Friday, October 31, 2008

Whatever It Takes

The commitment to owning animals cannot be minimized. Anyone who considers getting a pet needs to be willing to go the long haul. Yesterday was a crazy day, mostly brought on by the ailments of my beloved Pepper and Siete. It started early with a visit from the farrier to help me with Siete’s feet.

He didn’t find any new abscesses in her back hooves and said that the old ones appear to be healing. She does have bruises on both her soles, which would make her sore. More important, she has a small abscess on her front left foot that he drained. That could have made her put her weight on her back legs enough to make the problem appear to be in the back, not the front. So, I’m booting and soaking, and thank heavens, a new shipment of Animalintex arrived yesterday because I had run out. I have to schedule an appointment to have the radiographs done next week. My farrier still leans towards the notion that it’s being caused by Lyme Disease, since it’s systemic and never completely leaves your body. The new vet is adamant that this is not the problem. I’d like to think it’s Lyme rather than anything else, but mostly I’m hoping that these expensive x-rays will give us an answer.

The other animal drama in our house is with Pepper’s left eye. Suddenly, the lower lid has drooped and her eye looks like it’s rolling back in the socket. She doesn’t seem to be in pain or bothered by it. Still, when there’s anything wrong with an animal’s eye, we go to the vet. Of course, getting the poor old dear in the car and into the vet’s office is a big ordeal. It’s amazing that Pepper is still alive, and I’ve gotten used to the intensive amount of time and effort that goes into caring for an old dog. Every time she wants to move, someone has to help her, and that’s usually me. She’s off and on incontinent, which requires lots of clean up.

Last night, I thought about my friends who don’t have animals and tried to imagine my life without my pets. I could just pick up and go when I wanted to without worrying, and there would be considerably more money in our bank account. Yet, our life would feel empty, and a lot of the joy would be missing. After I washed the dog bed for the second time in one day, I sat on it with Pepper, and she happily rested her head on my knee. I love both her and Siete so much that even though caring for them takes up a significant part of my day, I can’t imagine not doing it. If you love someone, two or four-legged, you don’t just dump them when times get tough and they require a lot of attention. For better or worse, you’re in it for the long haul.



Grey Horse Matters said...

You are absolutely right about being in it for the long haul. We have a few animals that require extra care and commitment. I feel that without our care for these special animals they wouldn't even be here, someone would have just discarded them like old trash. I truly believe these animals appreciate all we do for them too. Our lives are richer for having them in our family.
Here's hoping that Pepper and Siete are feeling better very soon.

detroit dog said...

Great post, Victoria.

Carolynn said...

I can certainly relate to this post. It's heartbreaking when a loved one - regardless of species - is sick or in pain.

I can honestly say that I've had three soul mates in my life. They've all been animals. If that makes me crazy, so be it.

I hope your family is feeling better soon.

Big Hug & Much Love,

billie said...

Sending good thoughts for all.

We have had the good fortune in the past to find a mobile vet who came to the home to do everything except surgery. It made things so much easier - not having to pack up stressed animals and taking them in to an office. Right now we have something akin to that, and with two 8-year old dogs and an older cat I hope we can keep most of the care here at home.

Hoping for a healing weekend for your dear friends!

Lori Skoog said...

Victoria...I too, have thought what it is like for my friends who have no animals and complete freedom. I have always been committed to every four legged friend I have had, and will continue to do so. Currently I have 5 out of 6 horses who range between 23 and 31 and have learned what each one needs to maintain a high quality of life. We had a huge Old English Sheepdog that had similar problems to Pepper. I would use a towel under his belly that I held by his back and he was able to get in and out of the house quite easily. I pay my vet to come here when I have to put a dog down. It is much more peaceful. Also, taking care of animals and remaining active keeps you younger and more fit. Hopefully Pepper and Siete will be doing better soon. Nice post.

allhorsestuff said...

Bless your heart!
It certainly does take, at times, more energy and money than we have, to do what it takes for our beloved animals to be well.

Our little Manx cat Elsie, now she is 18, almost died last spring..the vet just gave up on her and wanted to sell us somethihng to hydrate her with till she she stopped eating and drinking.
Well, I thought...I'll get her new food!
Man, she is a renewed little cat!

She also pee's on us if we don't get up in time or go to bed on time or anytime she she is upset or cold...we do alot of laundry and get up at 3am frequently!
But we do it cause we love her as our family!

Your animals are well taken care of, it is apparent!Very well loved~

M. C. Valada said...

Victoria, I know exactly how you feel.

Our Muffin is going through many of the same problems that your pepper has. Our carpets will have to be replaced when she finally leaves us. When it is damp, the stains rise again. We keep the door to the yard open, because she has long since forgotten to let us know she has to go out. Sometimes, she can't seem to push the netting out of the way to go out.

Lately, she just collapses and stays down for hours at a time. She's very stiff when she gets up. But she's lost a lot of weight, because when she is up, she walks miles doing the perimeter of the yard or the living room or marching up and down the hallway. (It does speak to the benefits of walking.)

On Saturday or Sunday, she flopped down in the kitchen, asleep with her head on her food bowl. I took the photograph, because it is a companion piece to one I took when she was about three months old and fell asleep with her chin on her water bowl.

They are worth every penny we lay out for them. They are members of our family.

Victoria Cummings said...

Thank you, Everyone - Your kind responses make me know that I really have found a caring community of animal lovers. There are days like yesterday where I can't believe what I'm doing and how much time it takes, but I honestly don't see that there's any other way - Looking at the world from Siete or Pepper's point of view, I would just be glad that someone was there to help me. If there's one thing my horses have taught me, it's to look at the world from their perspective.

Janet Roper said...

Great jack-o-laterns.

Your love, passion and compassion for your 4leggeds is so evident, Victoria. Your crew knows they are in good hands & are grateful for it.


marymartha said...

I love your blog. It keeps me going when I am tired and worn out. I have a 16 old Golden Retriever Molly who is much like Pepper. There are days I despair if I am doing the right thing, but as long as she wants to eat, toddle about and hang out w/ us, I will clean up the messes and make sure she has all she needs. I am glad there are others out there who understand. Thanks for your stewardship to the animals who call you mom!

Breathe said...

I had to let go of two dogs in my life because of arthritis. The pain meds were changing their personalities and without the medicine they were miserable.

It's hard to live with these wonderful friends with such a shorter life span than us. There are so many goodbyes...

But live without them? that would be awful.

Sending you healthy canine and equine e-karma.

simplymarvelous said...

Victoria, I'm on the same page with you. Animals are family, they are home to stay. My believe if people cannot "go the long haul", then they should not have them.

We used to do a lot of traveling in our professional days, but as we have become animal collectors, those days are over. We daydream about returning to favorite places, but cannot leave "the kids".

Your animal's are fortunate to have someone who takes such detailed care of their problems. They have a real "mom"!