Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ray goes to the Vet

On Monday, Gregg stayed home from work. Ray had a vet appointment at noon. Even though I didn't have Ray's vet records yet (they were snail-mailing them from SC), I wanted to take him to my favorite vet, Dr. Lonham, to get Ray's eyes and back leg checked out. Gregg left to try to find the prescription cat food that we need for Hugo.  

As I was walking into the examination room, one of the new(ish) vets took one look at Ray and said, "What's up with his back leg?" I told her what I knew about his lymph nodes and continued on into the room. Dr. Lonham entered the room with a smile on his face but that switched to a look of concern when he saw Ray's eyes. I told him that Ray was blind although I felt that maybe he had some sight in in his right eye. Dr. Lonham peered into Ray's eyes for a long time. (Ray was a good boy.) Dr. Lonham told me that he thought Ray was totally blind. He couldn't imagine that Ray could see out of either one of his eyes. He described what a normal eye looked like than drew pictures of what Ray's eyes looked like. Then he brought a small dog into the room and let me look into normal eyes then into Ray's eyes. They were really freaky looking compared to the little dog. 

Then Dr. Lonham checked Ray's back leg. He was more concerned about Ray's leg than his eyes. He said that the lymph node problem could have long term repercussions. He gave me the names of two specialists, one for Ray's eyes and one for his leg. 

While I was there I also asked Dr. Lonham if he could recommend a trainer.  Ray is a strong dog and really needs some control. Dr. Lonham handed me pamphlet for BarkBusters and gave me the name of the local guy.  

When I got home, Gregg was already there. "Ray's records arrived," he said. (Crap, what timing, I thought). I told him what I knew so far about Ray, that his leg could pose problems and that Dr. Lonham thought Ray was totally blind. We both thought that Ray had to have some kind of vision, however rudimentary, because he got around so well. 

Gregg told me that PetSmart didn't have the food we needed (this was the second one he had tried). We decided to leave Ray in the house as a test and headed out to get some lunch. We stopped by Pet Co. so that I could get another rawhide bone for Ray just in case he couldn't find the one that he had buried, swung by another vet to see if we could get the prescription food for Hugo, and finally by the Home Depot to look for pet doors and a grille for the front screen so that Ray couldn't escape again. 

We were gone about two and a half hours. When we got back, I took a quick look through one of the windows that flanked our front door. I saw Ray standing inside with a goofy grin on his face and pieces of my phone headset strewn around him on the floor. 
"Oh my God," I said.
"What? What?" said Gregg.
We opened the door and Ray came to greet us, obviously very pleased to have had so much fun while we were gone. The headset looked like it had been dismantled by an overzealous 12 year old who couldn't remember how to put it back together. Ray also had obtained a mailing envelope full of double-point knitting needles that had been stashed in my knitting basket and scattered them about. Thankfully he hadn't chewed on any of them but the padded envelope was a lost cause. For a first day out, the destruction hadn't been bad at all. 

That afternoon, Gregg took Ray out for his first run. Ray, out of shape from being kenneled so long, was really winded when they got back, drank about a gallon of water and collapsed on the floor, his sides heaving. 
"How far did you go?" I asked. 
"About a mile," replied Gregg. "Ray is good on the flat stretches but is really lazy on the hills."  
"How can you tell?" I asked, laughing.
"Well," said Gregg, "He only stops to sniff things when we're running up a hill." 

I picked up Ray's medical records and called Joanne (my BFF and on-call dog expert) who told me that if Ray had missed his heartworm medication, he would need to be tested again before being able to take any new meds. I called the kennel and found that they hadn't given him any heartworm pills or used any flea and tick prevention while he was there. His latest stint in the kennel, after being returned by his foster mom, was about two months. I called my vet, told them Ray's records had arrived and that I was going to drop them off. 
I also called to make an appointment with the specialist for Ray's leg. I was going to call the vision specialist too but I was told the first visit with the leg specialist averaged about $550-$600. I decided that "one thing at a time" might be a good way to approach Ray's medical issues. 

I made copies of Ray's records and went downstairs with them in my hand along with a baggie labeled "Lacey" (Ray's sister) containing a rabies tag. I wondered if they had sent me the wrong tag and took it out of the baggie to look at it (like I would be able to tell...). Ray heard the tinkle of the tag on its ring and went crazy with excitement, bonking into the refrigerator, the door frame, the trash can, me. He was snuffling like crazy trying to catch the scent of his sister. I started crying (it makes me tear up every time I think of it - like right now). It was the saddest thing and made me realize for the first time that we probably wouldn't be able to keep Ray. That he reallly needed another dog for companionship. I decided right then that I would continue to do as much for Ray as I could in the month that he was here, so that if he had to move on to another home, he would be as healthy as possible, and with some training under his belt so that it would be more likely someone would want him. 

Gregg was concerned when he saw me crying. 
"What's wrong?" he asked. 
I told him what had happened with Ray and could see Gregg's distress (he's a real softie but tries not to show it.) 
"You gotta stop letting this dog get to you so much," he said.  
Yeah, like I have any control over that. 

I dropped the vet records off and made an appointment for the next day to get Ray tested for heartworms. The receptionist looked through his records and said it looked like his other shots might be due too. I told her to figure out what else he needed and we could do it all at once.

That evening, Todd, from down the street, came by with Sasha, his white husky. Ray was thrilled and Sasha went wild (Sasha, a rescue dog too, is always a bit out of control - but in a good way). She nipped at him and bared her teeth. Ray wasn't impressed and tried to win her over with his doggy charm. After about 10 minutes we decided to give it a rest and see what would happen the next day.

1 comment:

  1. Even though I have read this before it has made my eyes all leaky today ....sniff