Day 27: Dog Medicine

Nearly three years ago, my husband and I adopted a pit bull pup.  We were in no way prepared for what we got with her and our lives have never been the same since.  Not because she's a pit bull.  That's been the easy part.  

     Since day one, Miss P has had lots of interesting health problems.  I could wallpaper my whole office with her vet bills. 

     Miss P was a rescue pup and her hard knocks began at birth. Her mama and papa belonged to a homeless man who lived in an old warehouse where Miss P and her siblings were born and then bitten by rats.

     Fortunately, all the puppies were rescued, which is how we wound up with Miss P. She actually wasn't our first choice.  Before the puppies were old enough to leave their mother, we went to see them in their foster home and we chose another puppy.  On the way home, I couldn't get Miss P's face out of my mind and I had this gut wrenching feeling that she really needed us.

  And she did.

     Can you say diarrhea?  Have you ever in your life had to take care of someone that had nonstop diarrhea for the first five months of her life?  That was Miss P.  It started out as giardia, a parasite, and once that cleared up, it became food allergies so severe, we couldn't find anything to feed her that wouldn't give her diarrhea.  For FIVE MONTHS.  

    And my husband was away working overseas for a large portion of that horrible, trying time.  There were days when I was up to my elbows in poop, where I just didn't know how I would get through another day.  And I wanted to just hand Miss P back to the rescue I'd gotten her from.  

     And then I'd look into those sweet brown eyes and wonder, if I did give her back, who else was going to be willing to take care of a pit bull puppy with chronic diarrhea?  As awful as it was for me, which was pretty awful, I knew it would be worse for her if I gave up.  

     Finally after five months, and getting my own private parking spot at the vet, we found a prescription dog food that worked for her and her tummy troubles virtually disappeared.

     That's when the chronic bladder infections started up.  Even visits with a specialist couldn't determine why she was getting them.  Fortunately, she stopped getting them just as quickly as she started.

      Around the time of Miss P's first birthday, six or seven months after the diarrhea hell had ended,  I noticed sweet little Miss P seemed to have trouble getting up from lying down.  She'd get up like an old dog, scooting her front paws pack and then with great difficulty lift her rear end to stand up.  More vet visits revealed she had hip dysplasia.  Our vet said they couldn't do anything for her, so off we went to another specialist, where that vet discovered, Miss P not only had hip dysplasia, she also had a torn ligament in her left knee that would require a surgery called a TPLO.  We did the surgery and did stem cell therapy for her hips. The stem cells helped her hips and her knee recovered beautifully.  For about a year, she had a normal life.  Playing ball with our other dogs, going on hikes.  Even her food allergies have subsided and she can tolerate and enjoy a wider range of foods.  That was until  her other knee went out this summer and she's now recovering from her second knee surgery.    

And so, was it worth it?  Absolutely, positively yes!!!!

     What Miss P has been is Medicine for me.  Through all of the pain and the misery, this dog has taught me courage and strength.  She has taught me to persevere even when I can't see a light at the end of the tunnel.  

     Everyday, I am blown away by her willingness and her resilliance.  I am amazed by her cooperation.  She has endured more pokes and prods, medications, and restrictions than human or animal I know, and she simply allows what ever needs to be done to her to be done.  Tail wagging.  

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