The winter rains have finally come to the middle of Texas. Of course, this was the day I was planning to do something about the yard. Darn, darn, darn. Or something. But drizzly days are good for hot chocolate and musing, so muse I shall.
Jenna, my white 70 lb something-or-the other, is sleeping in the studio closet by my computer. I leave the door open because that is a favorite place for her when she is feeling insecure because of the weather, fireworks, or pre-aura seizures. Today it is the seizures, so I need to be extra vigilant with her. She is what is known as a “runner” when she has seizures and appreciates someone grabbing her by the collar so that she can just thrash around rather than running into things and trying to climb corners. But, unlike the other white dog I had, she gets over them quickly, waking up to greet the family and checking out the back yard. The other white dog, Roscoe, was a dalmatian-mongrel who went into ictus right away and took a long-time reawaking.
Canine epilepsy is more of a curse for white dogs than it is for colored dogs. With Roscoe, it was a time when vets knew next to nothing about canine epilepsy, and the seizures were gawd awful to watch. You want to comfort the dog, but nothing seems to work. I can’t count the times I slept with Roscoe on the cold kitchen floor while he slowly recovered. I didn’t know it at the time, but dogs are marginally aware of their surroundings, and take comfort in knowing their owner is close by. Both Jenna and Rosco would come running to me when they were on the verge of seizing, somehow holding off until I could grab them by the collar and talk to them the whole time.
I was frantic with Roscoe, and it was an era of several competing web search engines. Yahoo! was leading the pack then, and I began a search on treating dogs for epilepsy. My vet was of little help on this, though it wasn’t because he was negligent. There just wasn’t much information out there. But I discovered a small group of people who also had dogs with epilepsy, and they put me in touch with Joanne Carson, one of Johnny Carson’s exes. She was an MD and had an epileptic dog and thought to treat it like she would for one of her own patients. She sent me reams of data to share with my vet, and my vet dutifully read everything.
The treatment for human epilepsy wasn’t much better for humans then than it was for dogs, but she developed a procedure that I am convinced led to Roscoe living a long and productive life. It involved staying with the dog and comforting it as best you can, and Valium® administered rectally with a syringe and a cat catheter. Messy business and more Valium® went on the floor than inside the dog, but it helped with Roscoe. I don’t think Jenna’s seizures have been as severe as Roscoe’s though a dog-rescue colleague who is also a CBD distributer (thank you Sanchia!) convinced me that CBD oil does in fact help with her seizures and can be administered before and after.
Joanne gave me her personal Hollywood phone number and told me to call her at any time of the day when Roscoe seized. She was as good as her word, and I called late in the evening. She walked me through the ordeal, and kept me together, and stayed with me until Roscoe finally relaxed and started breathing normally as he slept. She was my angel that evening.
In these tumultuous days of mine as I stare down Thanatos’s and his scary scythe, these moments when strangers rode to my rescue appear out of the fog of memory, greet me, and disappear back into the fog. I will be a miserable fool if I don’t remember that humans can and do rise above the mean circumstances and help their fellow man. I am grateful for this gift of like and hope to be as kind and thoughtful as these two women were for me.
And with this soggy post, a soggy good morning!