Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tending to Dyna

There's something about an old dog. They have a sense of appreciation that isn't there when they're young, agile, and healthy. It's like they really know they need you. The time comes when they no longer fight your efforts to help them and simply relax and accept your care.

A few months ago Dyna started needing to be carried down the steep winding stairs to the master stateroom. You might wonder why she doesn't simply sleep above but these are Siegel dogs, spoiled to the bone, and Dyna didn't want to be left behind. So Jeff carries her down every night. At first she struggled and squirmed but now she just settles into her daddy's arms and enjoys the ride.

We came back north because Dyna was having difficulties tolerating the heat and humidity. If you've been following her for a while you may remember that she had throat surgery a year and a half ago to fix a breathing problem. She's much better but still only has half an opening to breath through. So panting is less efficient plus all of these things are more difficult as she ages. Dyna will be 15 in May, a true grand dame.

In addition, she's had digestive problems due to chronic UTI's which have been cured with antibiotics but then stripped the good bacteria out of her stomach and intestines. Add to that the need for a periodic blood test to check liver functions due to her daily pain medicine, and we needed to find a good vet. So as soon as we pulled into Cocoa Village Marina we started searching. We checked online reviews, talked to the staff at the marina and some boaters with pets on the dock. We found a nice vet very close by but still too far for Dyna to walk. We started making plans to bring her in a dock cart, something that worked at Cumberland Island last spring.

So I went to the office to let them know we needed to take the cart off site. The manager Ken said, "I'll drive her." I told him it wasn't too far and I didn't want to bother him. "It's no bother. I'll do anything for a dog." I knew there was a good reason I liked him so much. Off Dyna went to Brevard Veterinary Hospital.

After tests and exams and consultations both here in Florida and with Stephanie back at Lucerne Veterinary Hospital in Maine, we devised a plan. Now on top of her hard to find dog food, she is getting a raft full of supplements - cranberry extract to keep the UTI at bay, probiotics to restore her good digestive bugs, Sam-e and milk thistle to help her liver levels, and Nupro vitamin supplement to ensure she's getting what she needs. Oh, and she also needs the addition of canned, wet food to get her to eat all this stuff. My galley pantry is becoming filled with dog items.

Do I care? Not a wit. She's our very special girl and every day with her is precious. Plus she's perked up and has even started a few tussles with Dylan. We know we can't have her forever but we can make her days the best they can be.


Jorjetr said...

Jeff & Karen - thank you for your wonderful account of taking care of your grand old dame. I wish her good health and the best of times in her senior years. I had a Golden that lived to be 17... and I miss her everyday. I am sure Dyna loves you so much for all the good care you give her! You're the best!!

Unknown said...

Our Newfie, Misha, also loves to rest in a doorway and keep an eye on all that goes on. Trouble is that she is easy to trip over in the dark. Ruby (black lab), Charlie (yellow lab) and Misha send big licks to Dyna and Dylan from the UK. I hope to be back on board Sylvia G in April and continue down the ICW.
Fair winds, Roger

jws said...

I knew you were nice people when I met you at the MTOA Southern Rendezvous last year. This confirms my impression.

Summer Wind said...

We hope Dyna is feeling much better. Keep us all updated!

OpsDiva said...

I enjoy your blog, but particularly enjoyed this post. I admire your dedication to Dyna & Dylan!