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.