Last Saturday, my dog, Max Wiener, hurt himself. I didn’t see him fall, but he started acting standoffish and was yelping sometimes when he walked or you picked him up.
It was obvious he was in pain and something was wrong. Dachshunds are more prone to back injuries, so that was my first thought.
I’ve had Max since he was one year old. He is a little over eight years old now. We have known each other for a long time.
I know that he barks too much because he is trying to be protective, and because he thinks he is incredibly tough. I also know he once jumped because he was startled by an empty bag of chips blowing by. So the emphasis is on HE THINKS he is the toughest dog around. I know he loves to go on walks. I also know that when I first got him, he wasn’t used to a leash. He chewed through three leashes, before a chain leash was acquired. I know he hates the snow and the cold. I have to shovel him a path in the backyard, so he can go outside in the winter. I know he loves to cuddle and take naps. His favorite spot is lying on my legs, when I have my feet propped up on the ottoman. Preferably with a blanket and the heater blowing on him. I know he loves to burrows under the covers in my bed. I know he loves to dig (inherent to the breed). He dug through two sets of sheets when I first had him. I know he loves to “bury” bones all over the house. He once buried a bone (very cleverly) underneath my arm.
Max knows me too. He knows his handsome face will get him out of almost any trouble. He knows when I use my super serious voice he better actually stop doing whatever he was doing. He knows I like to sleep in on the weekends and usually even lets me. He know when I am in the kitchen and I say, “Oh shit!” that I have dropped something on the floor. He knows when I am really sad because he jumps all over me and licks my face until I start laughing.
Max Wiener, the man, the myth, the legend.
After his behavior continued to be off, I decided to put him in my bed and went back outside. When I came back to check on him, I found him lying on the marble floor in the basement. The last scene from Marley & Me flashed in my mind. What was wrong with him?
I called my parents, who thought I should call the emergency vet. They recommended I bring him in. I put his sweater on and wrapped him in a blanket (thinking the last time he was in the car he was shivering). Even though it was probably 40 or 50 degrees out last Saturday; I just wasn’t thinking clearly.
We drove to the Emergency Vet and waited. If any of you have ever been to an emergency vet, you know what a sad place it is. I heard one woman bring in her dog with seizures. She started crying after they took the dog from her. My heart just broke for her.
After the vet came in, he checked Max out, and noticed he wasn’t responding normally with his feet and was in pain when he walked. He wasn’t sure if it was his back, but he gave me some pain medication to see if it helped.
We passed out about 4:00 am on Sunday morning. We spent most of Sunday in bed. Him because he was still in pain, and me because I was too scared to leave him for very long. The medication did seem to help with the pain, but he still wasn’t moving around and was refusing to drink water.
Monday morning I called our regular vet, and we made an appointment for later that afternoon. 3:45 finally arrived, and I was barely holding it together. I think the women behind the front desk noticed because she put us in a room right away.
Max was shaking at this point. I started crying. All the worst things I was trying not to think crashed down on me. I was convinced that my furry best friend was not going home with me.
The vet came in. I had almost stopped crying.
“Did something else happen?” he asked.
“No. I’m just really worried about him,” I said.
I told the vet he still wasn’t drinking any water, and I wasn’t sure what had happened. He watched him walk around and saw that Max was taking short steps. He checked his response on his feet, and then before he checked his back said, “He might cry out in pain.”
I nodded my head.
The vet started to feel down his back and hit a spot that made Max yelp. “That’s it,” he said.
We had an answer. Max had hurt one of the discs in between his vertebrae. From Pet MD, “Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is a condition where the cushioning discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column either bulge or burst (herniate) into the spinal cord space. These discs then press on the nerves running through the spinal cord causing pain, nerve damage, and even paralysis.”
The vet gave him some fluids and put him on a muscle relaxer and an anti-inflammatory. I was relieved. We went home.
But apparently with a slipped or herniated disc, there is not a quick cure. Some people recommend restricted activity (kenneling) for up to eight weeks. Max has never responded well to kenneling.
So Max is on bed rest for at least a week, and the vet didn’t recommend we travel. Our Iowa trip to visit my parents, Bridget and Crysta has been cancelled.
Watching your loyal companion for seven plus years cry out in pain when he tries to walk is incredibly hard. It has been a rough few days for the both of us.
I just want him to feel better. I want to take him on more walks. I want to watch him chase more squirrels. I want him to bury more bones. I just want him to be around for a long time.
Last week, some of you may have noticed I didn’t post a blog. Before anything happened with Max, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed. Work, school, writing, getting/fixing things for the shop, working on another design/copywriting project and then trying to have a social life too, of course. I know posting a blog a week was on my list of goals, but honestly, it is beginning to wear me out.
So I guess I am calling uncle on the blog. I may resurrect it later, but for the time being, I want to focus on getting things ready for the shop, and when Max is feeling better, I want to take him on more walks.
It’s all about priorities. And that little handsome ball of fur is near the top of my list.
This week’s video is “Andrew in Drag” by The Magnetic Fields. It is the only song I could think of that references a wiener dog. If drag queens aren’t your thing though, it probably isn’t the video for you. But I think it’s pretty great.