Friday, April 17, 2015

Lucy and Me at the Hospital

In the past 24 hours I have discovered that the only place worse than an actual hospital is a pet hospital. Last night I spent 3 and a half hours at the Veterinary Referral & Critical Care facility in Manakin-Sabot with Miss Lucy. I spent most of that time in the "family room" waiting on reports from the doctors, and talking with my fellow stressed pet owners. I heard the life story of a 14 year old diabetic Chitzu who was near the end of her life. Through a stream of tears, a middle aged single woman told me about her chocolate lab Willow, who, like Lucy, had eaten something she had no business eating and was now plagued with gastro-intestinal issues. Since this woman had never married and had no children, Willow was her child and she didn't know what she would do if she didn't pull through. About the time I figured that the place couldn't possibly get any more depressing, in walked a giant of a man clutching a Dalmatian puppy close to his chest pleading with the nurses to help his little guy who had apparently broken one of its back legs and was in extreme discomfort.

It was a long night.

In Lucy's case, it has been a couple of days since she has eaten anything, and after a rather routine bowel movement 36 hours ago, she has been a hot mess, obsessed and extremely agitated with her bottom. She can't take two steps without practically giving herself whiplash whirling around trying to smell or inspect it. Her personality has drastically changed; she wants nothing to do with us. It's as if she is embarrassed by whatever is wrong back there and wants to be by herself. Well, 36 hours, three trips to the Vet and pet hospital, two sets of X-Rays and $987.36 later we still don't quite know what's wrong. Although there are no obstructions, she obviously ate something out in the yard that has given her fits as it makes its way through her system, vomiting and now diarrhea. They kept her last night for observation and hydration and as I type this, I am waiting for the promised 7 am phone call from the Vet to let me know how she did during the night and to inform me of what the next step should be. At least no surgery will be required which was very much a possibility last night.

See, this is the thing with dogs. They barrel into your life like an out of control freight train, completely disrupting your routine. You throw everything into their care, spend ridiculous amounts of money in pursuit of their happiness, then slowly feel them wrapping their tentacles around your heart. In no time, despite bathroom accidents, ubiquitous slobber and occasionally ill-placed vomit, you wake up one day and realize that you are hopelessly in love with a 60 pound shedding monster. Then they dig up some plutonium in the back yard for an afternoon snack and you wind up at the Veterinary Referral & Critical Care facility listening to a brick layer telling you the story of an eight year old Boston Terrier named Max. You're actually fighting back tears.

Dog ownership is not for the selfish, not for the poor and definitely not for the faint of heart.