- He is literally kneeling.
- You get a good sense of how solid he is and how he can in fact weigh 33 lbs!
Jake likes to burrow and burrito himself. I try to help him, I buy him nester beds and I cover him with blankets. He likes to do it himself. He (obviously) doesn’t have hands and his hind legs give out during the process so sometimes it takes him several minutes to get it just right. But he does it, and it’s pretty inspiring.
Each of these were preceded by a lot of noise, grunting and maneuvering. Notice how Melvin doesn’t flinch, he’s totally used to it.
Melvin had a crappy weekend/week. He couldn’t get his body up, he couldn’t get his body down. Steps were a challenge. Sunday night he moaned and whimpered. I somehow managed to get him in bed with me. While i think it was a painful move for him, he fell right to sleep once with me. Come Monday morning, we were off to the vet.
X-rays showed spinal arthritis and hip dysplasia — both moderate. X-ray also showed an enlarged spleen. Back into the car (getting him in and out of the car was torture on him and he cried due to pain) to go get an ultrasound. Since he was in such discomfort, they gave him a shot of pain medication before doing the ultrasound.
When they called me back to give me the results, they put us in the room with the candles and the rug — uh, no thank you! I would rather be given the results in the parking lot.
Kidneys, bladder, gallbladder and stomach looked ok. They couldn’t get a view of the liver (which would have been preferred but oh well). His spleen is big, way too big. You can see it sticking out on outside of his belly. There goes Melvin, and his side-car spleen. Although there were no signs of tumor (this made me feel better about being put in ‘the room’) there was lack of any definition between the spleen and his stomach. They are looking into what that could be about.
While his spinal arthritis and hips could have caused some discomfort, it is unlikely it would come on so sudden and be as severe. So, we decided to rule in tick born disease (not hoping for – just ruling it in over something even more serious). This is not the first time tick disease has been suspected in Melvin but it is the first time since the US has started experiencing a shortage of Doxycycline. That means I had to make a lot of phone calls and had to trade-in my car to pay for it!
The pain shot they gave him made him high as a flippen kite. No, wait, higher, it made him Jupiter. He didn’t like it one bit. He would just stand there confused and then his hind legs would start dropping and he’d panic and start walking and bump into stuff. He was dizzy. He wouldn’t even take a treat, I’m not sure he could even see the treat. Jake was mesmerized by this version of Melvin and apparently, high Melvin smells even more delicious. Video below.
It seems like Melvin is improving on the Doxy so we are going to continue it. I will update on Monday once we know for sure! Happy weekend!!!!
We have had a rough ride (nothing to do with the stroller!) this week. Melvin man has seemly gone from 9 to 89 in one week. We’ve been at the vet every day and are trying a round of Doxy to see if it is a flare-up of his mysterious tick born disease that struck-him-down similarly about two years ago.
So this week, as we try to get Melvin back to his actual age, I’m re-posting two popular entries that I get asked about a lot. Both have to do with Melvin man!
First, the post about my Grandfather’s dog, Prissy, and what it taught me about dog love. This post happens to be our most clicked on post. HERE.
And then, the post about Melvin’s aging and how I try to always embrace each day of it. HERE.
Go ahead, click and throw-back with us!
This weekend, Jake went on the best walk he’s had in six-months! He hopped right into his
Maserati stroller buggy and rode around like a boss. Melvin didn’t even flinch, it was like he’d been walking next to wheels his whole life. Best part…every walk since has been even better (most of that having to do with the driver getting better about pushing one dog and walking the other!)!
True to who I am, I left a full-page of written notes for anyone who clips Jake into the buggy. He get’s attached to his harness within/to the buggy then he gets clipped to the leash on his harness AND his collar. Safety first people, safety first! The buggy does not change the fact that we are still walking Jake the hunter.
Every night I put Jake in his condo and I drop his blanket in. I try to cover him with it but he usually throws the blanket off because apparently, I don’t do it right. So during the night, and I have no idea how, he cocoons himself.
I tried to get video of how he emerges from condo, with his
bridal train blanket trailing him, but Melvin almost trampled him so I had to play crossing guard. Video of him seeing the light of day…
This week, a few fosters we know that had gone to forever homes found out that it was not forever just yet and came back to their foster families. It got me thinking about my first moments with Melvin.
When I adopted Melvin, I vowed to champion his health issues. I pumped myself up and knew that we would overcome. I, for lack of a better way of putting it, would fix him. The first hour he was in my home and we were alone, I thought ‘crap, what have I done’. There was zero doubt that Max was going to leave me soon and extreme guilt set in that I had brought his (as it seemed) replacement home as if to say ‘we’re good, you can go now’. I looked in the mirror and saw a terrible person. I was certain Max would die that very first night, of sadness.
Also, all his health issues aside, Melvin was the canine version of Sid Vicious. I’m not joking, he was beyond energetic, for all I knew he could have been on crack. I thought he was deaf since he refused to listen to me, he didn’t know a single command. He chewed everything in sight, he rammed the glass doors trying to charge squirrels. He refused to sleep and if put in the crate would bark and howl and if let to be out of the crate at night, would leap on and off the bed, non stop. He apparently did none of these things in foster care. Walking him gave me panic attacks, when it was time to take him out, I would hide in the bathroom and cry. I said the words ‘I can’t do this’, 1,000 times. While I may never have gotten to the point of saying ‘he has to go’, I came very close. I was overwhelmed, I was in over my head, I was only human. Knowing that I had to lose Max, I didn’t feel very empowered to tame a wild beast.
There were many failures, many, so many, countless. Max died and weeks went by where I can’t say Melvin and I made very much progress. But in the same sense we were not making huge advancements, I had to admit, we’d at least persevered. He may not have sat when told or been easy to leash or walk but he’d learned to count on me. He knew I’d come home, he knew I’d feed him. I was there when he (finally) fell asleep and I was there when he woke up. That was more than he’d likely ever had. And I had gotten to know him too. Part of the reason he didn’t sit still was because he was so itchy. Walking on leash, well 1. he’d never been on a leash before and it was likely scary for him and 2. I was at the other end of that leash, giving off a nervous energy. It’s no wonder he lashed out every time. Also, I was in grief stage-one, the ugly, snotty, inconsolable phase. Melvin didn’t get the best of me at first. Max was gone, but Melvin was there. And slowly, as it was supposed to be, that became ok.
I was not the same person back then. In fact, Melvin is the dog that made me understand what commitment looks like. Max was easy. Melvin, he and I have ‘grown-up’ together.
I could have called the rescue and said take him back. I didn’t do it, but I could have. Some dogs and owners, from the very first moment, it’s magic (or it’s at least pretty ok) and that’s great! Thank God for those matches. Some first moments are heavy and scary –for dog and human and it takes a while to realize it’s good, right, meant to be. Some people need to hand off and take a deep breath and take a step back. Some of them find composure and come back. Some don’t. The ones that don’t, well I have to believe that is for the better. If they can’t be there in the beginning, they are likely not going to be there at the end.
We can’t control it all but we can applaud foster families and rescue groups and shelters whose doors are always open. Thank you to all of you who provide that interim forever. Thank you from the dog mom of a one-time-wildebeest-rescue-turned-soulful-bundle-of-love-and-joy.
And to those just embarking on the wonderful ride of dog ownership — we send you off with the words ‘forever home’ and it is forever and that is how you should approach it. But you should also realize that we have all been there and every forever begins with the first minute and then the second minute. Next thing you know you’ve gotten through a day. Then tonight will be better than the last few nights. Next thing you know, a few weeks have gone by, then a few holidays. Forever was not built in a day. But forever is awesome, so we are all hoping you get you there.