He's been stumbling more and more, losing strength in his back legs, constipated, refusing food more. I thought it was just his arthritis, and the constipation was nervousness--it got better once Lars was adopted.
But when his gums became pale and he could barely walk outside to pee, I knew there was something else going on. I called our vet, who knew what it was just from me telling him those symptoms. I had to carry him to the car, and then from the car into the vet clinic, where an x ray showed his enormous spleen and a whole lot of fluid--blood--in his abdomen.
The vet at the clinic said he probably wasn't in much pain, and that it was totally appropriate to bring him home. She recommended a Chinese herb, Yunnan Baiyao, to stop bleeding and ease pain. So I've been giving him that, and feeding him when he wants to eat, sometimes helping him go outside, though since we started the herbs he's been able to go outside by himself.
After a few days on Yunnan Baiyao, we were able to walk all the way down a long hill to the creek near my house, where the dogs love to just stand in the water and cool down. And then he was able to walk all the way back up! A huge change from just a few days before. According to the vet, things wax and wane with this condition as the bleeding stops, and then starts again--plus the herbs are clearly making a big difference.
And Lamar still wags his tail and seems happy to be alive.
We're going to keep him at home and feed him his favorite foods, scratch his favorite places, bring him outside when he needs to go outside, give him his herbs and try to make him happy until he's not able to enjoy those simple pleasures anymore.
We are going to Switzerland in two weeks, and I'm not sure what we'll do. My housesitter and friend Francine says she'll take care of him. I hope Lamar keeps rallying a while longer, and I trust that the universe will take care of him, and of us, as it has for 14 years.