White Dog snarled and ran to her brother's side. "What the DOG is wrong with HUMANS? How could they? And WE'RE the ones labelled ANIMALS? I don't get it!"
We had just returned from Dr. Julia's office where we had Oso checked out after his near drowning experience earlier in the week. Dr. Julia did a thorough exam and blood panel and believes that our Little Man might have had a mild stroke to start or during his getting stuck submerged. White Dog truly did save his life. Fortunately dogs recover quickly and almost completely from strokes. Oso's eyes are still not tracking in unison and he is more wobbly than usual but there seems to be no permanent damage. We adjusted his meds, temporarily added a muscle relaxant and will report back on the results on Monday.
But that is not what had White Dog foaming at the mouth.
Since we were going to the vet, I called this morning to ask if the techs could do a heartworm test on Taiko. In doing the post about Heartworm Awareness yesterday a few of the symptoms struck home. He HAD been tested before he flew to us in early Autumn, but HW tests can show a false negative if the disease is still in very early stages. Plus Taiko has had since his arrival an intermittent but persistent cough and he seems to fatigue easily when walking with Steve and YoYoMa.
The HW Test came back negative but Dr. Julia heard The Tender Heart coughing. "I want to do some X-rays if that is ok," she asked. The X-rays revealed a narrow trachea at the lower end deep in the chest and it seems our boy is going to be plagued by chronic bronchitis due to his living outside in the elements for so long before his rescue.
We heard Dr. Julia let out a "WHAT THE..." from the lab and the tech came running back in. "We want to take another view of Taiko," she explained. "It looks like he was shot!"
Turns out that our sweet and gentle boy had a 22 bullet lodged in the wing of his second vertebrae...less than an inch from his spine. "To get a 22 to drive into bone," Dr. Julia, a country girl most of her life explained, "you have to be REALLY close and want to do what you're doing. This was not some accident."
THAT is the news that had White Dog and the rest of the White Dog Army ready to declare war.
Steve had tears in his eyes as we discussed that the bullet would stay where it was, potentially causing pain at times which we could manage with medication as needed and that as he aged, our boy would no doubt have arthritis troubles. "At least now we know why Tai is so afraid of loud noises," Steve whispered, mostly into Taiko's ear.
I have no answers for the Little White Dog of My Heart. YoYoMa was abused and tortured so he shares a special bond with his brother, but the rest of us simply cannot imagine the fear and horror such a life would hold. It is at these times that the world seems very black and white...bad guys vs good...those that inflict the most awful treatment vs the rescuers and healers. And I am, at the same time, ashamed and filled with hope.