Greetings from Washington. I am here a week later than I had originally planned to be, and may be here longer than I had planned, as well.
As longtime readers of this blog know, my dog, Dizzy, has always had bad hips. I have known since he was a puppy that he would eventually need treatment, probably a full hip replacement. This is a very expensive procedure, the recovery time is long, and I've put off dealing with it longer than I should have.
We had a consultation with a veterinary orthopedist last night that included sedation and x-rays. It was traumatic for both of us. They had to get Dizzy into a painful position in order to take the x-rays, and when he came out of the sedation, he was disoriented, sore, and very unhappy.
The good news is that a treatment other than full hip replacement is available. Remarkably, animals can regrow cartilage from their own stem cells; it's been done in horses for almost a decade, and in other small animals for several years. The treatment is explained here, and it sounds almost too good to be true -- like something out of a 19th-century horror novel, in fact. But Dr. Walker said he had seen the results himself, and they amazed him.
They took blood yesterday to test Dizzy for infections and other problems, and if the tests come back clear, they can do this procedure next week. I have commitments in Maine next week, but those don't seem as important as getting this taken care of as quickly as we can. Dizzy's in pain; he struggles with the stairs, and he can't do the things he loves best, like chasing squirrels and running up hills.
He's nine years old, and I know that in a best-case scenario, he has only another five years. But he's my best friend and my constant companion, and his company makes my entire lifestyle possible. I am a little embarrassed -- even a little ashamed -- to be such a cliche, a middle-aged American spinster going to such extreme lengths over a pet. These are resources that could be used to feed the poor, clothe the naked, provide medical care for children in Africa. If I were not such an eccentric, I wouldn't need the comfort of an animal to replace human contact. Maybe it's not even good for me, to be this attached to a dog.
But if he can have this stem-cell procedure next week, we will do this -- which means backing out of several commitments, and reorganizing my entire month of April. I'm sorry, and I hope people understand.