Monday, July 23, 2012

Less Is More

You know how, when you're feeling lousy, you want nothing to do with anyone? How you just want to do the bare minimum needed to get through the day and all your dealings with everyone until you can go collapse into bed and avoid the world?

Well apparently so did my dog. I just wish I'd realized it sooner.

We've had our beagle Flash for about a year and a half, and have known him for several years. Of course they say you never really know someone until you live with them. In the beginning, Flash seemed down, which we attributed to his having lost his owner, his house and his king-of-the-hill doggie status. It seemed to take forever to train him, and even though he finally seemed to 'get it', he never really seemed happy and relaxed.

Last month, Flash started feeling lousy. He was eating less, and not keeping down his kibble when he *did* eat. So we took him to the vet. Long story short, he had three visits, nine hundred tests and a final diagnosis: enlarged prostate and bad teeth. After some serious discussion with the vet, it was decided that Flash would go under the knife. The surgery removed five rotten teeth and two problem-causing testicles. I swear he probably lost a couple pounds that day for all they took out of him.

It's been a few weeks since the change, and in the last couple of days, the whole family has noticed something about Flash: he actually seems really happy. 

This is what we've seen: he no longer has any trouble eating (the vet said his teeth were probably hurting him, so chewing was likely a problem). He no longer has trouble doing his 'business' (an enlarged prostate presses on pretty much everything, causing stomach cramps, urinary and bowel function problems). But most importantly, Flash is playful. He seeks us out for scratches, pets, games and attention. It may sound ridiculous, but he never did that before. It was so puzzling that I actually used to wonder if dogs could have some form of canine Asperger's because he seemed so socially detached. Considering he was used to being alone all day in his own home when his owners would go to work, and now had someone around to play with pretty much all day (either human or canine), we expected him to be reveling in his new companions. But he never did. Until now.

It occurred to me that he probably had pain in his body, mouth and maybe even suffered from headaches too. Maybe all the petting and attention we tried to give him only made him feel worse instead of better. But now that he can romp and play and get lots of lovin' without pain, he seems thrilled.

So yes, Flash is a little less manly and a little more handicapped in the mouth department. But considering all he's lost, I'd say that for all he's gained, it was more than a fair trade off. Best of all, we've gained a happy, loving and carefree dog. Win-win!