Tag Archives: sick

9/16/15 I Swear, I Can’t Make This Stuff Up!

Mom was feeling tired and run-down today after the punctuation test yesterday.

She woke Jamie up this morning only to find that he had stubbed another toe (“I think I broke it, Mom!”) and he had a sore throat to boot (“I just finished antibiotics Sunday!”)

Mom grabbed the little wooden flashlight she got at Menard’s for a birthday gift and told Jamie to Open Wide and Say Aaah. Jamie took a big gulp and proceeded to say, “Aaah”, something that is always difficult for him for some reason and results in a gag reflex. “Hmmm. Jim, his tonsils are all white. I think he has Strep. Can you take him to the urgent care clinic while I call the school?”

Dad grumbled a bit but took Jamie. The odd thing is, when Jamie was a young pup, he never got sick. Ever. Now that he’s 15, every sneaky germ that slides by ends up making him ill. Mom can’t figure it out. Anyway, back to the story.

Dad called Mom from the doctor’s office with a Tone in his voice. “It’s allergies,” he said somberly. “Bullsh**,” said Mom. I perked up my ears. “Allergies don’t turn your tonsils white.” “Wait, wait, here comes the doctor…he’s positive for Strep,” Dad said, the Tone in his voice magically disappearing.

Mom hung up the phone. “Don’t mess with Dr. Mom,” she said to herself.

So, Mom went to get some medication. I sat in the bed watching over Jamie. We heard some growly, kind of grumbly, noises from the neighbors who live in the side-woods. I went on high alert:


Suddenly, there was a Crack! and a Thump! And a huge, dead tree fell over our fence! Quickly, Jamie texted Mom. “Maybe the neighbor will move the tree,” she said, hopefully.

Mom came home and surveyed the damage.


Just then, the Jesters pulled up to mow the lawn. Mr. Jester told Mom not to worry, they would throw the tree back over the fence. Then he saw it and said, “Nothing doing.”

Mom called the City, and they said it was Not Their Jurisdiction. Mom called the Police, and asked if it was OK for citizens to just randomly drop trees on other peoples’ property. The Police sent Mom’s call to Code Enforcement, and now we are all waiting to see what happens next.

The upshot of the story is: Mom says she can’t leave the house without trees falling on our property or some other disaster. Mom swears she will never, ever, leave the house again, but I know she has to pick Jamie up from school tomorrow, because he’s going back.

I swear, I can’t make this stuff up!

Woof! Love, Maggie


5/21/15 Mom Writes an Update

Hello, Friends:

Maggie did reasonably well yesterday. First, I gave her some motion sickness medication in the morning. Then I took her with me to pick Jamie up from school. As Maggie said, she “put 2 + 2 together” and was not crying, whining, yawning, licking lips or salivating in the car. A big change from the day before. She is so smart, she knew we were going to the school, and she rode along nicely.


You will notice that she is wearing all her “jewelry” – prong, collar, reinforced leash, everything. I wasn’t going to use them and try her with the harness instead, but a little voice told me, “You’re going to be around a lot of kids and dogs – she may get stressed” so I went with the prong (which I do not like) but it’s what she was trained on, and my thought was, if we got into a situation, I needed to be able to control it.

I’m glad I did as you will soon see.

We went to the Vet and I explained that Maggie was not holding her urine in the night and I was afraid she had an infection. I also explained to the doctor that her separation anxiety, and anxiety in general, is getting worse (which is kind of hard for me to figure out, since I’ve now had three bigger operations and one small one, so I’ve been home a lot) to the point that she is getting unmanageable, and I fear she will harm herself in one of her Hairy Bullet frenzies. Also, honestly, it is hard for me to leave when she is shaking, cowering, vocalizing, and slobbering all over the place. I hate to see her like that and I feel very guilty.

Doctor Craig did his usual, wonderful magic, and gave Maggie an ultrasound on the tummy to see if there were any stones or unusual growths that could be causing the peeing at night. Negative. He took a urine sample and that test result will be back Friday. He clipped her nails. And, he found an ear infection in her right ear. So he treated that with some antibiotics via syringe, and she was much more comfortable almost immediately.

Dr. Craig then prescribed me an anti-anxiety medication for Maggie. He said that the urination problem could be stress related, too. I explained that we’ve tried the Thundershirt, extensive training, diet modification, a reward system, a dog sitter, everything we could think of, to make Maggie more comfortable and less anxious. This medication was a “last resort” for me and I really had mixed feelings about giving it to her.

However, my mind was made up when we were exiting the Exam Room. A beautiful white Cocker Spaniel puppy was waiting to be seen, and when Maggie saw him, she bared her teeth, made such a growling and snarling noise as I have NEVER heard her do, reared up on both legs, and tried to attack him.

Jamie’s basketball and hockey “defense” kicked in and he jumped in front of Maggie, so she landed with her front paws on his thighs. I grabbed the leash and popped it but Maggie was putting up a valiant struggle to tear the snot out of this poor, cowering, puppy. Finally I prisoner-marched her to the door and Jamie took her without further incident to the car, where they waited for me. I apologized profusely to the man and his dog, and paid my bill, and left. I was so grateful I hadn’t used the harness, which she might have slipped out from. Lesson: always listen to that inner voice.

I know that it is not because of Maggie’s breed that she is like this. It is because she was not properly socialized and more than likely kept in a cage and abused when she was just a puppy. Then, as you know, shut up in a kennel for 6 months with not as much human interaction as she craved. Poor Maggie. I wish I could have gotten her as a puppy. 😦 She’d be a therapy dog by now, and we’d be visiting kids and seniors every week.

(I tried a little experiment. When people asked me what kind of dog I had, I’d say, “A Pitbull” and they would frown and shake their heads. When I answered, “An American Staffordshire Terrier”, they would smile and say, “Those are good dogs.” What’s in a name? Plenty.)

So, Maggie, who is the most loving and loyal dog I have ever had the pleasure of sharing a home with, is high as a kite right now. She is very, very, mellow and relaxed. In this picture, I am petting her belly while she rests on the couch, blissful. Her eyes were actually closed until she heard the click of the camera/phone:


I will work closely with Dr. Craig to make sure the medication is at the right dosage. For now, Maggie is relaxed, cuddly, and sleepy.

She’s taken such good care of me during the past few months. Now it is my turn to take care of her.

Your friend,


4/16/15 Glad to be Back

Hello, Everyone!

I am glad to be back!

I understand that Mom kept you updated while I was quite ill. I’m still recuperating, but I feel much better, even well enough to play with my toy bone for a while this morning:


The only thing I am going to add to what Mom already wrote is that I did not cry.

I did not cry when the doctor sent Mom out of the room. I did not cry when they took blood with a big needle, gave me a large shot, filled my skin up with fluid from an IV, or when they popped a muzzle on my mouth and shoved a thermometer up my poor, sore, butt.

I didn’t cry, and when it was over, I kissed everyone to thank them for helping me. But I just couldn’t wag my tail. I just could not do it.

When Mom came in, she looked like she was going to cry. I don’t think she was as brave as I was! But I was glad to see her.

When we got home, Jamie was kind enough to feed me Vitamin Water with a teaspoon, and coaxed this down my throat one spoonful at a time. It got me drinking again. Mom cried and cried, and said how lucky she was to have a good child who had mercy on animals. Mom has cried a LOT over the last few days. Today, she is not crying.

I am wagging my tail again and smiling, and Mom and the rest of the family are very, very, happy. Dad is petting me and letting me sit on his couch.

Last night, I heard Mom tell Dad, “What if we had been gone a week? We would have come back to no dog.” She has been quite upset, and doesn’t feel like she can get me “justice”. Dad is telling her to “drop it” (he usually says that to me, when I have a shoe), but Mom is worrying this subject like a dog with a bone.

Yesterday, after I “turned the corner” so to speak, Mom slept and slept and slept. I didn’t mind, because I get tired quite easily right now, and I snuggled down with her and we rested a long time. Today, if Mom had a tail, she would be wagging it! I have to admit, she looks much perkier than she has all week.

I am still taking fluids. I am still taking pills. Mom coats them in peanut butter for me:


I pretend she is just giving me peanut butter.

I am eating, I am drinking, I am going to the potty outside; and Mom said she was “never so happy” to pick up after me than she has been these past 24 hours. I am dancing for treats all on my own. Mom or Dad will give me a treat and say, “drink, drink!” So then I drink some water.

Over the past few days, while I was resting, Mom would pet me and read me all of your thoughts and comments. Thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my huge AmStaff Terrier heart, for all you have taken the time to say and write. You are truly my WP family. I thank you for that. Woof!

Well, the couch is looking pretty good right now. I’m going to go lie down for a bit. There has actually been quite a lot of news in the neighborhood that is interesting from a dog’s perspective, and I will write more tomorrow or later, depending on how tired I get. Mom doesn’t want me to over-do, and she’s frowning at me already. So I’d better go. Thanks again for everything. I don’t think I would have pulled through half as well without all of your support and good wishes.

Woof! Your dog, Maggie

4/14/15 Update on Maggie’s Condition

Hello, Friends:

Got a phone call this morning from the Big Man himself, Dr. Craig, from Oak Forest Animal Clinic. He called personally to check on me and his patient. I was honored! I explained to him that I was hanging in there, Maggie was sleeping a lot, but wasn’t drinking nearly as much as I would like.

Dr. Craig told me the good news that Maggie’s CBC came back great and all her internal organs were fine and undamaged. Her stool sample was negative for any bad stuff. Dr. Craig told me to continue her medications and fluids and treat her like a baby for the next couple of days. He said the hospital would call me next week to check up on her again, and in the meantime, if I should need to, give him a call.

Maggie did have an accident in the house last night, but under the circumstances, I didn’t even mention it to her. Frankly, I was glad she was eliminating. Maggie slept all evening and is resting as we speak. Her ears are up and her nose is wet. She is giving kisses but not much tail wagging.

I fixed her a light breakfast of strained hamburger, rice, and the chicken “pedialyte”. She ate it well, but is not going after her water bowl. On the doctor’s suggestion, I have tried apple juice/water, Gatorade, and plain water. Zip. I even tried feeding her with a baby bottle. No way was she going for that!

The only time she is drinking is when Jim puts a little peanut butter at the bottom of a bowl and adds a small bit of water to it. Then she will drink. And eat the peanut butter. But only for her human father! I will try “Jim’s trick” later and see if she goes for it. In the meantime, I have bowls of liquid out for her, whatever she chooses.

Thank you SO MUCH to each and every one of you for your thoughts, prayers, good wishes, suggestions, and advice. Both Maggie and I appreciate it. I will keep you updated as the days progress. I am sure she is going to have a lot to write about when she feels better.

Your friend,


4/13/15 Calling Dr. Craig, Emergency! (Or, the Starved Rock post will have to wait)

Hi, this is Elizabeth, Maggie’s human mom. I am writing this in place of Maggie because she is very, very ill. I know she would want all of you to know about what happened, so the Starved Rock post will have to wait while I update you on her condition.

Maggie mentioned last night that she was “serious” on the way home from boarding. In truth, I was worried about the serious look on her face. She seemed stressed out, and I attributed that to being away from home for the weekend. Maggie did not smile on the way home. Very unusual.

When we got home, Maggie drank a whole bowl of water and lay down. But she couldn’t seem to get comfortable. She let out a couple of hacking, loud coughs that sounded like they hurt, and I began to worry even more. I knew she had been vaccinated against Kennel Cough, but since many viruses can cause it, she could still have picked it up.  Maggie did not look happy. I remarked to Jim that usually she was smiling and her tail going a mile a minute, like a propeller. Again, I had misgivings, but thought perhaps it was a combination of stress and exhaustion. Maggie used the facilities and crawled into bed for the night.

As I lay there, I could hear Maggie’s ragged breathing. She sounded like Darth Vader. She could not sleep and neither could I. Up and down, up and down, around and around the bed she went, trying to make herself comfortable. Finally, she did the unimaginable and lay down on her own bed for a while.

At 12:00 midnight I took her out. Nothing. At 4:00 a.m. I took her out. Nothing. At 6:00 a.m. she let out another cough. She had a bloody stool when she finally went to the bathroom. I called the Vet, Laurel, and Jim. Emergency, Dr. Craig!!! The nice lady at Dr. Craig’s office said to come over pronto, so we did. I brought the bloody stools with.

Maggie showed a few signs of life at going in the car, but when we got to the Vet’s office, she was not active. I cannot stress enough how unusual this is for her. She loves her Dr. Craig and when she sees him, she goes all out. But today, I put her on the table in the examining room and she gave a few kisses, but pretty much just lay there. No tail action.

Dr. Craig came in and frowned. “This dog is down in the dumps! Let’s have a look at her.” He took her temperature. This entailed putting a muzzle on Maggie and inserting a rectal thermometer. It came out bloody. Dr. Craig frowned again. Maggie did not have a temperature, and he palpitated her stomach to feel for any masses. Dr. Craig listened to her heartbeat, and frowned for a third time. He said, “Her heartbeat is 90. What was it last time?” The nurse checked Maggie’s records, and said, “120”. Dr. Craig looked as unhappy as Maggie. He checked Maggie’s eyes, ears, gums (dry and tacky), tongue (dry), nose (warm and dry), and palpitated her stomach again. Finally, he said that Maggie was suffering from severe dehydration and a possible infection in her intestine. He said that she hadn’t been given enough water to drink over the weekend. Dr. Craig and his two assistants gently shooed me out of the examination room so that they could administer IV fluids and antibiotics under the skin. Maggie watched me go without much emotion. She was a shell of her usual self.

I cooled my heels in the waiting room and called Jim. No answer. I called Laurel, and she said she would meet me at the house. Finally, after a long time, the nurse came out and told me I could come back into the room.

I swayed a bit on my feet when I saw my dog, who had three large lumps under her fur. She looked like some kind of camel-dog hybrid. My eyes strayed to the IV bag hanging there. Most of it had been used. Dr. Craig indicated where he had put the fluid (the two large lumps) and the IV antibiotic (the third, smaller lump). He told me he would advise against keeping Maggie overnight at the hospital since she was so stressed. He told me to take her home and baby her. He gave me strict instructions and four prescriptions: two antibiotics, a probiotic/anti-diarrhea, and a box that looked like chicken stock, but was actually canine “pedialyte”. I was to cook Maggie rice, mix it with the canine “pedialyte”, and give as much fluid as possible, including Gatorade if she would take it. Dr. Craig said he would have the fecal results tomorrow, and the hospital staff would be calling me to check on Maggie. I am very, very, grateful to the staff at Oak Forest Animal Clinic and Dr. Craig. They are medical personnel you can believe in, and trust.

We arrived safely home and fifteen minutes later, Laurel came in. She sat with us and talked and kept me sane while I cried, feeling guilty for having left my dog this weekend in the first place. Laurel stayed with us a long time, and I cooked Maggie’s rice, and gave her the fluids and her first round of antibiotics.

Laurel tried to coax Maggie out, but Maggie just lay upon the couch. She told me that Maggie would probably sleep a long time, and that I had done the right thing by taking her to the Vet. I am beyond grateful to Laurel for her dog expertise, her love of Maggie, and her friendship.

Laurel left and Jim, who played “White Knight” this hectic day by taking Jamie to school and rearranging his schedule to pick him up (so I did not have to crate Maggie or leave her alone), soon arrived, with Jamie in tow. Maggie stayed on the couch and did not greet them. Finally, she got up and feebly waved her tail once, then sat down next to her human father, who pet her gently, noticing the red marks on her back (from the IV fluids). Jim had to run back to work. Jamie said, “I heard you had a rough day, girl” and gently caressed Maggie. Maggie soon fell back asleep on the couch.

And…there she stays. She is still there now. She looks so depressed I cannot include a picture.

I thank you all for reading this very long post, and for caring about Maggie. She is, as Laurel said, in a deep sleep now, and since the administration of the fluids, has stopped coughing and breathing roughly. Her nose feels better. I think she is on the mend.

Oh, one final thing. Dr. Craig said I probably should not board Maggie again. Laurel is going to help me find a sitter who, when we have to go out, will stay at the house and look after our dear girl.

Your friend, Elizabeth