A couple of weeks ago I was playing in the yard with Frick and Frack (also known as Pearl and Reuben) - they were chasing each other around and so forth - I just happened to look in Pearl's direction - she was taking a break and I noticed a golf ball sized tumor on her neck. It was huge, I can't imagine how we missed that, but she already has one fatty benign tumor on her chest we didn't get too excited. And since Vizslas have a lot of loose skin on their face and neck - it could have been there for awhile. I will cut to the chase on this one - Pearl has lymphoma. It had already spread to her other lymph nodes by the time it had become noticeable, there is no way to fix her. A few weeks if we leave it untreated, 2 to 4 months average if we give her prednisone to shrink the tumors, a year or so if we do full on chemo. We have flirted a little with the idea of chemo - if they told me it would make her all better and keep her my Pearl, I would do it. But it won't. We are keeping her comfortable with the prednisone and it did shrink the tumor, the rest we will play by ear. I try not to think about it too much - she seems fine most of the time right now - but then I'll see her end of the couch empty or just think about hiking Coopers Rock without her and I admit it, I lose it completely. It sneaks up on you - I was in Pet Co yesterday buying the puppy biscuits to train Reuben with that Pearl likes to steal just to show Reuben Boobin who's the boss and just welled up at the cash register. I felt stupid sitting in my car crying over a bag of dog biscuits - but this is so hard. Pearl is only 5 years old, we just bought her a friend, she loves to hike and hunt and thinks she owns the cats so she can boss them around. She is the Hostess with the Mostess and will not be denied even if the guest does not feel like being hostessed. She has the most personality of any dog we've even known or owned. Maybe because the kids are no longer here David and I spend more time with the dogs - she and Reuben are my buddies, if we're out in the yard, so are they. Pearl and I have walked and hiked trails, forests, parks - we've been lost together in the National Forest and that was when I discovered not all dogs can find their way back. But she did watch me call 911 and had the ranger actually had to come get us she probably would have shown off her stellar Hostessing Skills. We gave up years ago trying to make her sleep at the end of the bed, I wake up most mornings nose to nose with her as the second we're asleep she's sharing David's pillow. I can see she doesn't feel herself, she is under the bed a lot - David raised it higher so she can get in and out more easily, she lays her head on Reuben instead of the other way around now, I'm glad she has him for comfort. So who knows, maybe there will be some eleventh hour miracle - but I don't think so. I can only hope that I can let her go when the time comes with as much courage, understanding and love she has shown me.