I've been on pins and needles here for the last few weeks. My noble and incredibly brilliant friend/dog/and spiritual guide, Studio Dog (real name to remain anonymous at her request) has been showing signs of distress and, knowing she had been diagnosed with a heart murmur and enlargement of her heart two years ago, I was expecting the worst. She had collapsed on a walk and I carried her home. Her heartbeat has been racing and dysrhythmic and, intermittently, her breathing has been labored.
Our mobile veterinarian came by last week and seemed grim about Studio Dog's prospects but recommended that we make an appointment with a canine cardiologist to get a better assessment; but even as she suggested this our vet seemed to be preparing us for the worst.
Belinda and I took Studio Dog in this morning where she had a sonogram and a multi-lead EKG. An enlargement on one side of her heart, along with a congenital valve condition had pushed her into atrial fibrillation. The cardiologist told us we could manage the a fib with several medications which would lower the heart rate and help smooth out her heart rhythm.
We asked for a forward-looking prognosis and heard that she might have 12 to 18 months more of good quality of life. We were overjoyed. None more so that my son who has a very special bond with our very special dog.
I had stopped taking jobs in anticipation of a tough row just ahead but the sense of relief I feel this afternoon is almost euphoric. Where would I be without her tough but kind critiques of my various post processing experiments? Who would bark up the incompetent postal carrier? Who would whine about my poor selection skills when it comes to choosing dog food? And who would sit with me on the couch, watching La Dolce Vita while my friends and family roll their eyes?
She's rarely met a camera or lens she didn't like and has no patience for wedding photographers or Tony Northrup's videos. But rather than write her eulogy today I'm thrilled that I'll be running errands and doing favors for her for months to come. Now, if I can only convince her to use part of her allowance to help me buy a couple of Leica lenses..... But no. Dogs aren't nearly as dense and impractical as me.