Doctors Don’t Know Everything

Drugs are not always necessary. Belief in recovery always is. ~Norman Cousins, American journalist

Dallas here.

It’s been a ruff summer.

Sometime in late winter, somebody (who shall remain unnamed!) dribbled a little in the living room, and when Mama found it, I got the blame.


So she took me to my dogtur, who did a bunch of tests and determined I have early stage kidney disease.

Disease? Me?

No way.

Well, Mama went to the Interwebs and learned kidney disease is pretty common in senior pups.

And we can live with it for years, providing changes are made in foods and such.

Mama didn’t believe it. She was certain I wasn’t long for this world.

She did a LOT of crying. And trying to hide it from me. And then she went out of town with her sister, dumping me in the kennel and instructing them to transition me to the yucky kidney food.

I think she thought she’d get back home and find me gone.

Well, I lost five pounds because I wouldn’t eat that slop, but I was still alive.

They moved me to another brand of kidney food, but I refused to eat that either.

I wasn’t getting any of the good stuff — no cookies, pizza, donuts.


So I slept all day. If you can’t eat, and your Mama pins a pitying stare on you, I figured maybe this really was the end.

Mama had my dogtur do another blood test and this one came back perfectly normal!

Then Mama talked it over with my breeder, who said I was too good a pup to treat like that. She said, “He thinks he’s being punished, and he doesn’t know what he did.”

Mama took me back to the dogtur and told her that, if I had to go to the Rainbow Bridge, she wasn’t going to send me there starving.

Go Mama!

She put me back on the food I was eating before all this fiasco, started giving me cookies and other treats, and would you believe — I’m practically back to being Dallas once more!

I’ve gained much of my lost weight back, I play ball with Mama every day, I’ve taken little walkies, and Mama says I have the spark of life again.

Take that, kidneys!

Note: Debbie here. This is not medical advice, okay? Part of me questions whether his initial diagnosis was accurate. I just know that both Dallas and I firmly believe you live until you die, and quality trumps quantity any day.

19 thoughts on “Doctors Don’t Know Everything

  1. Second opinions always are good — even if they come from the same doctor! I’m glad you consulted your breeder, and I’m glad Dallas is recovering from his ‘treatment,’ although I confess I was a little surprised to know that pizza and doughnuts were part of his treats. That aside, I agree with you completely: quality trumps quantity every time, and any diet that gets him back to ball-playing is a good one.

    • Thanks, Linda. In an effort to be truly transparent, Dallas usually only gets “cookies” (dog biscuits). Every blue moon or so, I’ll slip him a small piece (about the size of a nickel) of pizza crust or doughnut, just because he’s so insistent. I’ve heard such frightening things about kidney disease in dogs, so maybe I’m trying to convince myself he really doesn’t have it. That way, I don’t have to plan for our separation!

      • I do feel better about his “treats.” I have a friend who lets her dog scarf up everything. You say pizza, and I think about her dog eating a slice and taking one back to his kennel with him!

        How old is Dallas? What’s the average life span for his breed? He certainly does look healthy, and he’s clearly happy. Here’s my opinion: it’s not time to worry.

        • HaHa, Dallas NEVER gets that much junk food! Just like with people, dogs (and I imagine cats, too) should eat on the healthy side and only get tiny “treats” when they’ve been especially good.

          He’ll be 13 in November. I have to pinch myself to realize just how long he’s been a part of my world. Shelties typically live 12-14 years, though some “check out” earlier and some stick around longer. You’re right — he does look pretty substantial, and as long as I see his heart/soul when he looks at me (instead of that “I hurt — do something!” expression), we’ll muddle along.

    • Thanks, Beth Ann. None of us stays here forever (who’d really want to??), so all we can do is try to stay healthy and act reasonable. I’m not sure if they misdiagnosed him or not. Probably, it’s just wishful thinking on my part, so my thoughts don’t have to go where I can’t bear to go right now. He’s such a good boy, and I want his “golden years” to be as pleasant and pain-free as possible.

  2. ” I’m practically back to being Dallas once more! I’ve gained much of my lost weight back, I play ball with Mama every day, I’ve taken little walkies, and Mama says I have the spark of life again.”

    *clapping and cheering*

    Yaaaaaaaaay! What great news Dallas because when I first started reading your post, I was very worried. So happy to hear that you’re back to normal; eating, taking walkies, and have the spark of life again. And by the way, I love your Kermit the frog toy!

    And Debbie, I bet you’re right, his initial diagnosis was most likely not accurate. I applaud you for following your instincts and consulting the breeder for feedback. And I agree…quality trumps quantity any day!

    Happy for both Dallas and you!

    Have a super week, my friend!

    • Ron, I hope I’m doing the right thing by my fur-boy. Being half-Italian, there’s NO WAY I’d want him hungry! And maybe the “kidney diet” really can help dogs live longer, but not if they refuse to eat it. At least he’s eating and playing again, when before, all he did was sleep. And he seems more involved in life, not depressed and disinterested.

      Do you like his frog? We call it Michigan J. Frog after the animated singing/dancing cartoon character. You remember “Hello My Baby” don’t you? Well, no I don’t either, but Domer found that silly clip and we figured that was a good name for this toy!

      Enjoy the week ahead. We’re getting rain and storms today, but at least it’s pleasantly cool! xo

  3. Dallas, so glad you are back on the “good stuff!” As a big human who has a kidney stone disease (ie, internal production factory) & has to watch her diet, I know how challenging that can be – except in my case I have to avoid things like spinach, kale, soy & beets. Pizza & ice cream are ok! Hang in there Dallas, you are one amazing doggie (as your Mama obviously knows!)🐾🐶🐾🤗🐾🐶🐾

    • Miss Virginia, you get to avoid the things I Dallas would NEVER touch! Kale? Beets? Yuck, you might add Lima beans to that list (Mama refuses to eat those, ha!) Thanks for empathizing. I’m doing pretty well, though I have to go back to my dogtur weekly for weigh-ins (to make sure I’m not losing more pounds). Gee, I kinda feel like a prize-fighter, heh heh!

  4. Oh, poor Dallas, and poor you! i totally agree that quality of life is more important though, so I think you’ve made the right decision. Tommy’s on a medication that the vet assures me will probably shorten his life, but the alternative is for him to be in perpetual pain. I’d rather he enjoyed a few years than endured many, and I bet he would agree if he had the choice. Here’s hoping Dallas continues to pick up, and the occasional cookie never did anyone any harm, right? 😉

    PS T&T send him their love!

    • Poor Tommy. I hate the idea of shortening his life, but I hate worse the idea of him suffering, so I applaud your decision, FF! I’m the same with Dallas. I don’t want him suffering needlessly, and I wouldn’t feel right if I kept him here (just for me) when the time is right to let him go. He had a difficult summer, but he seems to have weathered the storms for now. Give T&T our love!!

  5. Wow! That’s a lot to deal with. And yes, kidney issues seem to be everywhere in the sheltie world. I’m glad you are feeling better Dallas! Katie will be 13 in December, where did that time go?

    • I think there’s a lot of blame to go around on issues like kidneys. Dog food is big business, and most formulations today tout grain-free and high-protein (why did long-ago dogs not need that??). And well-meaning dog parents have bought into the hype. Then, too, perhaps breeding comes into play. The Sheltie I had before didn’t come from anywhere near the fancy lineage Dallas has, but that pup made it to age 16. Oh well. It is what it is. Sending healing vibes your way … and plenty of hugs and kisses to the princess!!

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