By Leslie Gallagher
Kenny seemed just miserable. I didn’t know this dog at all and had zero history on him other than what the rescue knew, which wasn’t much. I knew he was thrilled to be out of a cage and I knew he was grateful that we were fussing over him 24/7 but he clearly was in pain. Our vets were throwing every pain management modality at him that we could possibly think of. Yet still his pain seemed out of control. We had immediately started with acupuncture, then added laser, massage, ice, heat, stretching and pill after pill after pill. Yet I still had a nagging feeling that it wasn’t enough. He never made a sound, never complained for a minute, but sometimes I’d catch a look in his eyes that seared me to the core. And because one of the meds that he was on was a high dose of steroids, he was drinking up a storm. The problem? He didn’t want to pee.
Expressing a bladder is an art form. It’s something I’m extremely good at. I can do it in my sleep. Ken, of course, was not going to make anything easy. And because he couldn’t move guess who got to carry him out of the house. Every 3-4 hours Bryan and I would pick up all 90 rigid pounds of him and take him outside to empty his bladder. Well, that was the plan. Ken couldn’t be less helpful. One of us would support both front and back legs while the other tried to express him. Ken was having none of it. When the first “expressor” would get tired (ok that would be me) the second one would start. Sometimes it would be five minutes before we could get anything out. I happen to be a stickler for frequent bladder expressing because the last thing you want a down dog to get is a urinary tract infection. The emptier we keep his bladder, the less likely he would be to get an infection. So our routine soon became 6pm, 10pm, 2am, 6am, you get the picture. We were unable to sleep through the night for months. It was just exhausting. I was tired, Bryan was tired, and Kenny was in mega pain, frustrated and depressed.
Bryan didn’t need to remind me that this was the dog we were “just going to leave at the office.” Not only did we carry him wherever we went, but he had successfully moved from the office to our laundry room to our bedroom. So much for my promises. Clearly nothing about this dog was going to be easy.