Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Trip to the Vet

Argos got (more or less) a clean bill of health at the vet!  He tested negative for heartworms (as we expected, since we've been diligent about giving him his monthly preventative - our iPhones are even programmed to "ding" us on the correct date!)  He's up to date on his shots, and the worrisome bump on his leg is just a wart.

The only "fly in the ointment" we expected - his teeth are in rough shape, and they recommend a cleaning soon.  Track greyhounds frequently, usually, even, come with with bad teeth to begin with, and it looks like our poor boy is going to have to get at least one pulled.  I did brush his teeth, I really did, but even I could see that the teeth weren't looking that great.  So I'm going to try to schedule him sometime the first week of November - after we get our end-of-month paychecks and recover somewhat from this round of vet care for all.

I am kind of dreading the day that we take him in for that - I hate the idea of him being put under, but it IS necessary.  I did notice this week, and the vet noticed today, that one of his teeth is a little wobbly, and needs needs needs to come out, and of course no sane dog is going to allow extensive dental work while still awake, so I do know that he needs to be put under.  Still, I will worry.  Greyhounds, as many of you know, can't be put under the same way that other dogs do - they don't react well to the barbituates, and treating them like any other breed of dog could kill them.  (Deep breath.)  I keep telling myself that this is a good veterinarian, and they do surgical work on TONS of greyhounds every year -  they do all of the spays and neuters and teeth cleaning for the Steel City Greyhounds adoptables, so they know greyhounds.  They are not going to kill my dog.  I will still be very relieved when it's over and done.

One thing that made me a little sad - apparently when the vet pulled out some tissue from the wart on his leg for testing, she commented that it was most likely harmless (she was right) and that these things just happen with age.  Sniffle.  With age.  I want to say, "It's not fair, we've only had him for nine months - how can he be getting older on us?"  But...  we did adopt a dog who was nearly 7 years old.  We knew what we were doing, but it fills me with nearly unspeakable sadness that we may not get as many years with him as we could have if we'd gotten him as a young'un.

But I've learned a few lessons over the past year and a half - since Charlotte's diagnosis with congestive heart failure/bad heart in general.  As many of you have heard me say in the past, we've lived with the knowledge that Charlotte could die any day ever since her diagnosis.  She could have a heart attack (she's already had several, apparently, that no one knew about) she could get a blood clot, her medicine could stop working, her kidneys could shut down.  And she is young.

The lessons I have learned - you just have to enjoy the time that you have together, to the max, and do everything that you can.  And that's what I intend to do with all of our animals:  of course poor Charlotte, and middle-aged Argos, and the others.

I didn't intend to slide into "depressing-speak" and apologize if I brought anyone down...  this is, alas, something that I think about quite a bit (nothing like having a bad prognosis hanging over one of your pets' heads to make that a difficult subject to let go of.)  But it's not all sad -  I really have nothing to complain about.  Charlotte is dear to my heart, and I probably love her more fiercely now, knowing that our days together are limited, than I might have before.  I know that I don't take our days for granted, and appreciate her more.  I'm also more forgiving of her foibles, more protective of her health, more conscious of her feelings.

And you know what?  That extra layer of awareness between her and I has made me a better pet "parent" to my OTHER animals as well.  If I'm being extra-forgiving of Charlotte for being such a grump sometimes, or for tripping me in the stairwell, then why not be extra-forgiving towards Bit for chasing Romeo, or Argos for knocking over my soup bowl?  And if I'm extra-appreciative my time with Charlotte, why not be the same with Annie, when she slides into my lap, purring?  Or Romeo, when he thumps onto the bed to sleep at my feet?

So yeah, I'm a little bummed that I have less time to spend with Argos than we would if we got him when he was two or three years old (barring disease or accidents) but that doesn't mean that I would choose any differently.  That cold January day that they brought out a skinny, tongue lolling, tail wagging big boned red-haired boy out to us?   If I had that day to live over, I would choose him all over again.

And to end on a lighter note, I am leaving you with a picture of Argos, the world's most reluctant pirate.  Okay, he doesn't look much like a pirate, because he refused to wear the red bandana over his ears like a do-rag.  Jeff says that he looks more like a french painter!  Argos, not so much into Halloween costumes...

Mom?  Can you please take this off of me?  


  1. I know how you feel about having to put a dog under for anything. It is scary. I didn't know there were special needs for Greyhounds. Our prayers will be with you. So far none of our pets are ailing, though our duck is the oldest going on nine years (usually they live 2-3 years) and I know one day I'm going to wake and never hear that silly quack again. Sounds silly, but we've grown quite attached. :) It is part of owning pets, some day they will leaves us. It crosses my mind from time to time and it always makes me sad. Not only do we have 4 dogs all the same age from our litter, but 6 others from the litter that we stay in contact with. They will have to committ both us when it comes their time.

    I think the death of a loved pet is on every pet owners mind at some point. I agree cherish every moment and enjoy the time together.

  2. Yes! Most definitely, French painter - extraordinaire! Argos, you're one handsome man. Oui Oui!!

  3. He just needs a black belt and he'll be swashbuckling away!

    I'm surprised he didn't have a dental right before he came to you. That's pretty standard with most adoption groups. If he's just one of those greys who has REALLY bad teeth, seriously consider giving him a raw turkey neck once a week or so. It really helps, and it's safe if it's not cooked. I was really doubtful when I first heard that, but it's true. If you can't stomach that, try some other bones for him to chew on. It does help over time.

    As far as the age thing goes, well, our first Greyhound was almost four when we got her, and she was only with us for six years before she passed away. Our second was four and a half when we got him and was with us for seven years. Lilac was seven and a half when we got her and she just celebrated her fifteenth birthday. She's been with us over eight years, and apparently has no inclination to leave anytime soon. You never know what will happen with the sands of time! You may have many years ahead of you with Argos. :)

  4. Have to agree about the French painter:)

    My Song was 6 when I got her (actually got her on her birthday), so I know where you are coming from. Like you say, even with a younger pet you never know what's round the corner. We love them every day and that's all we can do.

    It sounds like you have a fab vet there. I was really worried about song when she had her teeth sorted and then was spayed, but my vet knew about the way to treat Greyhounds.

    I use Plaque Off in Song's food, and it really does help stop the build up of tartar. Well worth the money. I get it online as it's cheaper than at the vets.

  5. He did actually get his teeth cleaned before we got him, but seems to have continued to go downhill since then. :( Poor guy. I may have to try turkey necks, as disgusting as that sounds, and Plaque off. Because I'd rather not deal with teeth cleaning every year if I can help it!

  6. "The lessons I have learned - you just have to enjoy the time that you have together, to the max, and do everything that you can."

    This is a great reminder for all of us.