Maggie has had a good night snuggled up to me on the floor, and although she had something to eat and drink yesterday, performed no bodily functions, though I did take her out into the back yard.
In a fit of inspiration, we purchased a tarpaulin at the weekend and using half to protect the carpet in the hall from muddy feet from our comings and goings, we used the other to make a ‘tray’ for outside which Hubby filled with bark and fallen leaves in the hope that Maggie would use this akin to a litter tray.
She wasn’t having it. Her ass will only perform on grass!
As I dozed (waking every time she moved, sorry I can’t help it), I found myself thinking of previous pets and their reaction to surgery.
Working backwards, Barney wasn’t neutered and had a healthy life until we found a lump on his flank. It wasn’t giving him any trouble, but we saw the vet who recommended we had to removed.
I had a phone call at work to say he’d had a reaction to the pre med and they had cancelled the operation. I rang Hubby at home and he went to collect him immediately.
The poor dog was in a terrible state, having soiled himself whilst having the fit, something he had never done, not even as a pup. Dogs feel embarrassment and remorse, and he was feeling both in spades.
Still a little groggy, Hubby brought him home, and I left work early. He crawled on his belly to the front door to greet me.
We felt terrible and shelved all intentions of getting the lump removed.
This is why we are so concerned for Maggie. Barney had been left with strangers .
We changed vets, and months later took him in for a check up. We explained about the lump and what had happened previously, and the vet said it really should come out.
He was marvellous. The dog was priority, then us. Notes had been obtained from the previous surgery so that they could see what anaesthetic had been used before, and when Hubby took him in he was allowed to stay with him until he ‘went under’.
His recovery was remarkable, just two days and he was running around as normal, apart from the bucket on his head. He was so uncoordinated, he’d bump into everything, but he’d got his dinner sussed. He’d hover the collar over his bowl, then smack it down on the floor covering it completely, lowering his head and munching away until he’d had his fill.
The dog before that was my German Shepherd, Kiz.
She was about five when I got her, a pitiful and nervous bag of bones having been dumped and tied to a breeders front fence. It was believed she’d had pups and that her previous owners had no more use for her. It took 3 months to gain her trust, and 3 more before she barked.
Other than jabs and the usual worming pills, I had no problems with her at all until 1990.
I don’t know how I missed it, but she had a growth on one of her teats. It was obviously giving her trouble as she found it difficult to get comfortable and then getting up was awkward. She was incontinent indoors, and we could see she was losing weight.
Our vet was an old boy in his 70s, and he thought it could be treated with medication.
I was ill over Christmas, and in the week I was home, saw her full discomfort, and the weight just dropped off her. I took her back to the vet and he was upset for me that the pills hadn’t worked. He thought it was mammary cancer, and it was doubtful she’d survive the surgery. Her quality of life was shit, so I made that painful decision and come Jan 1, she was no longer with us, and we didn’t have another dog until 1995.
Another reason why Maggie’s lump was so worrisome for me.
Toad was a rough collie (lassie dog) that was going to be put down at four months because the owners had ‘changed their mind’. He was the pup we conned the Then Partner’s GSD into believing was hers (see post I am a Biscuit).
As she hadn’t been spayed and we didn’t want her to have pups, he had a doggy vasectomy rather than the full chop.
Again we had a good vet, who encouraged me to stay with him as he went under. It was the first time I’d seen a reaction to anaesthetic, and it was like he was dying. However, he knew I was there and succumbed quite calmly until he was taken away.
His recovery was quick too, and the stitches dissolved so there was no need to take him back to have them removed.
The GSD mentioned above was a beautiful dog, with a lovely temperament.
Her health was good, until I noticed her being sick, or trying to be, in the back garden. She wouldn’t drink, and when her stomach started to swell, I immediately called the vet. He was there within half an hour, gave her a sedative and took her away.
He diagnosed a twisted gut, a complex operation and was not very optimistic.
The following day, he said she was fine, no surgery had been required and we could collect her in the evening.
A year later, she had another attack and at the vet’s, we could hear the air being released from her gut as we waited. He was confident though that we could take her home.
At 1am, I was on the phone agreeing to meet him at the surgery about 20 miles away. I went on my own with the dog in the front seat, She was being sick in the foot well, and when I arrived, she was whisked away by their emergency team.
At 2.30am, they said they would keep her in for a few days as she was ‘a very sick dog’ and they may have to operate.
I went to work as normal, ringing the surgery to check on her condition, and they were pleased with her progress, but didn’t want her to get excited so I didn’t go and see her.
I wish I had, as when I rang the following day, I was told she’d died in the night having had another attack. The entire staff was gutted as she had been such a lovely animal, always pleased to see them and had been making a good recovery.
I brought her home in the back of the car in a black bin liner, and broke my heart because I couldn’t close her eyes. In tears, I managed to get her out of the bag and wrapped in her blanket, and when Partner got home, we buried her in the back garden.
I ‘got custody’ of Lucy, a red setter cross collie, in my divorce. She was from working stock and should never have been sold as a house pet.
When we first got her after Pep died (she was the one afraid of thunder and wrecked my kitchen, another sad story riddling me with guilt), we took her round to a friend whose springer spaniel got a bit too boisterous. She ended up with a greenstick break and had her back leg in plaster for about 3 weeks. You’d hear her coming up the stairs, pad, pad, pad, SWING, pad, pad, pad, SWING. Coming down was a succession of thumps.
Mum and Dad had an ‘intact’ rough collie, so to avoid pups, I had her spayed.
My Dad took her in at 9am as I was working, and I collected her after 5. I was surprised at how bright she was, she walked out of the surgery, jumped in the car but slept most of the evening. However, she wanted nothing to do with my Dad, blaming him no doubt for her discomfort. She managed the stairs OK to sleep with me in the bedroom, but I wasn’t quite quick enough in the morning and she had an accident on the carpet.
She was back to her normal self in about 3 days, but when I met Partner, the two dogs didn’t get on and I ended up having a tetanus jab as she bit me when I tried to separate them! Mum and Dad found a new home for her, and after taking her for a walk with the prospective owners, she jumped in their car and was ready to go. They owned a farm several miles away where she would be working every day. It was the best thing for her.
I think it’s amazing how quickly pets recover and adapt to bucket collars, broken limbs, surgery and bandages.
As I sit here, a lone bird is singing outside, it’s song having a beautiful clarity.
It’s still dark so I don’t know what it is, but having seen both a blackbird and robin here, it could be either of them. It’s a positive way to start the day.
It’s later now and Maggie has stirred. Between us we managed to get her across the road for a wee. She was quite alert, her gait normal and much like her normal self, just tired.
One of us will stay with her all day to make sure she doesn’t bother her stitches, and hopefully we will have no need of the collar. She rolled over on her back for a bit of fuss and to ‘show us’ the wound which has settled down and we can see the incision quite clearly. Poor love. It’s going to take a while to fully heal.
I’m going to get us all some breakfast, then we can give her a painkiller. She still wants to sleep, but that’s OK as it’ll help the healing process.