Roo goes back for more

Roo had a better day today, probably because instead of waiting for any symptoms to kick in I give her the Cerenia and omeprazole early on with a couple of Pepto kickers before she showed any signs of reflux and tried to stay ahead of the game by giving her more Pepto every four hours. It was a beautiful morning, mid 60s and bright—on the way to a not-so-beautiful 80—and Roo felt good enough to take the mile-long walks she always had. 

Later the vet called with her lab results. He said there was no indication of pancreatitis but that her resting cortisol level indicated the possibility of Addison’s disease, a hormonal imbalance caused by some funky interaction between adrenal and pituitary excretions. The summer before last, I had to take the same test she’s taking tomorrow, an ACTH stimulation test. They take your blood to get a baseline, then they shoot you with some glucose and if the cortisol level doesn’t respond to that properly it indicates Addison’s (when they checked me it was for Cushing’s disease, different disease originating in the the same organs, and got two lab results saying I had it; the results were so unusual that the doctor had the lab check their machines, and something was wrong with them. In the couple of intervening weeks the doc was telling me to start picking out a brain surgeons. Turned out not to be that at all.)  

From what I’ve read so far, Addison’s sounds controllable with one of two or three course of drugs that she would have to take for the rest of her life. She will have to have frequent monitoring in the beginning until good levels are established, and then after that a few times a year. 

If the ACTH stim test comes back negative, though, Junior will have to go back to the internal medicine vet to be probed with an endoscope at both ends. Tomorrow’s test she’ll do at the local vet’s clinic. It’ll be a little rough on her because she’s going to have to stay there by herself for about three hours. She’s really been going through the wringer lately.

Roo has been refusing to go out at night at all. It just doesn’t seem like that can be doing her any good with all this other gut trouble she’s having. So, tonight I concocted a story about going somewhere in the car. She wanted to know where. I told her I didn’t know. That didn’t impress her. I suggested that she could check on a particular night mouse she’s always been interested in. She thought about it, but was ready to demur, but when I treated to go check the mouse myself, she agreed. 

Just like the other night when I tried to fake a rabbit sighting to get her to go out and a rabbit appeared, this time the damned mouse—one of those huge rats Roo has been hunting lately—was right there. Roo went insane and began to tear up an old dead tree trunk in the moonlight. I couldn’t take it for too long, but it’s hard to stop her when there always seems to be the risk that she could be feeling sick again at any time. 

I’m sure Iv’e mentioned that every time it’s time for Roo to get in the car she pretends that she’s not ready or that there’s something she has to look at or she starts wondering if there’s a weasel under the car and she dicks down to look there. She always has a few reasons to delay. She does this not because there’s anything to look at, but because it’s fun for her to get my goat. She doesn’t like to jump in the car until I finally raise my voice and say, “Move it, Roo!” She just likes it that way.

My last dog, Orville, the white lab some of you might have seen in this video, used to like to have a look around too when he got to the car. He wasn’t playing a game the way Roo does. He just liked to look back at whatever place he had just hiked. I used to hurry him, too. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve always been impatient when it’s time to get in the car.

Then, on a spring day, Orville and I got back to the car after a walk. His thing was stick swimming. The bigger the sticks the better. By then, The cancer and the meds for it had taken a little bit of a toll on him. He looked a little tired. But, he still wanted to run and swim and play tug of war down at the swimming hole that is part of the vista you can see from where I built the pile of stone to mark his death and scatter some of his ashes. That day, when we got back to the car, instead of just turning his head to look back, he turned completely around and started looking back on the park. He had traveled the world and had been to many places that he loved. But this park, in Boulder, Colorado, was his favorite. He sat there for a while and just looked around. It was a warm day. Out of habit I was about to say let’s go, but then understood the obvious. How could I rush a dog who was so sick and who was just spending a couple of minutes looking at a place he loved? I stood there with him. A couple of minutes later he looked up at me and smiled. I had to help him in the car. I don’t know if he knew it or not, but he would never go back there. The next day he was too sick, and the day after that he died.

And of course I remember that sometimes. But, Roo has no such dire thing wrong with her, and so, until she ever does, I have a feeling we’re going to playing her game of arguing about getting in the car for a long time. In her case, it’d probably be less fun for her if she stopped being able to annoy me with her car game.

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