Hah! Just as I was starting to get on a semi-regular blogging schedule, friggin' Real Life had to get in the way! Dont'cha just *hate* when that happens?!
Tazz the Spazz, my Mama-Dog, has just had Surgery #3 (:::sigh:::). Happens *every* *friggin* *time* I pay off my credit cards to zero! Swear-to-Gawd!!!
Payoff a credit card: Within a week - *somebody's* gonna need emergency surgery!
Tazz is 11 years old. She's a black and tan smooth mini-dachshund. I got her around Feb-Mar 2000 - shortly after Tuxedo the Wonder Dog died in my arms (of natural causes). When I got her, her name was Latte (as in Mocha-Latte). "Uhh, No!" But I wasn't sure what to name her, so I figured I'd give it a couple of days - maybe she'd name *herself.*
I can't quite decide *what* Tazz is. This is fine - neither can she! She definitely has NO clue that she's a dog (let alone a small one!), and she really doesn't know "her place" in this world. But she *did* name herself. Tazz is a dog with boundless energy and absolutely NO sense of direction - and. quite honestly, NO CLUE whatsoever. About what? you might ask. My point Exactly!
Yes, she did name herself. Tazz the Spazz!
I think she might be part Labrador because her appetite surpasses All Things in the Universe. That dog would eat until she burst - I kid you not!!!
And I think she might be part Border Collie because she runs and runs and runs and runs. And then she runs some more. We have a 1/4 acre lot and - having moved from a 32'x11' boat (her ENTIRE WORLD) to a HUGE lot with ALL. THAT. GRASS. Well, it's like she'd died and gone to heaven!
Annnnd... She's part greyhound. We'd entered her in a couple of "Fun" Weiner National Dachshund Races - and damned if she didn't take 4th, overall! (her last running, she didn't fare so well. Unfortunately, her vision is "going" and she lost sight of me at the end of the track. She raced right past me, into the crowd, and KEPT ON GOING!!!)
She's also part retriever - with a serious OCD streak. Tennis ball?! Oh Good Gawd! She can chase a tennis ball tirelessly for hours without even breaking a sweat. And, oh my yes, does she bring it back! Again, and again, and again, and again...
And she has a serious Addictive Personality. If we dare to take the tennis ball away, she literally goes into withdrawals. We actually have to lure her into the house - with food (which - I'm convinced - is her #1 Love in Life). Then one of us has to sneak outside to REMOVE the tennis ball and stash it in the storage shed.
Next time she goes out? She runs and sniffs frantically ALL OVER THE YARD. ENDLESSLY. Whining and fretting and generally FREAKING OUT because "Where's my ball? Where's my ball? Where's my ball?"
If we attempt to lure her back into the house (Food again - Yes, it still works), she'll inhale her snack, then she'll sit by the back door, trembling and whining. This behavior can last, literally, for days...
And Gawd help us if we have to go into the storage shed to find something. She *knows* they're in there (even if she hasn't had a tennis ball for MONTHS)..
At one point, I actually invested a significant chunk o' change and bought her a Go-Dog-Go tennis ball launcher - thinking she could entertain herself. I spent HOURS (Were talking WEEKS) trying to teach her how to drop the ball into the bucket but "OH MY GAWD!!! IT DISAPPEARED!!! WHERE'S MY BALL DAMN YOU?!!! IT'S GONE!!!" Whirrrrrrrr THWUMP! as it launched another ball - and she darted off after it - having miraculously forgotten about the "disappearing" tennis ball. Nevertheless, she insisted on bringing the ball back to ME. She abso-freaking-lutely REFUSED to drop the ball into the bucket. So, the tennis ball launcher now lies dormant in the shed...
Bottom Line: The Tennis Ball Addiction just got too far out of hand, so we were forced to stage the Ultimate Intervention. All tennis balls have been forever banished from our yard. (Occasionally, the neighbors kids will accidentally lob one over the back fence - and all hell breaks loose! We quickly round-up the hounds, then toss it back over the fence!).
Tazz was utterly bereft with nothing to chase or chew, however. I did substitute a large Tire-Biter toy. (Oh, she is Destructo-Dog, too. In fact, I should rent her out to Dog-Toy manufacturers to test the claim that a particular toy is "indestructible" - I have yet to find a toy that is Tazz-Proof!!). The Tire-Biter at least lasts a couple of months!
Well, Tazz just couldn't break her "Retriever Ways" unfortunately. And she gets sooooo "into" it. She loves when toys (even heavy hard-rubber toys) "bounce" off her nose (it's a wonder she hasn't gotten a concussion!). And she'll LEAP into the air, twisting and careening off of whatever, to try to catch it "on the bounce."
So I guess she is part gymnast as well!
And I think *she* thinks that she is part bird (Don't even get me started on her Quixotic Quest to actually *catch* a bird!).
Over the years, all this running and leaping and twisting and non-stop frenetic behavior took it's toll on poor ol' Tazz (Oh, my sister's nickname for her is "Psycho" - and it's not too far off the mark!). So, over the years, she has had two back surgeries.
Invariably, this happens at, like, 3:00 on a Sunday morning so a trip to the Emergency Vet is in order. And, of course, this isn't anything that the local Emergency Vet is equipped to handle. Oh no! This requires a veterinary NEUROSURGEON (and they are neither plentiful, nor cheap!).
Anyway, Tazz has had TWO (count 'em - TWO) back surgeries, an MRI ($3,000!!!), and Gawd only knows what else, right? All "throwing toys" have been forever banished from the yard (chew-toys too, unfortunately because - to Tazz - ALL toys are meant to be thrown!). I have *always* discouraged jumping off of furniture for ALL of the dogs (Doxies = Back Problems). And I am obsessive about keeping the dogs thin (wish it worked that well on myself - but I digress!).
A frequent conversation around here goes something like this:
"Rinse the dish out before you give it to 'em."
"Aw, c'mon Babe! It's just gravy!" (it's a 1/2" deep puddle of congealing fat and sodium from one of his TV dinners).
"Just rinse it out and leave some water in it! They'll still love you for it!" I reply. "I promise, with their hyper-developed taste-buds, its *still* delicious to them!"
"But she doesn't get enough!" sez Rog
"She can NEVER get enough! Jeez! Do YOU wanna pay for the next back-surgery???"
He grudgingly rinses out the dish (but still leaves a generous amount of gravy!).
Rog is a sucker for Tazz's "I'm a Poor Starving Orphan" routine! I wish *I* could master her "pathetic eyes" stare (with tremble and barely perceptible whine!).
Annnnnnnywaaaaayyy... I've been pretty adamant about *not* paying for another surgery for Tazz, and have ruled the tableside with an Iron Fist, right?
She's 11 years old. Investing in another surgery would be just plain STUPID, right?
Did I mention that I paid off my credit card last month? Like, to zero?
So Tuesday morning, I'm working from home. Rog is in SoCal on business. I'm doing my normal routine, working at home, getting ready for Conference Calls and yada-yada...
All of a sudden, and for no discernible reason, Tazz came racing out of the bedroom with her tail wagging, but she was whining non-stop (in her most annoying wheezy high-pitched way). Then she ran into the corner of the den, hopped up on her woobie, and continued to whine.
I called her over. She just sat there, whining. I opened the fridge. She came racing over, but continued to whine and tremble.
"Oh sh*t. What's wrong?" whine-whine-tremble.
I tossed her a piece of food (which she inhaled). Unfortunately, I had a conference call starting up so I had no choice but to toss everyone in the crate and hope for the best...
After my call, I let everyone out. I checked Tazz's hind-legs and she's still "strong" back there - so it's not her back (*whew!*). But now she's licking her girl-parts obsessively and continuing to whine. I look to see where she's licking and I see nasty stuff. "Uh-Oh!" Oh Gawd *please* don't let it be pyometra!"
Long-story short: Yep, Tazz contracted pyometra, a nasty uterine infection. We actually lost a girl to that about 8 yrs ago (but she was 14 years old and had lots of other "issues" and we were to the point of "let her live out her days, as long as she's comfortable..." Pyometra ended that, unfortunately, so we made the very difficult decision to euthanize her - but, again, I digress!).
So, I grabbed the first available appt at the vet. Thankfully, I didn't have any more conference calls scheduled and the vet had a cancellation.
We talked about the risks of surgery (on an 11 year old dog who's had two back surgeries) vs. the likelihood of this clearing up with *just* antibiotics. Fortunately, it was an "open" pyometra - which meant the bad-stuff could drain - but I'd been thinking of having her spayed anyway (just "not at gunpoint!").
It seemed like an insane decision - to opt to perform surgery on an 11-year old dog - but she is still so "full of life" I just couldn't see cutting it short. But there were definitely risks, too. We knew spaying *would* take care of the pyometra - so that was a good thing. But the risk of performing surgery on a dog with a bad-back is that they get so "relaxed" during anesthesia, that they can knock the vertebra out of alignment very easily (leading to paralysis and ANOTHER back-surgery) (did I mention that back surgeries end-up running close to $8000 APIECE???).
Nevertheless, I just couldn't see any other alternative. "Let's do it. Just PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE be careful with her back!"
They sent us home with antibiotics and pain meds for the night. Her surgery was scheduled for Wednesday morning.
Prior to sending us home, they hesitantly gave me the "estimate" for her upcoming surgery. They were all apologetic (and nice about it). I took a look at it and - probably for the first time in the history of this veterinarian's practice - said "Wow. That's not bad!" (it was just over $1,000 - but compared to two $8,000 back-surgeries...!!!)
Tuesday night, Tazz mostly slept (she was all doped-up on Tramadol!). But she *did* wolf-down her dinner - so that was encouraging! She wasn't allowed to eat after 10:00pm, so she got LOTS of cookies that night (she looked like a stuffed sausage when I finally put her to bed!).
Wednesday morning was PURE PANDEMONIUM. "What do you MEAN we don't get breakfast?!!" Tazz got plunked into the small kennel-cab, then mom grabbed THE LEASH and EVERYBODY went nuts. Ayeee Ayeee Yipe-Yipe-Yipe-Yipe!!! It sounded like a goddamn kennel!
And when I dropped her off Wednesday morning, I had tears streaming down my face - to the point where the vet came out and gave me a big hug! (I am *such* a sniveling wimp when it comes to my dogs - it's positively pathetic!)
The Good News is: Tazz came through surgery like a champ. The vet called me around noon and reported that everything went well. I could come and bring her up between 5:00-7:00pm.
When I went to get her, I got the Post-Op instructions, along with "Go ahead and try to give her a *small* meal around 7:30 tonight - but don't be surprised if she's not interested in food..."
I refrained from saying "What are you KIDDING ME??? The day *this* dog skips a meal is the day we grab a shovel and start digging a hole!"
Sure as sh*t - come 7:30pm, I gave her a half-sized meal (by then, she looked positively emaciated), and she WOLFED it down. In fact, I had to take it away, midway through, because I was afraid she was gonna vapor lock!
Today is Saturday and - other than having a zipper in her belly - you wouldn't even know she'd had surgery. She is neurotic and active as ever!
So this means that Tazz is also part-cat. Now she's gotten through THREE of her Nine Lives!
Unique Fashion Statement for the Royal Wedding.
Plus, if we can just get her to hold still, we can get 972 additional channels on our TV!