I have a dog. She's twelve years old. I adopted her when she was four at the Oregon Humane Society in Portland. She's a good dog. She's very laid back and behaves more like a big cat, except when presented with a leash. Then she looks like she jumps around like she's moshing at a Kiss concert. She's been with me through three jobs, two houses, three boyfriends, and has walked thousands of miles with me.
Once, late in our relationship, I said to the boyfriend, "I love you more than the dog." He said, incredulously, "Really?" I thought a little more about it, and replied, "No, not really."
So, when the dog gets sick, my world stops.
This morning, I was eating my breakfast toast when the dog stumbled into the kitchen
like she was drunk. Her legs were moving without any coordination, and she kept falling to the left. Her eyes weren't tracking. Her head was bobbing like a blind musician. I called the vet, and we headed for the car. She was alert enough to understand we were going somewhere, but she couldn't walk, so I carried her. She stumbled into the front seat of the truck and crash-landed against the steering wheel, which was funny even though I was a little panicked. My attempts to stay calm were interleaved with the assumption that the dog was going to die. All this, just three days after I'd reminded her of the "You cannot die when I'm in graduate school" speech.
Twenty minutes later, we both stumbled into the vet's office, with me trying to carry her, and
the dog trying to walk.
This is the same vet that diagnosed her heartworm when we first moved her, which helped me find some meaning to moving to this place. Her old Portland vet never tested her for heartworm. If we hadn't moved to GradShitTownVille, she wouldn't have been tested early, and she probably would have died.
After today's prompt examination, the vet said her condition is very likely explained by Vestibular Disease. It's basically "Old Dog Vertigo." This is caused either by an inner-ear or middle-ear infection (or a brain tumor). He is treating her with antibiotics, which may or may not help. What she needs now is to be still and quiet in a well lit room, and we'll hope for recovery in 7-10 days.
This dog is a true bad-ass. She's had cancer, knee surgery, heartworm, and currently has arthritis. All that, and she still leaps for joy when we go for a walk, but we probably won't be going for a walk for a few days. Nonetheless, we know how to handle these kinds of situtations. We'll get out the old ramp, create the towel pully system, and prepare for a little lower back pain (for me, not the dog). She's sleeping quietly on her favorite rug now, the same rug she always throws up on when she's sick. She gets up from time to time and tries to walk, stumbling to the left. She's still quite interested in petting and food.
I'm looking forward to an exciting weekend of vomiting and doing the odd little dance required for helping the dog outside to the bathroom. Right now, I crack up a little whenever she cocks her head to the left, and then I kind of cry a little.