Well poor Corgi/Sheltie mix Myra has lost her first foster home here in Salt Lake County. It was reported that she was drinking large amounts of water and urinating both outside and inside – and very often, possibly even leaking in addition. Were we looking at a urinary tract infection? Could it be end stages of kidney disease? Some other disease that would also mean the end stages of her life? Would it just be that she’s healthy except for the onerous problem of dealing with a leaky bladder? Well, we would soon see firsthand what our foster Mom was reporting to us and start to evaluate Myra’s urination and drinking behavior along with some diagnostic input from our veterinary clinic.
We immediately had Myra into the vet for a comprehensive blood panel, urinalysis, heartworm test, worming (she is underweight and was picked up as a stray), and thyroid test. If she was suffering from a urinary tract infection – we didn’t want her to go on suffering from that any longer than necessary to diagnose it.
Well, guess who does NOT have kidney disease or a urinary tract infection? Myra does not. In fact, her entire blood profile was very close to normal. Since Myra was picked up as a stray, was in a shelter, traveled about 6 hours or more in a car on Thursday, was turned over to her foster Mom Thursday night, and was underweight – it wouldn’t be surprising if any of her blood profile was off by insignificant amounts — and that’s exactly what we saw. Only her red blood cell count was off by an insignificant amount. I next had to consider if we were seeing end-of-life issues such as possibly a cancer that was causing bladder problems but not showing us anything on a blood panel or urinalysis. Or, were we just dealing with ongoing, heavy, and frequent urination as a result of senior incontinence? My heart fell. This is the reality of rescue and older dogs but we want to give them the best end-of-life that we can.
Because we’d heard so much about her not holding her urine, I diapered her when she arrived here. It was a bit of a struggle to get that diaper on her not the leas
t of which was that although I accidentally had some doggie diapers here, I’d never used them before. Jim helped me and between the two of us we got her diapered although we did a poor job of it – even trying to pull off a tab that wasn’t supposed to be pulled off (because when we did – it started ripping the diaper!). Almost immediately after we diapered Myra she lifted the back end of her body up into the air and walked on her front two legs. I mean her entire bottom was pointed skyward while she made forward progress. Jim and I were both startled. Within a few minutes Myra adapted to her diaper and was back to walking on all four paws. I was relieved. The idea that she was so bothered by her diaper, bothered me.
We went outside with the other dogs on our usual schedule. Her diaper was always dry. In the meantime, Jim and I went to Barnes and Nobles in Sugarhouse to Bobbie Pyron’s book signing of her popular novel, A Dog’s Way Home. While we were gone, I crated Myra without her diaper to see what would happen. I also measured the water in her water bowl so I could measure the amount of water she was drinking. You can imagine my surprise when we arrived home (just 2 1/2 hours later – not very long) to a dry crate and a water bowl that really looked like it hadn’t even been touched!
We went back to giving Myra the run of the house with her diaper on. By now, not only had Myra, Jim, and I gotten the hang of putting these diapers on (although I still needed Jim’s assistance) I began to realize that these diapers were really well made! They are stretchy in all the right places and seemed to me to be pretty comfortable to wear. They stayed on Myra without sliding off and they’re very adjustable. I have to say that I like this product. I think we’re also lucky in that she didn’t try to pull them off – many other dogs would have.
Myra settled onto one of the many dog beds here while we watched a movie and she spent what seemed to me to be an easy evening with us. She liked saying hello to the other dogs here but in general wasn’t especially interested in them. Except for Honey. Honey is a very grouchy girl here who wants nothing to do with the other dogs. For unknown reasons, Myra started following her around. It was like a mini-parade of two dogs walking back and forth, Honey leading and Myra following. If only we were smart enough to know what they were thinking. After about 15 minutes of this, Myra lost interest. She couldn’t hear Honey growling at her because Myra is completely deaf and I think she’s been completely deaf for a long time.
On our regular outings to go potty, Myra pee’d and pooped normally outside. Her diaper was dry every time. And she’s had no accidents inside. Myra is an easy, wonderful, girl who was possibly misunderstood by her former foster Mom.
Myra woke me in the morning barking – she needed to go potty! I took off her diaper before letting her outside and it was completely dry! I don’t know what to make of this except that so far it’s great news and completely consistent with the urine and blood work results that we’d done. Here are some photos of Myra in our home. This morning she’s diaper free because I feel that she’s demonstrated, to some extent anyway, that she’s not urinating uncontrollably or frequently, indoors. I believe she’s housetrained and doing exactly as well as I’d expect an older dog to do, who’s used to being in a home. Myra shows EVERY sign of being used to living in a home. I can’t help but wonder if her owners are looking for her? If they’re not, I think that someone else is going to have a wonderful, trouble-free companion in Myra. In general, these kids are wonderful and absolutely the easiest dogs you’ll ever bring into your home because they’re used to being part of a household and are well mannered and just so happy and grateful to be loved.
Myra is looking for a forever home – I hope we can find one for her quickly, if we don’t find that her owners are looking for her We’ll have to scan her for a microchip. Although this was probably done by the shelter in St. George, not all shelters have a universal scanner yet. – Barbara