Last Friday, the three of us, Yangkyu, Bartles and I, headed out to Town and Country Animal Hospital for Bartles' Bordetella vaccine shot. Since Bartles' bathroom habits aren't always clockwork, we always try to go out after he has done his business. On this particular day though, we were pressed for time and needed to head out even though he hadn't gone.
It was an accident free ride over and the process for the Bordetella vaccine was a simple walk in procedure and Bartles was done in less than 5 minutes. Yangkyu dropped us off and went for a coffee run and while we were waiting for him to come back Bartles and I took a walk for a good 15 minutes outside the animal hospital where he sniffed and enjoyed all the pee-mails that the patrons of Town and Country left for Bartles to read.
Bartles is unique in that he doesn't go when he smells other dogs' pee. This may sound gross, but he licks instead. Normally dogs will mark but Bartles doesn't. I didn't expect Bartles to do anything and we got back in the car to head back home. We didn't go more than 3 minutes when Bartles started to whimper and tried to get up and get out of the car. This is a sign that he needs to go.
The first time he did this, I recognized the sign right away because his foster mom gave me a heads up. Bartles ended up pooping in the car and Yangkyu and I, even though we knew the sign, were pretty not calm about it. Hearing it and anticipating it and actually going through it were two very different things. There was a lot of panic. And stress. And a lot of being hard on ourselves ("Man, I knew this was going to happen! Why wasn't I more prepared?!")
There was just one more time after this incident where Bartles went potty in the car and we were still very much noobs in trying to facilitate a relatively messy-free bathroom session in the car. And for a while after that we tried to avoid going out with Bartles if we could.
On Friday though?
I caught his body language early on and lifted him so that he wouldn't wiggle and smear his poop all over his behind and leg. We already had wee wee pads covering his bed in the car and I used one to catch his poop, cover it up in case I lost control of him and he steps on it and I was just about to ask Yangkyu if he could pull into any one of the stores along the road so I can wipe him but he was already parking the car right at a restaurant called Moby Dick. Cool as a cucumber.
We got out, Bartles walked a bit more, we wiped his potty area, threw out the wee wee pad, wiped our hands, put him back on his bed and we were on our way home again. No panic attacks, no stressing out, no being hard on ourselves, just two people and their dog doing their thing as if they had perfected this dance a long time ago.
When we got home and after we settled Bartles in his bed, Yangkyu got us in a group hug and said, "We did well, family! Good job!" I followed and said, "Good job family!" And Bartles just kind of nodded, perhaps his acknowledgement that we all did well, and quickly snoozed off to sleep.
We're slowly coming in step with each other. We're learning more about each other's body language and really becoming more and more a family. It's a wonderful feeling.
In other Bartles news -- a few days ago, Bartles gave me a scare when he was moving from bed to bed in the middle of the night and crying out as if he was in pain (first here then here). His foster mom let me know that he made similar cries when his ears were bothering him and so I cleaned them and administered Xymox every day. He quickly recovered and showed no signs of discomfort for a few days until last night when his cries, although not as pronounced, came back. I gave him pain medication, gave him the day's Xymox drops early, then a bath and by the afternoon he was his normal self again. I just got Echo Gold in the mail and am eager to see how he responds to it.
We also finally was able to catch Bartles' morning pee and send it in for lab work. Results came in today and he doesn't have any infections or bacteria (no UTI!) and his pee in nicely concentrated and looks good for a dog that has some signs of kidney compromise. The only concern our vet saw was that he still had protein in his urine and the amount seemed high and so we decided to run a UPC test to see if we need to increase his Enacard dosage. The UPC results definitely showed high protein in his urine (I don't have the exact number) and tomorrow I'll be touching base with my vet again to come up with a plan on how we may control this.
I'm definitely worried but I'm trying not to get too worked up about it.
Right now Bartles is off to dreamland. I love his face when he sleeps. He looks so comfortable and so right at home.