His name was U.S. Marshall, his family name was Round Hound. We called him; Round Hound, Marshie, and Fuzz-Butt. He has left this world. He was Ten.
Earlier this year he stopped playing/wrestling with our other dog Toby. We figured age had started to catch up with him. In October he had a case of diarrhea which a bland diet for a week and a half seemed to cure, though his stools were not the same since. Over the holidays we got rather snow-bound and he didn't get his daily walks for a week or so. Round Hound is a rather sedentary dog otherwise, always has been. When we started walks again last week he would make a block down the road and then start gimping. One of his back legs would go "peg-leg" for a while and sometimes he would just sit down. Most walks I had to carry him back. Over the last couple of months he's acted like his tummy has bothered him off and on. Occasionally throwing up or having a bloated belly. Now with both problems we took him to the vet Saturday and got an exam, no definite diagnosis was determined. The exam included lotsa poking at his hips and knees on his hind quarters. They took a stool sample and a blood draw, then gave us some pain killers and some antibiotic. If it continued the next diagnosis would be an xray.
Saturday evening he had an antibiotic with dinner, on a cracker with peanut butter. Sunday morning we put the antibiotic the same way into his breakfast bowl. He ate around the peanut butter cracker and at one point picked it out and put it on the floor. We then put it into cheese and also gave him half a pain med also. After breakfast he suddenly had trouble with his legs, he would pull them out from under himself and sit down as if he was suddenly hunching/tucking his belly. I sat and comforted him, rubbing his belly for nearly an hour until the pain med took affect. We thought the antibiotic was causing intestinal pain as it killed off the bad bugs that were causing his digestion problems. The one gimpy leg we thought was just lack of exercise. I went to Petco and got some pro-biotic (the vet wanted this also, but was out), I also got some glucosamine/chondrotin for his joints. We carried him up the stairs Sunday, but other than that he seemed to be getting around ok, even barked and ran to the door when Toby did. Sunday evening more antibiotic and another half a pain med.
Our house has doggie-doors and the dogs usually go out in the middle of the night to pottie. Anywhere from midnight to 3am is typical. I woke up at 2-am. I thought I heard something, a low dog howl, or a train horn? I then heard a train horn in the distance. I knew Fuzz-Butt wasn't feeling good and it was time for their nightly pottie so I looked around the bedroom to check on him. He wasn't there. I got up and checked the office where he used to sleep under my desk. I went downstairs checking as I went. I found him outside sitting by the corner of the house in the flower bed just outside the back door. He didn't want to move when called. I picked him up and carried him inside to the bathroom. No idea how long he'd been out, I turned on the heater and started to check his legs for cold or numbness. Then I saw his back toe nails. He'd chewed them bloody.
I went and woke Beth. We turned up the furnace and carried him upstairs to his bed. We had to hold him to keep him from licking his toes. I looked closer and realized he'd pulled the nail completely off one toe on one hind leg and all the toes of his other. We managed to get a pain med down him. In Portland there's a non-profit vet clinic that runs a 24-hour clinic. I googled the location and called them and we rushed him there at 2:30 in the morning.
The exam showed he had gone paralized in his hind quarters. Either a slipped disc (exactly what I just had surgery for 3 weeks ago and know about the pain aspect), or a clot in the arteries cutting off blood flow. Either one painful enough he chewed his nails off. They had given him an injection of pain meds in the interim. Both we and the vet came to the same decision. They gave him another injection for anxiety and brought him to us in an exam room. He was pretty doped up by then. We said our goodbyes, and cried a lot. The vet came in and we held and petted him while the vet ended his pain. We cried and said more goodbyes and kissed him. We went home and cried some more.
My stomach was wrenching so I made hot chocolate and took a prilosec and then a vicodin for my shoulder. Beth took a benadryl for sinus stuffiness and to help sleep, I did the same. We cried and comforted some more and tried to go to bed. I got up and sat. I finally fell asleep in my chair at 5:40 or so. I missed the 6:00 alarm but heard the clock chime 7:00 and got up. It's the first day back at work in three weeks. I had to go.
We've been through this twice before, though not this suddenly. It does not get easier. When you don't have children, pets sometimes fill a part of that part of your life. It hurts.
It hurts a lot.
Dear Lord God in Heaven,
If there's a place in Heaven for Dogs, take my dear friend Fuzz-Butt. Let him play and live with our other pets Sasha and Mozart. Let him be pain free and happy. Hold him in your care until we meet him again.
Yes. . . It hurts a lot.