So last night my human mommy/blogging assistant had a slight goof. Somehow the pushed the giant PUBLISH button before I had finished telling my story. What do you have to do to get a decent assistant these days? Anyway, my apologies to anyone who received that unfinished version of my tale. Here’s the complete story. I hope you enjoy.
Last week I went to the V-E-T to have my teeth cleaned. This is me post-procedure. I probably don’t need to tell you that when it comes to anaesthesia I’m a little lightweight. I don’t remember much of the day, but I’ll tell you what I do recall: My human mommy forced me to rise and shine at what seemed to be an utterly ungodly hour of the morning. OK . . . so it was 6 a.m. . . . but I’m not a morning girl, so that was a bit of a jolt. I staggered into the kitchen only to discover that my food and water bowls were missing. Then I remembered that I was denied my usual go-to-bed treat the night before. Something was definitely fishy. And that’s when we got into my chariot (what you would call a car) and started driving. Before I knew what was happening, we were at the V-E-T clinic. Now I’ve told you before that I love, love, love my vet, so at this point I was pretty happy . . . hungry, but happy. Unfortunately, that’s basically the last moment I remember from that day. The next thing I knew, I was back at home and Mommy’s crazy camera was flashing in front of my dopey face while she giggled. Isn’t that just typical of our humans?
So at this point I know what you’re thinking: “Miss Harper Lee, that’s an interesting story and all, but what in the world does any of this have to do with Tasty Tuesday.” Well, I’ll tell you. There are two key connections between my teeth cleaning and Tasty Tuesday. First, it’s extremely important to maintain dental health so that I can chew on all of my tasty treats. (Just for the record, I had an excellent report.) And second, I got this fabulous new powder that goes on my food to help keep my teeth and gums healthy. . . and it tastes just like a treat! It’s called Perio Support and it’s made by the people at VetriScience Laboratories “to help maintain clean teeth and fresh breath. It is formulated to help control plaque formation and to support gum health.” (That’s a quote from their website. You can click here to read more.)
When I finally regained enough coherency that evening to eat dinner, Mommy sprinkled a bit of the Perio Support on my food. WOW! This stuff is fantastic. I’ve even seen Mommy sniffing it and saying something about it being good enough to put on chicken to grill for humans. Oh no you don’t, Mommy. It says right on the label that it’s only for canines and felines.
And it’s way too yummy for me to share, even when I’m slightly groggy!
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When I woke up this morning, it was raining cats and dogs. (You know that’s just a saying, right? I mean, cats and dogs were not literally falling from the sky. Well, of course you knew that.) Clearly, this was not going to be a good hair day.
And then my human mommy delivered some devastating news. Because of all the rain, we would not be going for our morning walk. What? I have webbed feet, so I seriously did not see why we couldn’t handle a few puddles. Apparently, though, Mommy’s feet are not webbed, so she vetoed the walk. Whatever. But there was a silver lining to my rainy-gray-cloud day. Instead of taking our morning walk, we were going to the V-E-T for my annual checkup.
Now I know what a lot of my puppy dog friends are thinking right now: Going to the V-E-T is absolutely not a silver lining. In fact, for a lot of you, going to the V-E-T is actually one giant gray cloud. (You’ll note that I am spelling out V-E-T because I know that for some the mere mention of the word makes you tremble.) But I have to say that I love, love, love visiting my V-E-T. (You can click here to read all about my friends at Jefferson Animal Hospital and the laser treatment I had there for my elbow dysplasia.)
Mommy, can’t you see that it’s raining and I’m eager to get into the V-E-T’s office? Take your silly picture and let’s go.
And just when I thought that going to the V-E-T couldn’t possibly get any better, we walked through the door and there was my friend Honey, who lives down the street from me. Time to meet and greet and catch up on all the neighborhood gossip.
And of course, kisses, kisses, kisses. (Note to my blogging assistant/photographer/human mommy: If you cannot learn to take non-blurry action photos, I’m going to have to find a new photographer.) Honey and I could have stayed in the reception area playing and kissing all day long, but apparently humans have these things called schedules and appointments, so we had to go our separate ways.
After a quick weigh-in (just for the record, my weight is perfect), I went to a very exciting back room for my exam. My V-E-T checked my ears and my eyes . . . and then he looked at my teeth. Turns out that I’ll be going back to the V-E-T in a few weeks to have my teeth cleaned. You may recall the last time I had my teeth cleaned. As my dear piggy friend Bacon said, I was a DUI–Doggy Under the Influence. (The photos are here if you need a good laugh.)
Then came the needles. Oops . . . I guess I should have warned you that photo was on its way. I had a little blood drawn and then got poked several times with various vaccinations before having something squirted up my nose. I did not see that coming, but through it all I was a real trooper and never let out the slightest little cry.
The next part of the exam was a little humiliating. Let’s just say that it happened pretty far back from my nose. I have a feeling that they do that part last because it’s a little hard to make eye contact after a human has been back there doing that. Fortunately, everything looked good under the microscope. Is that too much information?
And just like that, my annual V-E-T visit was over and I was back home. Between visiting with my friend Honey and then being the center of human attention while I stood nicely on the exam table, the whole morning was quite exhausting. I think I’ll just put my head down and take a little nap. Wake me when dinner is served.
No, this is not an endorsement of another favorite treat (although I am a huge fan of Happy Hips). This is a story about my very special hips and elbows.
A few months before my first birthday, my humans noticed that I wasn’t quite “right.” When I ran across my yard, I did a little bunny hop. Sometimes when I tried to stand up, I had a bit of a struggle. And when I sat, I tended to lean over on my hip. The picture above was taken that winter, during one of our rare South Louisiana snows.
My veterinarian at the time referred me to the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. At the vet school, I received a full (and I do mean full) examination by one of the professors, a resident, an intern, and a senior student. Through their examinations and radiographs, they determined that I have dysplasia of my elbows and hips. Their report included this sentence: “While we know that Harper Lee’s hip arthritis will progress with time, we cannot predict if her clinical signs will worsen.”
This was all very hard for my humans to hear as they held a Golden Retriever puppy who had not yet celebrated her first birthday. But they were encouraged. Rather than recommending immediate surgery, the report suggested a conservative therapy: non-steroidal anti-inflamatory medication, controlled activity, and weight control. The veterinarians and future veterinarians said that I should receive regular exercise, including walks and swimming (I am still waiting for my humans to put that pool in the back yard!). They said that running, jumping, and rough playing should be avoided to prevent excess strain on my joints. I think my human daddy was a little disappointed that I would not be joining him on his marathon training runs, but my human mommy was happy that she would have a daily walking companion.
They also suggested that I should receive physical therapy through the vet school’s Companion Animal Rehabilitation Center. I started aquatherapy almost immediately. That’s me on the underwater treadmill, which allows me to build muscle and increase range of motion while decreasing stress on my joints. Our local public radio station did a story about my therapy. You can click here to listen to the story or read more. There’s even a YouTube video of me on the treadmill (don’t blink or you’ll miss it!). When I first started rehab (my human mommy always points out that it’s not like Lindsay Lohan’s rehab), I went twice a week. I improved so much that my visits were cut to once a week, and now I only go every other week.
So you can imagine that my humans were a bit alarmed (to say the least) when they noticed me favoring my right front leg earlier this week. They immediately got me in to see my “primary care veterinarian” at Jefferson Animal Hospital. (My late sister, Lexi, and I started going there shortly after my first visit to the LSU vet school, and I’m so happy we did.) My veterinarian characterized my limp as a flare-up of a chronic condition. His recommended treatment included laser therapy, which I started immediately at the clinic.
I had my second laser treatment yesterday, and I’m responding extremely well. It’s really quite enjoyable (probably more so when my human mommy isn’t there with that camera in my face). I go into a nice, quiet room with a big, fluffy dog bed. While one lady holds me (I like that) another shines a warm light (that’s the laser) all around my elbow. In about 15 minutes, I’m finished. You can click here to read more about Companion Therapy Laser.
That’s the current story of my happy hips and elbows. As I approach my fourth birthday in March, I am doing quite well. I enjoy my morning walks, and now that the weather is getting cooler here I’ll probably start working in an afternoon walk each day. To lessen the stress on my joints, I have been advised to control my weight, but that’s not a problem for me (don’t you just hate blondes who say that?). I take a daily dose of Dasuquin (a joint health supplement) with fish oil tablets (which studies have shown may increase the effects of the Dasuquin; if nothing else, it keeps my golden coat beautiful). Every other week, I do my aquatherapy at the LSU vet school, and now I know that the laser therapy at Jefferson Animal Hospital will also help to keep my joints healthy . . . hopefully for a long, long time.
This has been a long and somewhat serious post for me, but I thought it was important to share this information. I know that I am very, very fortunate to have the brillaint minds, cutting-edge resources, and caring people at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine and Jefferson Animal Hospital. Those are certianly two of my favorite places. My humans and I realize that my special joints will be a lifelong challenge, but when they see me sitting in happy hips position (like in the photo above), they feel very good about my future.