Ralph Has Dysplasia

As many long time followers of this blog know, I bought a six week old beagle about two weeks after I started this blog in April of 2008. Ralph will be 7 years old next month.  I always keep a close eye on Ralph, particularly since his great escape about a year and a half ago.  I noticed, right around last Christmas, Ralph was having trouble getting up after laying down.  He didn't seem to look forward to our walks in the park as he once did.  I knew something was wrong then.  Ralph would rather go walking in the park than eat.  He seemed to walk oddly as well.  So, immediately after Christmas, I scheduled an appointment with our vet.  Ralph goes for a checkup every three months whether he is healthy or not.  I'm that crazy about him.  Ralph has always been a very healthy dog with the exception of a virus he caught when he was about 9 months old.  That very nearly killed him.  I stayed up with him all night, making Ralph take medicine every 4 hours.  The antibiotics saved him.  But, lately, Ralph just wasn't himself.  He loves to run around in the backyard, chasing squirrels, birds and anything else that dares to set foot in "his yard."

His after Christmas checkup revealed Ralph had the beginnings of Dysplasia, which is a hip disease found mostly in large breed dogs such as German Shepards.  But, according to the vet, smaller breeds can get Dysplasia as well.  It's a hip problem that can be treated to make a dog's life easier.  But, there is no real cure for it either.  Surgery is a possibility.  So, I'm going to start saving up my money. Having Ralph put down is not even going to be part of the discussion in regard to Ralph.  He is as good a friend as I have ever had and I mean that, sincerely.  Ralph was with me during the hell-fire of Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath.  He was with me during my gallbladder near death experience.  Ralph was with me during some of my darkest days the past 7 years.  So, no, you don't put to death a friend just because he is ill.  You do all you can to make his life easier.  That's exactly what I'm going to do in regard to Ralph.  He is truly, my best friend.


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