This afternoon, I was out with Jelly for her daily walk. Really, given her age (14) and hip dysplasia, it’s more of a stagger-stroll-stop-and-snack. She scampers out of the gate and stops, waits for me to give her a snack, then forges unsteadily ahead, weaving, panting, stopping – until she gets another snack – then presses forward. And so it goes: stop-snack-stagger, stop-snack-stagger. Occasionally, she’ll meander off the sidewalk and onto the grass to do her business, and then promptly wobble back on track and resume her promenade. She goes all the way up to the corner (half a block) and back. By the time she returns to the front gate, some twenty minutes later, you’d think she’d run a marathon: wide-eyed, wheezing, but, clearly, proud of her accomplishment.
Every so often, a passerby will stop me to inquire about her. Today, it was an elderly woman who slowed down to quietly observe Jelly before asking me how old she was. “Fourteen,”I replied. “She’s got bad hips.”
She crouched down with some effort and asked me if she could pet her. Jelly offered her own response, ambling over, tailing wagging, staring up hopefully. “Are you giving her anything for the pain?”she asked as she pet my appreciative pug. I told her I was and explained the lengths I’ve gone to help maintain her quality of life. There was one point when the hip dysplasia got so bad, she was unable to support herself. Every time she tried to stand up, her hind quarters would give out on her. I was at a loss – until I did some internet research and discovered that stem cell treatments had shown some promise in treating dogs with Jelly’s condition. I contacted my local vet, made arrangements through Vet-Stem in San Diego (Vet-Stem Cell Therapy: Arthritis in Dogs & Cats | Tendons …) and got her the therapy. She showed marked improvement and, within weeks, she was back on her paws and walking. Wobbly, mind you, but the fact that she was able to support herself once again made it well worthwhile.
“That couldn’t have been cheap,”remarked the woman. I confirmed it wasn’t. Nor were the radiation treatments and anti-cancer vaccines for my other pug, Maximus (who now sits guard in the masthead of his this blog). In both cases, I feel it was money well spent. And, truthfully, even if Jelly’s treatment hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t have regretted spending the money because, at the end of the day, I’d know I’d done everything I could for her.
This seemed to strike a chord with the woman who stood up and said I was a good dog dad, then proceeded to tell me about her miniature poodle who had passed away suddenly, at age 15. It was only when she apologized that I realized she was crying. At a loss, I did the only thing one could do in that situation. I gave her a hug. And she told me all about her beloved dog who, despite having passed away over a year ago, was still greatly missed. Then, pulling herself together and wiping away the tears, she thanked me, gave Jelly another pat, and continued on her way.
It was an atypical encounter, both curious and kind of touching.
Today’s entry is dedicated to blog regular Deni. Hope Gumbo is on the mend!