Updated: Jan 29
Apologies to Carl Hiaasen, who published a book by the same name
One would expect, once their kids don’t live at home anymore, that the days of caring for a sick family member are pretty much done. There are big exceptions, of course – someone lands in the hospital and it’s all hands on deck no matter which house you live in. But the day-to-day stuff shifts and parents can stop worrying about common colds, flu, stomach aches, that kind of stuff.
Unless you have a dog that didn’t move out with the kids.
The smallest member of our family, our 12-year-old 10-pound mini-dachshund named Truffles, has not been feeling well. She started coughing every now and then several weeks ago, which we figured would pass. It didn’t. On Sunday, her cough exploded into frequent bouts of hacking that sounded like she was going to expel part of a lung. We got a little worried.
True to her dachshund nature, Truffles kept right on eating even though she was under the weather. (This is the dog who chowed down half a pair of pantyhose and felt fine even after I gave her peroxide to help bring those pantyhose back up.) And she wagged her tail right after coughing, coughing, coughing. That’s how we knew it wasn’t an emergency-room-visit level of sick. But the dog coughed and hacked and wheezed all through the night, keeping my husband and me awake. A trip to the vet was clearly in order. And guess what? She barked so much while she was there that she forgot to cough for the vet.
I anticipated this possibility. Before we went to the vet, I recorded her pneumonia-like cough (which occasionally veered off into sounding more like whooping cough) with my phone. But the vet knew something was up anyway – Truffles’ wheezing between barks was apparent. She finally quieted our girl with some treats, for which Truffles promptly sat down and waited, causing our vet to call her sweet. That only lasted for a few minutes.
The vet thinks Truffles has some variation of kennel cough, even though she had her bordetella shot. Now Truffles has antibiotics. And cough medicine that says on the label it’s to help her sleep. I’m very clear it’s also to help my husband and me sleep, thanks. And she’ll go back for an x-ray if the cough doesn’t subside by the end of the week.
When my daughter was little, she mastered the art of projectile vomiting when forced to take medicine. Truffles, by comparison, is a pretty good patient. Wrap those meds in a bacon-flavored Pill Pocket and they disappear instantly. I’m thankful for that, at least.
Here’s hoping that nasty cough does the same.
Got any sick pet stories of your own to share? Leave a comment!
photo of Truffles by kcmickelson 2019