Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Simple Life, Before Grover (B.G.)

Okay, pretty darn cute, right? And my life has changed for sure, for the better. But as my mother could have predicted, it hasn't been easy. This is sweet Grover, approximately four years old, an american cocker spaniel neutered male with a docked tail (which is why we know he's purebred). I adopted him in March from a wonderful rescue organization in Queens, NY. http://www.nyabandonedangels.com/

I've been wanting my own dog since I graduated from college, but I never thought it was fair to the dog when I worked full-time and spent 2-4 hours in the car commuting every day to work. Now that I'm lucky enough to work from home a lot, I made the decision that it was time to get a dog. I wanted a cocker because we had them growing up, and I also like their temperament and size. I also thought a dog would be a lot easier than a puppy. Start with a dog and if I don't kill him, maybe I'll get a puppy next time!

When I contacted AACSR, they set me up with an in-home visit for approval and then had me assigned to Jennifer to help find me the perfect dog. Though my requirements were quite simple but seemingly impossible to find (aka a dog with no problems whatsoever) it didn't take her long to find Grover. On paper he seemed perfect.

Grover was found as a stray in December 2016, matted and flea-infested, and very skinny (he's gained over 10 pounds since then!). I don't know much about him, other than he's trained in the basics, especially well house-trained, and is sweet and happy and grateful at every turn. He especially loves people, more than dogs, and especially more than cats – which is a bit of a problem at home. And he loves going on walks.

Grover on the day we met, waiting to go to his new home.
Cherry eye, before surgery.
After eye surgery, in healing mode.

The only known health issue at the time was his cherry eye, aka nictitans gland prolapse, or prolapse of the gland of the third eyelid. I believe all dogs have third eyelids, where a tear gland is located. The rescue league was going to fix the eyes before I adopted him but I didn't agree with their vet's solution to the problem, so I took him home and found a specialist who could do the delicate surgery at my own cost (ka-ching! ka-ching!).

Days prior to his surgery though, Grover suffered a grand mal seizure or a fainting (scary as all hell to witness) and off to the emergency clinic we went. He was hospitalized overnight for observation. This delayed his eye surgery a bit, but with a little time and luck and no more seizures, in a month he had his surgery and his eyes were on the mend. Doesn't Grover look handsome with his new eyes? Just don't ask him to smile!

Fast forward to August, wherein I decided to groom him myself with a new pair of dog trimmers. Save a little money? Bond with Grover? I thought I did an okay job, although admittedly I got a little close on his neck and it was a little pink, but I didn't think overly so. This was last Sunday. He was fine for a few days until he developed a hot spot under his chin, about the size of a deck of cards, and hard as a rock. I immediately took him to the vet, where he was given antibiotics, and I, no judgment.

After grooming and a warm bath and coconut oil moisturizer.
Scab rolling over onto itself, oozing top and bottom.
Sunday, on the way home from emergency care with the dreaded cone.
Despite the antibiotics, Grover managed to scratch his way to a new sore, above the scab, and he also started to hide from me. So off we go to the emergency clinic again. Over three hours later he appeared with the scab removed, a fresh, but sore-looking neck, a cone, and another prescription for steroids/antihistamines to accompany the antibiotics already prescribed.

As we settled back into our day at home, Grover whining in pain, he had a mild seizure. Sigh.

A day later I knew he was feeling a little bit better since he started growling at Jake (his feline arch nemesis). With some luck and training, Grover does not go upstairs anymore. The cats eat and do all their business upstairs, while Grover enjoys the downstairs and the outside. Lucy, Jake's timid sister, hasn't stepped onto the first floor more than a couple of times since March. I'm really hoping this improves over time.

However, probably because Grover's not feeling well, he has decided he doesn't want to sleep alone and he barks, whines, and then howls until I come downstairs and sleep with him on the couch – which I've done for the last two nights. It's a little tough when you have to get up at 5am for work, but since this is ALL MY FAULT, how can I not?

So, why am I documenting this when I have so many other things to post? I want to remember all this when I think of getting my NEXT dog. Grover's been great and I wouldn't change a thing, but it is a commitment for sure, both in time and money. Thank goodness I'm not having to pay for college!