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The Argus Adventure Continues

Friday 10/14/2005 2:17 AM

I'm tired, so let's make this quick.

The animal shelter wouldn't release Argus to us because he wasn't (isn't) fixed, neutered or whatever your preferred euphenism is for eliminating his reproductive capability (insert requisite masculine shudder here). Even though we signed the papers on Sunday, they couldn't deliver him to our vet's office until Wednesday. So I had a few more days to agonize over whether or not I was doing the right thing or not by adopting this dog.

I borrowed my buddy Lou's digital camera and went to visit Argus again on Tuesday and take some shots (yesterday's and today's blog images). Of course, on that third visit, Argus seemed the least interested in me, which only caused my self-doubt to grow and grow.

On Wednesday, he was delivered to Dr. Guhrt's office, and, after a little bit of confusion about whether or not we were going to start his heartworm treatment immediately, the decision was made to go ahead with the heartworm medicine, but hold off on the other. Now, you gotta promise not to get Dr. Guhrt in trouble with The Man over this, but he released Argus to us in a fully intact condition (if you catch my drift — I'm sure you do). The reason for this was that Dr. Guhrt thinks it's better for the dog to be heartworm free before he is anesthetized for surgery. So Argus has about one extra month to be, um, footloose and fancy free.

He had to stay overnight, so we didn't get him until Thursday evening after Candy got off work. She and I had a pow-wow with the good German and he gave us the bad news with props and everything. Dr. Guhrt showed us x-rays of Argus's hips and explained that the big guy has severe hip dysplasia, especially in his right hip.

We need to keep his weight under control (he is lean and muscular right now) and at some point we'll probably have to consider getting him cut open for a surgical procedure where they remove the top of his leg bone. Then the muscles do something to grow and change and stabilize the hip, though it will be considerably weaker (no duh, huh?). So why do it? Because at some point, his dysplasia will be so painful that the surgery will be necessary to make him more comfortable. Hip replacement surgery is also an option, but, yeah, that's expensive.

So I asked Dr. Guhrt what signs we need to look for over time to know if he needs the surgery. The tall, thin European man turned to me with his toothy grin and pointed a finger at my chest and said, "Peter, he's a candidate for the surgery right now." Candy and I looked at each other and he continued. "There are two things I look for. First, what does the x-ray tell me? The x-ray tells me he needs the surgery right now. But then I look at the dog and listen to what he tells me, and right now your dog is telling me he doesn't need the surgery."

So we are officially in wait-and-see mode on the degenerative hip condition issue.

Then, almost as an afterthought, Dr. Guhrt announced to us to in a loud voice, "And that dog is not nine years old. He's about..." And Dr. Guhrt looked off to our right and cocked his head for a moment and then said, "I'd say he's about six or seven years old. His eyes are crystal clear. There is no way he is nine years old."

Argus is already reminding us of Chaunce in different ways with his variety of mannerisms. Most importantly, he has that whole chronological giftedness thing going on where he is six years old going on six months. There is so much puppy in him, but that is exactly the problem right now. You see, due to the heartworm treatment, we are under orders to keep him calm for four weeks. A new dog in a new house with lots of exciting stuff to do. Keep him calm? Good luck to us, huh?

Anyway, that's our challenge these days and, so far, it's working out all right. But I can't wait to turn him loose out at The Greenway for the first time.

More later.

File Under: Argus
Music: Bettye LaVette "I've Got My Own Hell To Raise"

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