What is love?

This is the face of my 12-year-old puppy, Mr. Pickles, taken right before he darted after a tennis ball, into a roiling doggie mosh pit at the local bark park.


He came up with a bit of a limp – and two tennis balls in his mouth - so we cut the Friday afternoon session short, hopped back in the jeep and headed for home.  He was still limping through the weekend, so i took him to see the Dog Doc on Monday.

News wasn’t great, but could have been worse:  partial tear of the ligament, or a severe sprain.  No surgery required, unless it got worse.  Anti-inflammatory meds, and minimal activity prescribed for the next several weeks.

Try explaining that “minimal activity” thing to a dog that takes great pleasure in the art of the “Sproing”.  His preferred method to get in bed?  A running start and a flying leap.  With the bad wheel, he was simply doing it on his three good legs.

Some improvement through the week, so i left on my planned weekend trip, leaving my critters in the capable hands of my live-in pet-sitter. While i was out-of-town, Mr. P took up the art of splatter paint – from both ends of his body.  Pet Sitter filled me in on the details, and i made another appointment with the Dog Doc.

Worse news this time.  Mr. P is one of the rare dogs that do not tolerate those specific types of anti-inflammatory meds.  Through a series of diagnostic steps, ruling out worse things, we learned that his liver had suffered severe damage.  A rough road ahead.

This is the face of my 12-year-old puppy, Mr. Pickles, as we drove home from the vet that day, with the news that he was, in fact, a very, very sick puppy.

That was almost a week ago.  i’m happy to report that he’s doing well.  As a woman who rarely cooks, i boiled chicken and steamed rice for him.  Getting him eating again was a challenge, so we started with a few bites at a time.  Hand feeding him to keep him from gulping.  Burying pills in chicken and cheese.  Tracking every change in his excretions like a human spectrometer.

The Boy came home this week for a short stay, and was watching me slowly hand feed the brown dog a viscous glop of bland chicken and rice.

daisyfae:  Watch carefully.  You might have to do this for me someday.

The Boy:  I’ll be contracting that shit out.  Ship you off to Turkey, or wherever The Girl is living at the time.

It’s nice to have him home.  Really.

The healing process for my dog is going to take some time.  And i’ve already made a mortgage payment to the veterinary clinic for the care, diagnostics and medications.  So far…

But this is the face of my 12-year-old puppy, Mr. Pickles, as we settled down for bed last night.

We are a pack of two.

26 thoughts on “What is love?

    • i’ve been on edge for the past week! wouldn’t have been able to post this if i weren’t pretty optimistic that he’s going to get this behind him. and yes… secret is out. when it comes to critters at least, i’m a big ol’ squishy mess… especially this critter…

    • we take turns hogging the bed… when i have a ‘thrash’ night, i’ll wake up in the middle of the bed, with him sleeping on the dog bed beside me on the floor. when he has a ‘thrash’ night? i’m curled up around the headboard, and he’s sprawled in the middle of a queen-sized bed…

  1. Oh, Mr. Pickles… I’m so glad he’s doing better. I know what that’s like, obsessively observing every move your pet makes when they’re sick. It’s a good thing the liver can repair itself to some extent, so here’s hoping that Mr. P will be feeling much better very very soon. Hugs to you both!

    • for the first couple days? i watched him sleep. woke up to see if he was still breathing. kept a hand, or foot, on him at night to keep track of him. feeling a little less freaked out. the liver is amazing! thank got it regenerates. for him, AND me…

    • What is love? In my world love has fur. And starts on four legs, though age and accidents can change that.
      What is love – you knew as you posed the question that you have just as much love as you give.

      • that old saying – “i wish i was the person my dog thinks i am” – comes to mind. i have always had a four-legged companion in my life, and my life is better for it. this animal, however, has been along for the best, and darkest, days of my 50 years… and has the temperment of an angel. He eats poo, though. But i can put up with that. He puts up with my quirks…

    • He is a better creature than any human i’ve ever met. Has horrible breath, eats turds, and is a perpetual tripping hazard. i have never loved an animal the way i love this dog…

      writing? remember, dear, i’m a blogger, not a writer. huge difference in my mind… but thanks. it’s working. for now, anyway.

  2. I think it rather sucks when they get old. I have a dog about that age right now. She hurt her rear leg a couple of weeks ago. I’m not sure how. When I came home, she didn’t perform her usually bouncy routine and instead just lay there on the carpet near the door waging her tail. When she finally got up, I discovered she was limping and her rear right leg was trembling. I have no idea what she did, but I assume she pulled a muscle somehow, probably running up the stairs. We live in a two story house, and she’s been having more and more trouble coming up to the bedrooms at night. She’s super-hairy, having some Bernese mixed in somewhere along the line (she’s mostly black and brown but has white tips and a tiny spot of white on her chest). Recently, though, she’s been getting better. She’s still slower than normal though. I hope the leg will heal soon. It’s a bummer watching her get slow. I wonder how long she’ll last. Maybe another year or two.

    • the hardest part about having pets is that we outlive them. when dogs get old (especially bigger doggies), there is apparently a lot of risk for torn ACLs. i didn’t know that until a few weeks ago. if your pup is getting better, and can put any weight on the leg at all? she’s probably on the mend already… my doc said the leg injury would take at least 6 weeks to heal, and to just keep him on limited activity until then. easier said than done when he still wants to chase the cat around the house….

    • thanks. i’m lucky to have him… just that constant companion. puts up with my shit, doesn’t bitch when i don’t shave my legs, and is just as glad to see me when i come in from the mailbox, as when i’ve returned from a 2 week vacation…

    • Thanks, Quirky! Didn’t know you were still tracking! Will pass along good vibes to Mr. P. And i’m hoping you work through those tough ‘empty nest’ issues. When my nest emptied? That’s one of the reasons i started blogging… Hoping you find the new footing you’re looking for!

  3. Ah, pets. They’ll break our hearts, but what would we do (or be) without them? Liked your comment to your son about paying attention for your future care. Maybe we’re lucky that the polar ice caps are melting. Means they can’t put us out on an ice floe and set us adrift.

    Speedy recovery, Mr. P.! You have the best nurse/mom anyone could ask for.

    • i can’t imagine life without my little critters… they are my constant companions, and i owe them much! i’m still hand-feeding the big brown pup, but his bloodwork has shown great improvement in his liver function. fingers crossed that he’s fully recovered soon!

    • MUCH improved! going to go back to Dog Doc this week or next for another round of blood work to make sure his liver is back in order, but based on his appetite, his “sproing” and the quantity/quality of the doggie poo, i’m thinking he’s going to be ok! As am i….

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