Brahma will be 14 years old in December 2017. Buddha will be 15 in early November.
I often tell people that I want them to live to be 35.
Recently, Brahma seemed quite distressed. He was crossing one back leg over the other and falling over.
He stopped eating.
He also stopped pooping. For some time his poop has been desiccated. Really dry and hard. Like it had come from a mummy and not our pudding fleshed little Binky. Lost control of his bladder. This was a Sunday or Monday evening when we truly understood the gravity of it. Don said, “Maybe we should take him back for acupuncture and chiropractic work with Dr. Bud.”
“Maybe we should take him to the vet first,” I said. Because of his loss of bladder control, I’d been buying up washable male dog wraps and making investments in Woolite with which to wash them.
I called in the morning. Our doctor, who we call Dr. Ray, was booked, according to the front desk. They said however that they would speak to him and call me back.
Early in Buddha’s life, he’d had bladder stones and we’d paid to have him surgically altered so that stones would no longer block him. This surgery, however, makes him very prone to urinary tract infections (UTI). We are very primed to see when Buddha has a UTI.
Brahma was unloading in the male wrap and it smelled very strong. Why did I not see what it was?
The vet’s office called back 20 minutes later. “Can you come in right now?”
I grabbed Brahma and got in my car.
In the little exam room, Dr. Ray’s eyes registered a deep foreboding.
“Could his intestines be twisted?” I asked. “He hasn’t pooped in days and he’s not eating! Plus, for a while now, the poop has been quite dried up.”
Then, “could this be the end?” The previous evening, we really thought he was going to die during the night.
“I’m going to keep him for a few hours,” Dr. Ray said, wrapping his arms protectively around Brahma. “I’ll run some blood tests and we’ll do some xrays. You go, and we’ll call you when we know more.”
“Oh, Binky,” I said, kissing the top of his head.
The front desk called about five or six hours later. A voice said, “You can come and get him! He’s fine. Dr. Ray wants to talk to you.”
I called Don and asked him to leave work and meet me at the vets. If it was really bad I did not want to hear the news alone.
At the vet, the waiting room was full. Dr. Ray was meeting with people. The man next to me had a reasonable sized poodle mix. They were talking about insulin. Now that’s serious. How do you know when your diabetic dog needs insulin. Dr. Ray was saying, “maybe do 9 units.” The man had been doing 14.
When that man left, Dr. Ray sat down next to me. “You are not squeamish, are you?” he asked.
“What? No. Why?” I said.
He reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone. He said he wanted to show me something.
The photo was of Brahma’s furry underside, more white than black these days. The hair curled this way and that. There were clumps of blood all over it.
“What the hell?” I muttered.
He leaned close to me and said softly, “It’s a UTI.”
My jaw dropped. “WHAT?” No way, I thought. Brahma never gets UTIs. We are so primed for a UTI in Buddha, we never saw it coming. I was astonished. He said he’d put up an antibiotic for us.
“What about his poop?” I said. Dr. Ray said he’d been able to get a little out of him.
“Should we buy some lubricant and latex gloves to help him? Should we start feeding him a lot of sardines to make it oiler? Should we….”
Dr. Ray interrupted. “MiraLAX.” Never having used anything like this, I presumed it was a liquid. “A Tablespoon?”
He looked at me patiently. “Start with a half a teaspoon once a day. You have to be careful. You don’t want him having diarrhea either.”
We recoiled. Yes, that would be worse than mummy poop.
So Don went back to work, and I took the antibiotic and my little pookie back home. I opened a tin of sardines and split it into the dogs meal dishes. I put a dose of antibiotic in Brahma’s dish. Buddha attacked his bowl like a wolf, but Brahma just sniffed and didn’t eat.
I picked up a little morsel and mushed it around the pill, and managed to get it down his throat. Buddha scurried across the kitchen floor to scarf down what Brahma had left behind.
My little Pookie didn’t care. He limped over to the dog bed in front of the dishwasher and collapsed. He barely moved for the next 20 hours. I made dinner. We took Buddha downstairs and watched TV, and still Brahma slept, unmoving.
He stayed there all night.
The very next day, he leapt back to life. Barked for his breakfast. After three days of MiraLAX, everything is back to normal.
One pill. I said it over and over. One pill and he’s better? The vet had said it was a targeted antibiotic and would work very quickly.
What a relief that it did.