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Sirius of the Week for July 29 - Aug. 4, 2001

This week meet Hieronymus, an adorable pug who shares a home with two humans and some "fur people". You can read more about Hieronymus and his buddies at Eyebalm's Pet Page.

Hieronymus's mom wanted to share a story that happened last fall. She writes...

"Hieronymus is the first dog I had. He was 10 on December 21, 2000. He was always such a well-behaved dog, and took back stage to our 2nd dog, Plato the Boston Terrier. Hieronymus was dependable. We never had to worry about Hieronymus...he could always take care of himself. Until Labor Day.

"Stan, my husband, had to be at work no later than 7:30 in the morning. We had a houseguest, so our routine was a bit disrupted. Stan told Hieronymus to get downstairs so he could feed him and Plato. Hieronymus didn't want to go. I was still in bed. I heard a tumble. I figured the noise was Stan's clunky workshoes descending the stairs.

"I eventually crawled out of bed, thinking it was a normal day, except it was Labor Day and places were closed and we had a visitor. I logged onto the internet to check my email, but couldn't get a dial tone. I heard noises coming out of my modem: human voices. I was mad; I thought our guest was *still* talking to his ex-girlfriend long distance. I went downstairs, ready to confront him about his liberal use of our phone at all hours. But our guest was still asleep on the futon. I went outside, and the first thing I saw was Stan holding the portable phone with the most worried look on his face I'd ever seen. I saw Hieronymus lying on the ground on his stomach. He couldn't walk--he had fallen down the stairs. It is so difficult to describe the panic that I went through, and it makes me ill to this day to think about it and relive this horror.

"After calling into his job, we whisked our pug away to an emergency vet hospital (these emergencies always happen on holidays when one's regular vets are not available). They could not detemine any broken bones, but he had a slow response in all his limbs. He didn't seem to be in much pain though. They kept him overnight for X-rays, observation and expert diagnoses. Stan and I were unable to eat the whole day, but at night we brought him a cheeseburger at the hospital which he gobbled down. The following Tuesday night we were able to bring him home. We would consult our regular vet the following day and were prescribed several weeks worth of steroid pills to alleviate any swelling. And he ate another cheeseburger that night.

"Still unable to walk on Wednesday, our regular vet recommended that we seek chiropractic help for him. It couldn't hurt, and it may cure the sore muscles which were preventing his normal mobility. Because pugs have a short pallette, any surgery could be extremely risky as they can stop breathing when given anaesthesia. Chiropractic seemed the best solution. Over the next week Hieronymus eventually was able to crawl, or stumble around, bit by bit. We'd take him outside and he'd sit in the flower beds, looking like a baby. After more therapy, he eventually was able to walk, but he seemed uncomfortable, standing in awkward positions and panting a lot. He seemed happiest when he could be with Stan when he was outside working on the house in the cool fall air. He was most unhappy at night. And he was losing his appetite....even for cheeseburgers.

"We eventually took him in to the vet again to treat an infected eye, which could have manifested while he was at the animal hospital, as those sort of places are breeding grounds for infections. Within a week, the heavy panting and awkward stance disappeared. He started trotting, even running, and would look up at us and respond to our words and commands. Most importantly, he got hungry. Perhaps the antibiotic we used on his eye also corrected something internally. Who knows...but our pug was back!

"Although Hieronymus almost seems happier than he was before the accident, things aren't exactly 'back to normal.' We now have a semi-permanent construction at the base of our stairs that blocks off any pug access. Our Boston is able to jump over it, but Hieronymus isn't. We don't want any potential accidents in the future if Hieronymus were to attempt to ascend the staircase. Now we carry him up and down the stairs all the time, and keep the upstairs door closed if he is on the second story. I also pay more attention to him...almost as much attention as I gave him as a puppy. I can't stop thinking about how incredible it is that he is walking again after those days of horror. I can't stop thinking about how cute he is and how much he means to all of us. I never thought I'd actually appreciate smelling his stinky breath or being kept awake by his snores.

"They say that cats have nine lives, but nothing of the sort is said about dogs. We lost a cat a couple years ago that was only 12...I guess before he left us he gave one of his lives to Hieronymus."

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