a family avocation

A dog’s purpose, when properly understood, is to help make people better. The late author Roger Caras once said that “dogs make us whole”.  Such has been my experience as I have lived with dogs for most of my 63 years.  Loss of our canine (or feline, as we have known both) companion to illness or age-related disease, is no less painful than losing a close human relationship. 

In the past nine days, four days in veterinary clinics and one in a veterinary hospital, Dexter has been suffering the effects of a urinary infection, not eating, not drinking, and not relieving himself. He could not keep down pills, food nor water, so treating him over the long weekend was challenging.  Until yesterday, Wednesday, that is.   Lab results drawn Friday finally were available to determine which antibiotic would knock down his infection. Intravenous fluids and the specific drug, in an intravenous antibiotic, as of late evening, started to relieve Dexter’s suffering.

If there is a hero in this tale,  it is our son Tommy (my step-son), who brought a puppy home to us 12 years ago. As was with the late Comet, Dexter is always the family dog, but Tommy really has taken charge of his care. For two days and nights, he has ferried Dexter to and from the veterinarian for care during the day; he then goes to work. He then goes back to pick up Dexter before the clinic closes. Last night, he provided care – with purchased medical supplies on his own dime, to hydrate and syringe-feed “his” dog (Dexter did not eat willingly).  Watching Tommy and his mother, the RN, discuss how to prepare a bolus of fluid, and him insert a needle in Dexter, it is obvious to me that some skills as well as temperament are genetically passed from mother to son(s). 

If there was a miracle turn of events for this dog,  we celebrated him peeing freely outdoors last night, and observed him sleeping, normally, on his side for the first time in seven days.  Returning to the vet today, will provide more information on the state of his kidneys.  The medication has another thirteen days to course through him, until a blood test confirms that Dexter is cured.

Until then, there will be hope, prayers, and encouragement. When Dexter bounds to the door to greet our neigbbor, we will know the old boy is truly healthy again.

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