Golden Retriever, Health

Learn about your pet’s body systems

A recent article on Dr. Plotnick’s blog about the feline lungs describes the functions of a cat’s lungs, some common diseases, and some words or phrases that are commonly misused to describe a cat’s breathing. It’s very interesting and Dr. Plotnick does a great job of explaining veterinary topics for pet owners.

Our Golden Retriever Bentley didn’t have lung disease. But realizing that he wasn’t breathing normally and getting him to the vet saved his life.

It was June 2005 and Bentley was 13 years old. The springtime weather was getting warmer, but it wasn’t so warm that Bentley should be hot or panting. But he was panting for no reason. He’d be lying around the house, or wake up from sleeping and start panting. This didn’t seem right to me so I took him to the vet.

Bentley’s lungs sounded fine, but the vet could feel something in his abdomen and an ultrasound showed a large mass on or near his spleen. Because a ruptured mass or spleen can be life threatening, Bentley was in surgery two days later. His spleen was twice as large as normal and was taking up so much space that it was pressing up towards his lungs and interfering with his breathing. Luckily, the enlarged spleen was not due to cancer, and Bentley recovered very quickly from surgery.

The photo above is about a year after surgery, with Bentley getting some attention from Felix. Bentley lived 4 years after surgery until he was 17 years old!

The only indication I had that something was wrong was that Bentley was panting and he shouldn’t have been. This shows how important it is to know what’s normal for your pet and to get your vet’s advice when you suspect a problem.

Check out some of Dr. Plotnick’s other articles. His previous articles include the bladder, spleen, heart, esophagus, claws, and more. He’s a feline specialist but you can learn a bit about dogs too, and how dogs and cats are different.

Golden Retriever

I’m photogenic even when wet.

In the winter I get a bath inside. Even though I don’t like baths, I must admit mom is very good at giving them. The water is always warm and it’s like a water massage against my skin. I was a little disappointed in Dad taking photos instead of helping me escape.

But he helped me get a tiny bit of satisfaction when he took this unflattering photo of her backside while she was drying my backside!


This post was inspired by Bear. I sympathize with you Bear!

Golden Retriever, Pet loss

Smells like…

I just came home from the pet store with food for Raven. That will be another blog entry, but the reason for tonight’s post is – the best I can explain it – love.

There was another customer in the store with an older Golden Retriever. I asked the owner if I could pet her dog, and she said “of course”. The dog was laying on the floor, very relaxed and, in typical Golden Retriever fashion, enjoying being petted. Her muzzle was completely white, even whiter than our Bentley’s ever was. The top of her head was getting light flecks of hair, as was her body.

So many things about her brought back very detailed memories of Bentley. This girl had a smooth head with firm flesh, while Bentley had a bony head and I could feel a little bump on the top of his skull. This girl had those wonderfully soft Golden Retriever ears, just like Bentley’s, but with a little more fringy fur. This girl had super furry toes, like she was ready for a romp in the snow. Bentley had smooth feet, but I would trim the fur between his pads. This girl had light brown eyes, whereas Bentley had beautiful dark brown eyes that showed the compassion in his soul.

We completed our purchase and I thanked the owner for letting me pet her dog. Her dog was 13 years old so I told her that our Bentley lived to 17 and I hoped the two of them shared many more years together.

After leaving I smelled my hand. Of course it smelled like Golden Retriever. They have a unique smell – not a dirty dog smell, just the smell of their fur and oils. I could tell that it didn’t smell like Bentley, but even so, I found myself welling up with tears from all the wonderful memories of the years we shared with our fantastic boy. He’s been gone for a little over 2 years, but tonight reminded me of how much he is a part of me, and always will be, and how much I will always love him.