Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Noodle, Jake, Buck, Sweetie, my hero dog ... bringing his two sticks ashore

At 2:30 yesterday afternoon, after a rather explosive episode of diarrhea, I called the vet, the new vet, and made an appointment for 3:30 for me and the boy and his stool sample. I had planned to take them to the beach (Winnie & he) around 3pm anyway so we left a little early. I threw a few sticks into the icy ocean for Jake, we needed to clean his nether areas up a bit and I had been having no luck a la sponge bath method. Cold schmold as far as he was concerned and it was a milder day yesterday. Today the forecast is for +14 and rain so I'll make sure we go again to the beach in the afternoon and we'll throw some sticks for my boy. He loves it so. Honestly it's like giving him a pep pill, he gallops out of the water, bucking and wriggling like a little red stallion, a big huge grin on his face.

The whole vet experience was fine (fine -the word you use when it wasn't really bad but it wasn't really good either), he's fine (we think), no terrible news, blood work yet to come back and stool sample yet to be checked - but his examination was fine. For a 13 year old dog (Dec 04 his birthday) he's amazing, people can't believe it - how trim, how muscular, how alert & bright, except for his faded muzzle, you'd never know how senior he really is. He had blood taken from his jugular vein, his temperature taken, felt and squeezed, mouth forced open to check his beautiful teeth and healthy pink gums and he sat through it all with the most relaxed and gentle demeanor - they always comment on that as well, he's just a big chilled out lug, he's an incredible dog, my noodle.

The vet visit wasn't good because it was chaotic, it's a brand new vet, their facility is not ready yet and they're working out of a small trailer. She Dr. Hunter, seemed very nice, kind and caring but a little frazzled, a little all over the place, and not instilling in me the utmost in confidence. We were there for two hours, most of it spent in a teeny tiny makeshift reception area, where the heat was turned up too high and I was forced to make too much small talk all the while inside my head I'm just praying, that my boy is OK. Yeah, yeah yada yada yada ...please god let him live as many years as possible, Em was headed toward 16 years and, of course, I'm hoping and praying for that again.

If this had been an appointment for Gus or Oliver, a young animal, and say for something run of the mill, like ear mites, I would have felt that the visit to this new vet was perfectly OK. But ... this was a trip with my 13 year old soul mate dog and I wanted to feel like I was at the Mayo Clinic, I wanted the best, state of the art everything. I'm not convinced that, for him anyway, I will switch from the previous vet where I did have a much more Mayo clinic experience, simply because they've been doing it for years and years. He came home with a week's worth of antibiotics and test results hopefully by Friday. Carol, aunt and legal guardian to my dogs, and practically a vet herself, suggested on the phone last night that perhaps he had switched from his hypothyroidism (which he's had for years) to hyperthyroidism (not an uncommon occurrence). I think she's bang on, after googling til the cows come home, I've discovered that he has every single symptom of a hyperthyroid dog (and diarrhea being one of them). That means a simple switch in medication to Tapazole and blood work a couple of times a year.

I still feel upset, that bubbly gnawing feeling in my stomach, that catch in my throat. Jake is 13, we're on borrowed time now and I am very lucky that he's as healthy as he is. It's reminded me, yet again, that their lives are far too short, that heartache and grief are unavoidable, and the line is SO fine between living in the present moment and trying to prepare yourself for the inevitable.


  1. Sending all the good energy we can from Bugsy and me that Jake's troubles are easily relieved.

  2. awww Susan.... sending you and Jake a big hug from cold and snowy Calgary....

    You & Carol probably have discovered the problem...

    is your other vet still around? I would just march right on over to her .... feel comfortable with all of this. You guys deserve the Mayo! You have worked diligently at keeping your boy in great health!


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