Friday, March 31, 2006

Random thoughts

  • Have I ever mentioned here that Oreo was a smiler? She’d wrinkle her nose, show all her teeth, tuck her head down, wiggle ecstatically, and send her tail spinning like a propeller. Just Tuesday, she was doing that for a friend at work (when I took the dogs in for a bath) and for people at the vet’s office.
  • Sam is doing fine. He and Oreo always were rivals, not buddies: rivals for food, rivals for mom, and rivals for the sofa. Sam’s not sure why his rival isn’t here, but he doesn’t seem worried, isn’t looking for her or fussing. He’s just basking in being rival-less. Little does Sam know: there will be another greyhound in his future, sometime. But I’m going to have to choose carefully, because Sam is no longer willing to be the submissive little boy he was when I first brought him home to Oreo three and a half years ago. Instead of getting a tough Alpha female like Oreo, I may need to get a little submissive female who won’t challenge Sam. (If I get another Alpha female, I could easily wind up with two dogs in the emergency room. Sam twice “tagged” Oreo—one time stitches were required—but Oreo never harmed him.)
  • Sam has, in the past, exhibited separation anxiety. I haven’t tested his tolerance for being alone any time in the last two years or more. I was worried about how he’d do today when I went to work. (And, while I could have taken him with me today, he couldn’t go with me Saturday or Sunday; it seemed wiser to test him today since I was working a short day.) I weighted the scales in my favor—slipped him two Benadryl capsules this morning. In Sam’s last anxiety attack, he screamed like he was being tortured. Today, I posted a note on the front door asking people to call me if Sam got noisy, and I included my cell phone number. I left Sam here while I went to the emergency vet’s to settle bills and arrange for Oreo to be cremated. I came home, but parked at the neighbor’s so Sam wouldn’t hear the car. I tiptoed over and listened, and everything was quiet, so I went on to work. When I came home this afternoon (about 8 hours after I left this morning), everything was fine. He’d explored in the kitchen—as usual—but he didn’t trash the house, which he has done before. (He’s been known to pull every empty grocery bag out of the pantry, tip over the kitchen trash can and rake out all the contents, and other bits of mayhem.) Maybe all the years of seeing me leave, then having me come home, have convinced him that he can count on my coming back, so he doesn’t have to panic. We’ll see if his good behavior holds up.
  • The orthopedic surgeon charged me just half of the original quoted cost. (I didn’t see him, today, but was dealing with his staff.) I told the receptionist to thank him for me—he was making it possible for me to get another dog sooner. The receptionist said the vet techs cried when Oreo died. This is a surgery that fixes animals; they rarely lose one. This practice is next door to—and separate from—the emergency hospital, and generally treats only animals who are in “stable” condition. When Oreo crashed, the surgical practice pulled a vet over from the emergency hospital to try to revive her.
  • I need to write a memorial article about Oreo to be posted on SEGA’s Web site. And I need to find a good picture or two. And there’s other stuff I need to do: file a claim on the veterinary insurance policy (and cancel further billing on the policy); update my profile on LJ as well as on BookCrossing; update Oreo’s page on Maybe if I do some of this stuff, it will start to seem real.
  • Last night and today, Sam has started to eat tissues from the trash can. I finally figured out why: they’re salty. So I’ve got to stop crying about Oreo. Or stop wiping my eyes on tissues. Or just empty the damned trash can.
  • At work today, there was one dog named Oreo, one named Sam (from different households). They were the right colors, but they weren’t greyhounds. I managed not to cry too much at work, but there were a few moments… I still can’t believe she’s gone. A broken leg is just not supposed to be fatal.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Oreo--20 November 1997 to 30 March 2006

The vet thinks she threw a pulmonary embolism. Her heart stopped and they could not get it started again.

Oh, my baby...

Oreo update

Oreo is out of surgery (has been out for 30 minutes), but they cannot get her heart stabilized. The vet has called and he's worried. He'll call back soon.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Oreo is in the hospital.

She broke her right humerus (that's the upper bone, above the elbow). She did it standing in the living room!

I had just gotten home from work and was unloading groceries when I heard her scream. I ran back in and found her standing in the middle of the living room on three legs, dangling the injured leg.

I hustled Mr Separation Anxiety (aka Sam) into the back seat, backed the car out of the carport and turned it so I'd have more room to get her in, left the passenger door open, then went in and carried her out to the car. She sat in the front seat all the way to the emergency room. She couldn't figure out how to lie down, and every time her weight shifted onto the injured leg she screamed again.

Now, greyhounds are healthy, athletic dogs. They don't break their legs doing nothing! And I've been hanging out with greyhound owners long enough to know that many greys succumb to osteosarcoma--which gets diagnosed after a sudden, freakishly broken leg. So I was already a basket case when I got to the hospital--and from more than just having her screaming in my ear. (It's about a 7-mile trip.)

But the x-rays don't show any signs of cancer--no dark specks on the film, no jaggedness to the break. It's a nice (but nasty) break at a sharp angle (like this: "/"). She's doped and immobilized at the hospital, and Sam and I are back home. The break can't just be splinted; she'll need surgery, and I'm supposed to have a consultation with the surgeon on Thursday. (At least I was already scheduled to be off work Thursday.)

I have veterinary insurance, although I don't know how much of tonight's $697 vet bill will be covered. I refuse to think about the surgeon's bill at this point.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A busy day off

Up at 8am to walk the dogs, so I'd be home to give them pills at 8:20am. (See below.)

On the road about 10am to the store I work in, two dogs along so they could get baths. They appreciate the warm water at the grooming salon (beats the garden hose in the front yard); they're just not nuts about the forced-air dryer. But they behaved well and we finished in about an hour, so that by noon we were on the road to...

The vet's at 1:20pm. It was Sam's annual check-up and shots. He decided he didn't like how much blood the vet had to draw for lab tests and whimpered and whined, which he usually doesn't do. (And I wasn't holding him; the vet tech was. Maybe I'll hold him next time.) Both dogs are on thyroxine, which peaks in a dog's bloodstream 4 to 6 hours after the morning dose. (Hence the pills at 8:20 this morning.) So I'll hear in a few days whether Sam's numbers look right. But we're not going to adjust his dosage unless the numbers are way off, because he's not showing any of the physical symptoms he normally shows when he needs a change in his meds. (His coat will start going thin in patches, especially on his throat and his thighs, and he'll start to put on weight if he needs a change.) A greyhound's metabolism is so goofy that the lab numbers that are normal for most dogs are absolutely wrong for greyhounds, and the T4 (thyroid) results are notoriously unreliable. (Once, five hours after a dose, Oreo tested as if she had never taken thyroxine in her life; we repeated the test three months later, same dose, and the numbers were fine.) This time, the vet is asking for the test to be run twice--once on a sample containing a clotting factor, once on a sample without the clotting factor; he wants to see if that might make a difference in the numbers. Meanwhile, Sam looks fine, has put on a needed two pounds (he's at 64.0 pounds, Oreo's at 57.2 pounds, which is down 1 pound), and kissed the vet after the bloodletting was over. (The vet likes seeing them: they aren't hyper, don't bite, don't have serious health issues, and never need to go on a diet. And the vet likes hearing of Sam's latest mishaps--the poor boy's such a goof!)

Home by 3, and I gave Sam a buffered aspirin (he often runs a slight fever after his shots). Sam's sacked out on the couch next to me, Oreo's sacked out on one of the dog beds (she was on the couch, too, until Sam insisted on sleeping half-way on top of her, which she resents). I'm working on the baby afghan for KA and watching DVDs. (I'll measure the afghan in a day or two, and if it's long enough, I may stop even though I'm not out of yarn. I've been working on this for four weeks, and I've got to get started on the next one. I'm off work Thursday, so maybe I'll finish off then and wrap the thing to give it to KA on Friday.)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Ripples Afghan

The baby afghan for KA (my manager) is about 40 inches long. The original instructions called for 52 inches; I'm just going to go until I run out of yarn (I'm nearly finished with the third of four skeins I bought), so it should be longer than 52 inches when finished.