Thursday, June 11, 2009


As those of you who know me, or have read my posts here, are aware, my dogs are my babies. My sons are both grown and live away from home, but my Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Lexie and Mystie are here for me, and I try to be here for them, too.

I think I blogged a lot about when poor Mystie, now a year and a half old, had some mystery illnesses as a pup that robbed her of feeling hungry, left her in pain and also provided other symptoms that were quite worrisome. Fortunately, a referral to a specialist veterinarian solved the problems, by a special diet and medication.

That’s why we skipped our regular veterinary group and just took six-year-old Lexie to the specialist this week.

One day, she was lying in my office while I worked, sleeping. When she awoke and moved, she was obviously in pain--shrieking. I couldn’t figure out what hurt, and she soon quieted down. The same thing happened hours later, when she visited my husband in his office. I was ready to take her to the vet, but then she went for a long period without any problem. I assumed it could be something like gas pains or a cramp.

Over the next days, she had a couple more of these sessions. When she started screaming, she would keep moving, as if running away from the pain. Then she would quiet down and seem fine. No way could I determine what hurt her. And as I prepared to take her to the vet, the sessions tapered off and seemed to end.

Then came Monday night. The pups sleep in our bedroom, and each time Lexie woke up in the night she would scream and run around as if trying to escape the pain. I would hold her and again try to figure out what hurt, but the areas I’d thought might be more tender one time were fine the next. During a lull, when I couldn’t sleep, I got on the computer to see if I could find a diagnosis. I got some ideas, but of course nothing definitive. I considered taking her to the emergency vet right away, but I really wanted to try to wait for the one who’d been the miracle worker for Mystie.

Fortunately, when I called his office early, he was in that day and had a morning appointment available. We got Lexie there--after one of her screaming sessions getting into the car.

Guess what. The miracle vet poked, prodded, pulled and otherwise tortured Lexie in an attempt to figure out what hurt. No reaction. No shrieks. No indication of any pain.

Of course most of her pain sessions occurred after she had been at rest for a while. The vet said it could be that something was pulled in her back, or she had a pinched nerve, and it only hurt when she started moving after a lull. He sent us home with some pain medicine for her. He also reassured us that, since he couldn’t get a reaction out of her with the various methods he tried, he didn’t believe there was anything seriously wrong.

The medicine seemed to be a miracle cure. Either that, or Lexie was cured by the idea of visiting a vet. Or the ride, which she loved. Since then, she’s walking a bit gingerly but only an occasional yelp of pain, and no problems at all when she starts moving after a nap.

My nerves are still somewhat frazzled, and I keep an eye on her nearly constantly. But this was another of those times that I identified with the protagonist of my Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mystery series. Now and then, she wishes she could speak Barklish to converse with the dogs in her charge, especially her Cavalier, Lexie. Over the past few days, I really wished I could converse in Barklish with my Lexie, that we had some better way of communicating so I’d know what hurt her and what caused the pain.

How about you--do you ever wish you could communicate better with pets or other animals? Or... even human beings?

By the way, I recently blogged on Harlequin’s Paranormal blog about my latest book, the Silhouette Nocturne BACK TO LIFE, and will also blog tomorrow on the Nocturne blog. Come visit me there, too! Links:



Janie Emaus said...

I think sometimes it's easier to communicate with dogs than with other people!
I'm glad Mystie is doing okay.

Betty Hechtman said...

I have a cat on my lap, trying to hug me as I try to write this. I guess he really missed me. I just got back last night.

Your description of the mystery pain reminded me of what happened with one of our dogs. He would do the same thing, just start crying in obvious pain and there didn't seem to be any obvious casue. It turned out he had Parvo. It was a long time ago, but I think he got it even though he'd been vaccinated.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Yikes, Betty. Lexie seems much better now, so I certainly hope it's nothing serious. Welcome back! I hope Printer's Row was fun.

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Kate Hathway said...

I know this is late, but I hope you see this, Linda. If this happens again, try to get it videoed on a cameraphone to show to the vet. It may (or may not) give him a better idea of what she's doing. That's not to say that your descriptions aren't good, but sometimes, a picture is worth....

Linda O. Johnston said...

Great idea, Kate! I hope it doesn't happen again, but I do have a camera on hand that can take good videos just in case.