He Came into Our Lives Like a Tornado

Originally published at Kickin’ the new Kuh-nowledge. You can comment here or there.

super bentley

When Carol from our pug playgroup sent an e-mail about a pug that needed rescuing, we had no idea what we were getting into. Sure, there was that video that showed a small black dog spinning like a top and barking like a madman. He was a force of nature, a miniature tornado, but we wanted to help. So, with Carol’s assistance we arranged to take Bentley in.

He was a mess. He was already missing several teeth and our vet noted that he needed a few more pulled out. On top of that, it was obvious he had been abused.

The first few months we had him we had to hand feed him because he wouldn’t eat from his bowl at all. He would stare down at his bowl and start growling as though someone was going to come take his food away. It would take us half an hour or more to feed him kibble after kibble in this manner.

After some time, he was finally able to eat food from a bowl, but it was perhaps several months after that when we noticed a change in Bentley. We think it was because of Kiko, our other dog. It’s the only explanation that makes sense. Bentley started playing with toys.

Once he started playing, his real personality came out from under the years of abuse. He greeted us daily with his excited yowl, hopping on his two forepaws, ears flapping up and down.

He’s been with us for nearly six years now. When he first entered into our lives, the vet estimated that Bentley was between eight and 10 years old. So, he was already an older dog, with older dog problems. Those problems were compounded a couple of years ago when Bentley slipped a disc in his back.

It didn’t seem to hinder Bentley much, if at all. Sure, his gait was a little more wobbly, but he was still playing and bounding around as if nothing had happened. Then, the first episode occurred. His hind legs wouldn’t move as if he were paralyzed. Steroid shots seemed to do the trick, and he was back again, bounding around the house as if he owned it.

Unfortunately, as Bentley got older, steroids and anti-inflammatories were no longer enough to stave off the pain. Over the last couple of months, his quality of life deteriorated to the point that we had to keep him in his crate except during meals and bathroom breaks for fear that he would hurt himself trying to run around.

More recently, his pain became even more obvious as he started to scream when his back would spasm suddenly. These screaming sessions could last for quite a while. Finally, last night, as Liz sat with Bentley in the wee hours of the morning working through his latest spasm, the decision was made.

Bentley, Mr. Bentley Fartbottom, Mr. B, B-Dog, Bobo, Bent, Pug2… These were the names we knew him by. We will remember his woo-woo-woo yowl. We will remember his impossibly long tongue that barely fit in his mouth and would often slip out when he was sleeping. We will remember his huge eyes that looked as though he understood our every word. We will remember his wagging tail that greeted us every day. We will remember his barking at anything and everything that moved just as long as it was on the other side of the fence or window, whatever the case may be. We will remember his energetic fetching. We will remember his love of plush toys. We will remember his ear-flapping hop when it was time to eat. We will remember his skittishness around other animals. We will remember his old man noises. We will remember his extremely sharp dew claw. We will remember the clickety-clack noises his claws made on the wood and tile floors. We will remember him sunning himself in the backyard. We will remember his disdain for snow. We will remember his “accidents” on the kitchen floor. We will remember him humping his “brother”, Kiko. We will remember The Spin.

–sam and liz

This is the original video that Carol sent us of Bentley featuring… The Spin.

Pug Update!

We have good news and bad news.  The good news is that Kiko doesn’t have some crazy life-threatening liver disease.  The bad news is that Kiko has a liver shunt.  It’s basically a blood vessel that diverts blood from the liver.  The liver is a blood filtration system.  If the blood is diverted, it doesn’t get filtered…  and toxins get all over the place where they shouldn’t be.  The other problem is that since Kiko has had this shunt since birth, his liver is smaller than it should be for a dog his size.  So even if the blood wasn’t being diverted right now, his liver might not be able to handle everything.

There are two options.  One is to change Kiko’s diet so that it limits the amount proteins (especially red meat) in his diet.  The first few days of the diet change was tough.  Kiko was still under the effects of pain medication and since his stomach was upset he wouldn’t eat.  And when he did eat, it was a token scrap here or there.  We supplemented his food with yogurt, cottage cheese, canned salmon, pumpkin, brocolli.  One day he would eat a meal with gusto.  The next day he would look at his bowl for a second and walk away.  If you’ve ever seen Kiko eat a meal, you know that this is truly troubling behavior.  This dog’s one love in life is food and he usually eats like a machine gun.  Fast and furious.  He’s slowly come around though, and he now is eating with the same passion he had before this incident.

The second option is surgery.  If the liver shunt is external, they can basically put a constrictor on the blood vessel.  This constrictor will, over a period of 4+ weeks, slowly close the blood vessel and restore normal blood flow to the liver.  The reason it takes so long is that suddenly shutting off the shunt would result in serious liver problems.  The liver just wouldn’t be able to handle the new blood flow.  At least that’s my understanding of it.  Most dogs survive this surgery (95%).  The only problem here is that it will like cost around $3000 or more.  Since we don’t have that kind of money stashed in our mattress, we’ve opted to go with the diet change until we can save up enough money for surgery.

Long story… short.  Kiko’s a trooper, and he appears to be doing much better now than he was when we first noticed problems.  We still need to watch him like a hawk to make sure he isn’t relapsing, but so far… so good.  Fingers crossed and all that.

As for Bentley.  His back is still bad.  I mean, you can’t slip a disk and expect things to be coming up roses every time you wake up, if you know what I mean.  That said, he’s still 100% Bentley.  He still manages to make me crack a smile every day.  He has about three more weeks of crate time before he can start walking around a bit more.  We made a mistake last night and let him stay out of his crate while we were both working upstairs.  Bentley let us know his anger at being neglected by peeing on the living room floor.  And then he started doing his trademark Bentley “howl” as if to say…  “What you gonna do, punk ass?”

I was pissed (pardon the pun) about the piss, but when he started to do his shtick I smiled and took his wobbly ass outside for a proper potty.  That dog is too cute to be mad at him for any length of time.

And that concludes this episode of the All My Pugs Update.  (Am I the only one that remembers Clarence and the All My Children update?)


On Man’s Best Friend

Originally published at Kickin’ the new Kuh-nowledge. You can comment here or there.

Kiko, our 6 year old pug, started acting strangely the other day.  He wouldn’t eat his food and he got really squeamish when I approached him.  I didn’t realize until it was too late that he had some serious diarrhea.

What a mess… Well, after a day and a half of this, we decided to take him to the emergency vet. They couldn’t quite figure out what was going on, but they told us to keep an eye on him. They still charged us $100. Not that it wasn’t expected. It would have just been nice to get a definitive answer about something.

Kiko suffered for one more day. Same squeamishness… same diarrhea. We decided to take him to our regular vet this morning when they opened. Kiko spent the whole day there as they ran some blood tests. The upside is that most everything appears to be inconclusive. The downside is that the other side of that “most everything” seems to point to a liver problem. Oh yeah… today’s vet bill was $320.

Unfortunately, we won’t find out all the test results until tomorrow. So we sit here with our little buddy, Kiko… wondering if we’ll get some bad news tomorrow. If the rest of the tests give more definitive pointers toward a liver problem… we may need to get a liver biopsy (~$500) to find out exactly what is wrong.

We’re hoping that Kiko just ate something that he shouldn’t have and that now he’ll start the road to recovery. He seems fine tonight so there is a reason to take the glass is half full approach to this. The way Kiko’s luck works though… I’m preparing myself for the half empty scenario.