So I ended up taking 4 days off when I arrived in Portland to meet my mystery guest and girlfriend. The wait for this mystery individual is finally over (for me and you), and I finally get to lift the curtains…Katana is back.
It’s been nearly 2 months since last I saw the little demon; the longest we’ve ever been apart in the 6 years since she took ownership of me. She’s been with my girlfriend this whole time (Katana has known her for her entire life), and I must say, I can tell the little dog has had no discipline in her life for the past two months (I’m about the only person who can get a handle on her). SO, it’s going to be fun reconditioning her to trail life.
I flew Katana and the girlfriend out to Portland from Florida; Katana’s first airplane adventure, and she did amazing; quiet as a mouse, no fidgeting, no accidents.
There are some very serious updates to her condition that I’ve kept hush-hush since the last time I took her home, back in early July. The decision to bring her back out was not taken lightly, and as you might guess, there have been improvements/changes to her condition that prompted me to have her brought back out.
Rewind back to early July. The pressure in her Glaucoma affected eye was fluctuating up and down, but mostly hovering around a pressure reading in the 30s; fairly high and uncomfortable for a dog. Sometimes it was higher, sometimes lower, giving her good days, bad days, and just plain unpredictable days. Even with medication we couldn’t completely control the pressure in a consistent manner, so we had to explore the next option…
When we first got her into an Ophthalmologist back in early June, he determined that her left eye was already completely blind. His recommendation was to have it removed, because there was no point medicating a blind eye that was essentially useless, and also causing pain and discomfort. I didn’t want to take this route initially, instead wanting to see how the medication would do. Well, the medication was hit or miss as we all found out, and I (and Katana) will only settle for “hits.”
Not long after dropping her off in Florida again, back in early July, and after several more vet visits to check her eye pressure…a decision was made. The only way to eliminate the pain she was having on an almost daily basis, was to remove the eye; that was the next inevitable step. I wanted to be home for that operation, thinking that it would be something serious, but the vet assured us that it was actually a very simple outpatient procedure that only required 2 days of pain killers, 10 days of antibiotics, and then they’re basically golden. So I pulled the trigger to have the operation done.
At the time, the decision to have the eye removed was purely to eliminate her pain once and for all. I must admit though, with the quick recovery time the vet and Ophthalmologist described, part of me felt that she could possibly rejoin me if she seemed to be doing well, and her doctors gave her the “go ahead.”
Literally within 3 days of the operation, Katana was back to her old self; raising hell and running amuck. No more sleeping all day and hiding under the bed. There was no adjustment period to having one eye, because she’d only been able to see out of one of them for several months already; the adaptation had already taken place. The only ones who had to adapt now were the humans closest to her…adapt to seeing her with only one eye.
When I saw a picture of her, post operation, it was nearly too much for me. Good God did it look bad. I was assured that it looked much worse than it actually was, and this was mostly due to the fact that they had to shave the fur around her eye to perform the operation. Still, I knew it would take some getting used to on my part.
The Vet and Ophthalmologist cleared her to hike two weeks after the operation. After some close monitoring of her behavior, she was found to be in no more pain, and 100% back to her old spunky self. Naturally, I was ecstatic to hear this information and immediately wanted her to come back out and finish what she started with me; so we set a date for her to fly out, and the rest is history.
I decided she’d hike the final state with me, Washington. It’s funny, because after doing Oregon, this state would have been perfect for a dog, as 85% – 90% of the trail was fairly smooth and “paws friendly.”
The reunion with Katana and my girlfriend in Portland was great. Alicia was only able to stay for two days before flying out on Monday, but the time was quality. I can’t thank her enough for making this trip out here with the pup.
Katana has been a bundle of joy, and after only a couple days, I’ve been getting used to her new appearance. Little dog doesn’t seem to carry herself any different; everything has been business as usual for her. The hair is growing back around her eye, but it still has a way to go. I’m looking forward to the day when it’s completely grown in, that way it’ll simply look like she’s winking, instead of blatantly missing an eyeball.
If I thought the “Katana Questions” were bad before, they’re about to get worse. I can already hear them…. “Does that dog only have one eye?” “What happened to her eye?” “How does it affect her?” Etc, etc. Instead of making up stories about what kind of dog she is, I’ll now get to make up wild tales of how she lost her eye. I’ll get my shock value entertainment one way or another, hah.
I’ve been a huge believer in blessings in disguise since the AT, as well as always looking for the silver lining in every negative situation. We can use Katana’s condition to help raise awareness about Glaucoma in dogs. She was misdiagnosed twice, and as a result, she lost her sight in the affected eye. If we can help spread the word on what to look for when Glaucoma rears its ugly head, we can get the proper help to dogs within the window of time they need it. Being a part of many online Shiba Inu and dog forums, Alicia and I have already helped about 3 people get help for their dogs after they posted pictures online of swollen shut eyes. The scary thing was that one of the vets for these dogs didn’t diagnose the dog with Glaucoma, and didn’t want to run the test. We told them this might happen, so the owner insisted on the test. Low and behold, the dogs pressure was in the 50s… Glaucoma. That dog’s sight was salvaged because of the early catch and the owner’s insistence. We need to make sure there are more happy endings like this one.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about the final 500 miles with Katana, but as always, we’ll take it one step at a time. One thing is for sure…it’s going to be an adventure. The dynamic of the hike is changing once again….