When my brother was in college, he adopted a (mostly) yellow lab from an animal rescue. Even though she removed all of the buttons off the top of his baseball caps and gnawed on every remote control she could find, Casey quickly became a member of our family.
When my parents moved to Tennessee, my bro decided Casey would be better off running in their yard than stuck in a condo with a bunch of frat guys. Besides, she had two poodles and some cats to keep her company there.
The poodles are long gone, she's down to one cat, but Casey and her three year old canine "sister" have the run of a fenced-in yard, complete with a herd of cows on the other side of the fence. Casey has always been fascinated with cows...
I found out at Easter dinner that Casey had been diagnosed with a liver disorder. She was placed on meds and a special diet. It was decided that while keeping Casey healthy and comfortable was important, when it was time to say goodbye, we wouldn't prolong things.
Two weeks later, at my mother's birthday dinner, I found out Casey had been diagnosed with (the dog version of) Alzheimer's. Again, medication was working and she wasn't having the panic attacks that triggered the visit to the vet.
Monday evening, at my sister's birthday dinner (have you recognized the pattern?), I walked in and said hello to Casey. She had become much more mellow than her old self, and I had to seek her out, rather than be met by her wagging tail and probing nose as I walked in the door.
As I patted her head and lifted her chin, I noticed a dent in her forehead over her left eye. My brother informed me he would be taking her to the vet this morning and would call me when he knew what was happening.
I got the call.
And the vet is a little concerned at how suddenly this dent has appeared and isn't quite sure what it is, but said it resembles a condition that affects shepherds, and maybe there's some shepherd in her bloodline.
A proper diagnosis would require an invasive procedure, which we won't put her through, so she's being put on steroids and the vet is holding her for observation the rest of the day.
The next family dinner will be for my birthday later this month, and I have a feeling Casey might be attending in spirit only.