vet

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I’m not sure* who had the bright idea to schedule a vet appointment at 9 a.m. on the Monday morning leading up to a short holiday week, but, I’m the first to admit that really, that’s just asking for trouble. Still, I woke up plenty early, giving myself and Rudi** plenty of time to get ready and out the door long before we were due at the vet’s office. I even managed to trick Hollie into staying in the bedroom with Jared so she wouldn’t bark when we left. Basically, I nailed it.

As I pulled out of the neighborhood, patting myself on the back because I’d even left myself enough time to stop and get coffee, I heard a weird thump thump thump noise coming from the back of the car***. I pulled over and put on my hazards and proceeded to look under the car. You know, like I would know if something was off.

(Here’s where I should say that, while I don’t consider myself particularly girly — I’m not afraid of spiders or big bugs and I don’t think anybody would call me a delicate flower when it comes to my workouts — I … don’t do car stuff. I mean, I HATE doing the whole throw-my-hands-in-the-air-and-call-for-a-big-strong-man thing, but cars intimidate me. There’s a lot of stuff that can go wrong and since I don’t understand it well, I generally prefer to let someone who knows what’s going on step in.)

So, I look under the car and don’t see anything, so I think, “Hey, maybe something was stuck under there, like a bottle from someone’s recycling or something, and it dislodged when I stopped.” And at this point, I was running out of time to stop for coffee, so I hopped back in my car and headed toward the vet’s office, bummed that I won’t have time to stop for coffee now but glad we’ll still be able to get there on time. Because, you think the idea of something being wrong with my car stresses me out? Not compared to the horror of being late. *shudder*

A few miles later, just on the other side of the halfway point, I hear the noise again — maybe even louder. THUMP THUMP THUMP. So I pull into a neighborhood, and, yes, call my big strong man.

Me: The car is making weird thumping noises.

Jared: Have you checked the tires?

Me: To … see if they’re still there? Um, they’re there, for sure …

Jared: *sigh*

Me: And also I don’t have a flat! Is that what you meant? That’s what you meant.

We decide I should keep driving, albeit slowly (I only heard the noise when I went over 35 mph) to the vet, and Jared would meet me there and see what he could figure out.

I arrived with no further incident (unless you call driving 35 mph down the road an incident, which I’m inclined to do), stopped the car and walked around to let Rudi out. And that’s when I saw the problem: A plastic bag on with some leftover veggie dogs in it, stuck underneath the roof rack.

Jared and I had gone to a pool party the day before, and we’d grabbed the leftover veggie dogs because, well, most people aren’t all that into them, and who am I to waste veggie dogs? I would be a fool to do so!

Not sure who tucked them up there coughJaredcough, but considering what I was CERTAIN I was going to have to spend to get my car fixed, you can imagine how happy I was to see that the only problem my car had was some leftover veggie dogs on the roof.

(Shame to waste them, still, but far better than what I would’ve had to pay to get something fixed. And far less embarrassing than taking it in and having them present me with a bill alongside my leftovers, right?)

Rudi dog

All was well at the vet, if you don’t count the fecal sample extraction. (Rudi totally counts it.)

And, for those of you wondering, Rudi was totally fine — just an annual appointment, and she was a very good girl who made everyone fall in love with her and give her treats.

*Fine, I know exactly who it was. Me. Damn you, Past Kristen.

**If taking one dog to the vet equals 1 unit of craziness, taking two dogs at the same time is some sort of equation with an exponential nature of the like that I can’t even fathom because I didn’t pay attention in algebra (except for FOIL — that, I remember), but let’s just say it’s waaaaaay more than 2x the crazy. So, unless I have an army to back me up, it’s one animal per visit.

***Yesterday — literally, yesterday – I was thinking about how happy I was that my car, even though it’s a few years old, was holding up fairly well. So basically this was all my fault.

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In case you didn’t already hear all about it on Facebook or Twitter, we had a bit of a scare last week when Rudi got into some people meds and went into renal failure.

I’m not going to make you wait for the outcome — she’s doing great and has a real chance at a full recovery. You know, after a week in the UF Small Animal ICU. A week in which she made every doctor and student working with her fall madly, deeply in love with her, of course, but a week in the doggie hospital nonetheless.

Home and happy as a, well, a dog rolling in the grass on a sunny day, I guess.

She had maybe a 50/50 shot going in, and when we walked in with her, I did my best to accept the fact that we very well might not get her back. I believe this acceptance may have come out as me yelling at the doctors, “This SUCKS! This super, super SUCKS!” in between my hysterical sobbing and nose blowing and crying into my sick dog’s coat, but, you know, we do the best we can do in those situations, right?

Fortunately, her numbers began improving fairly quickly after admitting her, and though it took days before I allowed myself even a glimmer of hope that she’d be able to come home, let alone have the possibility of leading a normal doggie life, I did a lot of thinking. I mean, I really am a believer in many things happening for a reason, and considering how this was extra painful for us because Yuki’s death still feels so recent (even though, yes, it’s been close to three years now), and I just can’t believe that this would happen without the universe having some reason.

Don’t ask me why, but I really felt like I was supposed to learn some lesson (other than “if it’s not 6 feet in the air and locked behind a steel wall, dogs, even if they’re well-behaved and never get into anything anymore, can get to it”). And somewhere between her bloodwork showing numbers that were frighteningly high and showing numbers that were sparkling with promise, it hit me — I’ve completely taken her for granted.

I’ve taken her presence for granted. Hollie’s too, for that matter. And I’ve definitely taken for granted the effect she has on people. I mean you should have seen the way the veterinarians and students and staff lit up when they saw her. And if she can do that while fighting for her life in a place where people are rushing from one emergency to the next, what else could she do? She’s always had a way of making people smile — she’s a silly, floppity, sweet girl, and people take to her instantly. Why am I keeping that all to myself?

So, now that things are looking up — she’s home, her numbers are practically back to normal (and likely will be within the next week) — I’ve decided that I’m going to work hard to share her. I’m going to really focus on training both dogs well so that we can take them more places. Jared and I used to take Yuki everywhere; it was easy because we just had her and she was so sweet to everyone, but once we got Rudi, we backed off because, well, I was lazy and it was more difficult. No more. We’re going to have two dogs who walk well on leash and politely sniff other dogs without going batshit crazy. That’s the first order of business.

Second? Once she’s properly trained, I’m getting Rudi, and maybe Hollie, too, certified as a therapy dog. I want to take her into nursing homes and hospitals, and take her to schools and libraries so she can help children learn to read aloud. If I’m getting a second chance at having her in my life, you can be damn sure I’m going to use that second chance to make a difference.

And I won’t lie — I’m also giving myself permission to take a break during the day to just sit with the dogs and get in some snuggles. I swear it’s good for the soul, and I know they enjoy it. And you know what? I’m giving you permission, too. To snuggle with your own pets, I mean, not mine. Although, I mean, if you really want to, I guess you could cuddle my dogs, too. See? I’m a sharer!

Final thought, for my Gainesville and surrounding area folks — I cannot recommend UF’s emergency animal care enough. The doctors we worked with were absolutely incredible, the facility is amazing, and, in the case of an animal facing renal issues, there’s the ability to do dialysis plus one of the best kidney specialists in the country. Rudi loved everyone there to the point of being excited when we returned for her check up. While she always wanted to go with us at first when we visited her during her stay, she was also happy to go with the doctor or student who took her back, which let me know that she was being loved and treated well when I wasn’t around. And we were treated well, also — everyone was so kind and informative and understanding. Special shout outs to Dr. Bandt, Dr. Genovese and Katie, who made this terrifically difficult time a little easier on allĀ  of us (and earned a friend for life in one special black dog).

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It’s been a tough month or so around here for Meeko as many of you know from Facebook (if we’re not FB friends and you’d like to be, just shoot me a message on there telling me how we know each other and I’ll accept). Between thyroid issues, kidney problems, bad potassium numbers, refusing to eat and serious dehydration, we were scared. She spent a partial and a full day at the vet getting fluids, came home with a catheter for us to flush, was force fed more times than any of us care to remember, but … she’s better. Not perfect, not totally out of the woods, but she’s eating and drinking and knocking shit off my desk again.

I couldn’t be happier about that, to be honest. But, to get her (and keep her) there, we’re having to do some doctoring. We’re giving her subq fluids, which, let me tell you, is no treat for anybody — in fact, while Jared’s out of town, I’m having someone come over to help me, but we only need to do it once every other day, so no biggie. And she’s got meds to take, which isn’t a big deal when she eats them in pill pockets (which, YOU GUYS — this is the most genius thing EVER). She was refusing for a while, but she ate one tonight and I’m hopeful (SO hopeful) that this continues, because have you ever forced a cat to take a pill? Yeah.

All along, we’ve made a point to keep reminding ourselves that we don’t want to put her through anything more than is necessary — her quality of life is the biggest concern, and she is 14, after all. But man, now that her eyes have a little sparkle back in them and she’s yowling at me for food, I’m beyond relieved that she seems to be pulling through.

Squeamish as I was when I was a kid, who would’ve ever thought I’d be able to put a needle in my cat and give her fluids (although J has done it far more than I have)? It’s amazing what you can do when you need to, you know? And it’s been quite the education, which is nice since the only other education I’ve really been getting lately is learning about real estate in other countries by watching House Hunters International. Which is also important.

Anyway, Jared and I (and Meeko, too) are really thankful for all the kind words and messages we’ve gotten regarding our kitty’s health. Now, if y’all could start praying for fewer vet visits, Meeko and my bank account will be really, really grateful. Like, really.

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Hollie dogPart of the reason we adopted Hollie is because we knew she would need special care. She walks a little funny, sits to one side, her hips click with every step, and the vet who saw her before her we adopted her said she would need surgery; the only question was when.

When we took her to our vet (the same one who cried with us over Yuki), she had better news — Hollie’s hips aren’t as bad as we originally thought! Her right back hip has some degenerative disease, as does her left back knee, but our vet feels strongly that we’ll be able to manage it with supplements and pain meds, when necessary.

The other good news — our vet didn’t discourage us from letting her play. She’s taken in dogs with severe joint issues, and her feeling was that, if they’re feeling alright now, let them play and enjoy it. Of course, watch her and monitor her play, and don’t let her get too rough or crazy, but if we wanted to take her to the dog park or something, it probably wouldn’t be any more problematic than letting her play in the back yard.

And then, I exhaled.

You guys wouldn’t believe how happy that made me. I mean, sure, it doesn’t mean she’s okay, exactly, but it took away the nagging guilt I had about letting her play with Rudi and her other doggie friends.

And then she got hurt.

She’s okay, really, but after playing with a friend’s dog, she came home limping. She wouldn’t put any weight on her right back foot, and was crying in pain when she’d try to lay on it or get up. My heart split into a thousand sharp pieces, all of which landed in my gut. This went on for a couple of days, after which she went right back to normal. Until she played too hard the next week and did it again. (The limping only lasted one evening the second time, though.)

We know she’s a bit of a drama queen (our vet confirmed it), and I have no doubt that she knows I’ll come running whenever she cries. I’m positive some of her actions are because she’s milking it. That being said, I also have no doubt that it really does hurt — she wouldn’t whimper in the middle of the night when she doesn’t know I’m awake if it wasn’t real.

hollie dog bed

I’m so torn — when she plays, she’s just like a normal, completely healthy dog, and most of the time she’s fine after she plays. It’s just those occasional times that the playing causes her to hurt so much… Do I cut back her fun puppy play time, knowing that at some point, she might not be able to play at all, or do I let her go for it and do what I can to help her deal with the hurt when it occurs?

My gut (now, mercifully free of those sharp pieces of my heart) says to let her play. Of course that’s what it says right now, when she’s tearing around the house like someone put crack in her kibble. What would you do?

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Honestly, do I ever talk about anything but my dogs? Sheesh.

Anyway, since I’ve been spending hours and hours and millions of dollars at the vet’s office lately (oh, yeah, Rudi developed a really expensive UTI after we started treating the worms, with perfect timing to keep me from going to my Hip Hop class. The word you’re looking for is … Awesome), I thought I would ask them about something for Yuki, who has developed a phobia of rain and thunderstorms. And, we have a skylight in the living room/dining room/kitchen, which makes the rain SUPER loud.

She’s normally a pretty chill pooch, but the minute the rain starts, she starts trembling and trying to crawl down my throat, I guess because it’s obviously safer in there than outside of me. She’ll settle for climbing on the couch and trying to wriggle herself between me and the cushions, which is super comfortable for everyone involved.

So, I mentioned it to the vet, and she prescribed Yuki Doggy Xanax. Last night there were a few rumblings of thunder, so we gave her (half) a pill, and … the storm never materialized. Then, today, the rain started coming down, I once again drugged the dog, and … it stopped. WTF? Why can’t I get a storm when I want one?

The good news is that she did calm down, although I have no idea if it was due to the Xanax or to the fact that what she was scared of went away.

So, in case that bored the hell out of you, let me pass along something one of my fellow StyleDashers shared with us today about SHOES. (Mom, Dad, you don’t want to watch it. Trust me.)

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