This morning he sits up in bed and looks around.
He doesn’t do his wake-up stretch. He doesn’t pester Bridget to get up. He doesn’t lie on his back and squiggle to scratch his back. He doesn’t wag his tail. He doesn’t hop off the bed, run to the door, and whimper, “C’mon! It’s a new day! Let’s get going!” He even sits still while I put him in his suit. Hmmm. This is odd.
It’s still cold for our first walk of the day, so the crew knows to get the job done quickly.
Bridget does her business. Spike looks around. Nothing. He doesn’t even want to walk up the trail behind our camp to sniff all the overnight new smells. Okay. Maybe he didn’t get a good night’s sleep. We go back in and I get the percolator going. I freshen up the water dish and pour out the breakfast kibble. Bridget dives in. Spike lies down, not interested. Bridget carries a nugget of kibble over to Spike and chomps it in front of his face. No reaction. Uh-oh. Not a good sign.
I decide to see how he is after a good nap.
Bridget snuggles in while I do computer stuff and drink my coffee. I notice Spike is having trouble getting comfortable on the bed. Finally he dozes off. Not eating, not urinating after an entire night. I try not to worry.
It’s sunny and warm when he wakes up.
We go outside. Spike isn’t walking right. He’s holding up his right hind leg as if he doesn’t want to put pressure on it. I pick him up and hold him in my lap in the camp chair. I check his pads, sliding my fingers in between them to check for hidden burrs or cuts. Nothing. I flex all the joints in his leg and his hip. No flinching with pain. His belly isn’t hard. I massage his muscles. They seem okay, except maybe the inside thigh muscle seems tight. But that could be tensed up because he’s hurting. Or maybe it’s a muscle spasm that started during the night. I hope that’s all it is.
I wrap a baby aspirin in a piece of cheese.
Spike LOVES Kraft singles! I ask him if he wants some cheese and his ears perk up for the first time all day. Down it goes, carrying 81 mg. with it. I hope this does the trick. “Good boy, Spike!” He limps his way under the BLT and lies down on the cool ground.
By mid-afternoon he’s shivering.
I run to the computer, get online, and do a search for “ask a vet about dog shivering.” I read that it’s a sign of pain. I hesitate to give him another aspirin. Gee, it might aggravate an internal problem. Now my worry is in overdrive.
I hurry up the lane to Rick’s place.
I explain what’s going on and ask where there’s a vet in town. “There isn’t one,” he replies. “You’d have to drive to Casa Grande or maybe Buckeye, up by Phoenix.”
“What? Phoenix! What do people DO around here?”
“They drive up to Casa Grande or . . . ,” he repeats.
“But that’s an hour-and-a-half away. By the time we get there it’d be closed!”
Rick and I discuss possibilities . . . something he ate, scorpion bite, buried thorn, pulled muscle, muscle spasm, on and on. He remarks sardonically, “You could wait for the Ajo vet. I read on the laundromat bulletin board that he’ll be here on the 19th.”
“Great,” I moan. “The 19th of February.”
I go down the lane and look under the BLT. Spike sees me and starts shaking. My presence must be making him tense up. Oh, if he can make it until the morning, we’ll be at the vet’s door first thing. I go inside to get online and locate some veterinarians.
Suddenly I hear barking!
Bridget’s bark is unmistakable. Is that Spike I hear, too? I run outside and Spike is sprinting up the hill, barking his fool head off because a couple with a spaniel is approaching. Great! This is great! The two dogs sniff and Spike lifts his leg on a bush. Hurray!
Spike eats a little bit for supper and takes a few sips of water.
He sleeps pretty well all night on a cushion and covers on the floor. In the morning I don’t bother putting the crew in their suits. Spike urinates, but he still doesn’t want to put pressure on his hind leg. He walks behind the BLT where I can’t see him. Then I catch him sneaking up the hill to visit Lady, not limping at all. Oh, that’s a good sign! He’s back to his old shenanigans.
“Spikey, come back.”
I chase after him and carry him home. “You can’t visit Lady at 6:45 in the morning, little boy.” He doesn’t seem to be in any pain, although he doesn’t want his kibble. I know! I’ll make him some scrambled eggs!
He wolfs down the eggs, eyes bright waiting for me to pass him each bite.
Now he’s resting again which is normal for early morning. I’ve got the heater on for his benefit. I’ll watch him until noon and make the decision whether to carry him to Casa Grande.
He looks like he might be on the mend.
Update: Spike woke up, went outside in the sunshine, looked at me and wagged his tail! I let him walk up to see Lady. No limping!
What a beautiful sight. Gosh, how I love him.