Posts Tagged ‘chronic ear infections’

 Out perfect companions never have fewer than four feet. “ – Sidonie Gabrielle Colette


Maggie taking in a campfire conversation. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

It’s raining outside this morning, which isn’t a bad thing if you’re hoping for a rainbow. And I am, in the form of a magic bullet to finally solve Maggie’s chronic cocker spaniel ear problem. It’s a last-resort solution for the canine companion who became a part of my life in 1999.

I rescued Maggie from an Ogden, Utah, animal shelter where she had ended up twice. The first time she had been found wandering the streets as a tiny, barely weaned puppy. It wasn’t known if she was dumped or if she had simply wandered away.

Sadly, her first adoptive family had teenage boys who abused her, and the mom in that family finally returned her to the shelter. She was skittish of humans, although clearly wanting their company, when I adopted her.

My then aged cocker spaniel, Peaches, was in need of a companion after my cat of 18 years died. Peaches died a few months later and Maggie then became my only pet. I thought of getting a doggie companion for her, since I was working long hours at the time, but Maggie communicated to me that she preferred being an only child


Companions -- Photo by Carol Landau

And yes, she really does communicate with me, more so than any animal I’ve ever owned. Of course it’s Maggie who owns me

For the past seven years, she and I have been 24-hour-a-day companions. We’ve both aged in those years. I’m not as spry and Maggie’s muzzle has become grizzled. But as a dog, she has a much shorter life expectancy, which is a cruel reality.  

I fought her ear infections from the first, watching as they continued to get worse with every passing year. Tuesday night, however, was the first time I’ve seen her in extreme pain.

A deep sleeper who never even budges when I get up to go to the bathroom, Maggie was awake all night suffering and trying to get comfortable. I grieved because I couldn’t help her. And still am grieving because there might not be a solution to her pain.

When I went into the vet’s yesterday morning, I brought with me the box full of all the half-used prescriptions and over-the-counter remedies that not only hadn’t solved the problem, but which often made things worse.

The only sure solution, the vet said, was an expensive operation to remove all her ear canals, which I don’t feel is an option since Maggie is 14. Stymied herself, the vet called a specialist, who recommended a new drug that has proved somewhat successful in treating such difficult cases.

I pick it up today.

In the meantime, the vet gave Maggie a steroid shot to ease her swelling and pain, and I gave her a tiny bit of Pepto Bismol to counteract the diarrhea a steroid shot gives her. She’s had quite a few over the years and I know how she reacts.

The good news is that Maggie slept through the night. What follows now is simply hope this new drug is the rainbow after the storm that I desperately want it to be, and which Maggie’s life depends on it being. 

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