A little over two months ago, we wrote a post about our ‘big guy’, Argus. In that post, we mentioned how Argus is getting up in years and moving a little slower than he used to. Argus’ heart and mind are the same as they have always been. He is loyal, loving, courageous and sweet as ever. The problem is his body, though built like a rock, is not quite as durable as his strong yet sweet and devoted character. Most likely the inescapable conclusion of a life lived all-out, but also a sentence handed to him by his parents and less than perfect genetics.
We first noticed that Argus was showing signs of discomfort a little while after his tenth birthday. At the time, we thought his energy was diminishing due simply to the fact that he was getting old. As time went by, we started picking up on little cues that pointed to pain. He walked and ran just fine, but seemed to struggle to stand after lying in one position for a period of time. Argus was always more than happy to go for a walk or play at the park, but he didn’t seem to want to stand still for more than a few minutes at a time. He began to take stairs more slowly than usual, and began to adopt a two-leg hop when climbing the three stairs to get into our house, rather than the typical left right, left right steps he had always used in times past. As time went one, new symptoms developed, and the ones mentioned above worsened.
With most of our attention focused on Sasha with her cancer, our other dogs, sadly, were probably neglected some attention. We didn’t take them out to play, walk or hike as often as we had done before our home was visited by those rogue, mutated cells in Sasha’s body. And we may have been a little less mindful of any discomforts that our other dogs were feeling. We were late to do something about the pain that Argus was feeling in his joints, but not TOO late.
While researching canine arthritis and learning the different options that were available, we came across the beautiful story of Schoep and his owner. Schoep was completely debilitated by his arthritis, and his only relief seemed to come from floating on his master’s chest in the waters of Lake Superior. A photographer and friend captured the beautiful display of love and commitment between Shoep and his owner in the lake, and posted the photograph on his Facebook account. The response was overwhelming, and soon, people began to donate money so that Shoep could receive laser treatments to help ease his aching body. The results were amazing! Before the laser treatments, Schoep was unable to stand or walk on his own. After just a few sessions, Schoep was back to taking walks with his owner, and seemed to be happy and enjoying life again. We were very excited about exploring laser treatment options for Argus.
We found a few clinics near our home that offered the treatment, and we called around to compare cost and convenience. Once we decided on a clinic to go to, we set up an appointment right away.
Argus just finished his sixth treatment on Monday, June 24. He seems to be getting around better, and he doesn’t limp as much after physical exertion or long periods of inactivity. Also, we’ll occasionally glance out a window and see Argus running in the yard. He doesn’t go very far, and he often doesn’t seem to have a goal to achieve or a destination to reach, but he’s running! We are so happy to see our ‘Big Guy’ feeling better and getting around more easily.
We used to joke about how our dogs would be as they got older. In some cases, our imagination was quite accurate; failing eye sight, loss of hearing, and even dementia (all Argus <smiley face>), but there have been other changes in our dogs that we did not anticipate. We never imagined that the once unstoppable force that feared nothing, loved everything and brought so much joy to our home could ever be slowed down. The unfortunate truth is, Argus is uncomfortable everyday due to arthritis, and the disease has taken its toll on his usual active and energetic character. We want to do whatever we can to sooth the aches in our old man’s body, and help him be as happy as he can be. I think we are on the right track with laser therapy.
FYI: Schoep turned 20 on June 15, 20130!