Tuesday, June 10, 2003

I decided to post despite the fact that I'm a little hazy (and maybe slaphappy, too) from working late and my allergy medication. I've been feeling guilty because it seems like having people linking to your blog obligates you to post on a regular basis. Well, I haven't died. I've just been down with first a little post Wiscon cold (the ones who spread their love around know who they are) and then a sinus infection.

Probably more energy consuming than the colds has been our leaky dog, Burt. Burt is an old dog. The vet guessed that he was about three or four when I adopted him from the Minneapolis Animal Control Shelter where I was a volunteer. I've had him over eleven years now, and for a big dog, about 110 pounds, he's a very old man. He's been showing some small symptoms of problems since last fall when one of his liver enzymes was elevated. Because I've lost a couple of 10 and 12 year old dogs to cancer, every time we've brought him into the vet, I've been waiting to hear them say he has it. Alan and I think that part of the reason he's lived so long is we switched him to natural dog food around five years ago. (Gotta look out for butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). If you want to read something really disturbing, look at this .) Since fall, he's been tested for everything from Crohn's to thyroid disease and they haven't found anything. A couple weeks before Wiscon, he started having occasional accidents, especially when he was excited (like when he greeted poor Susan at the door and splashed her feet.) Medication seemed to have it under control but it got really bad the morning we were leaving for Madison. By then it was too late to make other arrangements. Our pet sitter (4 Paws in St. Paul) is a saint and we came home to find that she'd propped up our living room area rug trying to let it dry. The rug is now hanging over our deck and it's not coming back into the house. Does carpet make good mulch? I called the vet to go over the options again and really the only option left was to have an ultrasound or try the very expensive University of Minnesota. We tried the medication again to buy us some time while we decided what to do and it didn't do any good. We also tried diapers and ended up water proofing as much of the house as we could. I finally rigged up a customized doggy diaper that has limited our clean up a bit. All of this would be moot if he wasn't so healthy in every other way. He had a limp from fall to winter after we did an overly ambitious hike in one of the state parks. All of a sudden the limp and stiffness are gone. He isn't running into walls blind. He's always been a little neurotic (he is a rottweiler/shepherd/mutt mix after all) but he really hasn't gotten any worse over the years. So our choices are expensive or putting him to sleep. I know a lot of people would do it at this point, the accidents being enough of a reason. Believe me, if they'd said tumor or cancer, he might already be gone now, but they haven't. So, tomorrow we go in for an ultrasound. God knows what we're going to do if it doesn't find anything. It could still be something curable and that's what we're hoping for. He's had an x-ray so we know it isn't anything large, yet. Oh well, I guess that I feel like after he's been with me through a couple hard break-ups and two houses and an apartment (for a long time he was my only roommate), I'm not ready to let go. The cats and Alan aren't either. For a neutered male, he has been a very good dog to our three cats, and he has helped me wean and socialize six different feral kittens over the years. I just don't want to turn into one of those ladies that keeps a dog alive so much longer than she should out of sentimentality. Usually they have poodles, though, don't they?

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