Dexter. Part 1.
Faith, The Family Dog

Dexter. Part 1.

Ok, I’ve got my coffee and my chocolate cupcake (the breakfast of champions  – don’t judge me), the wood stove roaring, Fleetwood Mac playing on Youtube, and both dogs are snoozing. How about I tell you a little story of where I’ve been all week.

I try to keep things pretty regular here on the blog, but sometimes life gets in the way. And google likes to knock me down the ratings when I don’t post often. Hopefully some of you are still here.

Right?

Anyone?

Well let’s just get right to it anyways. I’m sure you’re bound to come back. I know how much ya’ll love my ramblings.

….

This is Dexter.

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Dexter has been with us through everything.

Our first apartment.

Our first real big move to a different town.

And several moves after that.

He is the best cuddler in the world and loves to be carried around. He’s comforting and has been cried on a lot over the years.

He is always up for a walk or a car ride.

He cleans my floors. I am always dropping things when I’m cooking. Dexter is at my feet ready for the cleanup.

He watches TV and especially liked Gilligan’s Island when he was a puppy.

He’s quirky. One of our neighbours down the road from our first apartment had a dog statue in their front window. Dexter was convinced it was a real dog and would freak out whenever we got close to their house. It got so bad that we would have to go to the opposite side of the street and pull him passed the house. His fur would all stand up and he would lunged at the end of the leash growling and yipping. It was downright hilarious. This happened every time we walked by that house until we finally moved.

He sleeps under the blankets. He’s really brave and tough when he’s under the blankets.

He’s playful, he’s lazy, he’s goofy.

He’s just always been there.

On Saturday he seemed stiff. On Sunday morning he was really sore and was yelping a lot. His back gets sore when he plays too hard, so we figured he just out did himself and needed time to rest.

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When we got home from church Sunday afternoon he wasn’t doing well and his back legs didn’t seem to be working properly. I figured I would call the vet Monday morning and see if I could get him in. And then things went really bad and suddenly he didn’t seem to have any feeling in his hind end. His back legs were laying at funny angles and he was dragging himself along, unable to lift himself up from the hips down. He had visible swelling around his lower back and the yelping was gone, signifying he couldn’t feel anything.

I started googling emergency vets that were open late on a Sunday. In our area there is no such thing, so I found one in the nearest large town (to me it’s a city but I suppose it actually isn’t), Peterborough. We called and they were able to get us in at 8:40 pm. It was 6:30 at that point so the appointment worked out well, as we are an hour and a half away anyways, plus it was snowing like crazy.

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This was around the time I lost it. My google searches led me to believe he had IVDD (intervertebral disk disorder), a disorder that is common in dachshunds. Dexter is a chiweenie – half chihuahua and half dachshund – so he is especially susceptible to IVDD. IVDD means there is a slipped or herniated disk in his back thus paralyzing the dog. It can be fixable with surgery if you have the money. I knew surgery would be really expensive and we didn’t have that kind of money. The other option was putting the dog down. I couldn’t imagine my life without Dexter. I sent a text to my sister asking her to pray for me because I couldn’t get my emotions under control.

We loaded Dexter into the car, and off we went. My sister’s prayers worked because I became instantly calm, and I was able to focus on what was going on. I prayed over Dexter the entire car ride asking God for healing, for options, for a clear head for Hubby and I, and a good experience at the vet.

At the vet, she did an assessment of him, and confirmed my fears. She said she couldn’t be 100% sure and wanted to do an x-ray just to be sure there wasn’t something going on with the spine itself. She said at that point, if the spine looks fine then we would have to discuss options about getting Dexter to a specialist for surgery. She was really optimistic and talked a bit about other options out there: steroids, crate rest, wheelchairs and carts, therapy, acupuncture, and others. For the first time I started to feel like maybe this wasn’t a death sentence. The only problem was the x-ray machine at that clinic was broken. She named 2 other vets that we could go to that were 24/7 or gave us the option of taking a shot in the dark and giving him steroids. We chose the x-ray and picked one of the other vets (basically out of a hat). She gave us directions, had the secretary call ahead to the other clinic to let them know we were coming, and they didn’t charge us for the exam. I can’t tell you how much hope that gave me. The entire time there was a good experience and we were hopeful when we got back in the car and drove the 20 minutes to the next vet.

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The second clinic wasn’t as optimistic. We were told that we had to get in the car and drive to Toronto to get Dex to the specialist right away. They would call ahead and Dexter would go right into surgery when we got there. The surgery would run anywhere from $4000 to $6500. If we didn’t have the money we had to put the dog down. End of discussion. He checked his deep pain senses and determined that there still was some feeling there, which was a good sign. We got the x-ray done and he pointed at a spot on the x-ray and said that it was probable that there was a slipped disk there. I told him I wasn’t ready to put Dexter down, and wanted to know about my options with steroids and crate rest. Reluctantly he said that rest and medication might restore him to the point where he could walk but he’ll be wobbly. He also told me that Dexter was most likely incontinent because Dex peed all over the table. I assured him that was normal behavior at the vet, but I got the impression he didn’t believe me.  Thinking back on it I’m not entirely sure how I got the steroids out of the vet, as he was very reluctant to let Dexter be carried out alive, but I did and Hubby and I took our boy home.

You can read Part 2 here.

 

 

 

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