Shaky Dog Love



Cracktop Computing

I guess I need to get used to the seizures.

The Crack Puppy would not settle next to my leg last night, as we Facebooked, watched TV and read about Salvation History.

Then she raised up her front end and went rigid.

She was seizuring again.

I immediately threw down the book and yellow highlighter, jammed the laptop between the cushions, and grabbed Ling Ling.

I quickly assessed that she wasn’t going to puke or pee, so I did what you do in this situation.

I held her tight and loved her through it.

“Good girl, Ling. It’s OK.  Good girl, you’re just fine. Good girl, Sweetie.  It’s OK.”

Last night’s seizure might have been the worst yet; slightly longer and more “trembly” than the last one, which I reckon was about 2-3 months ago.

How It Starts

The sequence is this:

— she’s restless and jerks a bit; she won’t settle;

— then her head bows up a little and her eyes stare into nothing;

— her front legs get stiff and sort of shoot down or out;

— then she gently trembles and, although she is “out of it”, she seems afraid.

The only thing to do it so love on her, hug her tight, and tell her it’s going to be okay.

Then in a few minutes, she’s back.

Because of this latest episode, we will again increase her meds and see how she goes.

You don’t want to over-medicate, so she’s zonked out and can’t enjoy her life, but we have to do something.

Boat Dog

We adopted the Crack Puppy from some Vietnamese boat people when she was two.

I know.

The Dad seemed like V.C. to me, but the college-age daughter was okay.

And the Crack Puppy was soooooooo cute, so of course we bought her.

About a year later, Ling Ling III had her first seizure. At the time, we blamed the chemicals we used to wallpaper the hall.

But when it happened again, we took her to the vet.

Sometimes I love vets. Sometimes them make me want to scream.

We were told that Ling Ling might have undefined “Small White Shaky Dog Syndrome” (not kidding), or some to-be-determined type of epilepsy, or a brain tumor.


I think it would have cost $1,500 for a doggy MRI and several thousand more to have the tumor removed (no guarantees on recovery), so that was not going to happen.

The option was to take bloods (they were OK), start her on phenibarbitone (which we did, and she behaved like the town drunk for about two weeks), and then just watch her.

And it got better and better.

Looking back, it she might have gone a year without any seizures at all, or, at least none that we were aware of.

Today, in my mind, I am attributing this latest seizure to the fact that her buddy Mayo the Bichon just left after spending a month with us.  She’s depressed, and I think, maybe, her emotions triggered the seizure.

I really pray they don’t get worse, and we are not put in that invidious Place of Hard Decisions.

Ling Ling I, who we had 25 years ago in Houston, was a puppy farm mess of bad genetics, and the cutest thing you ever did see, all eight pounds of her at full growth.

We probably spent $2,000 keeping her going for two years, despite increasingly violent seizures.

When she had a really bad one, we would put a pillow in the laundry basket, lay her on top, and rush her to the vet.

She would literally vibrate like she was strapped onto a paint-shaker, and yellow bile would pour out of her sweet little mouth.  It was awful.

The Worst

As the seizures worsened, she lost more of her mind.

She was still cute and enormously happy, but she’d just forget where she was and what a dog was supposed to do.

The next-to-last seizure required major emergency treatments, including a blood transfusion from a Lab.

When she had the very last seizure, she was as rigid as a board.  The vet said to put her down.

He thought I was weak or crazy when I said, nope, we’d give her a few more days to come out of it.

I saw that little lion dog fight back from death so many time, that I was not about to steal away her last chance.

But when it became clear that she really was gone, we put her down.

I have not thought of that in a long time.

I hate that those thoughts are now getting transferred to the current Crack Puppy.

I honestly don’t think she will ever get that bad.

She’s half Shih-tzu, half-Maltese, so maybe that makes her stronger.

I sure hope so.


2 Responses to “Shaky Dog Love”

  1. Lillian L.. says:

    Have you tried homeopathic “Rescue Remedy” for her? I Know it works on humans and animals. Lots cheaper than meds from the vet. Just a thought. Hope she’s better, know it’s hard on you.

    • hams says:

      A couple of people have mentioned. I may try that. Giving “drops” to the Crack Puppy will be a joy. (Hiding pills in cheese, on the other hand, is dead easy).

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