Sunday, May 13, 2012

Waldo's first days in rescue

Waldo has had several good days in a row and is back to his normal self, at least for a while.  He has been eating well and barking when he wants my attention.  Since his digestive system is in bad shape, he frequently has diarrhea, so yesterday we did some puppy hygiene.  I cleaned up his butt area and trimmed some of the hair where the messier bits get stuck.  Now when he comes in from the yard, I give him a quick clean-up with a baby wipe, just in case there is any residue.

A recent photo of Waldo out in the yard - isn't he just the cutest??

I have bare floors throughout the house, and with the increased weakness particularly in his back legs, Waldo has become fearful of falling or having his legs slide out from under him.  Yesterday when I was out doing errands, I stopped at Walmart and picked up four inexpensive hallway runners.  The rugs have rubber backing so they stay in place.  I placed the runners so that Waldo could move throughout the house from the back door all the way through to the kitchen with only a few steps on the hardwood floors between rugs and dog beds.  At first, Waldo looked at the rugs sort of warily.  Then he went over and peed a little on one of them, as if to show it who was boss.  Now he is moving quite happily through the house without the fear of falling and is even able to come and sleep in the bedroom again.

A little more of Waldo's story:  Waldo was in poor shape when he got to Glencoe Animal Hospital.  The Lyme disease had made a mess of his kidneys and he had some red skin ulcers on his back and head.  He had no identification and no microchip, so he was treated to a battery of tests and brought up to date on his vaccinations, micro-chipped, and neutered.  He spent about three weeks at Glencoe AH where the veterinary staff took wonderful care of him. Waldo was originally supposed to go to a foster home near Bloomington/Normal, but after his kidney failure was diagnosed, it was decided to find him a foster home closer to Glencoe, so that he wouldn't have to start over with another vet.  I had offered to foster him when he first came to As Good as Gold, and Kris the foster coordinator asked if I would still be willing to take him.  Of course I said yes!

While Waldo was staying at the veterinary clinic, Barb and Miriam who are two of As Good as Gold's members stopped in every few days to visit with Waldo and take him out for a walk.  Barb is also our adoption coordinator.  They are great examples of the wonderful members that we have and how much they care about the dogs.

The big day arrived when we could finally spring Waldo from the clinic!  Because Waldo needs to have subcutaneous fluids (aka subq fluids) every day, I had to have a lesson in how to administer the fluids before he could come home.  You hook up a bag of solution called Ringer's lactate solution to an IV line and needle, and then insert the needle under the dog's skin.  My good friend Gail who trained as a vet tech offered to come with me and have a refresher lesson, in case I was ever unable to do Waldo's fluids. 

It's scary at first, because you think you're hurting the dog.  For the first few days, my friends Gail or Pat came by to help with the treatments.  We had a couple of episodes where Waldo shook himself after I had inserted the needle, and the needle flew out and spewed fluids everywhere, or when I had to take the needle out and reinsert it because the fluids just wouldn't run.  But a day came at the end of the week when I had to do the fluids by myself because of my work schedule, so I quickly learned to do Waldo's fluids by myself.  It takes about 10 minutes and he doesn't seem to mind it at all, since I sit on the dog bed with him and he gets treats.

More about Waldo tomorrow.  Here is a picture of him when he first came home - that's Luke's tail off to the right:

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