Having an exuberant and inquisitive dog created some exciting adventures, several that I would have preferred to skip. I lost count of how many puzzle pieces disappeared, but they were minor inconveniences. Arthur liked paper like Praeses liked tennis balls – as snacks.
The biggest escapade happened while I was shopping. It was before I had a cell phone and being paged to the service desk in Target because of a medical emergency started a million horror stories racing through my mind. Were the kids okay? My husband? Had something happened to my parents or in-laws?
Arthur had swiped a tissue filled with my mother-in-law’s medications off the dresser. After several panicked calls to the vet and poison control, the dog that would vomit at the drop of a hat refused to throw up no matter what I tried. We ended up at the emergency animal hospital where he spent the night. He returned to us the next day groggy but otherwise fine. . . .Until my in-law’s next visit. Arthur took one look at them and refused to take the medicine I was giving him for itchy skin.
About that itchy skin, after a bad reaction to some arthritis medicine (and another trip to the animal hospital,) I pulled him off every medicine and supplement he had been given. The plastic water bottle and food dish got replaced by stainless steel. Within weeks his dry itchy skin went away, as did some of the stiffness in his joints. All that time it had been the plastic affecting his health. I’m amazed those kinds of dishes are still being sold. Stay away from them!
Arthur was definitely a mama’s boy, and followed me around like a shadow. If a nurse or vet needed to take him somewhere, he would tuck his tail and give me a worried look, but he always went. That was until he had a softball sized tumor removed from his leg. On our follow up appointment, he planted all four feet and refused to go without me.
Snowy white crept up Arthur’s muzzle and gray splotched his black fur. Those walks around the lake became too difficult for him. In March of 2011 Arthur had a mini stroke. He made an almost complete recovery, but it was just the beginning of many health problems. His eyesight began to fail and he showed signs of early dementia, but he still looked happy and didn’t seem to be in pain.
Even with the best of care problems can occur. Arthur developed a toe infection that ultimately led to an amputation. The wound took an unusually long time to heal, and it wasn’t until the lab identified two antibiotic resistant bacteria that it finally did. He put up with it all, even the cone of shame. For an old arthritic dog, Arthur sure was flexible. He pulled the cone off one night tearing out several stitches. Another trip to the emergency clinic ensued. Eventually, he healed completely and our happy dog returned. Arthur walked around the whole block a few times and even started to run again.
Sadly, he suffered another stroke January 10, 2012. Walking down the stairs became an impossible task. As his eyesight continued to deteriorate he became even more snuggly. It felt like he was trying to get as in much love as he could in our time left together. I knew in my heart that we were on borrowed time. We said our last farewell to our wonderful friend on April 28, 2013. He is sorely missed.