The Gift

When it comes to old dogs, our wise friend G says, “Every good day is a gift to be savoured.” Ain’t that the truth. So I’ve adopted this as my mantra, as has T. It doesn’t mean I won’t have bad days, I’ve had a few this past week, but it does put the focus on the good ones, which are currently holding their own in terms of numbers.

Wise G on our most recent camping trip. And he cooks!

Last week I told you about my scheduled visit to the vet for my triad of troubles. Sadly, it wasn’t one of my good days, so she saw me at my most dish-raggy. That’s what T says I’m like on the bad days, a dishrag, lying there all limp. The vet listened to T’s descriptions of my troubles before examining me, and before we could even talk about solving the triad, she’d added one more. We already knew I had a heart murmur, but apparently my pulse is weak. It doesn’t really surprise me, since my stamina has been fading even on my good days.

The other bad news is that there’s no magic pill or combination of pills that will ease my afflictions. The main drug to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a steroid, which comes with a laundry list of likely and possible side effects, the most common one being excessive thirst and restlessness. The extra thirst means extra water consumption and the corresponding restlessness and need to go outside. I feel like I have enough of that already and none of us relish the idea of repeated trips outdoors through the night, or the day for that matter. The bottom line, the doctor does not want to put me on steroids.

I prefer to be the opposite of restless.

Instead, she prescribed a probiotic and weekly Vitamin B12 injections. They might help or they might not, but both are fairly benign when it comes to possible side effects. The B12 is kind of a funny one. Usually we dogs get plenty of this vitamin in our meat-based diet, but the IBD keeps the B12 from passing through the intestinal wall to the rest of my body. And then the deficiency of B12 contributes to the IBD symptoms like diarrhea and weight loss. A vicious circle. I had my second jab this morning and I’m hoping for good things.

Hangin’ at the vet.

As they told us before, the tumor on my leg is untreatable, but is only a threat if it starts to cut off blood flow to the bottom of my leg or cause me pain. So we just need to watch for any swelling of my foot and I’ll let them know if it starts to hurt.

There are drugs for my spinal arthritis, but most of them are likely to cause digestive upset, like I need any more of that. There is one possibility, but the vet wants to see about getting my digestion under control before trying it. Makes sense.

Savouring a nap on my new-to-me blanket from S.

The most recent addition to my now tetrad of troubles, is the weakening heart. T said it’s weak because I just loved too much. Sweet of her to say, but I think I might have taken a year or two off the ticker with my never-give-up rabbit chasing back in my younger days. Oh, how I loved to chase, no matter how futile. Logan would take half a dozen strides before peeling off, leaving me to my chase.

Savouring an evening walk at the end of one of the good days.

So, with B12 and probiotic in our arsenal, we soldier on, and continue to cherish these oh-so-precious good days (I’m having one today). May they continue to outnumber the bad.

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