Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Old Dog Lives

So, I took our ancient incontinent terrier, Under Dog, to the vet yesterday.  (I know I wrote that his appointment was Thursday.  It was Wednesday.  At least I showed up on the correct day.)  I detailed all his symptoms--the insomnia, the barking, the weird erratic cough, the anxiety, the vagueness, and, not the least, the constant peeing wherever, whenever.  (Current score:  Under Dog 6, puppy pads 0).  The vet, whom I've known so long I feel like he's an old friend, said, "You're describing several things that could be wrong."

We drew blood, did x-rays, and tested him for diabetes, which he doesn't have.  The bloodwork comes back Friday: we're most concerned about kidney failure.  The x-ray showed clear lungs, no large masses, and a heart the size of a baseball, which is about twice the size this 20-pound dog should have.  He also has a heart murmur now.

I brought him home with two prescriptions to help his fluid retention, and, therefore, his heart.  They'll make him pee more.  The vet said the house training breakdown was likely the result of doggy dementia, and I was just going to have to live with it.

I saw that they make diapers for dogs.  I might start living with those instead.

Meanwhile, I brought him home, and he sacked out on the couch as though he'd had the longest day ever.  He's not a horrible dog, not in that interesting/awful sort of way I could turn into a bestseller (see: Marley and Me).  Nor is he a heroic dog (see: Lassie).  He's an ordinary little mutt who happened to become the dog of my children's childhoods, the one who shows up in our pictures at Christmas, looking a little dazed by the lights on the tree.  The one that greeted them when they got home from every day of elementary school and every day of middle school and, for my son, every day of high school too.  I don't believe in keeping animals alive when they need to be released from their misery, but I don't think Under's miserable, not yet, and I'm glad.  He's not a great dog, but we still want him here.