Chapter 77 Old Dog, New Ills

The Cone 2014-10-23 001

Non-News Flash: getting old is no picnic. That’s as true for our canine cousins as it is for us. They handle it better because they don’t count the years.  Like us, when they dream, they race the wind and catch the rabbit, just as they could when they were young. They don’t mark their birthdays, but if they get a birthday cake,  they’re not going to turn it down.
Rusty is 13, or 74 in people years. At the moment, he is a little dazed and more than a little bewildered after surgery to remove a bladder stone. More about that later.
He has a head cone to prevent him from chewing out his staples. In Rusty’s language, it would come out as, “That *@#$%^&! cone!” The cone is sized for a border collie or Cocker Spaniel, but Rusty is sized between a King Charles Spaniel and a Cocker. The cone is too big for him. He can’t see out of it as well as a larger dog would be able to, so he bumps into walls and chair legs and other stuff that is bumpable at small spaniel height.
“Can I cut about an inch off it?” I asked.
No, said the vet tech. He might be able to reach his staples and start digging them out. Doubtful, I think, but can’t take a chance on having to run back to the clinic with a dog bleeding where he chewed out his staples. Compromise: when I’m nearby and able to watch him, we are allowed to take off the blinkin’ cone.
I discovered Rusty couldn’t even get a drink of water while wearing the cone. His tongue and lips were too far back in the cone to reach his water, even when the dish was filled to the brim. Don’t tell the techs at Carroll County Veterinary Clinic, but the cone is about an inch shorter now. And Rusty can drink while wearing it.
So, how did our guy end up being bundled into the car and taken to the veterinary clinic one recent morning, when he would have much preferred to chow down on breakfast and then have a nice nap? Rusty’s veterinarian had found the bladder stone on an x-ray. Concerned that the stone could move and block his urinary tract, she recommended surgery.
We said good-bye in the clinic waiting room. Rusty hung his head as he walked away with the tech, his language for, “I’m not doin’ this.”
I called in midafternoon. Couldn’t wait any longer. Yes, they said, Rusty did okay with the surgery and was resting comfortably. They would keep him overnight for observation.
“They won’t let you out of the hospital until you can pee,” my friend Marcy had said earlier.
“He can go home tomorrow as soon as he can urinate properly,” the vet tech said.
We have more in common  than we sometimes wish to admit, we dogs and naked apes.
Rusty came home in the afternoon. He has a shaved place on his back where they stuck a pain patch that will send pain medication in through his skin. He has a shaved place over his eye where they removed the wart that has been a persistent problem. It bleeds, forms a new scab, repeat. He has a shaved area on his lower belly where they made the incision. Yes, they even shaved his penis.

And he has the cone. It is supposed to be soft and flexible so he can sleep while wearing it. He keeps shaking his head to try to get rid of it, but it does work, sort of. He is able to nap while wearing it.
Rusty is on restricted activity: no stairs, no running, short walks and potty breaks only. He hasn’t complained. That’s a characteristic dogs don’t share with their human cousins. For the most part, they don’t complain. Not even dogs that are 74 in people years.


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