One Monday, I ask The Child to take the dog for a walk. She complies but returns quickly, after only a few minutes.
He didn’t want to walk? I ask.
She said, He keeps falling down, so I had to bring him home.
He seems a little wobbly, but he lies down next to me and goes to sleep.
Tuesday evening he seems very wobbly. He tries to walk but his back legs slip out from under him, and he can’t decide where to put his front paws down or in which order.
This is odd. He’s had trouble with his back legs before – there are mats all over my wood floors to keep him from slipping and re-injuring himself. But I don’t remember him slipping. I have some painkillers left over from his last injury, so I give him one and it knocks him out and I hope that he will recover as he rests.
At 4am, I am awakened by a loud crash. He’s at the bottom of the stairs, lying there and trying to struggle to his feet, but his legs keep coming out from under him. He cannot walk.
I carry him up the stairs and lie with him on my bedroom floor. He falls back asleep.
I take him to the vet the next day, carrying him to the car, and from there to the office. He’s hurt his legs again but I’m not sure how, I tell her. Maybe the cleaning lady took up the mats and he slipped.
She puts her hands on his head and holds it steady, looking into his eyes. Look at his eyes, she says. Do you see how they are rolling slightly?
She lets go of his head and he rolls it to one side. Did you see him roll his head? she asks.
He’s had a stroke.
She gives me some sedatives for him and says, take him home. The only thing we can do is wait and see.
Wait and see.