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Friday, November 4, 2011

The Things We Do For Dogs

If you've been reading my blog for awhile you know that I have 2 dogs- Dixie, a lovely Australian Shepherd/Golden Retriever mix (Golden Aussie is this hip term) that we adopted last year about this time and Charlie the Bear, my soon to be 14 year old bionic bichon. Charlie almost died 2 years ago and has fought back valiantly and let us know that, no, he is not ready for the next life. He's quite fine in this one.

In the past few months, he's had a few bad days back to back.  The vet, who has been a big advocate of his (a great mix of helping me keep him comfortable without doing ridiculous procedures) had said it's time to start tracking the good day/bad day ratio.  Then she changed his meds a bit and honestly, the dog is running about 20% bad days to 80% good days-- better than my ratio last year!

He is, however, still having difficulty walking and some bowel trouble.  For awhile he had given up on the stairs, but has had a recent uptick and now conquers them every night.  It takes 20 minutes or so, but darn it, don't even THINK about trying to help him.

The dog is stubborn.  The dog is feisty.

So at the dog park last weekend (with Dixie), I met a vet.  She went to Purdue. Nice lady.  She is also a homeopathic vet.  She does acupuncture on dogs.

Okay, go ahead, laugh.

But here's the scoop, Charlie spent a year in complete discomfort because no one believed me that his issues started after he ran into our sliding glass door after being chased by the neighborhood cat.  After testing the dog for everything, it appears that well, his ambulatory issues are, in fact, neurological.

He's 14.

I'm not having spinal surgery on a 14 year dog.

I'm not THAT nuts.

I will however, give acupuncture a shot.  Pun intended.

Chiropractic did wonders for me.  I think there is much more that we don't know about the human body, than we do know.  I think somewhere between Eastern and Western medicine lies the best treatment.  If I have an infection, I want an antibiotic.  If I have something pain oriented, I'm willing to try something other than painkillers.

In other words, if I had this issue, I would give acupuncture a chance.

So I called and and Dr. Caroline came to the house.

And here's why I liked her--

Charlie has had a weird thing on his eye this week.  The earliest I could get in to see the vet I prefer was Tuesday.  I noticed that his eye had started to bulge a bit but I wasn't concerned.

She was.  She said to call the the other vet and insist they see him today.  She was concerned it was an ulcer or that he had high pressure in his eye.  She didn't want to do anything until that issue was addressed.  She also was open to the fact that I was most definitely going to keep him on his prescription food and current painkillers.  She didn't promise me magic. 

She did say she was really impressed with how Charlie had adapted.  She told me that most dogs in his situation would not have been able to muddle through for the past 2 years.  They would be dragging their legs, have more atrophy.  Not Charlie.  He just trudges through like it's a slight inconvenience.

We went to the regular vet and Charlie, who gets really nervous, made me walk him around for the half hour we waited.

They tested him for glaucoma, he was fine.  No doggie bongs in his future.  I think he was disappointed.

It wasn't an ulcer.  So no fear of any tearing.

Worst case, it might be a tumor behind his eye.

Once again, my dog has evaded medical diagnosis.

So the least I can do is acupuncture.

I made my friend Shelley promise me to not let me become the crazy lady with the dog in the wagon.

I never said anything about not letting me become the crazy lady with the needles in the dog.

Once I had kids, I really paid significantly less attention to my dogs.  The crazy part about the last few years with Charlie is that I'm growing more attached than I've ever been.  I find him inspiring.  He's loyal.  He's fiesty.  He never gives up.  He has taken every bizarre twist that's been thrown at him and kept pushing.

For all the stress that he's adding to my life, I have to say, it's not been nearly as big as a deal as you might think.  He's like having my own little motivational speaker.

He still wants to play.

The least I can do is give him the chance.

But no wagons....maybe a stroller?????



Deanne said...

I totally understand. This may sound weird, but Charlie sounds like the dog version of my Mila; just keeps plugging away despite the obstacles and the pain.

Mama Bean said...

She has a better sense of style. Hey- what happened to your blog?