This isn’t a food related topic but it’s one that I think a lot of people can empathize with: pets.

I’ve always, always had at least one pet in the home for my entire life, fish totally not included. There was always at least one dog around as a kid. Often there were multiple dogs because I started early in life with finding dogs on the street and crying until I got to keep them (this is what you call foreshadowing). When I moved out at the age of 20, I took our ferret Barrett to live with me and two roommates.

After the apartment, I moved in with Patrick and his friend who had two dogs, who I immediately took to. We hung out a lot, those dogs and I. And within eight months of living together, we got a kitten. That was all Patrick’s idea, as I had never had a cat, and didn’t have much experience with them. But we brought this orange runt home from where he was abandoned outside of a gun shop in rural Orangeburg county and started the process of creating our family.

oliver as a kitten

We moved out of that house and into another one right before I graduated college. And after graduation, about 10 days after, I took myself on a Sunday afternoon excursion to get myself a little graduation present.

baby Radar Love

I didn’t even tell Patrick that I was going to get a dog. Something about this being all my decision felt very monumental. Within the afternoon, I had an excited puppy stepping on my legs, trying to get a good nose out of the window. He likes to tell the story as “I got drunk, took a nap, and woke up with a dog.” He’s not too far off there. That was 2008, and eight years later that coffee with milk colored puppy is eight years old. She’s had a few minor medical issues, ranging from having a piece of fence get caught in her eyelid to having a weird floppy skin tag removed from her elbow.

But this year we noticed a little lump growing on her forearm. It was covered in hair and seemed like it wasn’t bothering her until a few weeks ago. It turned pink, then red. Then the hair disappeared. Then she became obsessed with licking it until the meat showed. As soon as possible, I hauled her to the vet and he told us to schedule surgery the next week. He was concerned that it grew so quickly.

radar love in the car

She just had the surgery and before I even took her to the vet the other week I knew that we would need to have That Conversation soon. The one where one factor influences the other so unfairly that it shouldn’t be allowed to be so. The one where you have to sit down and think about where the line will fall when you have to decide how much money can be put towards keeping your pet alive. For some people that number is anything. For others, it’s nothing. We fall towards the anything in theory but in actuality have to back it up, a lot. It’s one of those defining moments in a partnership.

Though we don’t know what is in those cells they lopped off of her yet, and it’ll take a week or so to know, we both are on the same page about how much medical care we are able to give our animals. It’s not a number, it’s a feeling about quality. Would radiation make her feel much worse? Probably. Would it be so expensive that we’d constantly be worried about money rather than being able to enjoy carefree moments with her and the rest of the menagerie? Most definitely. Will we do what we can to keep her feeling good? Absolutely. This is the reality of owning pets.

But for now we’re having her heal up and being her servant, kneeling down to offer her fresh water every hour, so she doesn’t have to walk on her hurting leg too much. Keep our girl in your thoughts that her lump was a random fatty deposit that was just so delicious that she licked it til it looked worse than it was.

radar love


And if you thought that was a lot of photos of just this dog (of our three), then you definitely don’t want to scroll through my phone, it’s split 50-50 between dogs and food. Food and dogs.