Monday, December 31, 2012


Nothing actually happens in this video, but they were being so cute, I just had to video them. Griffin often cries, even if we are in the same room, within arms reach of each other. Before I started taping, he was crying and then Olivia went over to comfort him.

Griffin is recovering from pneumonia. He hasn't been going to the park or to daycare but overall, he's doing better each day.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Emergency Vet

Griffin is my special needs dog. He was very sick when I got him (see Griffin's Health, 2010). Before palate surgery in 2010, he suffered from one respiratory infection after another. It would start with a little cough and within a day or two, he would be hacking, gasping for air and barely able to walk a few steps. We went to the vet over and over and he was on antibiotics for months. It's been almost 3 years without an infection, so I wasn't overly concerned when he starting coughing on Friday.

But Sunday Nate woke me up and with a concerned look on his face told me that Grif wasn't breathing well and that he'd vomited. Griffin didn't want to eat, was coughing a lot more and was definitely not feeling well. He drank some water and I was planning to watch him all day and then take him to the vet  on Monday morning. But when he went outside and vomited all the water he had just finished drinking, I got worried and decided to take him to the emergency vet. 

The vet examined him and then presented me with an estimate of $1300-$2500 for treatment. In addition to chest scans and some blood tests, she expected he would have to be admitted for 24-48 hours. I was pretty sure that after an IV to get him rehydrated and some antibiotics, he'd bounce back quickly, so I admitted him.

The tests confirmed he had pneumonia and so Griffin spent most of yesterday and overnight in a special  oxygenated kennel (it looked a little like a plastic box with a tube that pumped air into it). He received several nebulizer treatments, had an IV put in to deliver antibiotics, anti nausea medication and whatever they use to keep you hydrated. He spent the night but was able to come home this morning at 8am. 

He will be on antibiotics for 3 weeks and for the next 48 hours, he needs to eat small amounts of food every 2 hours, do something called coupage every 4 hours (using a cupped hand, I alternate pounding on his chest to try to break up the junk in his lungs) and he can't get excited or move around too much. 

Griffin is snoring loudly on the couch as I type this and he is noticeably healthier than he was yesterday. I am not thrilled that I had to spend $1500, but I am very happy he is feeling better.

A few years ago, one of the vet techs made a comment that sometimes special needs animals find their way to the people who will take care of them. I didn't have any idea Grif would need so much care but I am confident that if he had stayed with his first owner, he wouldn't be alive today. When I think back to the random, semi-sketchy first time I met him, I can't believe I took him home in the first place. He'd just had a bath and promptly rolled in the dirt. He was a mud-covered, wiggly puppy with a bulging swollen eye. He was a mess and it should have been obvious that he was going to require a lot of care.

When I think back to that meeting (and the subsequent vet appointments, surgeries, medications and such), I sometimes wonder how I ever ended up with him. But there is no dog as sweet, lovable and with such a kind soul as Grif, and I think it is that goodness that blinded me to the mud and made me decide to adopt a dog without knowledge of his medical history. I think somehow, some way, he found me because he needed someone who would not just love him, but who would be able to provide a nearly obsessive level of care for him.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Doggie Daycare

When I first got Olivia 4 years ago, she came to work with me every day for months. In the Spring, it got so busy and I had so many out of office meetings, that she couldn't come with me, so I signed her up for dog daycare. When I took her for her evaluation day (which is really only 4 hours), I dropped her off and before I was out the door, broke down in tears- like, sobbing, hysterical, crazy dog woman tears. The very nice staff handed me a kleenex, patted me on the shoulder and guided me out the door with comforting reassurances that she would be ok. I have done that with many parents at camp and yet, there I was, a crying mess.

Olivia liked daycare and went for a few months until we left for camp. I liked that she got out of the house, burned off energy playing with other dogs and didn't have to sit alone all day. 

Recently, I have been feeling like Griffin and Olivia are bored. I walk them or take them to the park most mornings before I leave for work and we go to the park every afternoon. But they still seem to have too much energy and they seem bored. So I decided it was time to go back to daycare. 

A few days ago, I took them both in for their evaluation. Like last time, they would be there for a few hours so the staff could observe them. I didn't cry when I dropped them off and I was feeling great about it, until an hour after I dropped them off and the daycare phone number popped up on my cell phone.

I answered hesitantly, knowing that it probably wasn't good news.

They said that Griffin had been crying (that hoarse, old man wail that he does- click here if you need a reminder). He didn't want to be away from Olivia, but when other dogs were around, he guarded Olivia. So since they were just sitting in a private room, there was no point to having them at daycare.

I picked them up and we agreed to try again in a few days.

A few days later, we went back for another evaluation. This time, I brought Griffin inside without Olivia and then once he was settled in, I brought Olivia in and she was in a different play area. That seemed to work out a little better. Olivia played and seemed to enjoy herself. Griffin didn't play with the other dogs, but he didn't cry either, so I guess we're making progress.