Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Pedigree of Love

It is true that we only realise how much we love someone or something when we lose or are about to lose them. For me, this 'realisation' occurred a couple of weeks ago.

love care pet communication
Paw in hand

After procrastinating for many months on the need to send Poppy for spaying, I finally did so in late March. She had just finished her menstruation cycle and was becoming unruly. I contacted my vet friend and she personally did the surgery, and even spoke to her boss to give us a special rate since Poppy was a rescued stray.

I had read up on the procedure and learned that spaying for female dogs, especially those on heat, was considered a major surgery. Neutering male dogs was less invasive and quicker to do. This was a little worrying but I figured Poppy was such a hardy girl and would be fine.

My vet friend was horrified when I told her that Poppy wasn't vaccinated. She had advised us to take Poppy home after the surgery and not stay a night in the clinic as she would be at risk. So we did all the pre-op preparation - no food after 7 p.m. the night before and no water on the day of the surgery. Poppy was ok, though a bit whiney calling for her breakfast. We managed to lure her into the transporting cage and drove her to the vet in Puchong. It was her first time in a car and proudly, she did not puke.

Poppy was such a good girl, so friendly to all the workers in the vet although we could see she was uneasy with the scent of the clinic. The receptionist explained to us what to expect and my vet friend popped out to say hello. After that we left Poppy to wait her turn for surgery and had late breakfast nearby.

Her surgery was a little later than expected and we got a call to pick her up at 6 p.m. Through the rain and jam, we picked Poppy up and everyone said she was such a good girl. Poppy was wagging her tail in happiness to see us although less energetic. We didn't put her into the cage because we figured that she wouldn't be so active to run around the car. True enough, she sat in the backseat with dad like a good girl. But that was the first time she started vomiting.

When we reached home she vomited another time in the garden before entering our house. We thought she was groggy from the anaesthesia and had motion sickness. We gave her water like what my vet friend had advised. Solid food would be introduced later.

She drank a lot of water, because she had been on a fast since morning. We thought it was ok. Then she vomited everything out. Every time she drank water, everything came back out with bile. I was getting worried, my mind thinking of all the worst possibilities. Could she have contracted a virus due to her unvaccinated state? Why was she so thirsty? Doesn't rabies cause the infected to be 'thirsty' (later on I realised that the rabies symptom was hydrophobia - the total opposite! Yea, so that was how much my mind was screwed up)?

It was upsetting to see her suffer and unable to keep down any of the water she drank. In total she puked about 20 times throughout the night. I stayed up to monitor her and control her intake of water. As a last resort, I searched online for an explanation. Apparently, vomiting was a common post-op side effect and it was advisable to control the amount of water given. So at 4 a.m., I started giving Poppy two tablespoons at a time. Within an hour I had fed her half a mug of water and she hadn't vomited for an hour. It seemed to be working.

But at 5.20 a.m., she vomited all out again. I was sad. She was weakening and I could see that she was stunned everytime she vomited. She would sit on her stomach, barely moving and trying to close her eyes. My parents were worried but tried not to say much. I think they secretly regretted the decision to spay her and it was all my fault.

At 7 a.m., my vet friend checked with me on Poppy's situation. She suspected it was gastritis and told me to go back to the vet (although she was not working on Saturday). She had spoken to her boss to expect us back. We went over at 10.30 a.m. and the vet was full of fur patients. Although swamped, the vet boss was kind enough to take a look at Poppy and instruct his other vet to administer two shots - anti-vomit and anti-gastritis. The vet told us that one of the shots was a bit painful and as he administered the subdermal injection, Poppy flinched a little but did not bite him. Even in discomfort, she was a good dog.

We took her home with advise to monitor her for further vomiting in the next few hours. Poppy was much quieter, vomiting once in the car and then slept on dad's lap for the rest of the journey back. She was so sleepy that we had to carry her out of the car. I wasn't sure whether the jab had caused her to be so or her body was shutting down to conserve energy. She vomited another time on the grass before we brought her into the house.

She slept the whole afternoon off and I would wake her up occasionally to appease my paranoia. Towards the evening, she woke up and ate a piece of chicken. I have never felt so much satisfaction watching my dog eat. Everyone was giving her a pat on her back. She started getting up to walk around (although her tail was down) and drinking small amounts of water. It was remarkable to see the change. And I thanked my vet friend for all her help and updated her on Poppy's progress.

By Sunday, Poppy was back to her friendly self. Not 100% spritely but you could see she was going in that direction. It was such a relieve to see her bounce back. Her cavernous stomach was starting to look better. And then we noticed that there was a bulge growing at her stitches. Worry came trotting back into my mind. Again, I pestered my vet friend for a diagnosis. She advised that it could be fluid accumulating between the layers of skin because there were three layers sewn back together after the ovaries and uterus were taken out. It was a common occurrence in active dogs.

Lesson learned, always trust your vet's advise. Poppy's bulge has since gone down and she didn't seem bothered by it while it was there and growing. Still pouncing on me like I were a rat. Still sneakily licking her stitches when I wasn't watching her. And still lying on her belly with outstretched limbs.

As at today, she is back to normal but still a house resident (to the horror of someone). She's become very spoiled. Slowly taking small steps to gain what Zack has authority to do in the house. She's at the stage of half standing on the couch with her two front paws and just now tried out our staircase (first bottom steps). I predict that pretty soon, she will be climbing upstairs and barging into our rooms. Naughty girl!

Poppy has come a long way and in such a short period of time. The thought of losing her was so upsetting. I'd prayed and cried for her during the darkest hours and amazingly I managed to clean up her puke every time (I usually convulse when I hear, see or smell any sort of puke). But Poppy is here to stay. She's a tough girl and one of a kind. Although she's huge (for our standards) and behaves like a furry beast, she's bonded with the three of us and Zack too (to a certain extent). I can't imagine how life would be without her wagging tail and upright velveteen ears in my face.

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