Seemed. It turns out our dog is sick (and she is, as longtime readers know, considered part of the family around here). This morning I noticed she was having a hard time breathing and the vet has attributed it to heart trouble. :( So, the dog is at the vet right now undergoing some tests. She will probably be going to a veterinary cardiologist soon as well. While I'm waiting for the vet to call with more information, all I can do is go by what I'm finding online. The information out there about dogs with the sort of heart condition she appears to have doesn't paint a particularly rosy picture, though it's not the worst case scenario either. But, then, I am reminded of Stephen Jay Gould's insistence the median isn't the message anyway.
Open heart surgery is not normally an option for dogs (though, interestingly, it is NOT unheard of to perform such surgeries). However, I can hope and pray that we've caught it in time for medication to help control her symptoms for a good long while.
A lot of the same heart medications are used in dogs as in humans, so my dog will probably end up on some of the same meds my father was taking. Weird. I feel truly fortunate to live in a society, an era where sophisticated treatments for heart disease are in fact accessible "even for a dog". 50 years ago, there was not very much that could be done even for human beings with heart disease.
Being a worrier by nature, I could easily get myself all freaked out about this...but I'm trying to take things one day at a time for once. :) There is no guarantee in life...for better or for worse, things are always open to change.