Monthly Archives: November 2012
When we receive a serious diagnosis for ourselves or a family member, we usually obtain a 2nd opinion or visit a specialist. We want to obtain as much information as we can before pursuing a treatment. Why are we hesitant to do the same for our fur babies, especially since they can’t speak for themselves? I learned this valuable lesson a couple of months after adopting Suki.
When I adopted her in 2010, I noticed her belly hung pretty low (affectionately called the “buddha belly” now). Since she was my first dog, I wasn’t sure if it was from her being overweight, pregnant when she was found, or something serious. I took her to a walk-in type vet recommend by a friend for her initial checkup. I asked about her belly and was advised it was nothing to worry about. I took her back a week later due to a stomach bug and saw a different vet (the bad thing about a walk-in clinic). I again asked about her belly, and again was told not to worry about it. We were back at the vet a couple of weeks later for a cut paw…again saw a different vet. She said not to worry about Suki’s belly too. When I returned to have the hard wrap removed from her paw, the vet (yes another new one) was alarmed at her belly and took an x-ray. The vet came back and said she saw a mass in Suki’s abdomen that was pushing her belly down. She believed the mass was a tumor and wanted me to have an abdominal ultrasound at a clinic she recommended. She also said Suki likely had Cushing’s Disease, and it was a very grim prognosis…as in death likely. I left the vet crying and believing my sweet baby was going to die. I was also extremely upset that the previous 3 vets at the clinic told me not to worry about Suki’s belly. She could have received treatment much sooner! I Googled Cushion’s Disease which only made me cry more!
Luckily, I decided to obtain a 2nd opinion. Another friend recommended her vet clinic which includes a hospital facility where they could perform the ultrasound. Her pets are her babies, so I felt confident with her recommendation. I made an appointment and took the previous x-ray with me. Not only did the new vet (my savior) not see a mass or tumor, but she also showed the x-ray to every vet working that day for additional opinions. No one could see this mass/tumor the previous vet saw. The new vet also said there was a blood test for Cushing’s Disease. What? The first vet never mentioned a blood test. How could she diagnose such a serious disease and tell me my baby would die without performing a test? I had a few choice words for the first vet! The new vet performed the blood test which came back negative! That’s right…no Cushing’s Disease! After a thorough exam, the new vet determined the pot belly was partially due to the excessive weight and partially due to weakened stomach muscles from the pregnancy. The blood test also revealed elevated kidney levels, so the new vet put Suki on a medication to stabilize her kidneys.
Not only did Suki live…she doesn’t have Cushing’s Disease, doesn’t have a tumor, and her kidneys are now stable! After a diet and exercise program, Suki has lost 11 pounds, and her belly doesn’t hang nearly as low. She still has a little “buddha belly” which adds to her cuteness. Her current vet is a godsend! Not only do I have an amazing vet now (the same one each time), but I also learned to trust my gut! I could have saved myself hundreds of dollars and a lot of stress! It’s my job to protect Suki…even if that means going against someone who supposedly knows more than me.
Oh lord! It’s that time of year again….mommy had fattening Thanksgiving feast, so now she’s decided to go on a weight loss kick! Apparently I’m being forced to join in for moral support or house solidarity…something like that which means my daily treat allowance is in serious jeopardy! Looks like I’m going to have to ratchet up my cuteness factor and pull out more puppy dog eyes to keep the treats coming. Besides, I’ve already lost a lot of weight, and I’m attached to my cute buddha belly, thank you very much!
Now I love walks, so I’m not opposed to more of them each day. But something tells me the extra walks mommy’s mumbling about are going to be at a “feel the burn” pace and not those allowing me ample time to read my pee mail. Plus, they’re going to cut into my strict napping schedule. Why do I have to be punished along with her? I’m not the one who ate pumpkin pie with whipped cream (despite my adorable “starving” attempts)?
Thought about punishing her with fleas, but then I’d itch too. I could withhold cuddling, but let’s face it…I have no willpower for that. I could run around & bug her all day, but giving up naps seems a bit rash. I’ll show her…I’ll wake her at the crack of dawn each day & post about this craziness until she gives up & lets me off the hook! And she better not get any ideas about treadmills…or I’ll leave a nice present in the house for her!
I’m all for giving a dog a loving home. I think sharing your life with a dog is the one of the best decisions you can ever make! Your life is richer for having a dog in it. Unfortunately, some people make the decision to bring home a dog on a whim, completely unprepared…especially this time of year! Giving a dog or puppy as a surprise Christmas gift may seem like a good idea especially if a child wants a cute doggie. But please remember that dogs are living animals and require a lot of responsibility. Please consider these points before deciding to give a dog as a Christmas gift:
Would You Want The Dog If It Wasn’t Christmas Time?
Ask yourself if you would still be bringing home a dog if you weren’t doing it as a Christmas gift. If you’ve been wanting a dog for awhile, done your research on breeds, are prepared for the responsibility after the holiday novelty wears off…then fine. If you just think a dog would make a really cute Christmas gift for little Timmy…STOP! A dog is not a toy that a child can play with a few times then discard once they lose interest. Dogs are living beings who need love, attention, training, and proper care for their entire life. Many “Christmas gift” dogs end up in shelters because the novelty wore off, or the time to care for them became too much. Shelter dogs are living on borrowed time and many wind up being euthanized. A dog doesn’t deserve that because your family grew tired of him by February. Owning a dog is at least a 10 – 15 year commitment. Give an iPad instead. Think before you gift!
If You Are Ready for a Dog, Wait Until After Christmas
If you’ve seriously weighed the pros and cons of owning a dog and have decided you are truly ready for the responsibility, please bring the dog home either well before Christmas or wait until after Christmas. The holidays can be a crazy and busy time. Bringing a dog into a new environment with lots of chaos and new people is not the best idea and can lead to one stressed little doggie. Help your dog make a smooth and comfortable transition by bringing him into a calm environment. Let him adjust to his surroundings without the added crazy holiday happenings. Imagine if you were taken from a familiar environment, dropped in a completely new home with a bunch of new people coming and going. Would you be comfortable or completely stressed out? Stressed dogs tend to get into more trouble.
Does Everyone in Your Family & the Dog Get Along
Before choosing to bring a dog into a home, every member of the family (including any other pets) should interact with the dog first. Not all personalities mesh, and not every dog is right for your family. Giving a dog as a surprise Christmas gift could easily backfire. The dog and other family members may not care for each other. You don’t want to wind up with a child who hates the kind of dog you brought home, or a dog who doesn’t like your child or other dog in the home. The family dynamics should be tested out prior to bringing a dog into your home.
Please Adopt, Don’t Shop
If you’re ready to bring a dog home (before or after the holidays…follow above advice), please adopt! There are so many dogs in shelters and rescue groups across the country that need and would love a good home! I adopted Suki from a rescue group, and she is the sweetest, most loving dog! Adopted dogs seem to know they’ve been given another chance and are super grateful. Adopting doesn’t just save 1 life but 2. You save the dog you’ve adopted, and you’ve opened a spot for another dog to be adopted. Plus adopting doesn’t contribute to puppy mills. As long as people are willing to pay for a puppy in a pet store or from a backyard breeder, puppy mills will continue to exist. Do some internet research on puppy mills…you will be appalled!
Do You Want a Dog or Just A Cute Puppy
I agree puppies are adorable cuddly balls of fur. Who can resist a puppy? When they have an accident, it’s small and that cute face makes cleaning up feel not so bad. But just remember…puppies grow up into adult dogs! They lose that cute puppy face and small puppy size. Adult dogs can still have accidents, and when they do it’s a bigger puddle! Do not adopt a puppy if you’re not prepared for an adult dog down the road. Puppies grow up!
Please be responsible and make sure you are ready for the long-term commitment of being a dog mommy or daddy before you bring home the new family addition.