I’m the proud owner of a Miniature Schnauzer, ‘Dusty’, although he’s really the family dog. I named him that because of his grayish fur when my family got him from the pet store years ago.
Dusty has been with us for nearly half a decade now, and he’s definitely a member of the family. If you have a dog for even half that amount of time, you should know how precious your dog is too. Dusty is practically a little brother of mine.
The last three years haven’t been that easy on the both of us, though; I went to the UK for my university degree, separated from him for a year at a time (I came back every summer holiday). By all accounts he wasn’t that concerned, but I know that he was really depressed whenever I had to resume my studies.
I capped off my last year with a lengthy tour around Europe with my family, but I had to leave Dusty in the care of my grandparents as it would be nearly impossible for us to bring him along. It was nearly a month later when we finally returned from the trip and saw him again.
We didn’t like what we saw.
Usually, whenever any one of us got back from a trip, be it from the supermarket just down the road, a long day of work or even a year studying abroad in my case, he would be so excited his tail would keep wagging while he welcomed us back, always tagging along behind us no matter where we went. This time though, it was different. He was happy to see us back, I knew, but he didn’t seem to be his usual enthusiastic self. His wagged his tail a little, then went straight to a clear space and laid down, looking at us with really sad eyes.
It was so unexpected and out of character for Dusty that we hovered around him, hoping that nothing was wrong, that he was just tired. But deep down we all had this sinking feeling that something was terribly wrong with him. He didn’t want to play fetch, didn’t want to come when he was called… he wouldn’t even get up and walk.
My dad picked him up and he let out this pitiful yelp, so full of hurt that it pierced my heart right through. That’s when we discovered his huge patch of angry red rashes on the underside of his body. It was really late when all this was happening (almost midnight), so there was absolutely nothing we could do except give him the best shower of his life, and wait for morning to come before bringing him to the vet.
That night my dad kept Dusty company and didn’t get much sleep as a result. He had to get to work the next morning, but he was so worried about Dusty that he didn’t mind the prospect of being tired at work.
We eventually took our dog to the vet and got the appropriate medication for his skin problems, but I can definitely tell you that it was a huge hassle (even though we never thought twice about it, since we couldn’t bear to see him hurting any longer), and the treatment wasn’t exactly cheap, either. You know how dog medicines are; you’d think the vets make the pills from gold or something.
But the most important thing is that he got steadily better after starting his regime. The change of diet helped too – We’re suspecting that my grandparents were a little too indulgent on the dearest member of the family, as Dusty did gain a few pounds from when my parents put him in their care.
The fact of the matter is that most dogs, like Dusty, do suffer skin problems often and if it goes unchecked it can be torture for them. Some conditions may even be fatal after a long time and the possibility of that will hit you like a freight train when it does, just like it did for me. When Dusty was suffering from his problem, he was so lethargic and depressed that I almost thought that he was dying. It was that serious. Since then our family has been incredibly protective over our dog over every aspect of his life and he’s never been happier.
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