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Creek Running North

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June 11, 2005


Harley left a carrot untouched in his cage overnight. This is never a good sign. I picked him up this morning, looked into his mouth, and saw one of his lower incisors had grown far too long and crooked once again.

Since the last time he went to the vet, when the vet said his mandibular joints had deteriorated completely, he has been eating more or less the way the bumblebee in that urban legend flies: by not being smart enough to realize he couldn't. Lower jaw held in place by muscles attached to scar tissue, and still he's worked his way through the last four months worth of carrots and kale.

We called the vet this morning. I'm taking him in on Tuesday. It's possible they'll say that since it's a front tooth, they should be able to trim it without further dislocating his jaw. Or we may have to make an unpleasant decision. I'm steeled to tell them to put him down, if necessary. It's complex. With an animal that enjoyed life less, it might be a bit more straightforward a choice. But Harley's sheer and utter delight in just being alive has me second-guessing myself a bit. Of all the animals I've ever lived with, he's the one most likely to want to live - even in a bit of discomfort - just so that he can eat a few more vegetables.

Posted by Chris Clarke at June 11, 2005 06:29 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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Sorry, Chris. I'll be rooting for Harley (sorry, couldn't resist) and was glad to have a chance to read your original post on him - I think animals get a pretty good deal in your house, even after removing shoulder chunks from their big human. Who needs vegetables, anyway? Good luck, I hope it's not the decision you dread.

Posted by: beth at June 11, 2005 07:21 PM
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When in doubt, err on the side of keeping him alive and nibbling.

Posted by: tost at June 11, 2005 10:36 PM
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Poor Harley. Whatever your decision is, I'm sure you'll make the right one, because you're making it with Harley's best interests at heart.

You and Becky have made him one happy little pig.

Posted by: Vicki at June 12, 2005 06:33 AM
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Crossing my fingers.

Posted by: Rana at June 12, 2005 09:53 AM
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Oh no. Christie's dog Raven isn't doing well at Dogged Blog, and Gina's Ben at Dogma is also recovering from an operation, and now your Harley.

Sorry to hear this. I kept a guinea pig for a month (the class pet) and when she became ill I grew very attached. My first experience with a pet's death, and I became a believer of sorts that they have little tiny spirits that reach out to us when they go.

Hope he's okay.

Posted by: KathyF at June 13, 2005 12:53 PM
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