A few weeks before Christmas, I was wrapping presents in an upstairs bedroom when I heard Daisy coughing and making strange sounds. I came down the stairs to see her struggling under the back of a recliner. She looked like she was having a seizure or choking, her legs were flailing and her eyes looked wild. I pet her until she settled down and she stopped coughing. She seemed all right as long as she was calm, but once in a while she would start coughing again. Late that night, she followed me upstairs to go to bed. But when she reached the upper landing, she ran to another room and again appeared to be having a seizure, coughing continuously like something was stuck in her throat. Once again I calmed her down and she slept peacefully for the rest of the night. The next morning, I brought her to the veterinarian. As he was examining her, I was describing what the seizures were like. He looked at me doubtfully because she wasn’t coughing now and looked perfectly normal. Then she let out a cough and I said, “There, that’s it!” Secretly thanking Daisy for validating that I had a reason to bring her there. They did x-rays of her throat, chest and stomach, nothing was lodged there. The x-rays only showed the arthritis that is starting to cripple her lower back. They took blood tests, the results all came back saying she was fine. She was started on antibiotics and cough medicine, which she enjoyed taking with cheese. The cough lingered for a while and I changed her diet from dry food to moist food, thinking that might help her. Daisy was never a big eater, she would sometimes let her dry food sit in her plate for more than a day before nibbling at it. But the moist food changed her into a dog who gobbled up everything in her plate as soon as it was put into it!
The thing is, somehow during this episode, she lost her bark. The first time she tried to bark, instead of the normal deep full sound that normally came out of her mouth, a feeble high pitched imitation bleated out. She surprised herself, I could see the confusion on her face. She looked around and tried it again. Still, her hearty bark was no where to be found. She looked at me as if to ask, “Where did my bark go?” I pet her and tried to reassure her that she was still loved even without her bark. That was well over a month ago and her bark still hasn’t returned. I can’t help but think of the movie, “Lady and the Tramp,” when Jock tells Trusty, “Let’s face it man, you’ve lost your sense of smell.” I’m sorry Daisy, but it seems you’ve lost your bark. But that doesn’t stop her from trying valiantly to still do her job when someone comes to the door. She puts in an extra effort, trying to look menacing in case you are a perpetrator. You see, in spite of the lack of resonance in her bark, she is still my protector.
http://www.theresadodaro.com Author of The Tin Box Trilogy