Posts Tagged ‘dogs health’


I have a confession: I love this dog. I pretend I don’t, in keeping with our struggle of wills when he was a puppy ten years ago (and I was on crutches due to knee surgery). It’s our pact: he’s a butt-head and i resent him for that. But, in reality, he’s one of the most loving dogs, ever, and he thinks that I am his goddess.

Oh, I will never replace his master: Murphy and Don have one of those bonds that eclipse the normal man/dog relationships. Murph is certainly a one-man-dog, and Don would be lost without him.

When Murph was still a pup, I was the one who held on to him when scary ATVs crossed our paths hiking. I was the one who whispered sweet nothings in his ear as we raced him to a doggy hospital while his face swelled up and he went into anaphylactic shock from several wasp stings. I have always been the person he hides behind when his Master raves at electronic devices or the television. And I brought home his best friend and little brother, Harvey.

Murphy has always loved Harvey. It’s the weirdest of doggy relationships: two neutered males from very different litters, a year apart, introduced on the whim of a human=bond for life. Harvey/Murphy and Murphy/Harvey. Brothers from another mother. The only fight they ever had in the past eight years was over gravy. We discovered that Harvey, the Omega dog, will become the Alpha Dog when gravy is present. He drew blood the first time they clashed over gravy. Otherwise, Murphy has commanded the relationship, a true Alpha Dog.

Then Harvey got sick. We still don’t know what is wrong with him. He coughs, hacks, and spits. Nothing comes out. Attacks last 5-15 minutes. Some days are better than others. Some days, I think I need to call the vet and set The Date. I don’t want to set The Date. I know what that entails. BTDT with Hannah’s Promise (Sadie) just over a decade ago. It was awful.

Harve had more wrong with him than just the mystery respiratory disease. He’s a rescue dog, with no parental history, but is obviously a purebred English Setter, probably not an ordained AKC breeding. He’s inbred. He had a degenerative spinal column. He’s over weight. He isn’t properly socialized as a puppy and doesn’t know how to play with other dogs, but he’s properly socialized as an adolescent dog, and can handle meeting strange dogs. He loves children. He thinks everyone loves him.

Murphy is AKC, and from a very reputable breeder in Buhl, Idaho. He’s had lots of puppy/dog socialization. he loves children. He’s field trained, but not sidewalk trained (he can point, retrieve, and respond quickly, but don’t try to walk him on a leash). He’s the smartest dog we have owned, bar Rosie (who could spell difficult words like s q u i r r e l l) (she was a mutt). He’s very independent and stubborn, and a born alpha dog. I had to learn (on the fly) how to deal with an Alpha Dog with my own Fear of Alpha Dogs up front.

I’m the Alpha. Murphy recognizes that, but on a barely scale. What I really am, to Murphy, is the Safe Haven. the Mom who protects her pups. The person to run to when he’s afraid or upset because his Master is yelling at the tablet or TV. I go out the door first, but that’s the end of dominance understanding with Murphy.

Harvey doesn’t care. He’s the lackadaisacal second-in-command (except for situations involving gravy) dog.

Harvey is also the one with the predictable genetic failings. He has the spinal column that narrows too soon and sometimes pinches nerves and hurts the hind quarters. He developed the mysterious wasting disease that fills his lungs with fluid, but doesn’t register on any known autoimmune doggie disease. He’s ten months and counting, coughing and hacking up nothing, but still rebounding to go for a walk or to have his full body massage. Nothing prescribed works. Nothing shows up on his x-rays except excess fluid in his lungs. He’s an enigma, and sometimes I think I need to schedule his demise – but then he rebounds.

How can i put him down? I know I will need to soon, but as long as he rebounds… His quality of life is still good.

But, Murphy. I don’t know. He gets his first dose of Tramadol tonight. I hope/pray it is enough to grant him a good nights’ sleep. The first x-rays show a mass on his spleen. The vet thinks he had a stomach rupture this past weekend that exacerbated things, but which has healed quickly. He’s on antibiotics. Friday, he gets a blood draw.

We’re looking at a spleen removal. I don’t normally spend that kind of money on a dog, but Murphy is Don’s best friend. He’s the smartest dog (next to Rosie) ever. He’s Don’s Best Friend. He’s hunted and retrieved. He cost an arm and a leg at birth. He comes from good stock.

Why is it this hard? (Rhetorical question) And why (again – rhetorical) does this come up at the center of a humanitarian crisis? (Texas flooding after Hurricane Harvey).

What are YOUR criteria on how to make decisions based on your pet’s health and possible survival rate — and humanitarian aid?


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