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May 08, 2007

The Queen Of The Vet

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This is a Daisy medic alert, and the vet bills just keep on coming.

Last year I was cutting my hair with blunt scissors so that my $200 haircut money could go to a certain Cocker Spaniel's medical care. This year I may have to start selling my blood.

Two weeks ago Daisy had her six month follow-up exam to check her kidneys, blood, etc. We were finally going to find out if the Eukanuba food was keeping her protein loss down and also if her blood pressure was under control.

Daisy suffers through the vet visits very well. She whines and trembles just enough to makes me feel guilty, but not so much that she's unmanageable. In the reception area we visited with Daisy's personal assistant. She's a nice lady named Rena who works as a receptionist in the vet's office. Last year after rushing home from work late to let Daisy out, I'd had enough of the guilt of leaving her so many hours, so I hired Rena's daughter to walk Daisy once a day while I was at work. When her daughter moved to Queens last fall, Rena took over the job.  So for $12 a day Daisy has a personal assistant, and I have peace of mind.

After our visit, I took Daisy into the examining room and the vet did all the tests. The way they take a dog's blood pressure is fascinating. They listen on a speaker for the blood flow through an artery in her paw and then they use the gauge to check the pressure.  It's amazing.  Her blood pressure was normal so the $2 a day pills are doing their job.

$300 and two days later we had the rest of her results. Her protein loss has slowed considerably so the Eukanuba food is working.  Her blood work showed that she's a little anemic, so we'll keep an eye on that.  Her pancreas has some level that's too high, but the vet explained that usually when you see that, there are other symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea.  She doesn't have any of those symptoms, so once again, we just watch and leave it alone. She had a parasite in her stool so I got meds for that, but overall the tests showed more good news than bad.

I took her for her follow up blood test yesterday to check her red cell count. The count was good so she isn't anemic. I also wanted the vet to look under her left leg. Like I thought, there was recurrence of an infection. And because I've been falling down on the job with her ear cleaning the last couple of weeks, her ears are infected as well.

This from a thirteen year old dog who was only sick once in the ten years since I've had her. I consider myself lucky that she's always been so healthy, so all these age related ailments are unsettling.  The vet gave me heavy duty meds for the infections and hopefully this time we can knock them out for good.  $250 later our visit was over.

Yesterday, while I waited for the blood results, I thought back to when I first got Daisy.  She'd been given away twice before and for months she sat by the front door waiting for her previous owners---or as I like to call them, "those scummy people"--- to come back and get her. I'd had a dog when I was younger, but this was the first dog I was taking care of all by myself. People would hear that I had a new dog and say, "Oh isn't it great. They're so happy to see you and love you so much!"

I would nod and smile, but that wasn't the way it was with me and Daisy. As far as she was concerned, I was the one with the food until her real owners came back to get her. If I put my hand in front of her face to wipe around her eyes, she would draw back as if she were afraid she'd be hit.  As I said, "those scummy people."

It wasn't until months later that she started to become my dog.  We took obedience classes together and bonded that way.  She was picky with toys, so it took me awhile to figure out that empty paper towel rolls and empty 2 liter plastic Coke bottles were her toys of choice.  Over time and very slowly, I started to get that loving, "happy to see you greeting" that everybody talked about.

It took me a whole year to get a picture of her.  Every time I took out a camera, she'd slink off to the other end of the house.  I figured someone must have scared her with camera flashes as a puppy, but with treats and patience, I taught her to like the camera. Now, as you can see from the many snaps I post, Daisy's a bit of a camera hog.

Another amazing thing happened when I got Daisy: she changed me in a very significant way. She gave me an outlet to be soft, playful, and dare I say it…mushy. She brought out a loving side of me that didn't get nearly enough exercise, and I grew to enjoy the knowledge that she knew she could trust me.  She knew I would never hit her, she knew I would take care of her, and she knew I would make her comfortable.  And though I admit to yelling at her once in awhile, I was always amazed and proud of the fact that she knew she could always expect to get nothing from me but love.

I'm writing this in make backyard while my little senior citizen sits under my chair keeping an eye out for those nasty squirrels. It's another gorgeous day and as I pet her on the top of her little infected head, I remind myself that though the money adds up, she's family and it's part of the deal.

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