Abbye Update

I’ve had a couple of folks ask for an update on Abbye, and since that represents a significant proportion of my readership, I figure I’d better oblige.

Abbye’s still got Cushing’s Disease, diabetes, and arthritis and she’s still blind, but other than that, she’s doing pretty well. We should all be so fortunate.

She’s got as much energy as she ever had, and we’re still doing her twice daily walks around the neighborhood. Her hair is coming back in quickly and thickly, although it appears that she may be mutating into a beaver, since her tail is, well, flat. I’m sure that’s just an interim situation until the hair gets long enough to make her resemble another species. At least we hope so. We’d really prefer not to have a dog who goes around slapping the floor with her tail whenever she wants something.

She’s also got her appetite back, which is a good thing for a dog getting two insulin shots each day. However, in order to keep her interested in food (she’s always been a picky eater, at least as far as dogfood is concerned), MLB has stocked up on three kinds of dog food (two dry, one canned) and keeps a bag of chicken tenders in the fridge to prime the pump, or the pup, as the case may be.

Occasionally, she’ll have all three kinds of food in her bowl, because we never know what she’ll be willing to eat. Did I mention the scrambled eggs?

The shots are still an adventure. Abbye has always been a drama queen, so even though the needles are about the width of a human hair, she manages to unleash a blood-curdling yelp about half the time. Mind you, the yelp sometimes comes before the needle stick, which tends to minimize the amount of sympathy she gets. Of course, she might also be recalling very early when we were still trying to get the hang of things, and MLB was holding her while I gave the shot, and it turned out that she was immobilizing her to the point of where she, well, couldn’t breathe.

The blindness has required the biggest adjustment, as you might imagine. She’s fine in the house or in the backyard, but taking her for a walk requires constant attention to make sure she’s not walking into anything or falling off the curb. We also need to make sure she’s OK around other dogs and people.

We’re trying to use a system to alert her to step onto or off curbs, using a combination of verbal commands and tugs on the leash (she hates leash tugs). She’s catching on, but it’s sometimes a bit comical, in sort of a sad way. If we’re a bit early with the “up” command, she starts high-stepping — goose-stepping, really, like…um, you know.

Seriously, though, we’re pretty relieved that she’s doing so much better than a few months ago. The vet is still trying to get a good handle on the right insulin levels, but we knew that would be a long process. The main thing is that her quality of life is good, and there’s no reason why she shouldn’t have a few good years ahead of her.


  1. Cool. Although I am one member of your immense readership that failed to ask for an update, I’m glad you provided one and that the news is pretty good.
    I am a little mystified over how Abbye knows to yelp in advance of the needle when she can’t see it. She’s just like me when I was a kid (I could see fine, but I would start yelping before we even got to the doctor’s office)! Gosh, I hated needles.

  2. Well, I didn’t describe the pre-shot ritual which consists of my wife grabbing her, usually from the kitchen floor, and carrying into the bedroom, setting her on the bathroom cabinet, and holding on for dear life while we both assure her that there’s nothing to be afraid of. We’d all be yelping by that point, I suspect.

  3. Glad to hear she’s adjustting so well. Very cool that she’s learning your new commands about the terrain so well. That says good things about her state of mind. And yours.
    My older dog (Louis, the mutt) lets out the same kind of pre-emptive yelp – only his is for nail clipping, not shots. I’ve nicked him maybe three times in 10 years, and he remembers every single time.

  4. Poor baby girl! We pray for dogs at our house too, so will add her to the roster – being a relatively new reader I didn’t know she was ill.
    It’s great that you’re managing to provide an essentially normal life for her.

  5. It’s good to hear you’re adjusting, as a family, and that you’ve stuck with her. An awful lot of people would have just given up and had her put down.
    Regarding her beaver tail: I don’t think I’d worry overmuch about the tail slapping, but if she starts gnawing the legs off the furniture and building a dam in your shower stall…
    Well, let’s just say one could take it as a warning sign.

  6. Wallace, she will not regain her eyesight without surgery. The blindness is actually caused by diabetes-related cataracts. If she was a much younger dog, we might be willing to consider the multi-thousand-dollar surgery, but that’s just not practical today.
    Rachel, she’ll be happy to meet you, as well. She’ll figure, of course, that you’ve come all the way from New Zealand with the sole purpose of paying her homage, as that’s how she views the world and its inhabitants. 😉
    Brian, dogs are much like people in that regard. They [generally] never forget a perceived slight, injustice or harm. And, as with people, that’s not usually a healthy thing.
    Beth, you’re one of the few people who apparently don’t visit the Gazette for the sole and exclusive purpose of seeing what’s going on with Abbye. But, now that you know about her, I expect that you, too, will abandon any pretense of being interested in what I write…unless it pertains to The Queen. That’s OK; I’m used to it. 😉 I do appreciate your kind words on Abbye’s behalf, however.

  7. An awful lot of people would have just given up and had her put down.
    You know, I’ve heard a number of people say that, but to be honest, I don’t know anyone personally who would do that. Maybe all of my acquaintances are just hard-core “dog people.”
    There will come a time when we’ll have to make that decision, but it will be because she’s too sick and hurting to continue… and not because we’re just tired of dealing with it.

  8. I appreciate your update on Abbye’s condition. Even though I wasn’t one of her faithful fans that inquired, I very much wanted to know that she is doing better. Next time you have to give her a shot, give her a big hug from me. Thank you.

  9. Your MLB used to offer to give me my insulin shots (if I could handle them in the back of my neck!) if needed. However, I understand you are the sticker this time (it took a while to come up with this word instead of the first one that came to mind). I have changed to a pump – go that route – at least she won’t suffocate while being held down!!! Oh yeah, hope you don’t rearrange the furniture too much.

  10. Two shots of insulin must be tough on both Abbye and your family. Admire your commitment and love.
    I am glad she is doing better.. If I were an eye surgeon, I would take out her cataracts for free.

  11. Gwynne, Abbye authorized me to tell you that while she’d much prefer a strip of bacon, she appreciates the offer of a hug.
    Lyle, go ahead and say it: I’m the shooter. That’s our standard joke now. “Well, it’s time to shoot the dog.” Ha. We crack ourselves up. Abbye is not amused. As far as the pump goes, she just barely tolerates a collar…
    Ern, that’s a very kind offer, although the cost to get to Singapore might be a deal-killer. 😉 OTOH, that would be a great excuse to visit a place that’s always fascinated me.

  12. Fine. Bacon it is. I’m in agreement with her on that. Mmmm…bacon!
    I thought Lyle was going to say “po%ker” but I’m not sure that would have been any worse than “sticker.” “Shooter,” on the other hand, is funny, in a disturbing way.
    Oops, I guess that was worse (“your comment could not be submitted due to questionable content”). I’ll crawl back under my rock now.

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