While I normally write about keeping vehicles on the road for longer than expected I’m dealing with a different situation in my personal life. My dog, Retro, is a pretty beat up and old at this point. I adopted him from a shelter with a strange name (Denver Dumb Friends League) about 12 years ago. He was young at the time- not quite a puppy but not quite an adult so at this point he must be almost 13 years old. Which, for a dog of his size, is quite a long life.
It’s hard to know your friend isn’t going to be around much longer. Retro and I have been through a lot. And as cheesy as it sounds he has always been there. I mean he didn’t have much of choice but it never felt that way. Now, as we get closer to the last day I find myself trying to keep myself together with jokes. That’s a lot of what this post is going to be about. This is my attempt to laugh at the mortality of my best friend Retro and think of him like an old beater that I’m trying to keep on the road for as long as possible.
Just like when you try to keep an 89′ Buick on the road year after year you’re forced to learn some things about car maintenance that you just otherwise would have never known, it’s no different from keeping a ’04 Retro dog feeling happy. Here’s what I learned:
Find a Good Mechanic
Mechanics are well known for coming up with less than critical fixes for your vehicle. Veterinarians are no different. So what makes a good veterinary mechanic? You need someone who will simplify their expert opinion and give you the information you need to make your decision. You may have a different tolerance for different problems. No A/C? That’s a deal breaker for some but no big deal for others.
You need a veterinarian who can do the same for you. You need someone who can reduce the jargon and the detail into something you can understand and decide on. Because you are responsible for your pet and any surgical or major treatment decision should be made together.
Retro has a long list of problems. He has several fatty masses (called lipomas) all across his body. For the most part, unless these lipomas get bigger, they aren’t much of a big deal. They aren’t always noticeable and they don’t seem to bother Retro. However, he does have a mass on his front right limb that could be a little more concerning. We don’t exactly know what it is without sending out a biopsy but because of where it’s located (right at the joint) and Retro’s age it doesn’t make sense to put him through surgery to remove it.
That’s a decision my veterinarian and I came to together. If the mass gets bigger or seems to bother Retro then we reevaluate. But for now, we don’t mess with it. If you need a good veterinary mechanic for your pet, I highly recommend Dr. E if you need a vet in the 80015 area code or anywhere in Aurora for that matter- the Parkside team is well worth the drive. Anyone at her clinic does a good job but for most of Retro’s exams, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Dr. E.
Again, just like a mechanic, having a certification is important. And while not everyone buys into certifications I wanted to find an animal clinic in my area that was above and beyond the others. Dr. E’s animal clinic has that with their AAHA accreditation. AAHA stands for American Animal Hospital Association and only a handful of clinics in the Aurora area even attempt to get this. To be accredited, an animal clinic has to pass a 900 point inspection that covers just about every aspect of what they do.
Preventative Maintenance is Important
Just like in your vehicle, if you can get ahead of the problem and at least be aware of it before it becomes a major issue, everything will be easier. The same goes for our pets. … Want to read the rest?