Life with Emma*

A friend recently suggested that I write another blog about our wonderful Emma, sweet Georgia dog who has brought so much love to our lives.

Emma’s the perfect dog: gentle, calm and well mannered. Never does anything she’s not supposed to do. Never begs, steals or damages anything. Doesn’t go upstairs, sits silently while the cats explore her.

But life hasn’t been easy for Emma. When we adopted her we found out she was positive for heartworm, tapeworm, whip worm and hook worm.

The heartworm treatment was traumatic for her. We had to wait almost a month until the vet even got his hands on the drugs; there is a severe shortage, it turns out. She had to be hospitalized three days and undergo painful injections in her lower back. Then she couldn’t get any exercise and coughed continuously for a full month.

The heartworms also meant that she couldn’t be spayed, not until she tested negative six months after the treatment.

Meanwhile, she greeted Christmas Day wearing Bo’s jockey shorts because she had gone into heat. I watched her like a hawk – didn’t let her out of my sight for a month. No male dog was going to climb over our fence or jump in a window and have his way with our girl!

Emma at Christmas

With healthy food, vitamins and lots of love, her coat became shiny and she gained weight… a lot of weight. Twenty pounds. The many treats that Bo shared with her certainly contributed, but she was getting even bigger. Then I noticed that her usually big nipples were enlarged. She was even looking wider in the hips.

So we visited the veterinarian. “Could she be pregnant?” he asked.

“No way,” I said. “It would have to be immaculate conception.” He checked her carefully and did both an ultrasound and X-ray. No puppies.

“Has she been nesting?” he asked.

“Well, she’s digging these unbelievable holes under bushes in our yard – chews the roots and pulls the branches off. And she does a lot of digging around in her bed.”

He smiled. “This is a classic false pregnancy.”

False pregnancy! Is there no justice? What else does this poor dog have to go through?

She was restless and sad — chewed the head off her wooly doll and yanked the stuffing out of her teddy bear — ripped his eyes right off. My sister-in-law said maybe Emma knew what she was doing: No more puppies for her!

Finally, the raging hormones calmed down and she was back to normal. At last we could bring all of this to an end. Her heartworm test was negative and she was spayed.

There’s never a dull day with Emma around, never a day without love. Even the cats are showing her affection — Charlie washes her face and Mikey rubs against her while Emma just sits and wags her tail.

Her vocabulary is expanding: dinner, biscuit, ride in the car, bone, walk, cheese…, and she knows the sound of Bo getting ice cream. Here they are on the patio, Bo holding a half gallon of ice cream in his hand, Emma hopeful.

Just Hanging Out

I recently talked with a trainer who said that it takes 7 ½ months for an adopted dog to feel secure in its new home. Well, Emma is right on target. Last week she learned to go upstairs and now she’s sleeping on the bed. She lets us each have a small space along the edge.

(For Emma’s story, see the October 1, 2011 blog:  Emma)

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8 Responses to Life with Emma*

  1. Dianne says:

    I left Fairway at Patrick’s while I met my niece in San Diego last Saturday. Somehow, she got out of his fenced in yard. Upon returning she didn’t come at my calling, “Fairway.” After contacting the dog warden and police I was about to get in the car and she limped up behind me. I screamed and screamed as I thought I had lost the wonderful dog I rescued. Apparently a boy on a bike was chasing the dog with the amputated tail. Her peds were ripped raw and her nails and cuticles were a mess. She limped til Tuesday but since then has rallied. What a scare. Consuming my thoughts was, “How am I going to tell Christopher I lost Fairway?” He loves her so. So very scary….

  2. Annamarie says:

    Great pics of Bo & Emma! Emma is so lucky to have been adopted by you. Miss you, Annamarie

  3. Carole says:

    Nancy, one of these days you should sit down and write a book! From your writings here, Emma came at the right time and has brought both of you wonderful and heartfelt experiences.

  4. Ruth says:

    What a heartwrenching, but at same time heartWARMing story. Nancy, thanks for sharing. These were great photos. Loved them. If you can, take more pix. The visuals will be treasures. Do you take pix of the cats and dog by-play? Would love to see that, too.
    Think about you a lot. And, hold you in my prayers that you will be given the needed patience and strength to complete each day.

    • So glad to hear from you, Ruth. It’s so hard to get pictures of cats, especially, because they won’t sit still! I’m trying. How are you doing now that the good weather has arrived?

  5. jlhede says:

    What a wonderful story. Emma sounds like just the right kind of dog to be a good companion to you and your husband. And I love the photos; they illustrate the budding relationship between dog and man.
    I have a little female, a terrier mix, that I’ve taken to work with me a few times. I’ve been told that terriers don’t make good therapy dogs, because they tend to be too active. But little Sally seems to have just the right nurturing personality. Good luck to you and Emma as you continue your journey together.

  6. Russ says:

    Emma seems like a sweetheart. I’m so glad you and Boris have her. Plus, she breaks radical new ground in canine lingerie!

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