Monday, March 18, 2013

Appreciating every wind

I received my dog's diagnosis today, and I had to write about it.

Buddha was named almost immediately after my husband and I adopted him because he was so incredibly stoic. Let me just say that this dog is the best. Whose dog isn't, I know, but really... he's perfect. He doesn't bark. He's a lapdog. He's a cuddler. He's a little hesitant of other dogs, but loves people, cats, and (unfortunately) possums. Ever since I got him, I've taken him on long walks every morning and afternoon. He gets a short walk at night. During these walks, he moves slowly, and when there's a cool wind here in South Texas, he stops walking and puts his nose up to feel the fresh air hit his face. Buddha loves life, and has a habit of relaxing into it--so much so that I have had to tug him sometimes because I have to get to work.

We found out that Buddha has a heart murmur a year or so ago, and the vet told us that this was the result of the heart worms he had when we adopted him. About two weeks ago, we noticed Buddha was more laid back than usual. And when the day came that he refused his treats, we scheduled an appointment. After lots of expensive testing, we've determined that he has heart disease, and judging from the enzymes in his blood and his X-rays, it's moderate. His heart is giving out as mine breaks.
I've read a lot about this, and I am taking steps to get Buddha healthier. My husband and I switched his food to Blue Buffalo Senior, which doesn't add all the sodium that his previous food does. We have him on a diuretic to help relieve the pressure on his heart, and we've switched out his treats. More, my buddy is now getting to stop and enjoy the wind all he wants. 

While we walk now, I realize that my having to tug might have often been because Buddha just needed to catch his breath and embrace the moment. So now we walk a little slower; and with our fragile hearts, we enjoy every second. We leave earlier so that we can pause and engage every wind. 

I've read that some dogs can live a good while, outlast the odds, with the right lifestyle, and we're shooting for that. If you have any advice, please let me know. I know to listen to the vet first, but I also know to go beyond and learn as much as I can because this is how you defy the odds. And defying odds is what this guy is all about. 

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