I got a call in the middle of the afternoon from the Doggie Day Care Center where he plays with other dogs three times a week. Dawg had started whimpering whenever someone touched him, and would I come get my animal and make sure he’s okay?
You’re darn tootin’ I will! When I got there, I saw what they meant. He was standing with his head turned sideways. When he tried to walk, his body made the letter “C”. I recognized the symptoms: Dawg acted like I do when I get a crik in my neck. A less severe form of this has happened a few times before after he came home from daycare. In fact, at first I was concerned someone was mistreating him there. But careful monitoring of the center’s video feed showed no indication of that. Previously, each time this happened we just gave him an aspirin and he got better immediately. We talked to the vet and he thought maybe the dog was getting a little arthritic. Dawg is starting to get a little old for a Bouvier; he’s seven now, and they don’t often live past 12. (My last Bouv died when she was eight, but she developed cancer.) The vet said to bring him in if he got worse, or if we got worried.
Well, the next morning, Dawg was worse. We got in the car and high-tailed it to the vet. Xrays showed that Dawg had developed a degenerative bone disease in his neck. The bones are rotting away. It’s a form of arthritis and there’s not much they can do other than give him some pills for the pain when it flairs up. This time they gave him a shot to loosen up the neck muscles (they’d locked up, trying to protect the spine) and he was fine a few minutes later. The vet suggested that rough playing between dogs that goes on at daycare isn’t really safe for him anymore, so I had to let them know he wouldn’t be back.
I feel bad about that — he loved that place so much. At least they’ll let me bring him by occasionally to say hello. I’ll try to explain it to him tonight. I sure hope he understands.