I ain’t foolin’ ya and it’s no joke! Three Chatty Cats has gone to the dogs! Well, just one dog…Eddie. Before I became a cat mama, closing in on six years ago now, I was a dog mama. When certain individuals found out I was starting a cat blog, they said, “But what about Eddie?” So for those dog lovers out there, this one’s for you! (With a few cat pictures sprinkled in, naturally.)
The Story Begins…
The hubs (Ross) and I started our “family” before we were even married. 13 years ago this coming June, we decided to get a dog. Our college roommates had moved out of the house and we were ready to start domesticated life with a pet.
We looked at various rescues and settled on a group in Los Angeles (which I don’t think exists any longer). We drove up on a Saturday in June to look at the dogs at their shelter. We had told the adoption coordinator that we were looking for a small dog, so she had bathed and set aside a couple to look at. As soon as we entered the room lined with kennels, there was this one yappy, scraggly-looking, medium-sized dog doing all he could to get our attention. Jumping up and down, barking like crazy, turning circles in excitement.
Ross said, “That one.” The volunteer looked at him, frowned a bit and responded, “I didn’t bathe him,” and tried to direct our attention to the two she had set aside in carriers. When we insisted on looking at the other dog, she took “Eddy” out of the kennel and we sat down on the floor with him.
Eddy (who we renamed Eddie – clever, I know) immediately calmed down and made himself as small as possible, perhaps never thinking we would actually ask to see him, possibly being looked over so many times before. He was scared, shaking and didn’t make a sound.
We knew he would be going home with us.
That first night and for a week or so, Eddie was scared of everything. He flinched at the sight of the leash and harness, was scared of the stairs in our house, and wouldn’t even sleep close to us, instead preferring to curl up on his dog bed by himself, ignoring us. The vet estimated that he was between 8 months to a year old. I still wonder what life was like for Eddie before finding his forever home with us. But over time, Eddie began to trust us. We took him to obedience training, and he learned that walks were what life was all about!
The Scariest Night of Our Lives
It was April 6, 2006, about three years after we adopted Eddie, when we noticed he was limping. We took him to our regular vet and was told he likely strained a muscle or something innocuous like that, and they sent us home with some pain meds. Turns out that is NOT what happened.
When I returned home from work one day that week, Eddie had completely lost use of his back legs – he was paralyzed!
Since it was after hours, we rushed him to the ER vet a couple of cities over. After their initial assessment, they came back to us saying he likely had a herniated disc, but they couldn’t be sure without a couple thousand dollars worth of x-rays and tests. We said do it – do whatever he needs!
We waited nervously for the results, probably close to midnight by then, and the vet confirmed that Eddie did in fact have a herniated disc and referred us to a vet neurologist next door. Because it was such an emergency, the neurologist came into the hospital in the middle of the night to perform the surgery. First off, we were so incredibly fortunate that we lived within 15 miles of a neurologist. And second, thank goodness for family who ponied up for their grand-dog/great grand-dog to have $6,000 worth of tests and surgery!
The neurologist said it would be 50/50 that the surgery would work and we wouldn’t know until the next day. That night, as we worried and waited during his surgery, we started discussing doggy wheelchairs and how we could make our house handicap friendly for a paralyzed dog. But that line of thinking didn’t last long because the surgery worked! Over the next few weeks, Eddie regained full use of his back legs.
The Drama Continues
Fast forward to almost exactly three years later to April 8, 2009. It happened again! Luckily, we knew the signs and Eddie never lost use of his back legs. But he did have another full-blown back surgery to repair a different herniated disc, this time higher up on his spine.
The neurologist said she rarely ever saw dogs return for a second surgery. What are the chances it would happen a third time? Well, it did, just one year later in May 2010. At this point, the neurologist said it was clear that Eddie had a degenerative disc disease. We asked if there was anything more we could be doing besides keeping him off the furniture and stairs. She said no, that he could just get up to take a drink of water and it could happen again.
An Addition to the Household
During the third (and knock on wood that it is his last) recovery, we found our first stray kitten, Dexter. Eddie wasn’t too sure what to think about this little guy, mewing and trying to nurse on him once or twice. But Eddie was/is a great big brother. As a kitten and before we found Olive, Dexter tried to get Eddie to play with him, usually unsuccessfully. But we think that having a kitten in the house helped Eddie get active again during his third recovery.
Eddie barks constantly at passersby, and he much prefers humans to other dogs. He tolerates his three kitty siblings, and he loves his Pops more than anything in the world. (When I come in the door, he usually looks around me to see if Ross is close behind.) Whenever we’re away, Eddie finds a piece of clothing and drags it into his bed for comfort. He still likes Dexter the best, which means he basically ignores him. Eddie lunges and growls when Olive comes near, and he avoids Sophie as best he can (she swiped at him once and barely made contact with his nose).
Eddie hates the rain, hates his grooming sessions, has been known to eat other dog’s doodoo (WHY, Eddie, WHY?), and he knows how to beg for food with the best of ‘em. He is afraid of flies and beeping noises…seriously. He likes to investigate lizards in the yard and loves burrowing into his blankets.
Eddie is now 14 years young (we estimate) and people still stop us on walks and ask if he’s a puppy. He has developed a constant leg shake, his eyes are beginning to droop and sometimes he’s a bit wobbly on his feet – but he’s still going strong. What Eddie lacks in physical ability, he more than makes up for in attitude!
The Best Decision
Adopting Eddie was one of the best things we’ve ever done. We never once considered “buying” a dog. Adoption is the way to go! We “saved” him – but really Eddie chose us. If he had not jumped and barked at us that one day in the shelter, we might not have seen him. But he was smart and he recognized his mom and dad when he saw us. And we’re thankful for that every day!
Here is a video of Eddie with a four-month-old Dexter. When kittens attack!
What pets do you have? Cats? Dogs? Bunnies? Horses? (And Happy April Fool’s Day!)