When A Dog Hurts

tom1barks

My almost three-year old Border Collie, Tommie Girl aka Tom aka Tommie, has been limping on and off. In hindsight I think I know the moment she may have slipped and twisted a muscle or pinched a nerve. But then again, maybe the dreaded hip dysplasia has reared its ugly head in another of my dogs again.  My fingers are crossed.

There was a dog obedience trial in February where Tommie did an abysmal job in the ring, yet three days later she outdid herself at another trial. The hotel where we stayed at the first trial (along with my other BC Razzie) was being renovated.  For some reason they always put me on the second floor at this particular hotel. No way was I going to try to lead two dogs into an elevator.  And no way was Tommie going in one ever again.  It swayed and made noises and I would imagine she had never felt the ground move in such a fashion.  So the second time I tried to lead her into the elevator she developed a good case of lead butt.  Thus we were left with walking up and down the newly painted, metal stairs.  She and Razz would rush to the first landing, freak out, try to turn around but with my urging they’d then bolt up the next flight.  They were always on six-foot leather leashes but it was like a Nantucket sleigh ride for me behind them.  I think in Tom’s haste she may have hurt herself.  Then again, the room had a king size bed that came up to my chest.  Tommie tried to jump up and fell slowly back to the floor.  Maybe she hurt herself then?  But she never whined or complained, as dogs are very stoic.  It never occurred to me that there was a problem.  Tommie merely got a running start and jumped up on the bed again and again over the weekend.

Lately Tommie has been limping, first on one hind leg then another day limping on the other hind leg. The next day she would be fine, never complaining, never refusing to work or play.  This week I made an appointment to have some x-rays of Tommie’s hips and spine.  It isn’t so much paying the money as it is finding out if she has an issue that could put her out of commission forever or for a while.  Does she need complete rest, which for a Border Collie owner means weeks of living hell, keeping a high energy dog quiet? Does she need a month or two of water therapy or a lifetime of drugs?  To say I’m sick about it would be an understatement.  Yet Tommie runs and plays and jumps on me and gives me slurpy licks, like what’s the big deal?

Dogs have few worries beyond eating and eliminating and getting exercise. I wish I could learn from them, to live in the moment, that life is a crap shoot, stuff happens, move on, what will be, will be and don’t dwell on the future, live in the now.  Dogs are miraculous creatures, loving and carefree.

Monday morning Tommie will go to the vet’s office for her exam. She hates the office, unlike her roommate Catcher. Tommie poops and pees and slinks even before the exam starts.  She is the only dog I own that embarrasses me at the vet’s office.  So I always remind the staff to have the mop and bucket ready.  Yup, THAT dog is coming in.  In spite of the possible outcome Monday I can still laugh at poor Tommie, who can’t tell me whether she is in pain, but she CAN tell me she hates needles and prodding in personal body parts.

Fingers crossed but ultimately what will be, will be. My dogs are with me until death do us part.

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