Saturday, November 6, 2010

NaBloPoMo 6: By the skin of my teeth

I almost forgot that a post every day means every day.  Even on the weekends when I'm doing nothing and haven't touched my computer since yesterday.  And here it is, Saturday night, and I am blogging.

Wow, I am so cool.

Jason asked what I was going to blog about today and I told him that I have no idea.  "Give me a topic," I begged.  He blustered for a bit and then said "Arthritic dogs."

Um.  OK.

Our dogs turned 11 last month.  We've had them since they were 7 weeks old.  We've been told in the past that a typical lifespan for dogs of their size (they're considered a large breed since they're half Lab and half Bassett) is about 10-12 years.  Well, we're right in the middle of that.

They've really aged a lot in the last year, but Neitzsche (Jason named him) is getting the worst of it.  He's developed really severe arthritis in his hind left leg and has a lot of trouble walking now.  Caesar has had arthritis in his front right shoulder for years now but it's never really gotten bad--it's almost like he developed it and it's remained at that level since then.  It doesn't seem to affect him much at all.  On the other hand, Neitzsche really doesn't put weight on his leg at all if he can help it, which has raised issues for us about treating him.

There's really very little to be done.  He takes medication now but his liver isn't healthy enough for the typical anti-inflammatories, so we're doing what we can without the several-hundred-dollars-per-month meds that our vet recommended.  As much as we would like to be able to do everything like that, the sad reality is that we don't know if Jason will have a job come March and we're uncomfortable making the decision to spend hundreds or even more between now and then treating an 11-year old dog. 

We're also uncomfortable NOT making that decision.  The dogs have been our babies since less than 5 months after we got married.  I want to be able to say "Damn the cost, he'll have the best!" but the vet told me that she's not even sure they'll help him regain much function of that leg.  The treatment would require multiple injections a week.

I think back to when the dogs were puppies, small enough to run all over us.  When Neitzsche stole my bologna sandwich one day and then sat in front of the couch with it hanging out both sides of his mouth, acting as if he were saying, "What bologna sandwich?  I've never seen a bologna sandwich.  You should ask Caesar."  Watching them both chase the light from a laser pointer back and forth along the courtyard behind our first apartment each evening before we went to bed.  Their resigned acceptance every time we brought home orphaned puppies that we were fostering.  The curiosity they had when we brought Patrick home, and their complete nonchalance when we brought home Melkamu (who was terrified of them for all of about 24 hours).  The trainer at Pet.Smart who basically admitted that our dogs were some of the most stubborn she'd ever met--they know all of their commands but will only do them when they feel like it.  They've turned up their noses at treats many times simply because they just didn't feel like sitting at that moment.

And Neitzsche is sitting next to me on the couch right now, pushing on my lap desk so that I will move the computer and pet him.

Gotta go--there is a soft dog to pet, and I've just started to realize that won't last forever.


Anonymous said...

Gulp. Very moving and touching. I am not sure if you read the book Marley. (or is it Marley and Me? Something like that.) It's a very light and fast read BUT the closing reflections on the love for that dog was so moving and from reading this I suspect you would resonate with it. Be warned that I cried buckets and don't even have a fur baby right now.

In other news, I am so happy you are doing NaBloPoMo because I love reading your thoughts and news and reflections.

I like your response of having two children of your own and now expecting a third. People can be quick to dismiss terminology but it DOES convey a message and it can convey an attitude and it IS important. I encounter it a lot regarding race issues. I am sure you can guess which people group tends to dismiss which people groups as being too sensitive. It's frustrating. But some people DO learn and grow. Some people mean well but just DO.NOT.GET.IT. And some people are kinda icky and lost causes in some areas. And that is a big and giant bummer but that is kinda just reality and the latter group is not worth but so much emotional energy. Boundary drawing to protect self and loved ones. And, hey, why NOT hope for unity and respect toward all? But sometimes a sad head shake and just moving on is most functional way to proceed, I am finding. (and have heard said by some older and wiser than I and in the direct trenches all their lives)

Am rambly. Am overtired but am happy to read your post and internet is actually working reliably again these last few days, so am chatty while the chatting is good.

Best wishes to you and all three of your boys and the wee little morrey on his/her way.

I think of you often! So happy for a month of "hearing" your voice and seeing pics on those wordless Wednesdays!



I enjoyed your election coverage.

Anonymous said...

Sooooo, I did mention being tired, right? Guess I started a paragraph about your election writing and lost focus and didn't even type it in correct place (suffice it to say, I enjoyed your writing very much). I also have a subject verb agreement issue in the first paragraph. I think I need to rethink my new 'JUST POST IT WHILE INTERNET IS WORKING AND SET ASIDE THE REREAD AND EDIT BUSINESS LEST YOU LOSE THE CHANCE TO POST' policy. Because, yikes!