Monday, May 18, 2009

I Play Nurse

My dog Ripley (12-and-a-half) is sick, and I'm distraught. He's being very brave, though.

This morning, before I headed off to work, he was yelping every time he jumped off the bed or couch and could not seem to maneuver his front right paw—almost as if it had gone numb on him (he kept trying to step on the back of it, rather than the padded bottom).

I think this problem has been slowly creeping up on him, and I've been attributing it to old age. Distressed whining for attention, uncharacteristic clumsiness, shorter playtimes. But as recently as this weekend he was happily playing fetch.

When I came home from work, he was shivering and looking so fragile that I rushed him to the vet. The doctor supposes it's some kind of neck disease (spinal disc problem of some sort, common to sighthounds, she says). She pointed out that his neck is not as limber as it would be in a healthy dog. She gave me some pain meds to give him and told me to restrict his movement. She did say that, otherwise, he was looking in fine shape for his age—something for me to clutch onto, I guess.

I’m embarrassed to say that I could not afford the vet bill, but swore to bring the money at the end of the month when I’m paid. Such is the life of me.

So I'm carrying him outside and back to do his shits and pisses, twenty-nine pounds of him, since he cannot manage the stairs. He can, in fact, barely walk. He still takes treats, so his appetite is apparently unaffected.

I also reassembled his crate and was weirdly moved when I told him to go to his crate and he did—even though he hasn't heard that command since he was a puppy.


  1. Joe--I'm sending you and Ripley good thoughts...

  2. Thank you, Laurie. The painkillers seem to work, though he has balance issues this morning, as well as continued stiffness in movement. He's eating and sleeping--that's good news, too.



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