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,

“What-do-you-think-you-are-doing-in-there-Little-dog!”

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…

A-handsome-little-dog

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 blogsitehttp://rumpydog.com/2014/02/20/poem-when-the-dog-is-unwell/

Thank you for the visit today Rumpydog.

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78 thoughts on “The ups and downs of being the Little Dog

  1. petspeopleandlife says:

    There is still fire burning low in his furnace so let him live until all is hopeless and you will know when to let him go. I keep my pets until they are in pain that can not be controlled and/or I can’t get them to eat no matter what. Just make sure that he eats bedfore you give the insulin. Keep some white Karo syrup on hand and if he shows symptoms of too miuch insulin and is not responding, then rub some Karo on his gums and keep doing that until he is repsonsive again. :Lots of people give up on thier diabetic pet when all is not alwasys lost. I know you will use common sense to keep him as long as possible. Much good luck is wished for little dog and you.

    • Lynda says:

      You are so sweet, Yvonne, thank you.

      I’m feeling confident about his care and what to look for, it’s just how awful he looks… like one of those rescue dogs you see on the news that crawled out from behind the dumpster or something. But, right now I am most concerned about that horrible ulcerated bite! I think I have spent far too long on the internet this afternoon, and have totally freaked myself out about what might happen because of his bite. There are just too many “dires” posted out there on the net!

      • petspeopleandlife says:

        Research and research about the bite. You might want to take him to the vet college in your state or to a speciality hospital. What would epson salts soaks do for the bite? I know that epsom salts has some pretty good healing properties. I use the stuff myself a fair amount of time. Have you boosted him with B comp shots and also vitamin C. Are his kidneys still functioning pretty good. These are all things you might want to explore with the vet. Much luck and good karma is being sent your way and some prayers too.

        • Lynda says:

          Thank you, Yvonne, I am, and it is the stuff of nightmares! The key issue with this sort of bite is the necrosis of the tissues. Human treatments for these bites are much the same as what is given for a serious 3rd degree burn. I’m not sure if the Epsom salts would be tolerated. He can barely stand the pain from the water lavage the Vet ordered. We have Silvadene cream to apply to the crater 3x per day, and Cefpodoxine 100 mg to give him orally, once per day. His kidneys are compromised from his Cushings, although getting the disease under control has helped to mitigate much of his kidney problems.

          • petspeopleandlife says:

            Thanks, Lynda. Yes, I don’t think epsom salts would be tolerated either and you are doing what needs to be done from reading your answer to me. I will keep Little dog in my prayers.

          • Lynda says:

            I appreciate your willingness to share with me, Yvonne. Currently, his treatment appears to be working, and much more quickly than I thought it would. I cannot imagine having to put up with the pain I am giving to him three times a day! The treatments are getting easier for me with this regimen as well. Thank you for your prayers, Yvonne.

  2. Na Na says:

    Oh poor babies. Hugs to you both.

    Yes, the fur kids do take things much more in stride than we do. My fur kid is not feeling so well either. He has arthritis in his hip joints and his nice black hair is getting white really fast.

    • Lynda says:

      Anita, you know this is the first dog I’ve owned (as an adult) that was with me long enough to go gray in the muzzle. It kinda takes you by surprise doesn’t it? I sure hope your baby feels better when the warm weather gets here. Thank you for the hugs, and now here’s one for you. (((O))) and your baby (o)

  3. Doreen says:

    I am so sorry to ‘hear’ of your situation and my heart goes out to you….yes, you!! I/we have been there with 2 dogs in recent years. We have only a rescue kitty right now and we’re good with that. I know it sounds very self centered but we have decided not to put ourselves through that pain again for a while. Keep lovin’ on them and you’ll be fine!

    • Lynda says:

      Thank you, Doreen. Your support means a lot. If we can get his bite to heal we will be good for a few more years… no matter what he looks like. Know what I mean?

  4. Pam says:

    Oh Lynda, I didn’t know about the cataracts! Oh my poor, sweet Tucker. I will pray for him, and you and Bob. You have a good vet, yes? I am so, so sorry you are going through this. Do you want me to send you a picture of Buster’s ugly leg? He’s lost most of the hair on one leg due to his cellulitis.

    Praying for Tucker to get better quick, and heal completely!

    • Lynda says:

      Hey, Pam. The cataracts are a very recent development, and yes, Tucker’s vet is very good. I’m sorry about Buster’s leg. Will his celulitus get better, and will his hair grow back? Thank you so much for your prayers. I just want my little franken-pup to feel better. That nasty bite has him under the weather, but more than that, they are very dangerous bites!

      Pictures? If you show me yours, then I will be left with no other choice but to show you mine! 😉

  5. quilt32 says:

    I was heartbroken reading this post and sympathetic because I’ve been through similar ordeals with my dogs. There’s a special place in heaven for people like you who do everything they can for these beautiful, faithful pets.
    Lillian

  6. Vicki says:

    Sorry to hear Tucker is so poorly.

    It’s a long shot, but many alternative vets use Bach’s Rescue Remedy on animals (especially in the case of shock or severe debility).

    This English remedy which I use regularly (the cream and the tincture) can have amazing results. If you can get it in your local pharmacy and/or health shop, give it a try on your little dog (the cream on the sore and the tincture a couple of drops on his tongue 4 times a day). At the very least it should make him feel better and more perky.

    Many people don’t believe in these flower essences or homeopathy, but I get great results.

    • Lynda says:

      Thank you, Vicki. I will have to look up The Bach’s RR. I don’t even know if it is available here. Right now we are battling necrosis of his skin and muscle tissue from the nasty Recluse spider bite. So far, there is no infection present, but the skin is badly damaged and we are seeing the muscle underneath… It is horrible, but he is a trouper.

  7. wildninja says:

    What a strong spirit this puppy has! The good news is that when he finally does reach the end of his path, that’s his eternal birthday. Then he’ll never feel pain again– only his people left down here will feel pain. Sounds like he has some fight left in him and as someone else said, dogs have a way of telling you when it’s their time. When that comes you are setting them in Jesus’ arms until you are reunited again. For now, give yourself a pat on the back, human, for caring about him so much and walking with him through this adventure called life. I’ll say a prayer for him from here.

  8. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    So, SO sorry to hear about Tucker’s string of bad luck, Lynda. I’m sure you already know that honey is an amazing healer for wounds (and certainly wouldn’t do him any harm if you use it to dress his bandage…) Please do let me know if it helps ‘k? With love, Deb.

    • Lynda says:

      Thank you, Deb. The key issue with this sort of bite is the necrosis of the tissues. At this time Tucker has a crater in his haunch that is now down into the leg muscle, and is growing daily. Human treatments for this bite are the same as for serious burn victims, which is what the vet has supplied us with. We are aggressively treating his wound from the inside and and from the outside as well. (see also my comments to Petspeopleandlife) At this time he seems depressed, but I am not so certain that his combined head and neck restraints aren’t more responsible for that more than anything. So hard to know when the little guy can’t speak, eh?

      • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

        Not sure of we’ve discussed this before, you and I, but when doing honey extraction there are tons of insult to your hands (burns from the uncapping tool and hot wax/honey, slivers from old frames, scratches and punctures from framing wire…) but, by the time I’m done with it all, I’ve healed or well on the way to healing, magically as though it never existed and nary a sign of infection – EVER… Honey is Ancient Magic indeed! Did I mention that the Aztecs/Mayans used honey on wound dressings after (and yes, sometimes it was brain; ) surgery?

  9. Playamart - Zeebra Designs says:

    what a precious dog, and watching him lose that great health has to be so difficult. you have been so sensitive and caring, and he also sounds highly intelligent – he surely treasures and appreciates having you in the caregiver role.

    z

  10. katechiconi says:

    I couldn’t Like this post, because it’s heartrending. Not for Little Dog, who seems cheerful in the face of his increasing adversity, but for you. Because you can see the future, and know that it holds a day when you will lose him… Please be happy with him, and enjoy the days you have together.

    • Lynda says:

      We do, Kate, you can count on that, and you are right… it is hard. Thank you for your kind words. Good news though, his treatment is working for his ulcer. Very slow, but definitely progressing! 😀

  11. shoreacres says:

    That bite scares me more than anything. Thank goodness you got it figured out. I still have a small place on a leg where I was bitten by what we assume was a brown recluse, or something equally nasty. I was bitten four hours from home, on a boat. By the time I got home, I couldn’t walk up the stairs. By the next morning, I had red streaks up and down my leg and unbelievable pain. If I hadn’t dragged myself to an emergency room, there’s just no telling. But it did heal. I can’t remember how long it took, but I do remember within about a week the pain was gone.

    I’m just so sorry he (and you) are having to go through these things. Thank goodness Tucker has you to look out for him – that makes all the difference in the world, for our animals as well as for us.

    • Lynda says:

      Whatever it was you must have been horribly allergic, Linda! How awful!
      We are coping, thank you, and I have good news! I treatments appear to be working and much faster than we anticipated!
      😀

  12. Littlesundog says:

    Poor Tucker… it’s kind of like providing nursing home care, isn’t it? Years ago, my dog Boogie was bitten by recluse spiders… the first time he was deathly ill for about 3 days. The wound was huge. Months later it healed on its own, and Boogie didn’t seem to mind the wound itself. A few years later he was bitten again by a recluse. This time he didn’t get sick but the wound was more irritating. Again, months later the wound closed and hair grew back.

    Yvonne’s words are genuine and true. Tukker has not given up, and animals are so resilient. You (and your vet) know how to treat him and help him as he adjusts. You will adjust too, my sweet and compassionate friend. There are so many realizations for ourselves when caring for others (human or animal… even plant life). We are all inter-connected in this way… and it is a true gift to care for another. We all need that at times.

    • Lynda says:

      Thank you, Lori. The hardest part is how quickly all this illness has hit him. He was still the “Pup” when you were here, and now you would hardly recognize him. But, I have good news, his treatment is working and much faster than we anticipated! It will still be a long haul, but bit by bit we see the good result! I have fashioned a (half) Lederhosen from a tube-sock for him to keep his dressings in place. So, even in his current state, he is look’n stylish! OK, maybe if you squint your eyes a bit… 😉

  13. Penny says:

    I have fond memories of Tucker as a frisky pup, entertaining us as we worked on our Master’s stuff. That’s how I’ll remember him always. What an irrespressible, charming little character! I’ll be praying for his recovery, even as I’m cleaning up the messes made by our pup (10 months now) and coming up with new ideas for keeping her in the yard!

    • Lynda says:

      Penny, the same spark is still there, the flame is just turned down a bit at the moment. All the prayers are helping by the way, thank you!

      New dog training, WHOOO, do I remember what trial that was! I don’t envy you that task. If you can, would you send me a picture of your lovely pup? 😀

  14. LB says:

    Goodness poor Tucker! and a wound that deep is a challenge with diabetes, too! Such a rough road for him, and for you all. Healing thoughts!

  15. Boomdeeadda says:

    Aww, sounds like you and Tucker have been put through the wringer. I think our pets are just happy to be near us, come what may. As you’ve noticed, even when their precious little lives are filled with challenge, a hug and soft conversation earns a tail wag. Animals are so giving of spirt. I hope this is the end of Tuckers troubles. Gentle hugs, he’s a little cutie pie.

    • Lynda says:

      Thank you, Boomdeeadda. He has been through the wringer. Keeping up with his regimen is heart wrenching, but is so worth the effort on our part; we can already see his wound shrinking, and it is less fiery looking. This is encouraging, and thus makes giving treatment less painful for us too!

    • Lynda says:

      Thank you Mystery Person. 😉
      It has been hell for the three of us, but when he wags his tail in spite of it all, then I know we are doing the right thing.

  16. janetnz says:

    Oh Lynda I’m so very sorry for you two, and little Tucker.
    We have very special Manuka honey here in NZ
    If you would like I would courier some to you?
    It has magical antibacterial and wound healing properties…
    XO

    • Lynda says:

      Janet, thank you so much! It has been amazing to see, but Tucker’s ulcer is shrinking already! It has reduced in size by about 30%, so I guess the special burn salve is working for him!

      You are the kindest person to offer to do this for my little guy, but from there to here, the shipping time may take longer than the current rate of his healing.

      If I were there I would be giving you a mighty big hug —> (((O)))

      • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

        Can I say it? Yup, I’ve gotta say it… “See?!” Seriously, honey IS magical – especially when it comes from the nectar of Healing plants – all around the world: )

    • Lynda says:

      Oh it certainly did, Simone!

      That little dog would be a lot further along if we could just keep his little lips off of his wound! 😐 However, in spite of his determination to remove his bandages and cause further damage, his healing is progressing and much more quickly than we thought possible! I will be taking a picture to post of him in his lederhosen I made for him. So far they are working the best of anything we have previously tried. 😉

    • Lynda says:

      Thank you, and yes, it has been an ordeal. Progress is faster than expected, but not fast enough! But, we are traveling in the right direction and that is what counts. 😀

  17. chatou11 says:

    Little Tucker looked so sweet, what a lovely pet you have. It’s heat breaking to hear about all his diseases.. and I know how it will be difficult when the time will come to let him go. For the moment enjoy each moment with him.
    My little Pilou also has a ghost-eyed stare because cataracts and I have to help him to find where he is…
    Spoil Tucker a lot!
    friendly yours

    • Lynda says:

      Thank you, Chantal. I am sorry to hear that your Pilou is suffering with blindness too! Tucker is doing so much better at finding his way around than he did at first, and the big dog has become a bit more understanding about Tucker running into him all the time. At first he was very grouchy! Now he sees him coming and gets out of the way. 😀

  18. Zyriacus says:

    I think I can imagine what you are going through. I’m working with blind humans (reading for them). Also have (human) experience with diabetes and the problems of long time healing wounds. It’s good to read that your little dog is putting up with his adverse fate and has such a loving home.

    • Lynda says:

      Thank you, Zyriacus, it has been hard work. Dogs are long-suffering. They put up with so much and never complain. Poor babies. However, I am happy to report that the Little guy’s wound is now down to the size of a pea and he really is healing fast now!

  19. duck duck goose says:

    My boy Manny is blind and I foster for Blind Dog Rescue. Please do try to remember that a dog’s eye sight is not their main information gathering sense. It is like our sense of taste is to us. It is 2nd to last importance to them. And life easily goes on without it. Scent is the dog’s #1 sense.

    Manny can find me anywhere on the farm. I have found him sleeping on top of a drafting table. I still dont know how he got up there. He has killed ducks and chickens and guineas. And went after a man who walked into my place unannounced.

    Dogs dont have issues with being blind, we do. Dont worry about this part of your little dog’s happiness and Oh! BTW, there are balls for blind dogs that make noise so they can keep playing ball with you! Babble balls!

    http://www.amazon.com/Pet-Qwerks-Medium-Animal-Babble/dp/B000PCF0G2/ref=as_li_ss_tl?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1448657972&sr=1-2&keywords=babble+ball&linkCode=sl1&tag=blinddogtoys-20&linkId=9be6719454eafedac304b26efe6d5093

    Manny plays fetch with the tennis ball all the time with me. By scent alone. Sometimes we play on the concrete drive and he hears the nap of the ball on the concrete.

    As for the blind eyes, I love Manny’s, he has such innocence to his face. never sees me get annoyed and has no visual cues that anything is wrong- it is all love and happiness and the assumption that I am happy along with him.

    • Lynda says:

      Thank you, Connie. Tucker is gone, but Buddy is now getting cataracts. He is about 10 Lab/Border Collie mix. This will be helpful for him eventually.

      And you are right! Tucker did very well for about two years after his blindness. I taught him to climb stairs by coaching him and telling him ‘Step, step, step,” etc. The hardest part in the beginning was for me to remember he couldn’t see obstacles when we were walking on leash. Eventually, I could turn him loose in the yard and he would go out to do his business, travel the whole yard (it is very big) and find his way back to the steps to come in. I really miss him, but the Noodle is very much like him and fills that energetic dog role for us. Buddy is the couch potato, love bug type and that is awesome too!

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