As the needle bends

A world view thru my hobbit hole door

I Wish I Could Kiss It, and Make It Better

It’s been pretty tense around Casa BentNeedle lately. You see, we have an energetic, funny, crazy, wrap your heart around her little paw Boxer named Ginger. In the 4+ years that it’s been our pleasure to be her non-furry parents, this little gal has become oh…so very much more than a pet. She has given us reasons to stay on a schedule (try missing those 9pm treats, or sleeping in on Saturday mornings, and she is going to get YOU back on schedule, if it kills you!)… She has given us more laughs and hugs than I ever imagined when I saw this picture on a pet adoption site:

Adoption Picture

Adoption Picture


In short, she is our funny, short, furry 4 legged “baby girl” – and like “normal parents” we were concerned when she came bounding back onto the front porch one day this summer with more insect bites; but, since Ginger always has been an infamous target of stinging insects, we didn’t give it too much thought.  When the  bites shrank, we were thankful. When one came back, we were puzzled. Poor Ginger – pitiful luck to get stung in the same exact place over and over.  But Boxers being Boxers, and bumps being bumps, we didn’t give it too much thought, until it kept coming back then shrinking, then came back and started getting bigger. Being good “parents,” her “dad”  made an appointment with the only vet we’ve ever taken her to, and we didn’t give it too much thought. Boxers get bumps – Ginger really is a boxer, NOT a human.

Imagine our horror when Dr Pat told him of MAST Cell Cancer. How could something that looks like this:

MAST Cell tumor

MAST Cell tumor

bring our world crashing down around us? Ginger was scheduled for sugery a week later, and is doing relatively well… At least as well as a Boxer can do in a world where she can’t lick the owie…and can’t run and jump and climb and be a crazy dog, as she is so wont to do. This is what her haunch looks like now:

Poor Ginger!!!!

Poor Ginger!!!!


Now we are faced with a waiting game. Hoping and praying that the pathology reports come back on Tuesday as Stage 1 or 2.  That our Catholic friends were correct, that having this diagnosed during the feast week of the patron saint of animals was a beneficial thing. That Rabbi Segal’s prayer, that Ginger’s doctor would have hands guided by G_D, and that this little doggie will live to be a happy old doggie, will be answered. All the people of whatever faith that have met Ginger seem to love her, as she seems to have endless love for the humans in her world. May all their prayers be answered.

The primary reason for this post is to warn you – if your dog has a bump that looks like a bug bite, but it seems to go away then come back, RUN – don’t walk – to your vet. MAST cell cancer in dogs is much more successfully treated the earlier it is diagnosed. Dr Pat’s face told us that she would have much rather that we’d brought Ginger in when it still looked like a mosquito bite, but is hopeful that she was able to excise the evil tumor and enough surrounding tissue that it won’t come back, ever again, and so are we.

And if you have a little doggie sized spot on your prayer list, please put in a word that Ginger’s pathology report comes back good. Like any parents, we just want to “make it all better” – but it’s really hard to make her understand right now why we seem bent on ruining her day, by calling her down when all she wants is a really good run on a brisk autumn day – a lovely autumn day which makes me hopeful that I’ll be getting Boxer kisses and hugs for many more autumns to come.


October 11, 2009 - Posted by | Life and Ramblings | ,


  1. OMG! I’m so sad for your Ginger. I will say a little prayer for her (and you!); what a challenge. Dogs are like babies, but they don’t grow up so they are always dependent on us. Hope she is all better soon. Big hugs, Brenda

    BSue wrote:
    Thanx, Brenda – big hugs are appreciated. It’s been a week when my heart and my head have been in constant battle, and both are bruised. Prayerfully, after the stitches are out, and the “five o’clock shadow” grows out, she’ll be back to acting like our Ginger and we can just get on with life.

    Comment by Brenda | October 17, 2009 | Reply

  2. What ever happened to Ginger? My yellow lab was just diagnosed with Mast Cell Cancer today, and we are hoping we caught it in time. Please let me know how things went. As it has been a few years since this post.

    Comment by Heather | October 25, 2011 | Reply

    • Heather,
      Ginger is a fat sassy boxer who is getting gray around the muzzle, and is on a regimen of benadryl and tagamet (to fight the effects of histamine release from the mast cells). She’s had to have several more tumors removed – and the last of which was tiny – using a process like a biopsy and closing with a single stitch. Our vet spoke with one at Texas A&M and was told of a dog who had over a hundred tumors removed over the course of its life – best results when they were tiny, like Ginger’s last one. I pray that your lab’s was caught early, and will have the kind of recovery that Ginger has had. Best wishes (and boxer kisses from Ginger)

      Comment by bsue | October 26, 2011 | Reply

      • Yes – it’s been 2 years since the last tumor, and it was TINY. My lab is 8 years old right now, and no new tumors to date. Glad to hear she is still with us!

        Comment by pawsitiveHeather | March 22, 2013

  3. Heather, I’m glad your lab is doing well. We lost Ginger last fall – but not to cancer. She developed “the other malady of boxers” – cardiomyopathy. But, praise the Lord, she didn’t die a slow lingering cancer death.

    Comment by bsue | March 22, 2013 | Reply

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