May 20, 2010

Finding the Good

There have been times when I've wondered if it would have been better for us if we didn't adopt Abbey. Just saying that makes me feel awful. I do not regret adding her to our family; I wanted her. I love her. As I've told you before, Abbey has had extensive medical bills. She is now costing us over a hundred dollars each month for just her medications. While I wish I didn't have the bill, I understand I was accepting the responsibility to cover all her medical costs when I adopted her. To me she is worth the cost.

However, there is an issue that sometimes occurs in my house that really makes me wonder about if we didn't adopt her. That issue is that she sometimes fights with Sammy, our pug. A lot of it started with food aggression while Abbey was literally starving before her condition was diagnosed. The other main contributing factor is that the two dogs, Sammy and Abbey, seem to be in a disagreement over the order of dominance in our house. Animals establish a pecking order. Unfortunately my animals do not see eye to eye on how the order goes.

Yesterday I played outside with the boys and dogs after nap time. We all came in around 4:30 p.m., and I wanted to vacuum the living area. I sent the dogs outside and started vacuuming and picking up the accumulation of stuff from the floor. When I finished, I let the dogs in and started to fill up their water dish. Thinking I was finally done and could relax until dinner time, I sat down to nurse Sean. It was about 5:15 p.m. Sammy was licking the top of the couch, which is an annoying habit of his. I turned to tell him to stop when I saw his head was all red. He was covered in blood. I immediately put the baby down and went to look at Sammy. Part of his ear was torn. I knew it wasn't going to be life threatening, but I knew we had to go to the vet immediately. I threw on presentable clothes, got the leash, and somehow made it to the car with the two boys and Sammy. I loaded them up and headed straight for the vet. Now let me interject here to say I never saw/heard any fight, and Sammy has no other cuts on him. It is possible he caught his ear on something sharp, but deep down I really fear it may have been Abbey. I will also say it could have just been a case of Abbey snapping at Sam in a way that is very normal for dogs. But it could have been more than that. I just don't know, and it frightens me.

So after a night in the vet office, surgery to stitch his ear, and $400 later, Sammy is home and doing just fine. I am now not letting Abbey and Sammy be together if they are not in the same room as me, which is annoying because mediating between the dogs is just more to add to my list while Pat is gone. But it is what I have to do to keep them safe.

It is after times like these that I have to remind myself to find the good. There is a lot of good in Abbey. Anyone that takes the time to get to know her can see that she is really a very sweet dog. 95% of the time she plays nicely with Sammy; you can often find the two of them playing chase in the back yard. Abbey is really good with Ryan. I have to worry about Ryan hurting Sammy or Bailey snapping at Ryan, but Abbey is the best with him. If she doesn't want to play with him, she'll just run away, and the two of them often play with toys together. She is a valuable member of this family. I just wish that incidents like yesterday never occurred. If she weren't a good dog, I would think about giving her up, but she is a good girl with a few problems.

A little aside to this story is that after we left Sammy with the vet last night, Ryan was rather upset and kept asking about "Bo Dog". Somehow Sammy's name is "Bo" to Ryan and he often adds on the dog for Sammy too.

Last piece of news about Abbey is that the vet is an idiot regarding her incontinence problem. When we picked them up from the kennel (at our vet) after our vacation we asked how she had done through the nights. The head vet called us back and Pat explained why he was asking and how the other vet from the office was referring us to Nashville. The head vet told us not to bother and that she probably has regular incontinence problem that many spayed dogs suffer from. It can be controlled by another medication she takes for the rest of her life. (Thankfully a semi-cheap medication at that.) The kicker of this though is that I specifically asked the other vet why this wasn't the diagnosis when he said he was referring us out, and his reply was only "given her history, I don't think that is it." While we haven't cured the problem yet, it is getting better, and with simple medication adjustments we should have the problem completely under control soon.

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