When we “rescued” Jordan, as I like to say, swishing my superhero cape as I do so, we knew she had some medical issues. We took her to our vet for a thorough look under the hood and learned she had two main issues: a dodgy hip and even dodgier teeth.

We have twice-a-day pills for the hips, but the teeth issue was a harder one. Exactly how big a problem were Jordan’s teeth? The vet couldn’t be sure. They desperately needed cleaning – once the accumulated gunk was wiped away, we’d know better about the state of what was left.

The vet advised us to start saving up, but that we should get her in for a cleaning in 6–9 months. Possible bill – $500–$900.

Gulp.

And so, in October, the time came. I was anxious. For her dental work, Jordan had to be completely sedated. The idea of my little pug getting the full anesthetic filled me with no small amount of dread. Anesthetic is never risk-free – and the smaller you are, the more risky it is, at least in my superstitious imagination.

But she needed this, we had $700 in the bank – we were ready. As my wife drove her to the vet bright and early on a Monday morning, Jordan was blissfully unaware of the drama that lay ahead.

She was dropped off and then we had to wait. But not for too long, because the vet was in touch by mid-morning. They’d had a chance to look at Jordan’s teeth now, and the news wasn’t good. There was a lot wrong in that tiny little mouth. Dogs have 42 teeth, and Jordan had already lost 6 of hers. Of the 36 she did have, she needed to lose half of them. The vet was going to remove 18 of Jordan’s teeth.

This was something of a shock. Competing emotions swelled up:

  • Guilt – why had we left it this long? How much pain had she been in?
  • Wonder – how did she fit all those teeth in her mouth to begin with?
  • Avarice – how much was 18 extractions going to add to the bill?
  • Fear – how was she going to react what she woke up? She would, of course, have no idea what had happened…Of all my concerns, this was the one that hit my pug-loving heart the hardest.

“Do it,” my wife said to our vet. “If that’s what she needs, do it.”

In my mind, my wife and our vet were apparently having a conversation in the style of Die Hard.

At 5pm, we went to pick her up. I don’t enjoy taking Jordan to the vet (or anywhere) because she can be remarkably disruptive for such a tiny animal. But the pup that was brought out for us that afternoon was a very different proposition. The assistant carried her carefully in her arms; our sad little grandma sat stiff and a little glassy eyed. I took hold of her gently and carried her to the car like she was a fragile egg . . .

We brought with us some antibiotics, painkillers, anti-inflammatory pills. We left behind $1,200.

As we drove home, I told my wife that I was cancelling Christmas. And she laughed like she thought I was joking. The end of December is going to be a tricky and tense time in our home…

Once we got home, Jordan R&R’ed like a champ.

Jordan post-surgery

She was walking around in a couple of hours. Jumping on furniture a little while later. It took her a day to get back to trying to chase anything that moved during our walks, and a day after that before she found her bark, which was raspy and sore-sounding.

A week later, and it’s hard to remember she had even had surgery at all – except for the cute gaps in her grin, the soft food we’re giving her, and the fact that she refuses to go anywhere near her water bowl. She won’t drink water. Not from her bowl, not from a different bowl, a jug, or a cup. Not from my hands.

Obviously, this is sub-optimal. So, I’ve been giving her water with a little dehydrated food mixed in, and she’s lapping that up. So, she’s drinking. But we want her back on her regular water-bowl schedule; flavored water is not something we want her to get used to. We have a follow-up with the vet next week. I’ll talk to her then, see if there’s anything we should be doing.

But, for now, our little Granny Money Pit seems happy and healthy. And that’s the result we were aiming for. The smell of tinned dog food is totally worth it, even first thing in the morning.

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