Of course, they were getting a dog that required some maintenance by now. For one thing, this is now a diabetic dog, and they now had to learn how to give the dog her insulin. Now, I can tell you from experience that giving a shot to a dog is not hard. They have this scruff in the back of their neck that their mothers used to lift them by as puppies, where they hardly feel a thing. Do it right, and the dog honestly doesn't seem to care at all - except that there will be cookies afterwards!
Another thing was Kayenta's tooth. She had a bad tooth that needed to be removed, but Beedoo! had wanted to wait on it. We were going to take care of it when we got back. Until that time, Kayenta just had some trouble chewing on her hard treats and stank a lot from her mouth. But that was okay, because we were going to leave her with my mom and dad anyway, so we didn't have to smell it. Whee!
Before Beedoo! left (one week before me, as you may recall), she did take the dog to the vet for some maintenance; I believe she got Kayenta her rabies shot, so that she would not eat us in Beedoo!'s absence (obviously this is something a dragon worries about). She also had Kayenta's blood sugar level checked. You know, just in case. She was under the impression that they would call her back the next day, but they did not. The next day she left, and I went to work afterwards, and basically what followed was a whole week of the vet trying to reach us, and me not being available. Meanwhile, during this week, my mom and dad took in Kayenta while I was at work, I came over after work and showed them how to work the needle, and all was well, even if this was still an old dog that creaked and groaned under aches and was getting slower.
Exasperated with my forgetfulness in just calling the vet back during office hours, my mom finally called the vet back herself on the day that I left, leaving the dog in her care. And then they found out that the vet had been anxious to reach us, because Kayenta's blood sugar levels were way high. Not quite as high as the first time she was tested, but enough to cause another panic at the vet's office. I don't know, maybe Kayenta's super power is the ability to withstand high levels of sugar. Of course, the mystery was why her levels were up again. She got insulin; we even lowerd the dosage because the amount we had started out with seemed a tad too lethal for her, and all had seemed well. Granted, the day Beedoo! left the dog fell back into her pre-insulin behavior, drinking a lot, peeing a lot, so it all fit, but it all seemed so sudden...
And so, with Beedoo! and I in America, my mom and dad, who before had been worried about giving the dog shots, set forth on Project Keep Kayenta Alive. And they did so with admirable effort. I don't recall the details (some other stuff went on at the time to fill my head as well), but it involved several visits to the vet for measurements, a change in insulin dosage from 20 to 22.5 and then to 25 units (don't kill your daughter-in-law's dog now!) and little strips which they had to dip in her fresh urine to measure her sugar level. My dad cleverly solved this challenge with a scoop with a plastic bag around it, to be held under the dog the moment she squated to relieve herself.
Of course, this was all on top of grandparent duty and all the other obligations they had!
When we finally got back and they could leave the whole mess to us we had a thoroughly looked after and checked up dog. Who then very quickly went into a hypo from low blood sugar levels. So, we went back to 22.5 units. But the project was not yet done, nor the tale completed. For one thing, she still had her tooth to be removed. We also wanted the vet to look at her paw, which she was limping with a lot by now. On the day of her appointment I took the day off, because I still had to use up a vacation day, and because, with her diabetes, the sedative would not be entirely without risk. The vet thought to check her blood sugar levels before she started, and then called us, because Kayenta's blood sugar was now so low that she quickly put more sugar in her and then called us to come pick her up, because she did not want to run this kind of risk. Apparently Kayenta's other super power is withstanding an immense lack of sugar!
The vet did take a picture (x-ray) of her leg and found clear signs of arthritis. She suggested pain killers, so that Kayenta would be able to move around enough. We also lowered her insulin dosage down to 20, thoroughly puzzled as to what the heck was going on with her body. But the doctor saw sense in a theory from my mother, namely that the infection in Kayenta's tooth messed up her sugar levels. My sister, who works with pharmaceuticals, confirmed something like that. In fact, she had a very sound theory for the whole shape things ended up taking, which made a lot of sense, and I can't remember exactly how it went. But everyone in this story was clever, except possibly for me, who could not even remember to call the vet back.
So this is where we stand now: Kayenta is permanently on pain killers - less so than when she started, because that's all she seems to need and it's better for her kidneys that way. She gets her old amount of insuline again. Her bad tooth is gone. We now feed her some meat do go with her dry food to get a bit more fat on her. And you know what? It's like, again, she's gained years to her life. When we take her on a walk, she runs around, she doesn't yelp when she makes sudden movements, she has again become a healthy (and even more expensive) dog. Subsisting almost entirely on chemicals artificially introduced to her body, but still! I would not be surprised if one day she just quietly slips into death and nobody notices because she still keeps going, running on chemicals in a zombie-like state, eating her cookies and trying to get to the inside of those darned hedgehogs.
For now, she seems quite happy (especially now that her dinner includes meat!). And I have to say, my mom and dad did a great job with her, far and beyond the call of duty. And the vet has taken this all very seriously, and the bill my mom and dad presented was ridiculously low (sometimes they're like that at our vet). So I can only praise everyone involved. Even Kayenta, for being the indestructable dog that she is. ;)
(P.S.: this comic is very late. This has several reasons, one of which is Beedoo!'s current art load. She has been working on our webcomic idea, and on a 'drawing-a-day' art project she joined on Facebook. Give her a cheer. :) )
Expensive dog is expensive. While we've reduced her insulin to a workable level, now we have some very expensive pain pills, Carporal, added to Kayenta's regimen. As Arno mentioned, they can cause kidney problems when used continually, so we've been testing the waters to see how much she needs. She doesn't seem to need a full pill, so we've reduced it to half a pill twice daily, and that'll save us by half.
We do owe a lot to Arno's parents for taking such good care of Kayenta while we were gone... it's no fun taking care of sick animals, and I'm certainly regretful that I didn't get Kayenta's tooth out ages before we left... I was hoping things would hold until we got back, but apparently not.
The x-ray of Kayenta's foot reveals that she has a bone spur growing in her wrist--hence her limp. The vet encouraged us to keep her active, and that should also help with her insulin levels (She seems to produce more on her own when she's active though, and then starts going into hypoglycemia!) The pain meds have helped her a LOT, as Arno says... she's up and moving and happy, sometimes even playful, like she's a young dog again! Thank you, expensive Carporal! She's been a little subdued lately, and I may up her to a pill and a half a day if need be.
As Arno mentioned, I've been participating in a drawing challenge where I draw a specified thing per day for 30 days. Ace, who is running the thing, gave us leeway to get everything done by Jan 16 (we started Dec 2). We're now on Day 15, and I'm on drawing #12, due to being lazy, busy, achy, and Arno's grandmother passing away yesterday. Is this why the comic is a month late? Not entirely. I had the framework for the comic done two weeks or more ago. I finished it off, and then it sat around several more days waiting to be scanned and lettered, which is Arno's job. I ended up scanning and fixing it up myself as a big hint that he needed to get on it. So there's that.
I'll post the drawings in another page or another post, but not tonight.
One more thing... I haven't noticed it before, but now I see that we can "flag" and "like" comments in the comment section! Dunno how much use that will be, but it's there...
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