Buddy’s bad day

We are coming up fast on the thanksgiving holiday; in two days Jemesii (who turned 26 yesterday!), Peter and I will be joining David in Marfa. I’ve got a list a mile long of things to be accomplished in the next 48 hours and I will be satisfied if I check off 80% of them.

On Monday I was jotting down appointments in my datebook and eating lunch. I called the vet to schedule some overdue booster shots for Buddy. There was soothing viola de gamba music in the background punctuated by bursts from an electric hammer in the next room where good friend/hired handyman Dave (not my husband–one of the many Daves in my life) was building a bookcase. Buddy was lying next to me on the floor when suddenly he tried to stand and his hind legs gave out.

Buddy has hip dysplasia, so I assumed that was the issue as I got down on the floor to try to help him. He was really distressed though, and despite my support, unable to stand. At this point he began to really panic and then collapsed. His eyes fluttered and rolled back in his head and I realized he was having some sort of seizure. I yelled for Dave, who came and held Buddy’s head while I  hugged and tried to comfort him. His heart was going a million miles an hour and his legs were flailing. He began to froth at the mouth and his bowels let go as did his bladder. He was so scared; as was I.

The seizure lasted almost five minutes and then he struggled to his feet and sort of lurched out the door.

After cleaning up both Buddy and the floor, I called the vet back, and what was to be an appointment for shots now became a work-up. By my description it was determined that, whatever the cause, Buddy had suffered a severe grand mal seizure. I began to wonder whether I’d be getting on a plane on Friday morning or not. We left the office with a prescription for phenobarbital.

I returned to the vet with Buddy for the missed shots on Tuesday and learned that the blood work was all normal. Most likely, Buddy is epileptic. I called the kennel where he boards and explained my reticence to travel now and asked if they were comfortable with his new medical status. Evidently his situation is not so very uncommon and they would have no trouble giving him his medication and felt he’d be safe.

So, shaken, but somewhat reassured, I decided our plans would still be a go.

It is still hard to forget the image of Buddy struggling. Although I am quite matter of fact about death itself, I’m still not too keen on suffering. Watching another being in the throes of pain or fear is deeply unsettling. It also feels extremely intimate and personal,  and there is a part of me that wishes more than anything to turn away.  That said, I have nothing but admiration for those who are able to come forward and offer comfort to those requiring it.

Survival of self is instinct. Helping others is something more. Here’s to all you caregivers who have the courage to get up and do it day after day.

13 responses to “Buddy’s bad day

  1. Oh my, Linnea! That’s so frightening!

    I have a small menagerie. Four dogs, four cats. For me, it’s eight extra children with fur. When any one of them is ill, I panic! I perfer to think it has to do with my maternal instinct rather than what it really is, neurosis 🙂

    I’m glad Buddy is ok. I’ll send him some healing energy while your away. If you have a photo to send me, it would be helpful!



    • Tracy, I have been immersed in traveling and arriving for a few days, so my response is quite delayed. I will send a photo of Buddy to your email either tonight or tomorrow.


  2. Pat & Will Plattner

    Oh, poor Buddy! Isn’t HE lucky to have such a good caregiver in YOU!!!
    Safe travels to you and Peter and big hugs to David once you get to Marfa!
    We will think of you on Thanksgiving here in NC, as you sit at your table in Texas. “Here’s To Life”…I can already hear those wine glasses clinking!!
    Peace, love and lots of good romps in the woods for Buddy!

  3. Linnea,
    Such a beautiful dog! Buddy must have felt miserable not knowing what’s happening to him. It meant a lot to Buddy that you were there by his side when he needed you. If ever such bad days come upon us, let’s hope there will be someone hugging and comforting us. Caregivers are invaluable. They are people who really care, like you did. Seeing someone suffering is hard for anybody, especially for us who are not used to seeing people (or dogs) in pain. You coped so well.
    Good luck with you list of duties. Have a nice trip with your family.
    Take care,

  4. Dear Buddy: whish that you get well soon chasing squirrels and catching balls.
    It hurt us when our best friend gets sick, you are very special being Linnea’s buddy.
    It was a sad fall when the vet toll us to put down Chester, our rescued dog, 16 year old, a bit blind, a bit deaf, his legs giving up, getting stuck in corners and having accidents.
    I swear that he could smell my lung cancer before the diagnosis.
    In the spring my wife and daughter took him to the vet for the last time, I said by by at home.
    We decided not to have a dog and be free to travel, a few months latter Beryl was looking at dogs in need of a home and I picked Honey a pretty look alike poodle, we are a full family again
    ( ) ( )

  5. Dave moved, you moved
    Dog’s don’t understand basic concepts like moving

    • Guillermo, I think getting a new dog was likely a good thing. Too bad Chester couldn’t speak–he could have saved you some trouble. As it is, I can’t wait to meet Honey. And as for the blog–it was hilarious. Don’t know where you find these things…


  6. I hope Buddy is feeling better, and maybe by this point he is thinking about Hoovering the leftovers under the table come T-day. In a cosmic clang of likemindedness with Guillermo, my son had sent me that hyperboleandahalf blog spot earlier this week (laughed till I cried).
    Linnea, I wish you a wonderful holiday, good health for you and for Buddy and your whole family, and good eats!

    • Joan–I like that image–hoovering. I’ll have to save Buddy some leftovers though as he is at camp 😦
      And yes, Guillermo’s link was hilarious…Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!


  7. How frightening…so glad Buddy is alright Linnea. So, Peter your son went to Marfa before you? Are you planning on meeting family there? That’s where you grew up if I remember correctly. Well, have a wonderfully delicious Thanksgiving my friend…there is much to be Thankful for. Take Care, Linnea (NY)

    • Linnea, I actually grew up in Colorado, but I have lots of family (and part of my heart) in Texas. Hey–we missed our lunch date in Boston; raincheck? Maybe in NY? Happy Thanksgiving for you as well…


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