One step closer to a definitive diagnosis for the coughing/stumbling dog, I felt something close to satisfaction at the end of the day. Back in my TV-less home I turned on the radio while I enjoyed a glass of Bear Flag wine, a very enjoyable blend of this, that and the other. It challenged my prejudice against blended wines as coverup for unsuccessful vintages from various vineyards and various years. But maybe I liked it simply because I know nothing about wines. Anyhow, the radio programme covered the latest development in the Canada Reads contest. Books, and very good books at that, are gradually being voted off the list to whittle it down to an eventual winner. What a White Liberal concept: winner vs. everyone else! So many pursuits and endeavours are no longer perceived to be worthwhile unless a winner can be identified in the end. How else do people know if they are any good?! Well, not everyone is a loser either; there is such a thing as a shortlist: the winners among losers? Now translate this into the culture of dog shows and cat shows... . How did the poor animals get pulled into this vortex of human vanity? Never mind that animals chosen to represent a pure breed are often far from fit - they are often far from viable. But as long as these animals are helped along by the humans who bred them, their existence does represent a form of evolution we have taken into our hands. Darwin wrote of the "survival of the adequate" (my italics), not survival of the fittest (a term coined by Herbert Spencer, nor Darwin).
This coughing/stumbling/occasionally vomiting/occasionally drooling dog's diagnosis has been a thorn in my side since it became clear this is not a simple case of kennel cough. I suspect him of a neuropathy that translates into laryngeal paralysis, possibly esophageal weakness, and hindlimb weakness (Ockham's razor tells me to find the simplest - in this case, the most inclusive - explanation). I also suspect him of hypothyroidism which would likewise explain his symptoms, and a comprehensive test in underway to rule that out. But I am warned, by wise and learned people, that treatment for either neuropathy or hypothyroidism may not alleviate his presenting symptoms. I do not live or work in the ivory tower; I will treat him anyway once I know what ails him. I don't care about winning; I just want to do a thorough, adequate, job.