their pets. But, would they all subject their beloved pets to radiation and/or chemotherapy, not to save them but to prolong their lives for months, a great part of which is treatment and not good times? They have a shorter life span than humans. You will have to grieve at some point.
Would you put a 70-80 year old human through these painful treatments at the end of their life? I hope not. Not even our SCOTUS fools would make someone go through this to “maintain” life!
I understand the impulse to do anything you can for your beloved pet. I love my own dog to distraction. But I also feel deeply ambivalent about extended medical treatment for pets. They cannot be protected from the pain that cancer patients go through. They cannot consent. They do not fear death, as we do. The veterinarians are making a fortune off of people’s delusions. Many of these owners cannot afford these treatments, and they are often done on dogs who are within a few months of their natural lifespans. People bankrupt themselves for their pets out of love, but also out of guilt. Think of what you are putting your beloved pet through for the potential of a few more months of limited life. Ask yourself if you are being selfish. Think about whether your vet is taking you for a ride. Sometimes the best thing is to send your dear one off to chase balls in dog heaven, spared from months of agonizing treatments. Think of them, not yourself, and ask it it’s time to let go.
I adore my dog, but I am damned if I am going to torture her so my mourning of her death gets delayed by 6-12 months. One of the many reasons dogs are superior to humans is they do hot have our irrational fear of the inevitable.
Nope. I wouldn’t do this. You put your dog through a hell which he did not understand.
To torment an animal for your own guilt is unconscionable. We had a galah with major medical issues. She received 5 medications twice daily for 3 years. She was clearly miserable. We probably spent $50k between the time she became obviously ill and when she finally died. I hated it. I don’t begrudge the money, my husband’s bird, his money, I had no right to complain. But it broke my heart to see her tortured and tormented and so obviously feeling miserable. I shed a lot of tears over the poor thing. She finally died over a three day weekend when she cratered badly and we could not get her to her vet because they were closed and did not do emergencies. The question, to me is, are you prolonging the agony because of your own guilt? Or for the “benefit” of the animal who has no idea what is happening?
It’s disgusting that expensive technology and expertise that could be used to heal people is being used on pets. We are so wealthy and pampered in this country that even the slightest inconvenience and sadness to us is worth the price, we would never consider spending this money on a poor human that we did not know. Do the right thing, shoot the dog and donate the money you saved to a charity that helps heal people instead. People are more important than pets.
Oh, judas priest. It’s a dog. A 12 year old dog. If it’s in pain, you put it to sleep. Otherwise you let nature take its course. And then you get a new dog. Which you’ll do anyway, since a 12 year old large dog has a life expectancy of around 0. People have their priorities so amazingly f’ed up these days.
So many people cannot afford healthcare, and people are using tens of thousands of dollars to extend the lives of dogs, whose lifespans are little more than a decade. That seems gross, no matter how much you love your dog.
It’s not that I don’t see their points, on some level. Like I said, Bill and I weren’t keen on putting Arran through any “painful” treatments, either. But before we made our decision, I noticed how he was behaving. In spite of his swollen lymph nodes, he was still engaged with us, and even wanted to play with his toys. He still wanted to take walks and cuddle on the couch. And you’d really have to see how bonded he is with Bill. He adores him.
We had another dog who was like Arran when he had cancer. That dog, whose name was Flea, had prostate cancer, which was truly horrible and painful, and defied treatment. He didn’t want to die. It was very obvious to us, even on the day when we decided it was time to let him go. He was still fighting, even as the drugs were taking effect. We see the same spirit in Arran. I hasten to add that our other dogs who have passed– CuCullain, MacGregor, and Zane, did not have that spark to keep going. They were undeniably ready when they passed.
In Zane’s case, he was definitely going to die of the lymphoma on that day, even if we didn’t opt for euthanasia, because he was bleeding internally. In MacGregor’s case, he could have lived a little bit longer with his spinal tumor, but he was clearly in agony. And CuCullain had a very rare, contagious, and painful disease that was certainly going to kill him, but because it was contagious, we couldn’t take him home. We couldn’t afford to keep him where he was, but it would have been pointless, anyway. In those cases, yes, treatment was futile. But it’s not futile in Arran’s case. Treatment can give him some precious time, and allow us the chance to set up his exit from life in the best way.
It’s true that Arran will likely die soon. I don’t know how long the chemo will work. I am at peace with the fact that he’s going to die. Neither Bill nor I are expecting a cure. Even if he got cured of the cancer, he’s old enough to die of natural causes. But I can’t deny that right now, he’s feeling much better, and that is priceless. We have the means to do this, and Arran is obviously up for it. So I don’t feel like what we’re doing is “for us”, or pointless or stupid… To a dog, a week or a month is a longer time than it is for a human being. Six extra months may not seem significant or worthwhile to a person, but to a dog, it’s akin to years of a human’s life.
Aside from that, chemo for dogs is not as horrible as it is for humans. If it was, I would never agree to do it. And when it appears that the chemo isn’t helping or is causing distress, of course we’ll know it’s time to say goodbye. Not everyone who opts for canine chemo is out of touch with reality or selfish.
What really stood out to me in the comments on that WaPo article, though, are the truly mean and nasty comments some people had, calling treating canine cancer “gross”, because humans are “more important” than animals are. First off, how do these folks think cancer treatments are developed? They get tested on animals. Every time a vet treats a dog for cancer, knowledge and experience is expanded, and that makes it more likely that they can help other animals or… perhaps even human beings!
And secondly, most people who opt not to treat their pets are NOT going to donate the money they “saved” by opting out of treatment. It would be nice if they did donate to charities that help humans, but most of them won’t do that. Many of the people opting out of treatment their animals are doing so because they can’t afford it, or because they think it’s pointless and will be painful. I’ll admit, a few weeks ago, I thought it was pointless, too. But now I know better. And the vast majority of people who “save” money by not treating their pets aren’t going to be donating that cash to save humans. I doubt the people who suggested donating money for humans would do it, either.
I was glad to see a few people leaving comments that challenged those who posted that treating canine cancer is “gross” or somehow decadent. I especially liked this lady’s comment:
You can’t save all the people, you can give your pet pet a better quality of life. You can be a drop in the bucket to strangers or provide meaningful benefit to someone your family loves and has contributed meaningfully to your life. I’d say ignoring someone who has been unfailingly loving and supportive in favor of a stranger would be gross.
I also love what this commenter, a veterinarian, had to say:
A lot of these commenters don’t actually know much about veterinary medicine. I’m a veterinarian and when you take into account the advanced medicine that is being performed, this is quite a steal. Can you imagine being diagnosed with cancer, receiving gold treatment care (including radiation) and it costing $15,000 total? Is it for everyone? Of course not, but if you can afford it, it should be a choice. I don’t see why spending that amount of a beloved pet is ridiculous but people spend more than that on vacations, cars, etc. additionally, treatment for cancer in pets is very much focused on quality of life and not just “time.” Although surgery of course can be painful and have a recovery time, most chemotherapy and other options on our pets have few side effects. I refer people to oncologists all the time for advanced care and if they decide not to treat, I do my best to provide palliative care and/or euthanasia when it is time. And for people saying animals don’t understand, I agree, but neither do babies and young children yet no one is saying we should withhold care from them.
I would have been all for opting just for palliative care. For some reason, that wasn’t offered to us at this time. I’m glad it wasn’t, because this is a valuable learning experience for all of us– including the vets who are treating Arran. I know that doing this for Arran will inform us for the future, not just for other dogs, but also for ourselves, should either or both of us be unlucky enough to have cancer.
Finally, here is the best comment I read regarding Blue’s saga:
There’s nothing cruel about trying to give our companions the same kind of advanced treatments we have available for humans. For each pet and each family, it’s a decision that must juggle the age of the pet, the expected lifespan after treatment, the budget — with or without pet insurance — and the families’ needs. Not every dog can get radiation treatment, nor can every family afford this for their pets.
I’ve made this calculation for my own pets, and sometimes it’s a go for treatment, but other times, it’s palliative care and euthanasia. Either way, no one has any business telling pet owners that they’re cruel to make either decision. If it’s not your pet, it’s not your decision.
When the time inevitably comes to say goodbye to Arran, we’ll send him to the Rainbow Bridge with his favorite people around him, loving him as his soul leaves the mortal coil. And, in the fullness of time, after we have had some time to mourn, we know he will send us a successor. All of our dogs have done that… even Flea did that, and he was the biggest “male diva dog” of all of our rescues combined.
Arran has been a faithful, loyal, and loving family member for almost ten years. I would like to see him make that ten year mark. Maybe that makes me “selfish”, but I can tell that the treatment is making him feel better, and giving him extra time with his favorite human. I don’t see that as cruel, selfish, stupid, decadent, or “gross”. Right now, it doesn’t appear to me that the treatment is causing him to suffer, and it’s the least we can do for him, after everything he’s done for us. When the situation changes, of course we will act accordingly and do what must be done. But we’re not sending him to the Rainbow Bridge before that time, simply because other, uninvolved, judgmental people think that treating canine cancer is selfish or decadent! Those people can seriously get bent!
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