Xhosa’s last big day out before surgery: Hiking the Alberni Inlet Trail (and watching whales!)

Alberni Inlet Trail, Port Alberni, dogs, cancer, hiking, running, whalesXhosa, our big Rhodesian ridgeback, has been diagnosed with a mast-cell tumour. It’s apparently a fairly common type of cancer in some types of dogs, including ridgebacks. You can see the tumour, a big fatty-looking lump, near the top of her rear right leg.

Well, she’s going in for surgery today. It’s a type of cancer that has a high chance of metastasizing, and we don’t know if that has already happened or not. But at least, for now, we are getting that tumour removed.

Alberni Inlet Trail, Port Alberni, dogs, cancer, hiking, running, whales

So many pretty spots on this hike!

She is doing great and feeling great, though. Dave and I are so glad that she is not feeling sick at all. In fact, both dogs are as fit as they have been in years, since I have been getting them out on long hikes or runs every day since the fall. They especially got some hard workouts when we had all that snow last month.

Since she’s going to be laid up for a while, as she recovers, I wanted to give her a really good last day out. The forecast had been for sunshine Monday afternoon, and it totally appeared as forecast. So I took the dogs on a 3 hour hike up the Alberni Inlet Trail: a good long day that wasn’t too taxing on her (hiking rather than running) but that was long enough that it would have her feeling tired, and maybe a bit more prepared for her upcoming downtime.

Alberni Inlet Trail, Port Alberni, dogs, cancer, hiking, running, whales

Starting out through the forest, chilly in here!

Alberni Inlet Trail, Port Alberni, dogs, cancer, hiking, running, whales

But beautiful and sunny once we got down to the Inlet.

The day was beautiful – sunny, although chilly in the forest, and chilly on the rocky points near the water, because of the brisk wind blowing up the inlet. We sat down for a while in the sun on the beach at the Boy Scout Camp. I was actually feeling a bit tired, and debating about turning around then, rather than continuing on to Lone Tree Point as planned. But as we sat there, I saw a couple whale blows down the inlet, right near Lone Tree! Humpbacks, I assume, although I didn’t get a good enough look to be sure.

Alberni Inlet Trail, Port Alberni, dogs, cancer, hiking, running, whales

Hanging out on the shoreline at the Boy Scout Camp.

Alberni Inlet Trail, Port Alberni, dogs, cancer, hiking, running, whales

The dogs love hanging out on the driftwood logs. And they definitely love the sun!

Alberni Inlet Trail, Port Alberni, dogs, cancer, hiking, running, whales

Whale-watching at Lone Tree Point!

So we picked up and hiked it out to Lone Tree. The route is mostly inland, so it was hard to watch out for the whales as we were hiking. Didn’t see the whales when we got there, but that’s OK. (We did see a sea-lion there, though).

We all had a really good day. It was good seeing the dogs have so much fun – I feel a bit guilty that Xhosa doesn’t know what is coming, but I guess she’s kind of lucky for that, too. Please keep your fingers crossed for her!

Alberni Inlet Trail, Port Alberni, dogs, cancer, hiking, running, whales

Tank looks like a wild-man, with the wind blowing his ears up!!

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Later that afternoon: According to the vet, her surgery went as well as could be expected. Xhosa is in a fair degree of pain, especially when she tries to lie down, because bending her leg stretches the incision. But she is eating fine, and over-all doing really well. Here’s a pic of the incision – way bigger than any of us expected!

dog cancer surgery incision

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Next day: Xhosa is actually doing amazing! She doesn’t seem to be in much pain, she is eating fine, and she can get up and down the stairs fine to go outside and do her business! She is sleeping comfortably under her favourite blankie (as she does every morning)… but little buddy Tank is still pretty worried:

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  1. #1 by Rico Valdespino on May 20, 2014 - 10:19 am

    god bless her.

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