Licking Her Wounds

  • 3 min read

Sora of the Long Haul Trekkers has gone under the knife for a reoccurring growth that needs to be treated, but don’t fear. Jen & Dave would never leave her behind to be lonely at home. Read up on how they kept her involved in their fun activities with their Burley trailer.

Article & Photos by Jen Sotolongo

I had a bad feeling about the growth I saw protruding from Sora’s right wrist. It seemingly grew overnight. One day, her leg looked normal, and the next, it had a lumpy mass that caused concern.

A vet visit and aspiration later confirmed my fear of cancer.

The tumor was called a spindle cell sarcoma, and for having to deal with cancer, this particular tumor is very localized. This meant that it is not as likely to spread, though it is highly likely to return.

Given its rapid growth, we scheduled surgery right away and prepared for several weeks ahead of low activity with our still highly active 13-year-old Australian Shepherd.

The day before Sora’s surgery, we took her for one last 8-mile run before she was sentenced to only two daily walks around the block. With the season changing from summer to fall, but the weather still nice in the Pacific Northwest, we wanted to milk every last bit of sunshine we could before the rains hit.

As active people, Dave and I still wanted to continue our runs, bike rides, and long walks.

And we were determined to bring Sora along.

So we turned to our Burley D’Lite.

We began with walks around the neighborhood. Yes, we had become those people who push their dog around in a stroller. But Sora loved it. Getting her outside allowed her to sniff the air and activate her mind.

Eventually, we left our neighborhood in search of paved paths and took frequent trips to Green Lake in Seattle, a popular destination for running and walking. Slightly embarrassed about pushing our dog in a stroller, our favorite activity became watching the facial expressions on people change to a giant smile and laughter once they realized we were pushing our 45-lb Australian Shepherd around.

Soon, we decided that if we could walk with her, then there was no good reason that we couldn’t run with her. Though we prefer the trails to pavement, if it meant bringing Sora along, then we could change our style for a few weeks.

We ordered the jogging kit and got the hang of running while pushing a stroller, gaining an entirely new respect for all those parents who take their kids out on their runs. It’s hard work!

And of course, we always had cycling. We had discovered quite a few paved bike paths near where we lived, so we headed out one chilly fall morning for a bike-to-beer ride along the 30-mile Centennial Trail in Snohomish, WA.

Even with limited physical exercise during Sora’s recovery, we knew the importance of keeping her active as she healed. Continuing to take her outdoors on our runs, walks, and bike rides, prevented excessive boredom and kept her mind active, both important for healthy recovery. With a shift in our regular outdoor activities, we were able to take Sora along practically as we would have before the surgery.

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