Thursday, January 20, 2011

Part 6

“Oh my. What did you do?” This was the greeting I received from our vet, the one that we had begun to see exclusively during Murph’s illness. He came around the corner with a big smile on his face, but shared with us that he was a little afraid when he saw our name on his schedule, thinking that the other dog was sick. He grabbed the puppy and laughed at her, marveling, like we had, how much she looked like Murphy.
We had learned a lot (through certainly not enough) about raising puppies in the years since we got Murph and I was dedicated to making sure that she was properly socialized. We went to puppy school and she was the star. Walking on lead, sits, downs, stays… she was smart and eager to please. She played with the other puppies but was reluctant to have strangers pet her. After she knew someone for a while, she would accept a treat, but was uncomfortable being handled. We went to Home Depot and Lowes a couple times a week, even when we didn’t need anything, just to get her out. She was a little on the shy side, but nothing for me to worry about. Most of the time the little cocker would walk alongside her and provide her with confidence. I exposed her to every possible environment that I could think of… well except a crate of course.
One issue that she had from the beginning, and still has today, was an unwillingness to eat. She was tall and lanky and old folks would tell me she had worms. But no matter what I bought for her, she would not eat. Pretty soon I was buying the most expensive dry food I could find, and then I was buying freeze-dried raw diet which I had to reconstitute with hot water. I tried gravies and pastes. I even replaced her food bowls (she did not like seeing herself in the shiny steel bowls-still doesn’t). I would write emails to the rescue group about her eating disorder and it wasn’t until I’d mentioned that I was now sitting on the floor with her and feeding her by hand that someone finally kicked me in the butt. “Knock it off” I think was the advice I got. “You are creating a monster. No healthy dog will starve themselves” and “pick up her bowl of food after 10 minutes… she will be hungry by the next meal.” It was one of the hardest things I had to do, but I did it. Ten minutes after I put the bowl down, I picked it up. Next meal, the same thing happened and I began to worry. But after missing two meals, she was happy to have a meal and while she didn’t “scarf” it down, she did eat it.
And so it went, eating fine for a few days and then skip a meal. One day, she skipped a meal and then a second meal. While this normally would not have concerned me, she just didn’t look well either. She was about six months old and we were accustomed to her crazy antics. One of her favorite “games” was to race through the living room and use the back of the sofa as a springboard to jump to the floor and continue racing. (Looking back, I can’t believe how I spoiled this dog) Anyway, she not only stopped eating, but stopped racing and jumping and her little face just looked sad. So we made a vet appointment for that day and drug her sad little face in. Our vet tried to reassure us that everything would be okay, but after the last year, I could not help but panic a little. “I’m sure it’s nothing big, but let’s snap an x-ray just to be sure” And he took my little baby with him while we waited. What seemed like an eternity went by when he returned, not with Maggie, but with an x-ray. He put it on the viewer and said “I have no idea what this is, but it looks like she ate something” Looking at the x-ray I saw a mechanical pencil that I had recently “lost.” And it didn’t take a radiologist to see that it looked bad for my little girl.

2 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh! A pencil? How on earth? I can imagine how horrified you were. Yikes :(

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