Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fall and the joys & ironies of owning a dog

Orange is for fall, and finally on October 1 it began to cool off here.  One morning it got all the way down to 34 degrees!  So just when I got my more finicky plants over the heat, it has almost started to freeze at night.  We even turn the heater on in the mornings.  Now that's cold.
Crisp fall mornings are my favorite time to go out for a run, but lately I've been running alone, because of a knee injury to my faithful canine running buddy, Max  (in fact, Jason is the only person in our family who hasn't blown out a knee, but watch out - basketball season is just around the corner!).  We have given him the nickname "Limpy" (except when he trees a squirrel, or when the UPS man drives down the street; then we call him "Barky") and it makes me feel so guilty to watch his sad face in the mornings when I leave that I have taken to driving the kids to school, then parking somewhere, then running, then driving home.  Or having Jamey drive me somewhere and then drop me off so I can run home.  Horrible!  
We are waiting for Max's knee to 'calcify' and kind of heal itself where the cartilege has been torn.  I know this because I saw the xray.  Dog xrays on Max are quite a production, because the vet has to put him under to do it, and then he acts loopy from the anesthesia for a while.  Oh, and it costs us $220, which is why we tried to put this one off for a while, but the injury (alas) did not "heal over time".
So, as the vet explained, our options are: 1) A $1700 surgery (no), 2) a $3000 surgery (never), or 3) keeping Max as comfortable as possible while his knee heals itself, for free (bingo!).  To help, I actually purchased, on-line, a large bottle of  "Roast Beef Flavored Canine Buffered Aspirin" (gross).  The vet told me (with a perfectly straight face) to inspect Max's droppings (I can't believe how much of my life involves other creatures' poop in some way or other) for blood, which would mean the aspirin is too hard on his stomach.  This is the ironic part.  I'm pretty sure that Max's original injury came from maneuvering his way into and out of  the compost pile that I no longer have, so that he could eat our rotten old food.  And this is the dog that I had to train not to eat horse poop while we are out on a walk.  This is the dog who once found a fried chicken leg by the side of the road and ate the whole thing.  And, as his grand finale, over the summer, he ate an entire beef rib bone.  Crunched up and swallowed the whole thing (I was pretty sure that night that I would be taking him to the vet, but no!  Not even a little discomfort).  Oh the irony of that nasty tank of a stomach being taken down by a small aspirin.
So I'm left to run past the turkeys, deer, and cows on my own, while Max spends his days recuperating in the sun, keeping guard over the yard, and happily licking chicken poop off the back porch.

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