Almost 4 years ago I locked eyes with a smushy little face who’s entire being absolutely...consumed me. Walking to the car that afternoon carrying the most precious little English Bulldog puppy, I immediately started preparing for the worst. People thought I was morbid because I was already anticipating the immense pain I would feel when the little guy eventually died. I know it might have been a little premature but the weight in my heart, holding him in my hands, was so enormous, I couldn’t fathom the heaviness I would feel when he wasn’t there anymore.
We nicknamed him “Gigantor” because of his big paws and belly and so the name “Thor” it was.
I flew home from Dallas on Sunday high with the energy of thousands of accomplished runners, yet exhausted from a hot day in the sun (and a nice sunburn) only to get a text that read
“Thor cant move”
Walking in the door I saw his little head pop up and he attempted to sit up and greet me when the most horrifyingly painful screams came from his little throat. He tried so hard to walk to me crying in angst. As I ran to him, he sank to the floor and closed his eyes in pain. It took everything I had not to cry, but fear and confusion took over as we recounted what could have possibly caused this. After a rundown of his day and still no answers we quickly carried him to the car and headed for the best vet hospital in the country. People in the waiting room had driven in from Kansas City and Arizona. The wall showed thank you notes from people who had even flown their pets to the Colorado State University vet hospital... including Austin Texas native Lance Armstrong.
I was glad we just had to drive up the road.
It was almost 11pm when we arrived and after some careful examination and pain meds, we were advised to come back in the morning when a full staff and smaller fees were in our favor. They didn't think it was life threatening.
The screams continued a few times in the night when any movement was required and you can bet that we were outside that door at 8am the following morning. The doctors evaluated him and decided to run a few tests. We were given the word that it would be several hours before X-rays and analysis would be done and so we played the waiting game.
Good news. His back hips, possibly arthritis, which we assumed was the issue...not the issue.
Bad News, it's most likely his spine. Something called Lumbosacral Disease.
Good News should be able to give him some medication and with bed rest it should heal.
The usual blood tests followed to be sure he could handle the medication.
Bad News. His blood tests show problems stemming from his kidneys.
They wanted to do an ultrasound on his abdomen just to be sure.
Bad News. One kidney is deformed and not operating fully.
Not the worst news. LIke people, dogs can function with only one, but it's still not enough to let him take the medicine which would help the most. Now the bigger concern is his kidney function. Come back in two weeks so we can see if it's getting worse.
Bathroom breaks now require carrying him to the yard and helping him stand while he goes. His usual 3+ mile walks are out of the question and playing - absolutely not. The poor guy doesn't have much to look forward to for the next 4-6 weeks... aside from breakfast, lunch and dinner hand fed to him because he can't get up...
The guy has some "mad ups" according to those much "hipper" than I... but sadly...these days... are over.
I know there are worse things.
Everyone always asks if I did this whole nothingnewforayear thing to save money.
It wasn't the reason, although it became a nice bonus. And after watching this helpless, wordless little guy writhe in pain... I know that there is no way I wouldn't do or buy whatever it took to make him feel better again. I can't imagine medical care is "old" but I gladly doled out whatever I may have saved this year for the peace of mind we've done everything we can to ease his pain.
One time Thor was attacked at a dog park when he was about 7 months ago. I held myself together as I carried him to the car where I proceeded to cry and said "this is why people homeschool their kids".
I couldn't help but think about all the parents who are sitting at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital watching their children in pain.
This is just a dog. I know.
But imagining ever having to be in those parents position, after just one little instance with my dog... makes me realize that even though I think I'm tough... this furry little 4 legged smush face can bring me to my knees.
I used to tire of him pushing his toys against my leg and giving me the sad puppy look begging for my attention. What I wouldn't give to play tug and fetch right about now.
I guess it's not the worst position to "work" from :)
But for the first time in a long time... I wish he'd interrupt my "work" and ask me to play.