Yesterday, I took Bella to the vet for several X-Rays of her right leg, in order to assess why she's limping. They also X-Rayed her neck (which can sometimes cause limping issues - the vertebrae looked a little 'fishy', they thought). Learned from the X-Rays that Bella is microchipped. I didn't know that!
Nevertheless, there's evidence Bella has arthritis in her right wrist. So, it looks like the onset of a chronic condition rather than an injury. She's 8 or 9 nine years old - getting to the golden years for a large dog.
There was a blind man sitting with his guide dog in the vet's waiting room. He asked what kind of dog I have, and I answered "A Black Lab, just like you have!" He replied, "Black Labs matter!"
I talked to Joe the Plumber, from whom I got Bella in March, 2015, when he could no longer care for her. Joe never fully-conceded to actually having given Bella away (it's hard to give dogs away), but when I informed him of the cost (over the last 2 weeks, over $500), he said "congratulations on YOUR dog." He continued, "I don't understand. When I was a kid, dogs were healthy. Then they died. When did that change?" I explained that dogs were just like people. They have their health problems too.
The vet offered glucosamine chews to help with joint health. He suggested scaling back the walks. The hard part is, Bella lives for these walks, especially the visits to the Safeway parking lot, her vision of the Emerald City.
Last night, Bella continued modifying the walk to mitigate the limp. Instead of meandering to Safeway, she took the most-direct path. And she trotted, in order to minimize weight-bearing on the right foot. Just what I need at 1:30 a.m. - a 2-mile jog.
If her wrist deteriorates, I suppose I could drive her to Safeway. We could broaden our horizons. There's the more-distant Belair Supermarket on Freeport Blvd., or the Alhambra Safeway. Become a connoisseur of supermarket parking lots, a dog's vision of paradise.