The Rabies Rotation

It all started a couple of weeks ago.

When we leave for the day, the chihuahua goes into her crate while the big dog Buddy gets to roam around the first floor, guarding the house should prowlers want to steal dirty dishes and piles of clean laundry.

I should have known something was wrong when he started peeing in the house. Two times and he started going into the garage. He’s a barker, and a scary one at that, so the garage was our only choice.

Then the seizures returned. One right after another on a Thursday night. No subbing the following day. No second job the following weekend. The vet advised me to give him another dose of his meds which ceases the seizures.

The next evening he had one every couple of hours. By the time the third one occurred, the youngest L was already out for the night at 9 in the evening. There was no one I could call to watch the kids while I drove the dog to the 24-hour animal hospital. They would not let me “drop off the dog” while the kids were in the car and I don’t dare leave them alone in the house or in the car.

So I watched Buddy pace and pace the perimeter of the house. His mind wouldn’t rest, couldn’t rest. He looked around as if he were paranoid, hearing voices, confused. Every couple of hours he would have a seizure followed by complete loss of bodily fluids. There was no pattern to the click click click of his claws over the wood laminate floors all night.

I went through three rolls of paper towels, countless washcloths, a bath towel, and a bottle of eco-friend pet stain cleaner.

Buddy was gone for a couple of days and I was exhausted. The kids kept asking, “When is Buddy going to be better?” The middle one cried every time she realized he was gone. Buddy was their real life Pillow Pet after all.

I was so exhausted that I contemplated life without him if we had to put him down. I was unrecognizable to him and as my husband said, I am “Buddy’s person.” How could I even think that?

I was a bundle of nerves, without any real sleep for two nights in a row. I’ve experienced a lot of stress in my life and no matter what it may be, it feels the same. Stress to me is like hot weather. I don’t care if it’s an uncomfortable 90 degrees or 115 degrees– it’s still effing hot!

Likewise with stress. It could be me being late with a utility bill or getting a phone call saying that Buddy bit an animal hospital employee and they called animal control. It’s still effing stressful!

The latter actually happened and the stress cycle began again. Did I remember to get Buddy his annual rabies shots? If I didn’t, was I going to jail? Would I get fined? Would I get a phone call to explain to my pastor why I was in the slammer and not teaching Kinderchurch?

Thankfully Buddy was current on his shots and I celebrated with a brownie. I wasn’t going to jail. I wasn’t going to get fined. The dog didn’t have rabies. No one at the animal hospital got rabies from my dog.

My husband R said he wished he was here to help me while I took care of the dog. I wish he was here too.

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Puppy Love and Puppy Updates

You may have been wondering how our big dog Buddy was doing since his awful week of seizures. He’s been home for several weeks and appears to be fine.

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The kids were really worried about him. He is their baby, their guard dog, their protector during movie nights in the living room. Sometimes I think they’re all part of one combined kid-dog pack.

“When will Buddy be the same?”

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The first few days he was home, Buddy ran into walls, dragged his feet, and sat on the couch looking quite pathetic with blank stare. Only recently has he started to sound like Chewbacca again.

When he fights with the little dog, he growls like Chewbacca.

Now he even barks at the neighbors’ cars.

I still worry about the dog though. Sometimes I’ll come down the stairs and question his sleeping position as if he’d just had a seizure.

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Had it not been for the dog, I would still be going on and on (in my head, of course) about how we needed to buy more stuff for more people.

I’m just weird like that.

Oh no, what is soandso getting for us? Why is soandso getting us something even bigger this year? We’ll never be able to top soandso’s present!

Logically I know I shouldn’t think that. But the rush and anxiety translate to insecurity and a slight worthlessness not to mention unnecessary comparisons that were usually soothed in previous years by a quick trip to the mall, yet still feeling inadequate for lack of time and money spent in these gifts.

Until this year.

Until the big dog got sick.

Until hundreds of dollars later, I was forced to say NO.

STOP. Stop with the spending. Stop identifying my self-worth with the gifts under the tree.

I have. I’m about 95% there. Really.

A tearful blessing in disguise, a costly but necessary reminder that love doesn’t come from a store but rather in knowing that giant ball of fur who will defend your house and family like none other is acting like himself again.

By the way, someone else in our house says hi.

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The Canine Complexity, Part 2

Remember this guy?

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He had a seizure late Tuesday night and I brought him to the animal hospital. I was told he could have had a number of issues, some of which involved:

* Possible poisoning (Nope. We have very few toxins which are kept above the washer and dryer and also under the kitchen sink. We have bug spray in the garage but they’re in spray form. We don’t have rat poison; we have cats.)
* Brain tumor (Can’t rule that out but don’t have several grand laying around.)
* Possible epilepsy

We were sent home and given the warning of no more than three seizures in a 24-hour period (Holy moly! No more seizures!) or any seizure that lasted more than five minutes. How would I be able to carry a 70-lb dog having an awful seizure into my car by myself?

I told the kids about what happened to Buddy, about how Uncle J had come over in the middle of the night to stay with them while the slept, about what a seizure would look like and what they should do in case of one.

They needed to go upstairs as soon as possilbe and close the gate. I did not want them anywhere near the dog during the seizure because I knew they would try to comfort him and Buddy might accidentally bite them. I did not want them anywhere near the dog after the seizure because who knows what Buddy would be like when he was recovering from his seizure.

Everything was fine until later that evening.

We were watching a Christmas movie when I noticed Buddy started looking around the room frantically. He got up off the couch where he was sitting next to me and walked toward the front door.

He started to have a seizure. I told the kids to run upstairs and heard the middle daughter burst into tears.

I talked Buddy through the seizure and he recovered, taking less time than the night before. I called the vet and they said to bring him in.

I called my brother once again and right before he arrived, Buddy started acting weird again and had another seizure.

I rushed him to the vet and they said his vitals were fine. They gave me some medicine to administer when I got home.

I did and don’t ask me why I did this but I put him in his crate. I thought he needed time to himself, time away from the little dog.

Then he had his fourth seizure. I was hysterical. His teeth were wrapped around the bars of his crate. He was crying. I called the vet and cried.

“I think I killed my dog!” I shouted. No sooner than I said that that Buddy recovered.

“You didn’t kill your dog,” they said. “But bring him in now.”

I did and they said they’d keep for two nights for observation because it was after midnight. They would count it in terms of fees as one night, thank goodness. They would monitor his seizures and stabilize him.

As I left the building I heard a dog cry and I knew it was him.

Later that morning they called to say he had a seizure immediately after I left. They gave him an injection and he had another seizure after that.

I called my husband to apologize for having so many pets, for Buddy’s bills. I couldn’t understand what was wrong with our dog. If he had that many seizures, wasn’t there something wrong with him? Even more than the possibility of epilepsy? Could he have a brain tumor or hemmoraging, something we couldn’t afford to find?

I had pets because they somehow healed me. I couldn’t understand why I had to heal them. I was already allowing my mind to think about the possibility of having to make the painful decision of euthanizing the dog.

Then my husband, who hates the cats (because they throw up everywhere) and disliked Buddy when he was a puppy (because he tore up the carpet), said, “Maybe it will pass. Maybe it’s just temporary. Maybe he’ll get better.”

That’s love right there.

Someone who loves you, and even though he hates the pets, will still have hope that these furballs will stay alive and healthy for a very long time just to see you happy. Someone who says after every pet, “NO MORE PETS” but still agrees to a puppy for the kids and a long-term puppy-sitting-job-for-family-turned-permanent chihuahua each time.

Just when I thought the worst of this situation, my husband helps me see hope and optimism, never contemplating the worst and never even hinting at the possibillity of putting the dog to sleep.

I continue to give the dog medicine twice a day which he happily ingests with a tablespoon of peanut butter each time. The dog has an appointment to check his levels of something or other to make sure his treatment is ont he right track. His seizures won’t stop completely but eventually they hope to have them down to only one a month.

I hope for good news for The Canine Complexity, Part 3.

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M fell asleep early for the first time in a few days. The boy was so upset, didn’t feel like eating, and didn’t even want to talk to Daddy on the phone! Both dog and boy are much better now.