Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wishing Dogs Could Talk

Kodi is ten and a half now, my age in dog years. I’m troubled that the last year has seen a steady decline in his wellness beginning with startling hair loss on his tail. My regular vet and two different doggie dermatologists have been unable to solve the mystery. Logical explanations such as Cushing’s Disease have been ruled out.

A week ago a dramatic event happened to further complicate matters. It was a quiet 5am and I was sitting in my living room recliner reading, a normal morning activity. Kodi was sleeping on the cool hardwood floor behind me, his custom. Suddenly he leaped to his feet, heading to my chair. Then he seemed to shudder for about 15 seconds. I thought he might be having a seizure, or a cardiac event. He seemed terrified. Could a cougar somehow be hiding under the house? Was an earthquake coming?

For almost three days he refused to eat. though he drank a normal amount of water. He avoided the house and clung to the farthest points on the outside cyclone fence. At night he would lie in his usual place on the floor beside my bed but with his head raised and his eyes furtively scanning the walls and ceiling. I could not hear or smell anything unusual. Were I a science fiction writer this might be the theme of a mystery story: “Alien possesses Husky” or “Ohlone Indian Ghost Spooks Pet Dog”.

Likewise if I were a canine psychologist I might start behavioral modification. I spoke in person with my regular vet who, like me, is stumped. The refusal of food changed Sunday night when he began taking tiny bites of meat if hand fed, but only out of doors or in the family room.

Abruptly Monday morning a total swing; he behaved and ate normally, but then the no eating strike resumed yesterday. Today, Friday, he clings to me like rubber cement and with serious coaxing he ate a cup of ground beef and brown rice. I’m very troubled and I dismay that I am in all respects inadequate to this task. Like an Olympic athlete I keep chanting: focus, Bonnie. The answer eludes me. I’m worried and stuck. Where should I turn next?

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