The ups and downs of being the Little Dog

This post comes with a warning.

You may need these…

Box of Tissues

Lately, I have hesitated to talk about our little dog Tucker, simply because he is going through so much hell.  Sorry to speak so strongly, but there just isn’t any other way to tell it.

First it was the Cushing’s Disease diagnosis.  We got that under control with the Vetoryl.

Then it was the diabetes diagnosis.  We got that under control too!  It took a lot of fine tuning, but he is now doing well on that front.

Then came the cataracts.  I was devastated to know that on the heals of his feeling well enough to play ball, he would soon be unable to see the ball.  What I didn’t know was, that the cataracts would blind him in only two months.  That was simply a cruel thing to watch.    Cataract surgery can be performed on dogs, but costs $3,000.00.  We can’t afford it.

Amazingly, he is a quick learner!   He has fully adjusted to not being able to see, and now rarely runs into anything.  We give auditory helps by tapping the floor, snapping our fingers, or in cases of immanent danger, we resort to just shouting “STOP TUCKER!”  Climbing the stairs is now pretty much a simple thing because we tell him, “Step, step, step”, for each step in his path.  He has gotten so good at this routine, that I can now let him into the back yard off leash to do his business, with supervision of course!  Recently I was shocked to see him find his way back to the stairs and then climb to the top without my auditory prompts!

Getting to this point has not been without its pitfalls.

Not long after his blindness I was in the kitchen doing dishes and suddenly heard a crashing and skittering of toenails to the right of me.  I looked down and there was Tucker in the dishwasher!  Stunned, my first impulse was to yell,


He turned his ghost eyes in my direction and I was instantly filled with remorse.  He was terrified and certainly hadn’t a clue as to where he was or how he had gotten there.  Speaking in a gentler tone I carefully scooped him up into my arms.  I told him I was sorry, and although he didn’t understand me, he calmed down and quit shaking.  I am now more aware of the dishwasher’s door, and his proximity when I am working.

Last Friday we went to the Mountain Farmlet and we took him walking because he still enjoys it. Leading the way,  with nose to the ground, he walks in a wide sweeping track at the end of his leash.  Sometimes he stops and puts his nose in the air and will follow a scent that is only known to him.  Obviously, it isn’t the same for him or us, but he loves it and trusts us to look out for him.

On the way home we made our usual pit stop for the pups, and because I am not so quick on the uptake, I had forgotten to warn him about the curb I’d just stepped onto.  The little dog crashed.  (How to feel like a heel in 5 seconds or less.  Very humbling.)

The next day I saw Tucker licking his haunch and I took a close look to see what was bothering him.  He appeared to have a darkish bruise and the hair was gone.  I thought it was a from his curb casualty, and therefore wasn’t really worried.  The next morning I was startled to see that he had licked the first layer of skin off and that it was swollen and whitish looking.

Stunned, I let out with an “OMG!”  and then showed it to Bob.  We dug out his surgery collar and put it on him.  Later in the day I looked and there was a quarter sized lesion forming.  Assuming it was because he could still lick the area, I then put a bit of Bactracin on a bandage to put over the raw looking sore.  Tucker kept tearing off the bandage, so Bob went on an excursion to Tractor Supply to get a cone to put on him.  Tucker could still get at that spot!  We then put the surgery collar back on, in addition the to the cone, and this seemed to keep him from getting at his sore spot.  It looked so uncomfortable.  

Over the next few days, what appeared to be a scab formed, and then yesterday it broke loose from the edges and revealed a huge pit.  I called the Vet first thing this morning and got him right in.  He looked at the sore, asked me a few questions, then told me it was a brown recluse bite!

There will be no pictures.  Trust me, when I tell you, you really don’t want to see it.  If you are dying of curiosity, then there are plenty of pictures to go around out there on the net.

Words the vet told me that I did not want to hear,

“It will be a long time healing and it may get uglier/larger than it already is.”

With each diagnosis over the past year, we seemed to be coping…  He puts up with his insulin injections morning and night, and will even come the chair when I say, “Time for your shot Tucker!”  I’m certain he does this only because he knows he will get a little treat.  HE seems to be coping.

But I am not.

His hair is falling out.  This, in combination with the recluse’s bite, has him looking like he’s wearing an old moth-eaten coat.   He now has a ghost-eyed stare because of his cataracts, puts up with all the pit-falls, and yet, he still wags his tail vigorously at the sound of our voices.  He’s such a little trooper!

But I am not.

He is still our little Tucker, jumping prancing, wagging his little stinger of a tail… Except now he’s disguised, in an awful franken-pup suit and,

it is breaking my heart.


This time last year…


before he got so sick.

UPDATE:  A heartfelt poem about the feelings you feel, when faced with the illness of your lovely pet, can be found here on the RUMPYDOG blogsite

Thank you for the visit today Rumpydog.

Sometimes it just isn’t pretty

Recently, the Little Dog was diagnosed with Cushing’s Disease.  We put him on his meds and he began to show signs of improvement.

Then he lost 2.5 lbs in about two weeks, which is a massive drop when you only weigh 15 lbs.   He was listless and his energy had taken a nose dive.  We thought he was dying.  I made an appointment with his Vet and we discussed his symptoms.

These were:  A return to drinking gallons of water and having to pee A LOT,  also, lethargy, massive weight loss, and this was very weird ~ his breath smelled like contact cement or nail polish remover.  (No he didn’t have access to any such thing!!!)

The Vet grabbed a test strip put a drop of urine on it and we watched it almost instantly turn brown.

Diagnosis?  Diabetes.  Apparently, this is also brought about by his Cushing’s disease.  His blood sugar was in the 600 range!

He has only been on insulin for two days now, but he has begun to want to play and interact with us again.  😀

That said, it is a bit hard to stick my little dog with a needle two times a day, but then, I guess we’ll both get used to it in time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEven with a party glass to try to take the ugly off, well, diabetes is just not pretty, now is it?