Who was a good, brave, little soldier at the vets, then? In case you can't guess, the answer is: me.
Before I regale you with an account of my little adventure, I would like to say a VERY sincere thank-you to those who sent me messages of goodwill. To Lance; to Angie; to Jenny and to Mossie - I appreciate your kind words and good wishes more than I can say. As does my partner. Thank you for taking the trouble to send us your encouragement.
Here we go then...
My partner dropped me off at the surgery at 8.30am on Wednesday. I'll admit that I cried a bit when she left me, but I settled in pretty quickly. The neighbouring cage was occupied by a colourful lad of indeterminate origin called Marmite, who was in for ball-removal (poor s*d). Opposite us was a doleful-looking Chocolate Labrador awaiting a blood transfusion and, out of sight somewhere, was a young puppy coming 'round from an anaesthetic. I don't know if you know this, but when us dogs are coming out of anaesthesia, we sing. Involuntarily, but lustily. And let me tell you that this little pup really had a voice on him. He was almost worthy of Covent Garden itself. On and on he trilled, while the Labrador opposite took on an increasingly hunted look.
"How long has he been singing?" I asked.
"Two and a half hours." replied the Labrador, through gritted fangs, before he turned and put his head under a blanket. I turned to my neighbour.
"So, the day for the big chop then, eh?" I said, smiling sympathetically. Marmite nodded and sighed. "It'll be OK." I said. "I've had it done. It doesn't hurt that much. Just think of it as 'tidying up your below-tail area'. You'll have to change your name from 'Marmite' to 'Vegemite', though, eh?" Marmite chuckled at my rather pathetic attempt at a joke but, before he could reply, the nurse came in. The chap opposite withdrew his head from his blanket and the three of us looked up expectantly.
"Right then, Jasper." she said brightly. Just my luck to be picked first... As I trotted out alongside the nurse, I heard Marmite saying to the Labrador:
"After my operation, I will have to change my name from Marmite to, er, er, er Bovril!" Oh, for goodness' sake.
In the operating theatre, my fur was shaved in two places; on my neck for a blood test and on my flank for the biopsy of my lump. I sat so patiently and impeccably-behaved (naturellement) that the vet decided to risk it and do the job without anaesthetic. It wasn't the most pleasant experience, but it was swiftly over and I was ushered, amidst much admiration and praise from the vets and nurses, back to the cages.
"Blimey, that was quick." said Marmite. I nodded, feeling pleased with myself and listening happily to the nurse telephoning my partner to say that I could be collected. I sat back in my cage and listened to the unseen newest auditionee for the "Rex Factor" still trilling away unconsciously. There was a short bustle as the nurses readied the theatre table for the entrance of Marmite and the departure of his n*ds. He looked at me anxiously as the footsteps neared.
"It will be alright, won't it?"
"Of course it will." I smiled, "And just think of this: you will never, ever, get testicular cancer."
He gave a watery grin and trotted off bravely to his fate.
The biopsy results were due a few days later, but my partner was rather surprised when the vet telephoned her the next day.
The lump is mostly fatty tissue, inconveniently sandwiched between my lung and liver. Unfortunately, it contains the presence of some rat-b*st*rd soft stem cells (try saying that quickly after you've had a drink. Bet you can't do it first time...), which are essentially pre-cancer cells. The laboratory advised removal of the lump before the cells have a chance to develop.
My partner was concerned as I am now ten years old, and big operations on a mutt after he passed the eight-mark are very risky. However, there is an unexpected up-side. My blood test revealed that (paw on wood) my heart is in perfect condition, as are my kidneys. Therefore, the risks implied in anaesthesia are no greater for me than they are for a young lad of one or two. Hurrah! (I think).
Tomorrow, therefore, marks the big day. I will be taken in for my surgery at 8.30am and, should all go well, my partner will be able to collect my sleepy self in the evening. I confess that I am a little nervous, but am fixed on positive thoughts only. And of this you may be sure: I will sing most heartily as I come out of my anaesthetic. A few enthusiastic rounds of "I Will Survive", methinks...