If you’ve read my Official Holiday Letter (posted 12/28/2013), you may want to hear the full story about our “youngest” Chihuahua (at 11 1/2 years old), Rosie, and the second chance I have been given. Alas, heed my warning, it’s not for the faint of heart.
The Husband asks that I begin my tale with his perspective. It was the eve of the eve of Thanksgiving. It is to be noted that he was on the mend from his 2nd day of the stomach bug, laying on my new soft silver bedding, ghostly white, while I, cared and fed his “rookery” of children. (I was going to use animal group names such as herd, colony, nest, but then stumbled upon “rookery.” This is how you refer to a group of albatross – the Hyphenista seeks to both entertain AND inform.)
Back up for backstory.
We had collectively noticed in the weeks prior that Rosie was rapidly losing weight. Substantially losing weight. She is a teacup Chihuahua whose weight should range in the 5-7 pound bracket. Which it did, you know, back in 2003. At her last vet appointment, bursting at the seams, our Rose was dragging around 14 pounds. Yep. Double her suggested doggie weight. YES, OF COURSE, I only feed her geriatric diet dog food. YES, OF COURSE she’s been on all doggie diets known to man. (The cottage cheese-green bean diet being the most ghastly. I had to end that when I watched my baby girl crawl up to mound of the regurgitated aforementioned diet and try to pick out the french cut green beans.) YES, OF COURSE, I lock her and her cohort, Meester Fernandez up at meal time, but somehow, over the ages, crumbs of Cheez-Its, shreds of mozzarella, and bits of bacon have found their way to our dogs.
So, when she started literally shrinking before our eyes and hosing all over the place (more so than usual), I got worried, but put the vet off for a few days. 3 little people and one male adult down with the stomach bug, being cared for by me, who also happened to be down with the stomach bug, did not make for a productive house. So on this eve of the eve of Thanksgiving, it was gloomy and raining out, not Chihuahua conducive weather, so I had to pick Rosie up to take her out to do her business…and as I cradled her in my arms and glanced down, I GASPED in HORROR.
Something was wrong. Something was terribly wrong with her lady parts. They looked…necrotic. So, like any caring spouse, rather than sheilding The Recovering Husband, I dashed upstairs with said dog for his inspection. Thinking it was something he could help with, I took the hound upstairs where the first sips of Sprite and saltine crumbs were finally beginning to take hold. I put the dog into the inverted supine position – analagous to stirrups at the ob-gyn visit pose- and said “does this look right to you?!?” The Recovering Husband choked back the bile forming in the back of his throat, he declared he thought her ladyparts were a titch cattywampus.
Of course by this time The Vet was closed, so what did I do?
Called the next best thing, Coach (my Dad). Yes, I realize that just because he taught high school biology and grew up like a mountain child in deciduous forest that is Valley Creek didn’t make him a vet, but it was close enough. After hauling across town and assessing poor Rosie’s disasterous situation he concluded that I should, 1.) Call the Vet and 2.) find leftover animal antibiotic ointment in the bowels of my medicine cabinet. Useful little engine that Coach is.
Due to The Middle Child’s previous medical commitments, (before calling PETA, know this…it was the morning of his hornet venom blood test and he requested my hand to hold at the appointment) the chore of taking poor Rosie to the vet fell to The Husband and his father, The Father-in-Law. Two Army vets loaded up and headed off to
war see a man about a dog’s lady parts. Now, The Veterinarian is awesome. Awesome with a capital A. He has never been too judgy about our dogs weight situation. (I usually have to bring all of Rosie & Meester’s human siblings to the appointments. Just visualize how that goes. The Middle kid is usually up on the table trying to administer shots, The Nosy Meap is nibbling on the free dog biscuits and The Oldest is quizzing The Veterinarian on dog breeds most suitable for certain climates.) But this was a particularly unique visit. He agreed with our assessment that Rosie had diabetes, but for official confirmation, he’d need to send off the bloodwork. Easy. It was the lady part issue that was the real story. He took out some small scissors and cut back the fur that was matted and essentially ingrown. Then he took his pointer finger, and swiped the area…..and, as I am told, the smell was indescribable. The Husband couldn’t hold back: “um, Doc, I gotta say that’s pretty weird”. The Veterinarian responded that the smell helped him know just how bad it was. Due to her rapid weight loss, Rosie’s little parts completely inverted and were infected. Wow. I KNOW, I WARNED YOU!
So, armed with special antiobiotic wash (yes, it really does stain towels and pillows) and antibacterial pads, the two Army vets and the little Chihuahua made their trek home. To me. For my second chance with The Rose.
I am happy to report, two months later, that although Rosie’s lady parts will never be the same, they’ve improved with my excellent infection killing dog bathing skills. Her cataracts are getting worse, but, with Meester being completely deaf, we feel like between the two of them they can see AND hear. She’s managed to sustain a healthy weight and is somewhat ok with her twice daily insulin injections. I wish I could take this moment to brag about my deft insulin plunging abilities, but she sprints far away when she sees me lurking with my little 40 cc needle behind my back.
We are grateful that she and The Meest have made it this far. It has been tough in recent years for some of our friends and family. Of their original gang, we say Rest in Peace Bailey, Roxley, Luke & Libby, Pugsley and Coco…and of course Luca, the best German Shepard there ever was.