How much is that doggie in the window?
Longtime pewperson fans may remember 4 years ago when my sweet Bailey collapsed in a heap and ended up in doggie ICU, followed by surgery to correct his “idiopathic chylothorax” diagnosis (say wha’? Basically his chest cavity had filled with lymphatic fluid, compressing his lungs to a point where he couldn’t breathe).
We gambled on him to recover, and recover he did, albeit $11,000 and counting later. I just couldn’t deny him his life; he is such a sweet, needy little fellow, and he wasn’t even 2 years old.
After I amortized the amount over his normal lifespan, and it came out to something like $2.37 per day, I felt like he was worth it. He makes me laugh that much every single day, and he’s just such a lovable little toot. I think he loves me more than any other creature on this planet does, including my husband and daughter.
In the intervening years, he’s been healthy, happy, beautiful and still a toot. We have a daily routine that revolves around breakfast, a walk, “work”, playing “sock”, a little treat at lunch, followed by an afternoon that mostly involves sleep on his part, while I write (or sometimes nap, too!). We stroll down to the mailbox later, and then he hopes for a piece of popcorn to fall on the floor as I work the crossword puzzle. Wherever I am, Bailey is with me.
It’s always very exciting when “Daddy” comes home, because both Bailey and Shadow know that after he eats dinner, then they get the coveted Milk Bone! (product placement here! I think Milk Bone ought to come film my dogs’ excitement about their product.) And then after that, both dogs doze until we finally go to bed, at which point, so do they.
Oh, I do brush their teeth when I brush mine, which I can’t believe I do, but I do. I make sure that I don’t mix up their chicken flavored toothpaste with my Crest (another product placement).
Once a month “the dreaded Susan” drives up in her Aussie Pet Mobile van (yet another product placement!). Bailey is petrified of all such vans; I have now determined that he actually can’t read, because he gets just as noodley when the equally configured FedEx van drives up.
A week ago Wednesday, here she came. Susan hates it that Bailey seems to fear his monthly bath so much. She loves dogs, and wants them to love her. Shadow is pretty stoic about the whole process, but Mr. B just dissolves when she appears. He does cooperate once he gets in there, but getting him in there involves catching him as he runs laps through the house.
The only good thing about bath day is that Susan doles out various and sundry treats to both dogs after the fact. I let her indulge them, and usually it’s harmless. But this time, both of them… well, to be blunt, got diarrhea afterwards, and if you are a newly cleaned Sheltie with a fluffy behind, diarrhea isn’t pretty. Oh, man!!
So I cleaned them up. All seemed to be well, and the next day, off we went to our monthly visit to the Amazing Place (formerly the Seniors Place, an Alzheimer’s Day Care Center). Bailey and Shadow love to go here; it’s lots of fun for them, for me and for our friends there. Everyone sits in a circle, and the various dogs romp, do tricks, visit with the folks within the circle. It’s happy chaos.
But all of a sudden, Bailey squatted and squirted more poop, right in the middle of the circle. AUGH! I shouted at him, “BAILEY!!!!!!!!!” which scared him, and he squirted some more. What a mess. How embarrassing! I hustled him out the door to the garden, where he sat looking inside forlornly. One of the volunteers went to sit with him, for which I was grateful.
I cleaned up the carpet, and then I went outside and cleaned him up. You can only imagine how pathetic he was, because it’s not like he did it willfully. So I was gentle with him. And then I gathered them both up and apologized to everyone for leaving early…
The next day, there were some odd spots on the carpet in our bedroom, like someone had spit up. I wasn’t sure which creature it was, but it was kind of slimy and very gross. Turns out it was Bailey, who then decided to stop eating with gusto, as is his usual wont to do.
Then came the retching, and my fear was that the diagnosis from 4 years ago had returned. He didn’t seem to be lagging physically like before, but back then I didn’t know to look for any signs. But now I was. And I just had to know.
So I finally made the appointment to take him to the vet to find out for sure if his chest cavity was once again filled with lymphatic fluid. And if so, what was I going to do?
In the lobby of Sunset Blvd. Animal Clinic (I’m on a roll here so I might was well promote them, too), Bailey was a quivering mess, not interested at all in the other dogs. I think his fear of vets stems from his previous ICU experience He was in the back for what seemed like a long time; I had a book to distract my worries and occupy my thoughts.
The tech delivered him back to me with the comment that he was just the sweetest and best dog, which encouraged me, and then when Dr. Young came back to report that his chest cavity was clear, I went almost limp with relief. He said that until he saw the lab results, he couldn’t quite pinpoint the problem, but at least it for sure wasn’t the return of the chylothorax.
Fast forward a few days. No more diarrhea, no more spit up. He’s eating some, but not with his usual gusto. Interestingly, even when he won’t finish what’s in his plate, he does guard it to prevent the cats and/or Shadow from eating it. I’ll put it up every so often to protect it.
We are not out of the woods yet, but tonight when he returned to his bowl and licked it clean, I am hopeful that it won’t be long before my sweet Bailey is back to his old self.
Was it something he ate? I have no idea. This spell just happened to coincide with “the dreaded Susan’s” visit, so maybe that’s why I’m grasping at reasons for these recent messy outcomes. Dr. Young said the lab work was inconclusive, so who knows?
Little by little, day by day, my hope is that Bailey will soon return to his normal ebullient little self. Stay tuned!