We don’t have children. We have dogs. And we love our dogs with our whole hearts. It’s a little ridiculous, but it’s how we get by.
I never thought I would be one of these people who think of their dogs as family, but I totally am. It’s me and Jacob and our two little froglegged cuddlebugs and we have a happy little family.
Last night was the first time anything has shaken our little family.
I was home alone with the boys packing and watching bad tv around midnight when I realized something was wrong. Yogi was laying on the couch and – without getting into too much grossness – made a mess of himself and his surroundings without moving. I jumped over to him and started shaking him assuming that he was asleep or something. Yogi has always been an active dreamer, so I thought maybe something went haywire in his dreams. But he just laid there, staring at me with his beautiful brown eyes, completely unresponsive.
The next few minutes are a blur, but I know that I called Jacob at work, found a 24 hour vet, sobbed on the phone with a stranger, moved Yogi, wrapped him in a clean blanket, crated Neko (who at this point knew something was up with his brother and was headbutting him and whining), found my doctors bag and started checking reflexes.
Did I mention I’m in medical school? Did I mention that I was somewhat traumatized by neuro? Did I mention that in a sobbing fit of terror I had the wherewithal to dig my diagnostic kit out of its fancy new leather dr. bag home? Ok…
His pupillary reflexes were good. His heart rate was elevated. His breathing was labored. His gums were pale. He wasn’t moving. I sat on the couch with him and attempted to hold his head in a way that wouldn’t compromise his airway. I cried and told him to just hang on a little while longer.
Jacob was home in a flash, and yogi’s tail wagged a little when he walked in. We carried Yogi to the truck using his blanket as a stretcher. By the time we got him into the car he was able to hold up his head and perked his ears when we called his name. He was still mostly flaccid and breathing like he’d just run a marathon.
When we made it to the clinic we were able to prop him up on the scale. Once he got his footing, he was able to stagger into the exam room (think drunk guy at Oktoberfest). At the end of the vet tech’s exam, Yogi was alert and responsive and able to stand and sit on his own. By the time the vet made it in, our little man was a little lethargic, but mostly fine. I had finally stopped crying. I’m a little pathetic.
Blood tests, observation, questioning. Around 2:30, the vet told us that they wanted to keep Yogman until morning to do further testing, start an IV, antibiotics, etc. The differential diagnosis included ingestion of an array of horrible toxins, seizure, pancreatitis. Go home, we’ll know more in the morning.
So we came home, showered, tried to wash the panic off. Four rolled around and began the most fitful few hours of sleep of my life.
This morning, I drove to the clinic to pick Yogi up and transfer him to his regular vet. The women at the clinic went on and on about what a sweet dog he is and how good and loving he was all morning. He was back to his wagglebutt self. Diagnosis, acute pancreatitis. Possibly shock from the excruciating pain. Probably got into something while he was on a walk outside. There’s know way to know what triggered it. Push more fluids, keep him for observation. He’ll be fine.
Fine? Those are the words I had been waiting so long to hear. He’ll be just fine.
I’ll pick my little man up at 5:30. He will come home and relax and get the love he’s been missing for the last few hours. And maybe then I’ll be able to breathe again.
And those vet bills are big, but it just doesn’t matter.