Monday, June 11, 2012



Things  have been cah-razy around here.  Let's start with Baxter.  We got a second opinion (from another vet) and actually a third (from a friend who's been a vet tech for years).  

Let me back up and say that I felt  VERY uncomfortable with what our vet told us.  (This vet took over the practice when our old vet retired - I'm not really a fan).  After getting over my initial shock and complete breakdown (at work, no less) I kicked into "kick the shit out of this problem" mode.  I called the vet to ask some questions.
Long story short, I felt very pressured into major surgery for Bax without any answers - and I felt that money was more of an objective than the well being of my Baxter boy.
And that pissed me off.
BIG time.
My dog is a member of my family - he's not someone's car payment. 

Seriously.  Look at that face. How can you resist that???

Anyway - a friends mother in law is a vet and offered to take a look at Baxter when my friend told her what was going on (for the record, I didn't ask - I didn't even know she was a vet).

I took him to her farm a few days later - crying the ENTIRE way, just knowing she was going to tell me my baby boy was dying - only to have her check him and and tell me "I don't think I'd lose sleep over this.  If it gets bigger - call me.  But its encapsulated -  it's not in the bone and - while I can't tell you it's NOT cancer - I can't say that it IS and I don't think you should make a decision like this based on fear.  If it was my dog - I'd wait and see what happens."  Say what?  I was dumbfounded.  I needed one more point of view. 

So I called my friend, the vet tech, who looked at him and said - well,  basically, the same thing. It's clearly encapsulated and contained, it doesn't bother him (he doesn't even know it's there) and it's going to be a difficult surgery so maybe its best to wait and see if it even gets bigger.  If it does - decide what to do.

   Sometimes I think it's the techs - not the doctors - that will give you the straight poop.  And as a friend I know she's not going to BS me and as an animal lover, I know she'll tell me what she thinks is in the best interest of my dog - not what's in my best interest.  I think a lot of vets get into a mid set of "Fix it".  And sometimes that's not the best course of action. 

So Baxter is eating, drinking, running around, wagging his tail and giving me kisses.  I'll take it. And if something changes we'll change course, but for right now - it's wait and see and enjoy life. 

Chauncey - well that's a different story.  Things don't look as good for him - which breaks my heart (and really?  BOTH of my dogs at once??  I feel like I have to choose between them - who gets my attention, who gets more of my love - who do I help?  When do I stop?  If I lose one - I know I lose both because they are so attached to each other and so close in age). 

Basically - the xrays they took of Chauncey's front leg show no abnormalities.  So, we know its his shoulder.  Again, our vet wants to do some tests that are a little extreme and still might not determine what's wrong.  So after consulting with our vet tech friend (who has seen similar injuries) and talking with another vet, here's what we decided. 

Again, the wait and see mindset.  Keep him on some meds, keep him VERY confined for two weeks - basically allow him time to rest and not move a lot - and see if that helps.  If it helps - then we are on the right track and it's probably a soft tissue injury.  If it doesn't - it's pretty likely something more serious (like a bone tumor in his shoulder) because something like that isn't going to get better no matter what we do.  If that's the case, we decide what to do at that point. So far he seems pretty unaffected by it - although I was told that a dog that is as lame as he is, is clearly experiencing some pretty significant pain.  And I feel horrible about that. So we need to get him some relief - fast.

Let me just say before anyone thinks we're horrible dog parents that Brian and I are absolutely destroyed over this (Brian is taking all of this really hard) - we would do ANYTHING to keep our boys with us.  But not at the expense of their quality of life.  Baxter is 11.  We don't know exactly how old Chauncey is - he's a rescue - but he's at least 12 or 13.  What's in their best interest? Can we save them? By treating them aggressively, are we only ensuring that they spend their remaining time with us in pain, recovering from this surgery or that treatment? Because lets be realistic -their ages, and time, are not on my side here.
They  are never far from each other.

We both feel very strongly that we won't put them through difficult surgeries or long term treatments at this time.   They are pretty happy boys.  I'd like it to stay that way.  And I don't want to put them through unnecessary treatment just to keep them here for me.  That's selfish, in my opinion.

Let's see if I still feel that way when faced with a life or death decision.  I hope I'll  make the best decision for Chauncey or Baxter even if its not the decision that makes me feel better. 

My sweet boys

In the middle of all of this my mom came down with pneumonia and has been in the hospital for a week.  Luckily I don't have to make decisions about her treatment plan - ha!  She's hopefully being released tomorrow but will be recovering for awhile at home.

So I'm here, but a bit distracted - bear with me :)

When it rains, it pours.  

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