A couple weeks before Christmas, Shelby came to our door in the middle of the night. She was in her normal good spirits, but dragging her two left paws, and slipping on our floor — a lot. Steven spent the following wee hours of the morning sparing me from the worry and letting me sleep, while searching for what the symptoms might mean. As is typical with medical searches on the Internet, none of the prognoses were good.
What followed was back-to-back vet visits to diagnose what could be wrong. It's only on her left side. Pinched nerve? Was it a stroke? Is her face droopy? Well, um, she's a pug. Her whole face is droopy on the best of days. X-rays, lab tests, MRIs of her neck and head produced no definitive results.
The bills racked up, but mostly we had the feeling of frustration as modern medicine failed to produce any answer that would give us a definitive course of action.
When the vets proposed Shelby go under anesthesia again for a spinal tap, Steven and I both agreed that Shelby deserved a break. Shelby is normally terrified of visiting the vet, but by now she was so tired, she didn't put up any fight. Steven took her home to rest, and give her a break from all this.
For the next few days, he gave her what he likes to call, "the 'Babe' treatment," hand feeding her treats, singing to her, pulling out all the stops to make her feel comfortable and loved.
And she felt better! By Christmas she was back to her normal self. Begging for treats, shadowing the kids. Steven called her our Christmas miracle. I teased her about being our little Tiny Tim.
But two days ago, Shelby started showing signs of stiffness and pain while walking. She walked down the hill with Vin and Steven, but couldn't make it up on her own. Her tail was down. No barking at birds. She ate and drank, but showed little interest in treats, even the bite of tri tip we gave her. She was really tired. And then yesterday was a good day. Her spirits and mobility were up, and she was prowling for treats with the best of them. Today is also proving to be a good day for her so far.
It's a bit unreal to me that this uncertaintly might be just the normal state of affairs from now on. I still think of her as that sweet puppy we brought home 10 years ago. As for whether or not we take her back for more tests, it depends on what signs Shelby gives us, if she is struggling, or in pain.
Steven and I want to give her the same happiness and comfort she has given to us, all these years.
Oh my sweet girl. Happy happy tenth birthday. You are going to get mega treats today!