Friday, March 1, 2013

Not Time To Say Goodbye

On this past New Year's Day, Chewy and I went out for our usual morning walk.  It was a beautiful winter day; the sky was cerulean blue and the temperature crisp but not too cold.  We enjoyed the twittering of the birds and the surreal quiet that only occurs on New Year's Day due to most people having the day off and staying at home. I optimistically made lists galore of all the resolutions that I might inaugurate.  My day was off to a good start! 

My mascot, Chewbacca
I left for a brunch and then returned home to find that Chewy could not use his back legs.  My happiness dissolved into despair and depression at what I imagined would be a dreadful decision to be made. It was tortuous to wait out the long day and night to see his doctor in the morning.  At our neighborhood Kingsbury Animal Hospital, Dr. Shaw advised that Chewy was suffering from geriatric disc displacement. He suggested a special harness, patience, and even acupuncture. I made an appointment at St. Louis Hills Veterinary for their earliest acupuncture opening.To my utter surprise and relief, Chewy began to get a little bit better day by day.

After a few days of rest, Chewy needed exercise to prevent muscle atrophy, but he was still dragging his feet a little and they needed to be protected.  I bought him some leather boots from Petsmart and with the fancy harness from Help 'Em Up (which enabled him to picked up like a suitcase), he was soon handsomely outfitted like a French mountain climber. 

At Chewy's first treatment, needles were inserted in his head, back, and hind legs.  Some of these were connected to a gizmo that looked like something you might tinker with in your basements back in the 50's to run a toy train. In addition to the acupuncture treatments, he was administered the ancient herbs of myrrh (for improving his circulation) and aconite (for pain relief).

There were also concerns about his right eye, which required a visit to a dog eye specialist. Turns out it was another 'old age' issue of corneal degeneration that happily was quickly arrested. A broken molar was discovered as well, that would have to be dealt with at a later time. Fortunately, he had no current skin allergy problems. This is a million dollar dog, if there ever was one!

Still a puppy at heart, Chewy took these traumas in stride and was soon back to treating himself to a good back scratch on a zosia lawn. Never mind the boots and harness; what was important was doing the things that dogs love most:  walking, sniffing, and scent marking at every opportunity.

Here he is on his baronial bed for Briards having an afternoon nap. He sleeps on an orthopedic foam mattress surrounded by damask pillows and fur throws. The white sheets are washed weekly because he has been prone to skin allergies. It's been a tough 2 months, but he is well on the road to recovery and his old self.  I've had Chewy for a long 15 years, and treasure each and every day. What a relief to have this reprieve and not have to say goodbye just yet!