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Old 07-21-2010, 08:22 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Thumbs up Buddy the Pit Bull Part 2

Thursday, July 8, 2010
Buddy the Pit Bull Part II



Sunday, May 23: As we went to sleep last night, we figured we would have messes to clean up in the bathroom where our new house guest was sleeping. At 5AM we got up, opened the bathroom door and out crawled Buddy. I picked him up and carried him outside to the grass...sniff, sniff, sniff...tail flagged straight up in the air. No messes in the bathroom to clean up. Maybe Buddy is housebroken? Doubtful we thought, but hey, I surely would be thankful for that blessing. We'll just wait and see.

We have to give him Doxycycline with food every 12 hours, so, by 6:30 our first morning, Buddy was fed and dosed with his antibiotics. By 8AM, Buddy, the Colonel, Mollie and me were all out in our front yard. (We really don't have a back yard it's a concrete patio with flowers and plants around the outside-no grass for Buddy to crawl around.) The Colonel and I had lawn chairs. We dragged a couple of old rugs out on the sidewalk for the dogs. We really needed to keep Buddy from crawling on the concrete to try to keep his chest and "elbows" from getting scraped any further.

For the next week, every day became routine with Buddy. Carry him out. Carry him in. Feed him and give him his meds. Carry him outside and sit with him. Carry him back inside. Carry him out, sit with him, carry him in. Feed him his dinner and give his meds. Carry him out and sit with him until he did ALL of his business. Carry him in. And, in and out once more before "night-night" time.

Our small bathroom has four lights mounted above the mirror. I removed all of the light bulbs except one and left that one light on at night for Buddy. After the first two nights he didn't cry after I laid him on his bed in the floor of the bathroom and closed the door. Several nights went by and he didn't cry, I decided maybe he would like to sleep better in the dark, so that night I turned the light out before I closed the door. Within seconds, I could hear Buddy whimpering. I opened the door, stuck my arm in and turned the light back on and closed the door. No whimpering. No crying. Silence. Guess Buddy didn't like the dark.

Daily, as we sat in the yard with Buddy, neighbors started coming over: the 9-year-old twins, their mom and grandmom from across the street, two teenagers and their mom also from across the street. Neighbors from around the block who walked daily would also walk by. Some would visit, others would speak as they walked. Sometimes I would see people walking down the street but when they saw Buddy the Pit Bull lying in the grass, they would turn around or turn down another street before they walked past. Any stranger who came close was always told he was very friendly and he wasn't much of a menace because he couldn't walk. He could only crawl. Many, many of the neighbors now knew the story of Buddy, the Pitt Bull who couldn't walk.

The weather was nice and I was getting a pretty good tan from sitting in the sun. My hands and arms were another story. The inside of my forearms and hands were almost raw. I really was allergic to his fur. I started taking Claritin D and Benadryl daily to try to stop the red bumps and rash on my arms. And since we really weren't sure what was wrong with him, I was washing my hands 50-60 times a day. I used several different lotions to try and slow the chapping. Every night before I went to bed, I slathered my hands, knuckles and arms in lotion.

Although we seemed to find a pretty good routine with Buddy, Lucky Charm - AKA the meanest cat in the entire world - was not a good fit. Buddy couldn't walk, but that didn't keep him from trying to crawl through our house after the cat. Once or twice the cat would sneak in through the pet door, Buddy would hear the door and immediately crawl after the cat. We started separating Lucky Charm and Buddy. The cat would either be outside or in a closed bedroom unless Buddy was outside or "night-night." A few times, when the cat would want into the living room, I would take Buddy to the garage and sit with him there until the Colonel would let us know the coast was clear and the cat was put up. I don't know if Buddy would kill the cat or not, but the cat surely was not going to get close enough to Buddy to find out! I don't think I have heard Buddy growl at the cat, or growl at anything else for that matter, but the cat surely can growl and hiss at Buddy.

When Buddy wasn't chasing our cat, trying to drink water from flower beds, eating or "sniffing" around, he was sleeping or resting in the grass or on a rug outside or on an area rug in the middle of our living room floor. During the first week, we never left Buddy home alone. One of us was always with him. He didn't have a collar or a leash. Our homeowners association has a pretty strict leash rule for dogs, but when the dog can only crawl, well, we just didn't see it as a real problem. I did wonder if anyone (there's always someone) would complain about the Pit Bull off-leash in our front yard. I was kind of waiting for that - if someone complained, they had no idea about Buddy or that he couldn't walk.

We've always had little dogs. We really had no idea about how much or what to feed Buddy. Mollie, the spoiled Mini-Schnauzer, turns her nose up at most of her dog food, knowing that if she stays on her hunger strike long enough, something better will end up in her food dish. I should have known better than to start Buddy on Kibbles N' Bits. He developed diarrhea almost immediately. I went to the pet store looking for a good food for the digestive tract and came home home with Iams with Prebiotics. We started cooking frozen chicken tenders in the microwave and chopping one chicken tender into two cups of dry dog food twice a day. Buddy ate like a horse. His stomach and digestive tract seemed to like this food. I knew his digestive system was working better.

I wasn't raised to carry around little doggy bags to pick up doggy excrement, but, welcome to the California suburbs. I have been using those little bags to pick up doggy doo from small dogs for many years. I was in for a surprise. Buddy not only ate like a horse, he poops like a cow. Mollie's little tiny doggy doo bags simply would not do. I now kept a stack of plastic grocery bags in the garage for Buddy's poop and made a mental note to check on extra large biodegradable doggy doo bags on my next trip to the pet store.

During our first week we researched everything we could find on the Internet about dogs with four-legged paralysis and the causes. In our minds, the first and best hope we had for Buddy was tick paralysis. All of the ticks were removed and Buddy had been on Doxycycline for several days, but he still didn't walk. We were pretty sure tick paralysis was not the diagnosis. We could see him getting healthier. He could hold his head up. His coat improved. His eyes were clear. But, he still didn't walk. The vet called on Wednesday of that week to tell us that Buddy's "tick panel" had come back normal. He confirmed what we had pretty much figured out. The vet asked how Buddy was doing and wanted to make sure his condition had not deteriorated. No, his condition was not any worse, and in some senses he was improving, but there was no sign he could walk.

During this first week, I started posting Facebook updates on Buddy. Buddy quickly developed quite a following.

The Colonel and I talked a lot about options for Buddy. Now, without tick paralysis as a diagnosis, we were back to a neurological problem. Three weeks for Buddy to improve as much as he could. We had already committed to at least that. We still had to get him neutered and bring all of his shots up to date, if he could walk. We also knew we could not afford to spend thousands of dollars on tests. Neither of us ever regretted taking Buddy out of his horrible situation but we really didn't know where we were going. We also had no idea just how bad Buddy's situation was.
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