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Archive for July 17th, 2018

Toni O – or OMG

Toni came to me at age 8 with the name Toni.  The name seemed totally adequate, so I saw no need to change it – even though I knew I could.  It causes some confusion, with some people almost insisting that she is Tony – a little boy dog.  But lately that name Toni has started to seem just a little vanilla for such an amazing little being.Paula

But Toni O is much more interesting and has a wonderful derivation.  So many people – and I mean so many people – greet her for the first time by saying “Oh my goodness”.  She is so tiny (5 lbs.) and so beautiful and sweet and obviously special.  bathed 6-12-17

So her full name is Toni Ohmygoodness” – or Toni O for short.  Most people still just call her Toni, even after being corrected – so that is fine.  I never correct anybody more than once.  But the hip people call her Toni O.

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My doggie, little 5-pound 9 year old female yorkipoo Toni (or Toni O – see this post) is the world’s best dog – or second best, right after yours of course.  Peaceful, sweet, loving, funny – and fragile.  Maybe it comes with the tiny little designer breed.  Boy with dog

She has coughed a lot since I adopted her a year and a half ago.  Her last owner told me that it was just something she does when she is excited.  And sure enough she did it when I came home or when she encountered someone she loves and hasn’t seen for a while.  But she also did it when she had run or first thing every morning.Close-up hoodie

A couple of months ago this coughing got worse and I took her to the vet.  They diagnosed “collapsing trachea”, the coughing representing an attempt to clear the trachea and breathe better.  It does kind of come with the territory with these tiny breeds, but can be dangerous and isn’t something you should not deal with.  The vet prescribed prednisone or prednilisone.  I had qualms about giving her a steroid and at first was not consistent in administering it.  But it got clear that when I waffled in its administration she coughed a lot and when I am consistent with it she doesn’t cough much.  So I bite the bullet and do it.

Last Tuesday she turned up with a swollen left eye – swollen almost shut.  I took her to the vet the next day.  She gave Toni a good examination in addition to checking the eye.  Thank God.  She said, “I hear some crackling in her chest – I’d like to take x-rays, in addition to doing a pressure test on the eye.”goat sniff Toni

When, 30 minutes later, the vet invited us into the back room – equipped for viewing x-rays – she started by saying, “She has glaucoma in that eye – we’re going to prescribe an eye drop.”  But that’s about all the attention she gave to the glaucoma as she moved into the more important findings.

She brought up the x-rays.  “Here’s her heart.  It’s way enlarged – about 30% larger than it’s supposed to be.  All this dark area is fluid on her lungs.  These arteries here are all swollen – they’re working real hard to get the blood through.”

When she paused after these results, I asked,”Is she in danger now?” “Probably not now, because we’re going to get her on some good meds that will help a lot – she should be significantly better in a couple of days. If we hadn’t found it she could have been in immediate danger.”looking out windowThe vet used the diagnosis “heart disease”, but a couple days later a friend said “that’s congestive heart failure” and another friend confirmed that terminology.  I’m going to confirm that with the vet when we see her tomorrow.  Somehow that languaging is more threatening for me to hear.

“What does this mean for her life expectancy?”  “We can’t say.  Some people with heart disease live a long time – some not.”

In telling this story to people, several have said something like, “My dog had heart disease and she lived to be 17.”  I don’t know why 17 is the magic number, but it has seemed to be.  Toni and two goats

Mortality is on my mind.  I had my own health crisis in the last couple of weeks.  Sunday nine days ago I had a mini-stroke.  Without going into a lot of details, it was very terrifying and felt like a little brush with death.  I find myself getting way more comfortable with my own mortality, but so far not as much comfortable with hers.

My friend Arayah wrote me and said, “Toni will be with you just as long as she’s meant to be with you – not one day more or less.”  I don’t totally know why that was so comforting, but it was.

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