Thursday, April 10, 2008
When Bentley was six years old, two events took place that changed his life. One was good and one was very bad. The first was bad. Bentley had always liked cats. He loved to visit our neighbor's house and groom her cat until the poor thing was covered with dog spit. The cat actually seemed to like it. One afternoon for some unknown reason, Bentley decided to chase the cat. This came as a surprise to everyone, especially the cat. Since she knew Boo and he had never chased her before, she didn't run. Boo ran toward her at his top speed and there was a tremendous collision. The cat, unhurt, ran up a tree. Boo came limping back to us. He limped for two days, then seemed to be better, so we put it out of our minds.
About two weeks after the great cat chase, Boo started limping again and it got worse very quickly. We thought it was his foot at first and our Vet checked, but found nothing. The limp kept getting worse, so we had his knee checked for a tear, nothing. Soon I began to think hip dysplasia. We had x-rays done and his hips were good. Still the limp was getting so bad that he needed help climbing stairs and over a few months time it became so bad that he would fall just walking across the room. He was on various drugs that offered some relief, but not enough.
Finally, our Vet referred us to a canine acupuncturist. She came to the house and observed his movement and thought acupuncture might help. I was a skeptic but I would try anything to help Boo. After the third treatment, he was able to climb stairs and could even run a little. We narrowed the problem down to a pinched nerve in his lower back. He had treatments once a month and loved them. I would put his bed on the living room floor. He would lie quietly while the doctor put the needles in, then he would go to sleep for the forty minute session. The doctor and I would sit on the floor beside him to keep him from rolling onto his back. He woke relaxed and feeling much better.
Rob went to Delaware one day to conduct an interview. When he returned home late that night, he had a big box containing a very little dog. Lucy was one of five puppies. Her mom was a Chihuahua and her dad was a Pomeranian. She was in pretty bad condition, starving and totally covered with fleas. She had a number of open sores, both from flea bites and from chewing on herself, something she does when she becomes stressed.
Bentley was delighted with his new puppy. He played with her very gently and the two went everywhere together. She was not quite so gentle with him. One of her favorite games was to grab his beard and let him drag her around the room. I put a stop to the game when I noticed his chin bleeding from her sharp little teeth. I started keeping his beard trimmed short.
Because Lucy had been starved as a puppy, she has always craved food. She actually got up to a weight of 28 pounds at one time. She began having back problems and we had to put her on a strict diet . She has maintained a healthy weight of 12 - 14 pounds for a number of years now, but it sure isn't voluntary. She will steal food if given the opportunity.
Lucy has taught me a great respect for little dogs. I have always loved big dogs and was a bit disappointed when Rob brought home such a little one, but I've observed her closely over the years and watched how she has to always be on the alert for danger. Imagine being only eight or ten inched tall and living in a world of giants, big dogs, big people. Lucy is always aware of where everyone is all times. She knows alternate routes around the house, under and behind furniture so that she doesn't get stepped on. It must be a tough way to live.
Lucy is thirteen years old now and suffers from severe liver disease. She has arthritis is her back and legs, but she runs with the big dogs most days. When a cookie is available, she pushes her way to the front of the pack and she is always ready for a ride.