I should be weeding the garden or planning lunches for tomorrow's field trips but instead I'm sitting in front of my computer, eating a bowl of cottage cheese with peaches and listening to the constant chatter from a sick seven year old that came home from school early this morning after she squeaked out mild fever in the health room. Just a cold, she'll be fine. Although it does worry me when she comes down with something this time of year. Two years in a row Mae was hospitalized in the spring. Just touches a nerve I guess. She had an appointment with the Immunologist back in April and he said everything looked good. She will have one more follow up next year but if nothing changes and she continues to be healthy *fingers crossed* he'll cut her loose and she won't have to go back and no more blood draws!
Oliver, our geriatric St. Bernard on the other hand has not been feeling so well lately. I've been avoiding blogging about it because I knew it would be hard for me to get through it while wiping the tears from my eyes. He's been slowing down for a while now but lately he's been having trouble breathing. So bad that 2 weeks ago the Gardener had to carry him out to the car and take him to the vet to have him checked out. He has Laryngeal Paralysis which basically means that his larynx is not opening and closing as well as it should. He also had some fluid in his lungs so the vet gave him a diuretic and some steroids for the larynx. It helped for a little while but the vet made it clear that he can't stay on the meds for too long. There is a surgery for this condition but the vet didn't think he would make it through the anesthesia. He's just too old.
The hot and humid weather we have been experiencing over the last few weeks has been especially hard on him. He was panting and wheezing so bad on Monday that I pulled out the nebulizer we keep in the bathroom closet and used some leftover breathing treatment meds from when Binny had RSV as a baby. I know totally unorthodox, not to mention expired, although they were still sealed in a foil pouch, so I'm sure it was fine. He sat still for the treatment as I stroked his gigantic head while blowing Albuterol in his face. Short of calling the vet at 9pm on a HOLIDAY, it was my only choice. I think it helped. If nothing else just lying still on the floor with him helps to calm him down. His energy level is way down too but he still loves to follow me around in the yard while I'm gardening.
I'm going to miss him terribly but it isn't fair to keep him around if he's suffering. The Gardener and I know it's coming but we're both having a hard time saying goodbye. He was our first. I remember the day we picked him up and shelled over 500 bucks for the cutest little ball of fur you've ever seen. He and his 7 brothers and sisters running around outside with their beautiful mother Tara Rose and their 210 pound father Teddy Bear. It was when Teddy came over and whizzed all over the hood of our car just by lifting his enormous leg, that the Gardener and I looked at each other and simultaneously thought what the hell are we getting ourselves into?
The first few years were a little crazy considering his body grew like he was ingesting gallons of protein drink on a daily basis while still having the mentality of a puppy. Plenty of shredded shoes in our house. He has also been known to chew on table legs and wooden stairs. He thinks tennis balls are chew toys and thinks other dogs are stupid to go chase ofter them then take them back to the lunatic human who keeps throwing it. No, Oliver would rather take it directly from your hand, go lay in the shade and chew on it until it pops then rip it all apart and leave the carcass on the front lawn. He has peed on every flooring surface in every single house we've ever lived in. He has dug holes large enough to bury an entire body and he's the head of our personal security team. I feel so safe with him and Rocko around. They love all of us so much that it doesn't even seem fair. They are always around and as loyal as a dog can be. It just makes me sad that his life is coming to an end. It also worries me that Rocko will be alone once Oliver is gone. How will he take it?
Oliver's favorite place to be is at my in-laws house. The first time he ever waded into their pond on a hot summer day several years ago, he was in love. Ever since he was a pup, his hips were weak and lots of exercise was hard on him but he loves to swim. We even bought him a doggy life jacket to help him float easier. He would swim around all day if we let him. Last summer while the kids were swimming in the pond, Oliver decided that he would play lifeguard and rescue the children when they fell into the water. The kids didn't actually fall so much as jump off the end of the dock but Oliver couldn't be convinced of their safety. He would start barking then run around to the beach and take off into the water swimming out to one of the girls, grab on to the back of her life jacket with his big yet gentle grip and tow her back to shore.
That's where we plan to bury him, also because my father-in-law is the only one around with a machine big enough to dig a hole large enough for a Saint Bernard.
We're all going to miss you big guy!