Meet Dodger . . . yes . . . my closest peeps have heard all about his "9th life".
We got Dodger in February of 2003. We had just said good bye to our first Boston Terrier Pepper after 13 years of growing up with our kids. Pepper will always hold the spot in the family as our "first" dog and the one that rode the golf cart, rode in the wagon, climbed into the tree house (well maybe not), swam in the lake, guarded his kids' beds at night, nearly choked to death spinning on his little boy's finger as it tightened his collar and had to be cut off . . . He played football and was the one who taught his girl to dribble the basketball amongst "traffic" a feisty black four-legged defensive dog.
Then came trouble . . .I mean Dodger. Dodger truly has had 9 lives . . . He was lost for six hours once, ate the sofa stuffing requiring a massive "procedure" at the vet - doggie enema, jumped in fear at the vacuum cleaner and ripped his side open requiring l8 staples at the vet, needed his tail amputated, nearly choked to death on a rubber toy spending one week at the vet until they finally operated and removed it from his intestines, wart removed from his neck, developed a skin infection lost his hair in places requiring multiple medications and daily baths, multiple "stings" from jumping off beds, chairs, tables, cars, and just plain jumping for no reason, and now a new phase of life has hit . . . congestive heart failure. The first 8 adventures are of a young, agile, hypersensitive, high strung puppy, who somehow grew into an 11 year old puppy who has developed something new. My granddaughter would say that Dodger is 77 afterall . . . in people years!
It's rather interesting - I work at a hospital and congestive heart failure is very common in our hugely Medicare clientelle. When the vet opened his medicine cabinet to fill a script for Dodger - I quickly recognized all the same meds that we dispense at work - and yep - I myself take two of them! Then I was strangely interested to find out that dogs with CHF have the same symptoms as people.
Now I'm not a totally over the top about my dogs type of person but I - WE - probably do fall closer to the dog crazy end of the spectrum - - - than the dogs are animals and belong outdoors spectrum. So we sure felt pretty sad to see Dodger slowing down, not sleeping, not eating as well, and believe it or not . . . not jumping. But sad was not the word hubs felt when he witnessed the first "spell" While outside feeding the big dog - he turned around as Dodger coughed and fell over - still - stiff - - - "He died - - - I thought he has just laid down and died right now" says hubs as he retells the story.
Anyway after several trips to the vet the diagosis was made - heart murmur and CHF - life long medicine - no guarantee of a few months or a few years - some dogs do really well and have a couple good years and some do not respond and go downhill faster. Our prognosis is good says the vet. But wait . . . we notice his tummy is swollen up, hard, and tight??? Oh yes - more CHF symptoms - - - the heart doesn't pump blood efficiently and fluid builds up on the heart and lungs. Off to the vet for yet more pills - a water pill . . . so you guessed it . . . we spend twice the time letting Dodger outside! But within 5 days he was perking up - eating better - sleeping better and oh yes - jumping!
Well as I wrap this up . . . the reality of this disease is sinking in . . . Dodger quickly lost two pounds - perked right up and looked like our skinny little dog. Vet decreased the water pill to once daily - - - two days later - little plump puppy is dragging around. Frequent weigh ins - constant medication adjustment - this is the life of a puppy with heart disease.
I really secretly hope no one finds this posting :) It's just more a journal entry for me to talk about a goofy member of our family - who I now realize took the place of the two kids when they headed out to life on their own. He's a good friend - so loyal - so well behaved - great traveler - and such a personality. He still cowers when I'm mad or if he thinks hubs and I are fighting he hides away somewhere til it's over . . . So for all you pet lovers - treat them right and enjoy them - we have and we have been rewarded.
Dodger feeling sick . . . (or enjoying the spoilin')
Found him sleeping on "dads" pj's after he left for work last weekend.
Hangin' with his little girl . . .