Great Gobs Of Tansy Updates, Part III

Here is my last batch of Tansy observations, these are things I noticed she learned while I was dealing with the captain.

Here was a sad pattern that I noticed Tansy would pick up on. Before I was ill, as soon as I would finish brushing my teeth, she would go nuts. This was because usually, brushing my teeth was the last thing I did in the morning before setting off for work, or anywhere, so she knew it was almost time to go somewhere…and she would go crazy one last time.

But when I was off work, so wasn’t going out as often, brushing of teeth was not a reliable predictor of leaving the house. She then started searching for things that were.

We were part of a CSA, one of those things where you pay at the beginning of the growing season for a share of what a garden grows, and get some produce every week. The produce would show up at the place where I worked, and we had to go get it. I had to bring reusable bags to bring home the haul. So, whenever she saw us get some reusable bags, she’d start going nuts. I realized that the grabbing of reusable bags was one a very few sure signs that we were getting out. That made me sad.

Another sad indicator was this. We would go to a certain grocery store. On the same block is my doctor’s office. She became very familiar with finding that grocery store…but once I became ill, she started to prefer pointing out the doctor’s office. Whaaat? Really? I went there that many times? Well…I guess I did. Dogs don’t lie. And now, she’s gone back to preferring the grocery store over the doctor’s office.

A spookier one I can’t explain is one day, before I was super sick, I walked from work to my endocrinologist’s office, picked up my charts and brought them to my family doctor’s office for my appointment. Tansy has been to my endocrinologist’s office, let’s see, maybe 4 times, and I think each time we came a different way. This time was yet another one. but somehow, when we got close, she actually pointed out the right path. I was blown away. My GPS would have steered me wrong, but Tansy was right on.

Tansy does not know what to make of medical folks. Everyone from lab people to doctors to dentists say she’s staring at them, watching their every move when they have to do something to me. The weirdest one is Tansy seems to be especially happy to bring me to the lab, even though after we get there, she’s not too sure about those people. But maybe the reason she’s happy is getting me to the lab involves dealing with that massive, confusing parking lot I talked about in the last post. But it seriously looks like she gets great joy out of taking me to the pokity poke poke place.

Every dog has gone through something different while with me, but this is the first dog that’s come with me to a CT scan. In my long and winding road to naming the captain, I went through a phase of having dizziness, headaches and slurred speech. Of course, this made my doctor think oh my god stroke, and I was headed for the CT scan.

I asked a few people what I could do with her, what risks I’d have to worry about etc. the consensus was she could either sit and stay in the room with me, but out of the way, or the tech could take her to the control room and bring her back after. I went with that one, because I didn’t want Tansy to move suddenly. I could tell her to stay, but I didn’t want that to be a time when she decided to move.

I swear CT scans are getting shorter and shorter. I remember when I had one as a kid, it took forever. Granted, I was 4 or so, and mom had put the fear of the lord into me. “Do not move,” she said. “I don’t care if you have an itch, or you want to move, do not move or they’ll have to start over.” I guess they had told her they wanted to sedate me and mom was afraid that would mess me up with all my other issues, so she promised them I would not move if she told me to be still…and she would not be proven wrong. I remember thinking “Isn’t breathing moving? How much not moving am I supposed to do?” Ah the silly things we think as kids.

My point is that one felt like an eternity. Then I had another one about 14 years ago and that one only felt like 15 minutes or so. This one was over in a minute. I felt like it just took a couple pictures and was all done. Crazy how technology is improving.

After it was over, the lady working the machine brought Tansy back to me and she was super happy to see me. That was easy, and at least I know if I ever need that again, I don’t have to worry about the dog factor. And, thank goodness, nothing scary came up in the scan.

I think Tansy knew something was wrong, she just couldn’t figure out what. On my really bad days, she would stick to me like glue. Also, ever since, if either of us gets upset, she has to be right there and try to console us. I hope this whole thing didn’t shake her up too badly.

But some days when I was sick, she had no sympathy for me…or maybe she was just trying to encourage me to get up in her own way. Once, when I was having a particularly bad day, she couldn’t stand to watch me lie there any longer. So she walked up, stuck her nose in my ear, and made a low grunting whispering noise. It scared me…but it did get me moving.

Through being sick, I felt bad that I couldn’t take her for long walks, especially since the weather was pretty nice for that sort of thing. But I learned, that to be content, we just had to do *something*. even going over to the mall to pick something up was enough to satisfy her. She just needed some kind of purpose.

I also thought it was interesting that as soon as I wasn’t getting out as much and things weren’t so routine, she stopped being so slow poky. Everywhere was awesome again. So…that whole slow thing was totally boredom. I’ll have to think of different ways to shake things up if she gets her slow mo on again.

When I was sick, I had to find a lot of bathrooms. You know how I always say a guide dog will tell all your secrets by indicating all the places you commonly go? Well, without fail, when I would walk past the bathroom at work, Tansy would point her nose at it. Oh dear dear. This is about as bad as pointing at the doctor’s office. The even weirder part of this one is when I managed to go home for Thanksgiving, my brother said when we went into Subway, Tansy had her eyes fixed on the women’s bathroom. I’ve never had a dog able to find the correct bathroom in unfamiliar areas, but I know others have talked about this. Maybe Tansy was picking up this skill? Oh no.

For a little bit there, both Tansy and I were sick. One morning, I noticed that Tansy was acting really weird when I would get up. Instead of chasing me around for food, it was like she was hiding from me. I soon figured out why. Not long before I woke up, I guess she was caught by a sudden burst of stomach upset and couldn’t get my attention. Oh god, the evidence was all over the living-room. I think it was worse than that first time she puked, and poor Steve found it once again.

I still don’t know what caused that, I probably never will. I had her checked out the next day but they couldn’t find anything. It will always remain a mystery.

And then I discovered there’s a certain type of treat that just doesn’t agree with her. If only I had tried to scan the bag first. I emptied a small bag of treats into my pouch. I noticed that they smelled stronger than usual, and Steve could smell them too. I had fed her a few over the course of the day, we had walked a good long time, and then I started noticing that when she had to go, she had to go, and it wasn’t pretty. We were in a cab back from somewhere, and she started whining. I knew this was a “listen, lady, if you don’t find me a place to crap soon, I can’t guarantee what will happen” type whine. I didn’t know what to do, so without thinking, I opened up Blindsquare so at least I knew how much further we had to go. I so wished Tansy could understand what it was saying. Thankfully we didn’t have much further to go, and she held it, but there I was, breaking out the GPS to see if I was going to have to ask the cabby to pull over or what.

I didn’t truly get the pattern until the next day when it got really obvious. I was worried that now she was sick with some mystery illness too. I have never been so relieved to try getting rid of those treats to see if the problem went away, and thank goodness it did. That’s the first time I’ve had to throw out treats, and I’ll never know which ones they were.

And I think I’m done with the Tansy posts. I really need to become less crappy at documenting her life.

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  1. Seems like no matter the dog, I’m usually the one who gets to find the illness leavings. Not sure what I did to anger the universe so, but clearly it must’ve been bad. That last one was particularly terrible. You come to terms with one pile, only to find another, more heinous one across the room. Bad times. But still, Shmans is a pretty awesome dog.

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