Friday, October 4, 2019

Nurse the Hate: A Basset In Distress

My basset hounds are getting older, approaching nine.  They have had the bumps and bruises of advancing age, ailments which have been mostly inconvenient.  I didn't think much of it when Ryver, the bossy sister and alpha of the pair, started to gimp a bit.  As someone getting older himself, I have been accepting that sometimes I will wake up feeling terrible. When I do I think, "My God, am I hungover.  What did I do last night?".  It is then my memory usually engages and I discover that I didn't do ANYTHING last night, I read a book and watched a mindless TV show.  I feel terrible just because that is evidently a joy of aging.  Thus, I feel empathy for Ryver as she and I gimp around the block.

When I got home yesterday, I discovered that Ryver was unwilling or unable to move her back leg.  She couldn't walk across the room and barked at me, her eyes saying "I can't move my leg.  I'm embarrassed but I need you to help me."  As an absurdly proud dog, perhaps too proud for a basset hound, I feel like I could read her expressive face, though I will admit that maybe I was projecting.  I tried to help her and discovered she was dragging her left leg limply.  This was well beyond being gimpy.  I rushed her to the vet.

My local vet checked her over.  He was alarmed.  He's a younger guy and has yet to develop that poker face necessary when delivering bad news.  I watched the telling exchange of glances between him and the tech as he explained how the dog had likely slipped a disc or maybe had a degenerartive condition.  This was well out of his abilities.  My only option was a referral to a specialist that did back surgeries or else it would be unlikely she would regain the use of her back legs.  This is terrible in the scenario of a human being, but for a dog, it's curtains.

It is amazing how quickly things can turn in life.  That morning I walked the bassets and we shuffled around our traditional morning walk, a routine that I find helps provide me a center.  It is a brief pause that offers a respite from the daily demands.  No matter how much quicker the outside world wants to pull you in, the basset hounds are going to take their goddamn time and sniff the hedges.  I like how they take their "job" seriously.  They look to me as a de-facto leader, which comes from being the provider of rides in the car and treats.  However, they give me more than I could ever give them.

Today Ryver is going to have surgery on her back, a procedure which the specialist said is "50-50".  I have beaten myself up over not noticing the severity of the basset's condition earlier.  Surely there was something I could have done, an indication I had missed.  They are dependent on me for everything.  It feels like my failure completely.  I am waiting for an outcome, one that I fear is going to be terrible.  The outcome already feels like it is going to be bad, but this is the time when the slim hope of the lucky coin flip can be used as a life raft.  I think about the basset in her unfamiliar surroundings, in pain, and in my mind wondering why I have abandoned her when she needs me the most.  She is a tough little dog.  I wish I could do something more.  I need her to be OK.      


At October 4, 2019 at 8:15:00 PM EDT , Blogger Mike Scott said...

I've been through this with pets too and it is brutal. I hope Ryver is ok.


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