Thursday, April 16, 2009

Oh, My Aching Back!

Little foster dog, Bam Bam, has severe disc disease - arthritis in his spine. It was not the diagnosis I had expected.

Bam Bam has been in foster care for almost three weeks now. Not having known him previously, it was hard to determine if his fear of being picked up was behavioral or maybe due to being dropped previously. He wanted to be picked up, yet he would change his mind at the last minute. His "please give me a boost up" plea would result my attempt to comply, which would result in Bam Bam running away. In hot pursuit, I would close in on him in another room, pick him up and carry him back to the bed, which is exactly where he wanted to be in the first place. I certainly did not want him trying to jump up own his own. I mean, that would be bad for his back. It was a very strange daily ritual.

Although all prior air lifts had been uneventful, last night he yelped. The minute his paws hit the bed, he scooted away and cowered in sheer terror as though he were looking at the Grim Reaper. What on earth was this all about? Something had obviously caused him pain.

When I dropped Bam Bam at our vet's office for his dental this morning, I requested x-rays, thinking the pain was in his chest or ribs. To see him do his dinner time spin-as-fast-as-you-can-in-circles happy dance or balance expertly on his hind legs to get closer to that much anticipated treat, I would never have imagined the problem would be in his spine. But there on the x-rays was the source of his "please lift me/don't lift me" mystery - arthritis.

Bam Bam will be on anti-inflammatory medication and supplements to manage his pain. This doesn't help his prospects for adoption - his age of 10 years is already a deterring factor. Throw in arthritis and whatever applicant pool there is dries up very quickly. Every so often an adoption angel comes along who understands that we don't all age gracefully and appreciates what a not-so-perfect senior has to offer. We'll wait for that angel.

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