I almost lost my dog yesterday.
In the interest of full disclosure, I will confess that I am, by nature, a golden retriever girl. Boone is my first greyhound and because I miss having a golden, that is the breed of choice for my next dog. But I do love Boone. Contrary to my ideal dog description, he is long, lanky and short coated, but he is also sweet and sensitive and funny and willing to listen to kids read, which is my passion, not his. He wanders the house whining when I’m gone, and looks at me when I return with an adoration I could not possible deserve.
I love this big brindle dog, but yesterday George and I decided on two separate, heart-wrenching occasions to have him put down, only to watch him rally at the critical moment, offering promise in the possibility of yet another alternative approach to resolve the problem.
The problem was that we didn’t know what the problem was. Boone had his teeth cleaned on Monday, as he has every year for the 7 years we’ve owned him. He was anesthetized for the procedure, as he has always been, and though there are always risks involved with anesthesia, and particularly with anesthetizing greyhounds, he’s never had any trouble. Until Monday.
He was panting a bit when we walked out of the clinic, panting harder when we got home, which was not unusual as he is not a comfortable traveler. The unusual started when the panting took on a panicked tone, and his hind end started trembling and his back feet would not support his obviously distressed body.
Tuesday and Wednesday brought an onslaught of blood work, x-ray, ultrasound, pain medication, antibiotic, tranquilizer, steroid, barium, iv fluid, observation, despair, research, grief, frustration, and finally, hope. We’re not out of the woods yet, but I am cautiously very optimistic.
I am so thankful to have a husband with a tender heart and strong arms, willing to carry 74 pounds of quivering canine out in the snow for a potty break, even if it’s 3:00 a.m.; to lift that same long-legged, stressed-out pooch in and out of the back seat of an F150 super cab; to worry about how much water the dog is drinking; the consistency of his stool, and the cleanliness of his bedding.
I am forever indebted to Dr. Scott Jacobson, of Monticello Pet Hospital, who consulted, researched, and stayed open to possibility in diagnostic and treatment strategy; gave me his cell phone number with permission to call it anytime; stayed 3 hours after the clinic closed and came in 2 hours before it opened to treat my dying dog; answered my questions, respected my feelings and supported my decisions.
And I am truly grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime greyhound.