Sorry I haven’t been around much. It’s been a rough several months. I’m still having my Lyme disease treated (and that’s mostly going well), I had a minor back injury (a small fan fell and hit me in the back) which is just now being treated because I had bigger issues, I had a flare-up of POTS that literally had me stuck in bed, and the end of the semester was even more hectic than usual because I was dealing with all of THAT. Ugh.
It’s been quiet here for a few weeks now, mostly. It’s nice. I go to physical therapy, which HURTS (probably the most painful series I’ve had that was doing good – my ribs have to be mobilized every time, because the muscles between them are knotted up, so the mobilization hurts).
The only thing going wrong is poor Hudson. We noticed a few weeks ago that he was getting an ear infection. Up until now, he’s always gotten yeast-type ear infections (which is typical for floppy eared dogs who don’t swim), so we treated him for a few days with the leftover drops from his last infection, and it didn’t get any better. Okay, we thought, so we need something else. Took him to the vet, and the vet confirmed that we didn’t have the right medication. He gave us a twice-a-day antibiotic for 10 days. At first, it seemed to be going well: the infection started clearing up pretty quickly. But a week into the treatment, Hudson started crying when we touched his ear, and his ear started getting really gunky again. We called the vet, and rather than have us come in, the vet suggested that it he had a secondary, yeast-based infection, and had us switch back to the yeast meds. Poor puppy. We had him on that for all of two days, and things were continuing to get worse. He wouldn’t come when I called him if my fiance was near me, because that’s how we tend to position things for daily grooming, which had included ear cleaning for the past week.
After 2 days on the anti-yeast medication, with things continuing to worsen, I told my fiance to call the vet. They squeezed us in the same day, so poor Hudson got his ear looked at again today. Poor puppy. The infection had mostly been cleared by the time we stopped the antibiotic, but it had had a few days to rebound. There was no yeast secondary infection. He’d just had a reaction to the antibiotic drops – his ear was inflamed and angry, and anything we put on top of that was just making it angrier. Poor puppy!
I try not to be separated from Hudson, but sometimes the vet only has appointments that are too early for me to make. When that happens, my fiance takes Hudson to the vet alone. Apparently, Hudson has learned the route to the vet, because when my fiance made the turn that we always take going to the vet, Hudson started crying. He cried a LOT on this visit. He cried almost the entire time they were in the exam room. Another dog yelping made him start shaking and crying. When he wasn’t crying, he was displaying stress – shaking and panting hard. It was immensely pitiful.
Anyhow, he’s now on prednisone to bring the inflammation down and antibiotic pills. He’s definitely still got an infection, and it takes longer to clear it with pills because it’s basically a skin infection, but with the reaction, what else can we do? He makes himself cry when he plays, he cries when his ears get cleaned, and he doesn’t want to come to me when my fiance is not in his usual seat.
We hope that Hudson will both heal from his infection quickly and recover from the emotional stress of it. His trips to the vet alone with my fiance tend to be when he’s the sickest, and they’re definitely affecting how he perceives the vet. The last trip I made in with him, he acted stressed and unhappy to be there, when he used to think the vet’s office was a great adventure,partly because it’s the only place I let strangers pet him (I do take him out of harness first, so he knows he’s not working and can enjoy it). Maybe I’ll just have to start feeding him lots and lots of treats at the vet’s office. And hopefully, he’ll also recover from his dislike of coming over to me when my fiance is in a position to do something to him.
It’s frustrating sometimes, dealing with a fearful dog. Hudson is, well, just barely brave enough to make it as a service dog. It worries me any time I see him start losing confidence. I worry both about it being hard on Hudson and because it could have very bad repercussions on our partnership. It’s also frustrating that I can’t really work on desensitizing him, because the vet’s office is down a series of roads that are surfaced in a way that makes them very painful for me to drive over. I can, at least, work on his reluctance in the house, but the vet’s office response is another thing altogether.
There are definitely moments when the weight of being a service dog partner is a heavy one. You are so very responsible for this other creature, and service dogs are usually very sensitive creatures. Your relationship is fragile and deeply necessary for you, so sometimes you are weighing the good of your dog against your need for assistance. And sometimes…sometimes you have a situation like this, that has obviously been very hard on your dog, and there’s very little you can do to help. It hurts. Hudson is…the other part of me.