The boys were downstairs last night, goofing off in the basement guest room (which they’ve sort of colonized) when I heard Owen yelp, and then he came running upstairs on three legs, holding his left hind leg hitched up behind him. He jumped on the couch, and I felt all along his hip and knee and hock, looked at his pads, and nothing seemed to be overtly wrong so instead of panicking and calling the Vet’s 24-hour emergency number, I waited until morning.
This morning, he was still gimping around on three legs, so we didn’t go to the dog park, and when the vet said they couldn’t get us in until 2:00, I ran down to Bozeman to do a couple of errands. Driving back to town, I had an extended moment of terror — what if something was really wrong? What if I had to put my beloved puppy down? I could kind of deal with Patrick, but I don’t think I could deal with anything happening to Owen or Raymond … they’re dogs. They’ve been my rocks.
So, this afternoon, I took Owie to the vet who checked him out and thought maybe it was his ACL. He wanted to keep him, take some x-rays, sedate him a little to check out his joint mobility. His ACL? I go home imagining rehabbing my dog — and even more frightening, I realize I am the kind of person who would spend anything to fix my beloved dog. Of course, he’s only a year and a half old, and his chances of recovery would be really good, but still. I spent the afternoon trying not to panic. I don’t like surgery — for me, for dogs, for anyone I love.
So the vet finally calls. The x-rays look good — it doesnt’ look like he’s blown a ligament, there’s a small bone chip in his hock joint. Patrick had issues with bone chips in his ankle — he fell in a hole about three years ago, sprained the hell out of his ankle and being a guy who hated doctors, decided that simply tying his Ariat boot tight around the ankle, and buying a cane were appropriate treatment protocols. A year or so later, he was in Texas for a NASCAR race, and the track doc noticed him limping (the weather had gone cold and damp on them) and asked what the deal was — when Patrick told him, he said “here, look we’ve got an x-ray machine, let’s take a look.” Patrick hadn’t broken it, as he’d feared, but he had torn a lot of bone chips off with the ligaments — it was a mess in there. Owen only has one little bone chip floating around in his ankle, so we’re not going to do anything about it right now. The vet thinks that rest and anti-inflammatories will clear it up. If the weather stays nice, maybe some swimming in the river will help. That was the good news.
The bad news is that both dogs have LICE!
LICE! Who even knew that dogs got lice? Ticks, yes. Fleas, yes. Lice? The vet assures me they won’t move from dogs to people, which is good, but LICE? Ick. Owen got his first de-lousing bath at the vet — poor guy, he was all groggy from the drugs, and then they gave him a bath, and he came home just miserable. But the worst was yet to come — Raymond needed a bath in the special lice-killing soap as well. I only have a cast-iron tub, and there’s no hand-held shower thingy. Raymond is a dear, but very high-strung, so I got the vet to give me some doggy-tranquilizers. I gave Ray two of them, like the vet suggested (note to self, two is too many — poor guy was staggering), and when they kicked in, I picked him up and put him in the tub. I’d had to put a wet towel on the bottom of the tub so he wouldn’t slip — poor stoned guy — and then not just soap him up with the lice shampoo, but let it sit on him for TEN minutes.
So, now my house is redolent with the smell of sleepy wet dogs — wet dogs who luckily don’t need surgery, but who do need de-lousing once a week for the next few weeks. I am so grateful there’s nothing seriously wrong, but I’m trying very hard not to succumb to the psychosomatic itching …