Saturday, March 11, 2017
Spring Break Can Be Difficult For Our Family
Baxter the spaniel is, at best guess, 14-16 years old. We have had him for 11 years, and he was rescued off the street a few months after Hurricane Katrina blew through New Orleans causing many there to flee their homes and relocate to Atlanta. It seems likely that Baxter's family was--for either Katrina or another reason--newly relocated to Atlanta and Baxter got out and got lost. We figure Katrina because the timing was right for the large influx of people and pets sent north by that tragedy. Also, when we first had him he would get out, go on walk-about, and have no idea how to get back home. We lost him for three days once when he slipped his collar and had no tags. We put up flyers al over the neighborhood and they were seen by neighbors of the people who took him in so we were able to reunite with him.
So Baxter is old. He forgets where he should go to the bathroom, he wanders around aimlessly with a puzzled look on his face looking for something that he never finds until he finally goes to lie down. When he goes outside, about a quarter of the time when I go to let him in he just stares quizzically at the open door not quite sure what to do. He doesn't want to stay out, but he's forgotten how to come in. Today all the dogs were out in the front and I was going over the work the contractor is going to be doing on the garden and the pond while I'm gone next week. Dave had to run to the store to get some things so he hopped in the Leaf and started down the drive. The Leaf is perfectly silent, Baxter is mostly deaf, and that's not a good combination. Somehow Dave clipped Baxter with a tire. He didn't feel it so he didn't stop. Then Baxter started yipping and carrying on and I came running over to him. He sort of dragged himself/hopped from Dave's parking spot to the front porch just as I got there. I immediately called our vet, and though they have Saturday hours, they're only 15 minutes away, and it was an hour and a half before closing, they said they didn't have time to see him, and I should take him to the emergency vet. I guess I should say former vet...
Fortunately there is a big, beautiful new emergency and specialty vet practice practically across the 2222 from us. They got him in quickly and determined he had a dislocated hip. I was offered three possibilities: 1) they could sedate him and put the hip back in and it would stay in, 2) they would put the hip back in and it would pop back out again--maybe not immediately, but eventually and then they'd have to do surgery, and 3) we could put him to sleep now. As frustrated as I get cleaning up the never-ending puddles and little piles, that's not what having a dog is about so #3 was off the table. At his age though, surgery is off the table too. I went through that with Jester, our deerhound, not too long after we got Baxter and I will not do it again. Sometimes it's best to just let go. We went with option one and crossed our fingers.
They sedated him, put the hip back in, tied it up with a sling that he'll wear for the next month, and a couple of hours later we were able to bring him home. We got two sets of pain pills for him, and I got him settled in before beginning to pack for our trip. Thank heaven for Zaga--had it not been for her, we would either have had to cancel the vacation or put him to sleep. There's no way we could have boarded him. But it all came together, and we are going to rest and restore ourselves next week knowing everything at home is in great hands.