… “Nano- : one billionth part of something” …
… (the Merriam-Webster online dictionary) …
… Nano … my one-in-a-billion canine companion … well, one in about a half-billion or so anyway (the estimated dog population of the world being somewhere between 400 and 550 million).
I have been planning to write a series of blog posts here about the furry critters who bring such joy to our lives … Nano being the oldest and with me the longest, she goes first.
Unfortunately, I have to start with bad news … this past weekend was a tough one for Nano … she is closing in on 15 years old and has been slowing down in the recent past … on Saturday, we had an unexpected medical crisis.
Early in the day, she went outside and up on the hill behind our house … something she had not done for some time … and I had to carry her back down when it was time to come in … I then went out to Costco … primarily for dog treats … and was gone for about an hour and a half.
When I got home, I found Nano lying lethargically on her bed, surrounded by what appeared to be bloody vomit … and found a trail of the same stuff all the way out the back door onto the deck.
Nano was listless, could not stand on her own and did not respond when I talked to her … so, I picked her up and took her to the Pet Emergency & Specialty Center in San Rafael … had to carry her into the vet’s office, too, as she still could not walk.
They quickly discovered that what I had thought to be vomit was actually diarrhea, as she had a serious bout in the vet’s office shortly after we arrived … ultimately, the vet determined that she was suffering from HGE or Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis … which means that it was a good thing that I took her in right away, as the website “VetInfo.com” describes HGE as follows:
“HGE or Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis is a disease that hits quickly and can be fatal if not treated immediately. Veterinarians and pet owners remain frustrated by Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis because symptoms appear rapidly and often without explanation. A perfectly healthy dog will be fine one moment and then seriously ill the next. The problem with Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis is that there is no known cause. Experts believe there might be a link between this disease and a loss of beneficial bacteria in the intestines. What is known is that fluids leak from blood vessels within the intestines and exit through the rectum.”
The vet … Dr. Audra Pompeani … put Nano on a hydration IV and some medications … and recommended that she stay at least overnight … I went in to see Nano and she barely responded when I hugged her goodnight.
Sunday morning, the vet recommended that Nano stay the rest of the day … and I had to drive to San Diego for a Monday morning court appearance … so Candy had to pick Nano up after she got off work at midnight.
By the time I got home near midnight on Monday, Nano was doing somewhat better … though she had to be carried when she needed to go outside for a couple of days.
By today, Thursday, we had also learned that a follow up urinalysis revealed that she has a urinary tract infection … for which she has to take amoxicillin … and her blood work shows elevated kidney values, an early sign of kidney problems.
All in all, a tough few days … for Nano … and for Candy & me.
Looking back at better times …
… I adopted Nano (nee “Starrose Lady”) …
Starrose Lady — Marin Humane Society Photo
… from the Marin Humane Society on January 26, 2000 … just shy of three months after my wife Sandy had died of breast cancer … this was a difficult time for me, emotionally … and over the next year, Nano provided a measure of emotional support and comfort for which I can never fully repay her.
Nano — 2000
Of the dogs available for adoption at that time, I picked Nano because I wanted a medium-sized dog who could go running with me on the trails of Mt. Tam … part whippet and part who-knows-what, Nano fit the bill perfectly …
Nano Running on Mt. Tam Trail
… and eventually did run thousands of miles with me on the mountain and other open space trails.
The night I brought her home, however, she was shaking like a leaf the entire trip … and didn’t really stop shaking until we went to bed … at which time she crawled under the covers and curled up at my feet … which proved to be her favorite sleeping place for several years.
Not only did Nano love running … she also loved chasing and catching any ball that I would throw for her … for several years she went with me to work at my brother’s company, A&J Electric Cable Corp., in Hayward … and we would go out a couple of times each day to play catch in the long driveway … I would throw a ball as far as I could and she would go tearing after it … bringing it back and begging for me to throw it again … over & over … until she was panting and my arm was tired!
After I moved to Novato, we spent a lot of time on the Wild Horse Valley fire road … and playing catch out on the street … an uphill run for her to chase the ball.
The last few years, though, she has slowed down … at first, we would go out to play ball and she would run up the hill a few times … then come down once and instead of bringing me the ball, would turn into the driveway and head for the house! Hint … I’m tired … enough ball-playing for the day!
Eventually, she would not chase the ball at all … and would just watch it roll down the hill if I threw it. We lost a few that way until I finally got the message … the ball-throwing & chasing days were over.
Nano has a sweet personality … loves everyone she meets … most other dogs …
Nano & Cairo
… especially her long-time friend Cairo …
Nano, Samantha & Macavity
… and even the cats who have invaded her space since Candy moved to California in 2007.
These days, she particularly likes visiting with my daughter Risa & her husband Jeff Thomas … and their two dogs, Bailey (a mini-dachshund) and Blue (an American blue pitbull).
Here are some more pictures of Nano … doing the things she loves the most …
Relaxing on the Couch
Exploring a Mt. Tam Ridgeline …
… and Running on a Mountain Slope.
Nano — 2005
Except as Otherwise Noted, all Photos Copyright Jim Reilly 2014