We don’t do halloween at my house. Not really into it. But I couldn’t resist turning Bear the dog into Bear the bear.
He was less than thrilled with this idea.
I’ve been blaming River for getting into the trash over the weekend.
I really thought it was her.
Bear has never gotten into the trash.
Seriously – never.
Well, today, when Bear went out to do his morning business I learned the truth. He had gotten into the trash. And all of it was coming out (thankfully).
I feel bad I’ve been blaming River.
Guess she isn’t all trouble.
By Monday afternoon, River’s diarrhea was still around. I brought her to work in case it kicked in, and after three quick trips outside I knew bringing her along to work was the right decision. A quick call to the vet, and she had an appointment set up the next day at the same time as Bear’s normally scheduled laser treatment. After all, if I was going to be there with Bear, having River checked out again was really easy and seemed like a good precaution.
Bear’s normal laser treatment session started normal – meaning he got to go for a car ride. Everything else was not normal.
River was there. He was not thrilled. I’m sure he treasured his time alone from her. He did not seem pleased that she was following him and ruining his usually calm, relaxed routine.
When we got to the vet’s office, the vet tech quickly ushered us into a room. She had picked up on the fact another client was anxious around the dogs. This only reminded me why I love this vet office. I didn’t even remotely mind. Plus, while we waited, Bear walked up on a scale and voluntarily weighed himself. He’s about 43 pounds now.
It wasn’t long before Bear was taken for his laser and River got checked out. Dr A did a great job getting the history of what’s been on going for the past week. She was a bit more concerned about the trash River ate than the emergency vet was, but overall decided more time was needed for River to resolve her issues. The odd thing was River’s poop sample. It had no bacteria in it – no good or bad bacteria. None. So, she loaded us up with probiotics to get River’s gut going again.
Hopefully, with the continued chicken and rice along with probiotics River will be back to normal soon.
By Saturday, River had yet to poop. I always take no poop after diarrhea as a good sign. Unfortunately, when she did poop Saturday afternoon, it was more diarrhea. The chicken and rice wasn’t doing the trick.
Why do these things always happen on weekends?
I debated about taking her to the emergency vet. It wasn’t a real emergency, but I wasn’t comfortable waiting until Monday. So I packed River in the truck and off we went.
I learned an important lesson at the emergency vet: River has no manners. She barked at everyone.
The usual scenario is an assistant comes to get your dog and a brief history of the problem. She takes your dog so the vet can do an exam. Eventually, they put you in a room and the vet comes and discusses what she found out. You typically don’t get your dog back until discharge time.
River’s experience was a bit different. They brought her back to me when they put me in a room. When I was talking to the vet, she made a comment about her “being so healthy, she didn’t need to stay in the back to wait to leave.” I know the truth – she was way too energetic and unmannered. I even heard her barking up a storm while I waited. At least they were nice about it.
Anyways, the vet agreed I was doing everything right and so far there was no cause for concern. She did give me a round of metronidazole, which has worked wonders for my dogs in the past. I was glad I decided to take River in. The medicine, along with the bland diet, should help her feel better soon.
River, on the other hand had other ideas. The next day, she got into the trash. So much for sticking with a bland diet.
Sunday evening, I found myself wide awake in the middle of the night. While I tried to get to sleep, I heard River make a noise every now and then. After a few times of hearing her, I turned on the light. She looked at me, as if nothing was wrong. So, I turned the light off.
Not long after, the noise came back. Then, finally, she got up and acted like she was leaving the room. Finally, I decided to see if she had to go out.
Boy did she ever. As soon as she knew I was getting out of bed, she raced down the stairs and proceeded to do her morning ritual of running around the living room and throwing herself at the door. I was barely able to put on my shows, put on her leash and grab a flashlight, she was so excited.
As soon as we got outside, I knew why. She had to go. And it wasn’t normal – she had doggy diarrhea.
I went into “Dog Watch” mode. All night, I kept an eye on her, only having to take her out one more time. In the morning, she seemed ok, but I worked a short day to be on the safe side.
For the first time since owning dogs, I fasted River for 24 hours since her last meal to help give her system time to settle down. Once that time was up, I started her on rice and chicken.
She seemed perfectly normal. No more problems.
Then, I made a huge mistake.
On Wednesday morning, I assumed she was fine. So I started to re-introduce her to her normal food. I did this and went off to work.
I came home to a mess. I’m sure most people would have just sold the house instead of cleaning it up. … OK, it wasn’t that bad, but there was a lot of diarrhea to clean up.
Much to her disappointment, I re-started the process – which meant a fast until 24 hours after her last meal. The next day, I worked from home so I could keep an eye on her and feed her small meals of chicken and rice throughout the day. She wasn’t thrilled with these small meals, but at least she seemed to be improving.
I learned a valuable lesson – never rush a dog recovering from GI issues. And never re-introduce normal food (even a little) and leave for the day.
This time around, she’ll be eating chicken and rice for at least a few days. (Thanfully, she isn’t complaining about the chicken.)
I never let River out alone – she runs off, even when I do watch her. It has been a whole two weeks since she did.
I let my guard down.
I was chatting with the neighbor kids, who had recently said good bye to their own dog Bo. I was distracted – River took advantage and slipped out of the fence as quickly as she could.
I ran after, not locking the fence behind. Usually, I catch up before she had gone too far.
This time, I couldn’t keep up and I started to worry about Bear trying to follow us.
River slipped into a yard and disappeared.
I couldn’t see the house anymore and decided to return to check on Bear and fetch a leash.
As I did so, I came across a Mom and kid walking their two small dogs. They heard the commotion and was scared. They asked me to walk with them.
Bear was safely on the deck. Confused. But safe.
I ran inside, grabbed a leash, locked Bear inside and took off in search of River. And tried to re-assure the Mom all was okay.
Halfway down the road, River greeted us.
She was easy to catch, but the Mom wasted no time continuing on her way home. As soon as I leashed River, I knelt down in relief to having her under control. I glanced around and saw the Mom and her pups scurry to their home. I’m still not sure into which house, they just wanted as far away from the loose dog as possible. I couldn’t blame them. I couldn’t re-assure them River was safe. And she just wanted to be out on a nice stroll with her dogs.
River has escaped enough times to scare me into something I don’t want – better fencing. Tomorrow’s task will be setting up a new barrier for her. We will see if it works.
Until then, I’m pretty sure a walk of penance is in order. If not for her, for me. The neighbors shouldn’t be scared of her. And I at least owe them an apology. If I can find them.
Bear had settled in nicely while I was working. He found a spot on the floor and was napping. I was deep in a pile of work, focused – not paying attention to him.
It wasn’t long after lunch that I heard a co-worker exclaim, “Bear – where you going?”
I looked around. He was gone.
I had my suspicions. Evie must be around.
Sure enough, I found Bear. He had heard/smelled Evie and went wandering until he found her.
They get along great, and this time was no exception. They had a few minutes of play time before we broke them up so we could get back to work.
But that didn’t mean Bear didn’t go wandering a bit later until he found her. But this time, she was contained. And, fortunately, she is still too young to figure out how to leap over her barricade.
I almost didn’t notice.
But it has been six months.
Six months since Bear spent the weekend in the doggie ER.
Six months since he was at his worst and I didn’t know if I’d see him again.
Thankfully, he recovered. With flying colors.
And that weekend ended up being a turning point for him.
He started to walk again without wobbling.
He started to knuckle less.
He started to enjoy life again.
Every day, when I see him run in the backyard, I’m grateful.
Every day, when he bounds up the steps, I’m grateful.
Every day, when he greets me in the morning and cuddles up next to me, I’m grateful.
Every day, when he’s at the office and folks compliment his sweet disposition, I’m grateful.
Senior dogs deserve all the chances in the world.
Bear proves that.