28
Jun
17

Just a Dog

Six months ago today, I sat nervously in an emergency vet exam room, exhausted emotionally and physically, waiting to hear the fate of my dear 11 year old Australian Shepherd Mira.  We were at my parents, visiting for Christmas, when she began refusing food and vomiting but still playing with the other dogs and acting fairly chipper.  I shrugged it off for a day thinking that she just had a bug and would be fine, in fact she seemed to improve the following day.  The next morning I woke to her laying under the hide-a-bed vomiting and knew it was time to take action.  

Since I was three hours away from home, I tried getting her into my parents’ vet, but they had no availability.  I’m not much for crying but I was struggling to keep it together.  I ended up getting her into my boyfriend’s vet, still 2 hours away but closer than my own.  They checked her out, X-rayed her abdomen and didn’t find anything concerning, what a relief!  A shot of Cerenia to keep the nausea at bay and we were on on our way.

Sick little dog – waiting to be checked out

She seemed to perk up a little bit after that but as the afternoon progressed she started vomiting again and by the time I got home, my stoic little dog was leaning against the wall moaning.  I rushed her to the emergency vet near my house where they quickly brought her back to an exam room.  While the vet reviewed the X Rays with me, my heart dropped.  There was a visible blockage a short way into her small intestine.  My old girl needed surgery.  As the realization hit that i had to leave the clinic without her, my ability to contain my emotions ceased.  I gave my wobbly drugged up punk a hug and a teary-eyed “I love you” and walked out the door.

Leaving my girl 😞

Ugly sobbing started as I wailed to my mom over the phone that I wasn’t ready to be without her.  I drove home, squinting through tears.  Yukon stoically tolerated me clinging to him while desperately trying to sleep for a couple of hours, phone by my head, waiting for a call informing me of the outcome of Mira’s surgery.  The call came a couple of hours later, I hesitated answering it for fear that bad news might await.  What would I do if she hadn’t made it off the table?  My worrying was for naught, the vet was able to remove the blockage, an unknown foreign object, and Mira was awake and alert in her kennel.  I was able to sink into a deep, much needed sleep.

I awoke around 7am to a call from the vet, Mira wasn’t doing well, she crashed hard about an hour after she came out of anesthesia and they were worried about DIC (disseminated intravascular coagulation).  They had to run some blood work and would get back to me when they knew what was happening.  After what felt like a million years, I got the call that Mira’s blood work looked fine and that she seemed to be perking up a little.  Sobbing, I asked the vet if I could come and see her.  “Of course”, she said and mentioned we could discuss her progress.

I paced the exam room, waiting for someone to bring my girl out to see me.  Around the corner she came like a drunken sailor, wobbly-legged and groggy.  She hurled a big puddle shortly before the room but seemed as happy to be back with me as I was to have her by my side.  I laid on the floor, her head on my lap just happy she was still alive.  I stayed with her this way for an hour only leaving so she could rest, promising that I would be back in the evening to visit her.

Lots of staples

Sick punk

That evening, I went back – Mira, still weaving down the hallway seemed to be a little more perky.  After talking with the vet, we decided to take her off of the bupenorphine thinking it may have been prolonging her subdued state.  She laid with her head on my leg until it was time for me to leave.

Evening visit

Work was unbearable the next day, I’d have to wait until the afternoon to visit Mira but a call to the clinic set me at ease, she was doing well and would likely be able to come home that evening.  I stopped after work and she was standing on her own, walking around.  The staff had her loose in the clinic and she had been wandering around exploring on her own.  The good news was she was likely coming home but she was still urping up brown fluid which concerned them.

Standing on her own!!

Afternoon cuddles

Back to the clinic at 8pm, the vet on staff was concerned that Mira was still regurgitating fluid, she thought another night may be good for her.  My heart and my budget (EVet visits are $$) told me she needed to come home with me that night.  I felt that being in her own familiar place, with Yukon and me next to her that she’d recover more quickly.  They loaded me up with enough drugs for an army and the dreaded cone of shame and handed me the bill (which was cringeworthy but worth every penny).  Into the Jeep she went, we were home in no time, both her and Yukon excited to see each other.  Back together, the world was right again.

Homeward bound

Together

Over the next week, she slowly but steadily improved, despite the evil cone that I forced her to wear (which made her forget how to dog) and regular rectal temps (super fun for us both).  Her incision became infected and she popped a couple of stitches (keeping even a senior Aussie calm is a chore) but a couple of visits to my regular vet (who was a great help with aftercare – and whose staff was saintlike when dealing with my many phone calls) and a couple of antibiotic changes and my little fruit loop was back to normal!

Over the six months since this happened, I routinely find myself staring over at her as she sleeps, thinking about how close I came to losing her.  As she ages, I know someday I will have to face that reality but I’m so thankful that it was pushed down the road, that I have more time with her.  Just a dog, just a piece of my heart.

Ready for my drugs, Mom!

Post op checkup

Aussie lampshade?

Fully recovered Mira on spring vacation at the Grand Canyon (May)

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2 Responses to “Just a Dog”


  1. 1 Pat Osburn
    June 28, 2017 at 11:49 pm

    Sitting here crying like a baby when I read this (being a dog Grandma isn’t,t easy) so glad little Mira was ok..having had a dog for all of my 67 years all I can say is that the joy a dog brings makes all of the pain worth it …thinking about some of my “doggie Angels…Iriish, Zeke, Zack, Kodi and more..big hugs to all of you..someday I will be scratching your tummies again

  2. 2 Sheila
    June 29, 2017 at 7:53 am

    Such a tense, worrisome journey of love for Mira. I love her too.


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Great day to take the little beast for a hike (and to take her senior [citizen] picture 😜)! #australianshepherd #australianshepherdsofinstagram #rescuedog #rescuedogsofinstagram #seniordog #olddogsrule #michigan #fall #autumn I woke this morning to the drumming of rain on the roof and wind howling in the trees.  I cuddled back under the covers, my two dogs and my parents’ GSP (who I’m dog sitting) keeping me warm.  I’ve never had much success with squirrels on windy days, it seems to drive them into their hidey holes safe from airborne predators.  After yesterday’s near misses, I couldn’t stay inside and not hunt despite my low chances for success, so around 1:30 I got dressed and headed out.  I saw a red phase Ruffed Grouse creeping through the thorny underbrush before it flew out and away from me.  An eagle cried high above and the treetops were whipping around like they were caught in a cyclone.

I saw one elusive grey squirrel leaping from tree to tree as I attempted to close the distance, no deal.  Deeper into the woods I went, large branches falling around me.  My desire to find a squirrel was less great than my desire not to get taken out by a “widow maker” so I started walking back.  Along the edge of a just cut corn field, 10 yards away, a fat fox squirrel sat on its haunches, a scavenged corn cob in its front paws.  My first shot hit the thorny brush covering the field’s edge.  I nocked another arrow, this one finding its way home. #squirrelhunting #bowhunting #archeryhunting #recurvebow #tradbow #tradbowhunting #psearchery #foxsquirrel #michigan #smallgamehunting #womenhunt So much for squirrel hunting today, I went out for a little bit but was caught in a downpour.  I did surprise a small doe hanging out in tall ferns. (I hate how I sound on video 😂). #hunting #bowhunting #squirrelhunting #michigan #rain #downpour #archeryhunting #archery #womenhunt My parents went on their first vacation in over a decade (out to Vegas to visit my sister) and I finally had the opportunity to pay them back for watching my dogs whenever I need them to.  Maggie the 2 year old German Shorthair operates on a whole different level from my two senior citizens.  I forgot what puppyhood was like!  Today she ate my @jayssportinggoods that I’ve worn like 5 times LOL.  Thankfully for my blood pressure, they’ll be back at the end of the week 😂 #adventuresindogsitting #dog #germanshorthairedpointer #puppy #gsp #germanshorthairedpointersofinstagram
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