I often said that when I die I want to come back as a dog – in my house. That last caveat is extremely important because any dog that has lived in our home has been well loved and well taken cared for. But yesterday I slightly changed my tune on that afterlife wish.
The day started out as almost any other day. I was up at the crack of dawn to go hiking at Chautauqua. I’ve learned that when the weather gets this hot its best to do that type of strenuous climb very early before the heat of the day makes it much more difficult. After I got home there was the usual summer ritual of coffee on the deck. There is nothing like summer mornings here in Colorado. In the mornings our deck is in full shade and you can comfortably sit and enjoy coffee, the newspaper, the birds, the garden and the occasional hot air balloon that will float overhead.
I was on the deck and taking it all in when my husband came out to sit with me. After a few minutes he said, “There’s something wrong with the dog. She’s just not acting like herself.” At that point I looked down and saw Mia lying by my chair on the deck like she has so many times before. I asked Nick why he felt that way and he said he couldn’t put his finger on it, but that she was acting very lethargic and not her usual energetic self.
I watched her for a while and had to agree. Although she was laying by my chair she was not keeping her head up. Normally when she lays on the deck she assumes a sphinx-like position with front paws crossed watching every little thing that is going on in the back yard. Now she was laying with her head down as if she was trying to sleep. And she could not lay still. She would switch from one hip to the other hip and then back again, almost as if she could not get comfortable. The one thing that made me less nervous about all this was the fact that she had eaten her breakfast in the morning. I guess hell would have to freeze over and Mia be on her deathbed in order for her not to eat. It’s a Lab thing and if you’ve ever had a Lab you know exactly what I mean. But something definitely was not right.
Then she got up, plunked her butt down and began to scoot her butt on the deck, round and round in a never ending circle. It lasted so long I was sure she embedded some of the Trex from the deck into her butt. Ok, now I have a symptom. So on to the internet where I googled “why a dog drags its butt on the ground” and low and behold the answer. It can only be one of two things – worms or blocked anal glands.
The information out there basically indicates that in the past most vets thought this was an indication of worms, but truth be told in most cases it is blocked anal glands. The article went on to explain why this happens, something to do with the defecating process and how it is not releasing fluids in the glands when the dog takes a dump and then proceeds to explain the process for manually releasing the fluid in the glands making sure to warn the reader to use rubber gloves and old clothes because sometimes the release process results in anal gland matter bursting out of the dog’s behind.
This blog would be a heck of lot funnier if I had decided to take this project on for myself, but thank goodness reason prevailed and I called my vet who said he could squeeze us in (pun intended) in 20 minutes. So yesterday my poor little Mia had to suffer the indignation of having the vet stick his rubber gloved finger up her behind and clean out the blocked glands. The vet even showed a little bedside manner when he joked that this particular job was one most people would happily pay to have done by someone else. And this must be a vet thing but of course he felt compelled to show me what came out and even warned me that the smell from the release would be drifting my way shortly.
After that he told me Mia would be sore for about a day (no kidding, doc) and that if she did not show signs of improvement by tomorrow to give him a call. Well its tomorrow and Mia is running around like a puppy again so I guess the old butt must be feeling better. This reminds me of a joke I heard a long time ago about the brain, the heart and the asshole who were all arguing about who was the most important part of the body. The brain argued that it controlled thought and reason, the heart argued that it pumped the life blood throughout the body. The asshole said nothing – it just quit working and the brain couldn’t think, the heart became tired and listless and nothing worked right or mattered. So no wonder she was lethargic – the asshole was not working. It demanded attention and now. So I guess there is a life lesson in there somewhere, but I will leave the interpretation of that up to you!