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!
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.
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)