Lesson 401 – The dog’s will

I know I can’t keep you hanging on the news regarding our dog so here goes:

After I dropped off Nessa Rose at the vets (and at this point, the dog hadn’t moved in hours and was in fact posturing with her legs straight out and her head thrown back which is an indication of brain damage) they ran a few tests to see what could be done. She was hooked up to an IV so that fluids could be pumped into her dehydrated body.

After a few hours I got a call from the vet. She has a liver shunt (a structural defect) and is positive for Lyme disease. We’ve given her some medication but she hasn’t responded and is in a coma. We don’t have the services here that we’d need to treat her, you’ll have to transfer her to an emergency vet hospital.

As much as I love that dog, and don’t get me wrong, she’s still a pain in the neck, but I do love her, I couldn’t justify the cost of transferring her to a “critical care facility.” The vet was suggesting an MRI, possible surgery, extended care.

I was envisioning pulling my kids from college to pay the vet bills.

Wasn’t going to happen.

Okay, I said, give her one more dose of the medicine and if she doesn’t respond, we’ll make a decision about what to do tonight .

I contacted the kids’ soccer coaches. It looks like we’ll have to be putting a dog down tonight, no practice for us.

Emotionally I got ready. We’d bury Nessa in our back woods. Eventually we’d get a granite marker for the grave. We’d plant something hardy nearby. Somehow I’d tell a joke to make the kids laugh –

“Remember the time Nessa ate one of your Polly Pocket boots and we had to comb through her poop for two days until it came out? Good times, good times.”

Then another phone call. The vet again.

I was just getting ready to tell you that Nessa was not responding when she started picking up her head. She’s also starting to get up on her feet.

In that phone call Nessa had changed from a critically ill pup to a fighter and I will always support and give a true fighter a chance.

Believe it or not, this dog who had been in a coma all day, who had actually been scheduled to be put down, came home around 6:30 pm.

That’s not to say she still wasn’t a sick puppy. She was weak, she needed lots of attention and there was a little bit of a complication.

“Nessa appears to be blind.” We were told. “It’s impossible to tell if it’s permanent brain damage or not.”

Agitated (both the dog and us) when we got her home, Nessa was frantic. She couldn’t stop walking around – resulting in her bonking her head everywhere. The kids kept rubbing their heads in mock sympathy.

Eventually, she’ll learn where everything is, I told the kids. She’ll learn.

Nessa is on 4 different meds right now which will eventually go down to one on a daily basis. She has to be on a prescription food (55 dollars a bag!) but as she weighs all of 9 pounds, that bag should last a few months.

I feel comfortable in our decision not to get the critical care. I know, we lucked out. Most people who make that decision don’t come home with their dog. As tough as it would have been to see our dog die, I think it would have been tougher to go back on my principles regarding what is appropriate and legitimate care for an animal.

We ended up spending 623 dollars for the vet and 55 dollars for the food. It’s still more money spent on a dog than I feel is truly justified but by authorizing  only palliative  care, we have this fighter of a dog back who’s major purpose in life, it seems is to teach us all that “ if there’s a will, there’s a way.” Apparently this dog has a will.

Still a sick puppy


Filed under Inspiration, Life Lessons, Personal, Teaching kids, The Family, The puppies

7 responses to “Lesson 401 – The dog’s will

  1. Glad to hear the Nessa pulled through giventhe

  2. Glad to hear the Nessa pulled through given the ch

  3. Sorry about the incomplete replies, my compter decided to go mad. As I was saying, I am so glad that Nessa pulled through given the dificult circumstances. Some pooches sure have a great will to survive!

  4. I have the same mindset as you do and my choice would have been the same… I do love my Border Collies and I dread the day when I’m faced with a decision like yours. I was so happy to read a happy ending to Nessa’s illness though! –What a tough, resilient fighter!

  5. Gina Rosati

    So glad to see she’s fighting!! Poor baby, though … what an ordeal.

  6. Suddenly Jamie (@suddenlyjamie)

    What a turn of events. I’m glad that she is still with you.
    Dogs are amazing. They really seem to have a sense of when it’s “their time” and always seem to find a way to tell you. Maybe Miss Nessa’s not quite ready yet.
    Glad she gets her fighting chance.
    Hope she stops bumping into things soon.

  7. I hope things go well for your dog and for you.

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