So we got our new king sized mattress delivered last Friday and I love it. It definitely needs some breaking in, but it's so nice to stretch out. Between my husband, me, and the three furbabies, a queen sized bed was just too small.
The bed was on the expensive side and the sheets and pillows and comforter added up, too. So, I guess you could say that I am a mite bit sensitive to keeping this bed in good condition.
This leads me to this morning's rude awakening.
Although I need to back up a minute. First off, yes, we do let our cat and two dogs sleep with us. I know, I know, everything that you read about dog obedience really cautions you against letting animals share your bed. But there is just nothing like a furry little body to warm up against and I love having them there. Our dogs are also alone during the day a lot when we are at work, so it seems almost cruel to keep them away at night, too.
Our little dog, Jack, is nine years old. He is a terrier mix, of the Jack Russell Terrier family - or Jack Russell Terrorist as a friend of ours calls him. Jack is. . . well, Jack is special. We got him from the humane society and the guy told me not to get him. The guy said that he would be a problem dog and he has lived up to his reputation. He is too smart for his own good, can get himself out of any crate, even injuring himself in the process. He soils the carpet if he is left home alone and consequently, he and Rocky have to stay in the garage while we are away from home (but don't worry, true to our dog-loving nature, the garage is heating and my husband built special pet beds for them). On the other hand, he is fiercely loyal, loves us to no end, and is wonderful with children. I call him my shadow, because he follows me everywhere and cannot bear to be away from us.
For the past 18 months, Jack has started developing back problems. He will be fine for months and then have an "episode." During an "episode," he is in extreme pain and can barely move. It is really sad. We have taken him to the vet several times, spent several hundreds of dollars on special x-rays, medications, blood tests, etc. All to no avail. During an "episode," we treat him with prednisone and a muscle relaxant, and wait for the symptoms to pass. It usually takes a couple of days and then he is fine again.
This last episode started the week before Christmas. I noticed he was acting funny again, with his tail tucked between his legs and seeming restless, unable to find a comfortable spot. I gave him a half of prednisone as a precaution. That night, he started making these funny noises in bed. . . right before he peed all over me! Of course, he soaked through the comforter, sheets, but luckily, it didn't get to the mattress because he soaked me.
I took him to the vet the next day. He had an exam and a urine culture which was negative. The urinating thing is a new symptom to the episodes, so we were concerned about a potential urinary tract infection. The vet decided that it was "behavioral" and almost $100 later, we were on our way.
Over the past week, his pain has gotten worse. We have increased the prednisone and muscle relaxant dosages. It seems that we can control the pain, but that it isn't getting much better. We called the vet, but they are out of ideas. Their only recommendation is a referral to a specialist who can do a MRI on him to look for nerve damage - for the bargain price of $1300. If they fine something (That's a really big if as the last x-ray only showed that he had pain in his lower back of no known origin. Really helpful, thanks.) then the surgery to fix him could range from $4000 - 6000! And the recovery and prognosis for a dog of his age is not good, around 50% will recover to lead a "normal" life.
So, now we are looking at a minimum of $1300 and probably more. So, we decided to see if we could get Jack over this latest "episode" with the medication and lots of TLC.
It seemed like he was getting better yesterday. And then, at 6:00 this morning, I heard that familiar funny noise, followed by feeling the warm wetness of Jack peeing all over our bed. . . our brand new bed. Luckily, we had purchased the waterproof mattress cover and it did its job, but I am now knee deep in laundry, including a trip to the dry cleaner to clean our new comforter.
I love my animals. They are like children to me. They comfort me when I am sad, their wagging tails make my day. Jack has been my "baby" for seven years. I can't just let him be sick and not try to find the answer.
But I also don't believe in prolonging an animal's suffering. He is not suffering right now, he is still eating, drinking, and peeing (obviously). But when he shakes and cries from the pain, I feel like a monster for hesitating on getting the MRI. But that's a lot of money. Money we can definitely use for other things.
Each time Jack recovers from an "episode," I breathe a sigh of relief, so glad that we don't have to make a tough choice. I don't know how much longer we will be getting that reprieve.