Life Is A Crap Shoot…….But Take the Chance Anyway
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
This is a story that is infinitely easier to tell today than it would have been a week ago, or even 2 weeks ago. I realize that my stories don’t always have “nice” endings, and we Daisies seem to be in a sort of life-holding pattern, so I will jump ahead and tell you that this particular tale ends on somewhat of a high note.
We came home with our sweet Stella as a foster dog with the possibility of adoption in the future. We picked her up on a Wednesday afternoon, drove back home Thursday, and on Friday, May Day, our sweet little girl was on death’s doorstep. She woke up lethargic, refusing to eat, and with gums almost white in color. She was unable to walk to the car, so we carried her, on her dog bed, to the car and immediately drove to our beloved vet, Aumsville Animal.
In the beginning, it was a puzzle as to what was going on. She had been spayed about a week prior, and as she was at the end of a heat cycle, it was a more complicated spay. Dobermans are one of the breeds that are pre-disposed to VonWillebrands Disease, which is actually a type of Hemophilia. Dogs affected by this vary in the inability of their blood to clot, and, unfortunately, this is usually discovered at the time of a surgery when it presents in an unfortunate way……such as what we seemed to be experiencing.
The vet clinic was incredibly busy on this day, and they wanted to start Stella on an IV and observe her for a while. Her blood work was not too alarming, and although it was suspected that there might be internal bleeding, she wasn’t showing a lot of signs of this. I asked if I could stay with her, as they were planning to tether her near the lab room. They agreed, and so I sat on the floor next to Stella who laid her head on my lap. I have found there are several things in life that are never difficult to do. One is hold a baby for hours on end, and the other is to pet a dog for the same length of time. As our total time together had been a mere 36 hours, it was the least I could do for my newest friend and family member.
A few hours later, she had an ultrasound, which catapulted life into the next category. She was bleeding internally. I looked at Mike, the vet who had discovered the heart murmur in Wiley, and was now caring for Stella, and asked if we needed to let her go. His face drained of color, and he looked at me and said, “I think we need to give her a chance.”
The plan was to open her up, find where the bleeding was coming from and try to stop it. I had contacted Dana, at the Rescue, and she encouraged me to do what needed to be done. As Stella was still one of her dogs, she would put out a plea to Special Needs Dobermans, for financial assistance. There were not a lot of options at this point, and it was not clear to any of us if this would actually save our girl.
It is a gross understatement to say that I have a long history with Aumsville Animal. They have cared for our dogs for maybe the last 30 years. That would be all of the dogs Craig and I have owned. Dear Susie, whom I have known for YEARS, walked through the door to go to work that morning, and seeing me sitting in the break room with Stella, asked me what was going on. I retold the story, and she looked at me and said, “Shit happens.” Yes, it does. Susie is also the one who gave me the best advice I have possibly ever received. Many years ago we were discussing difficult situations in our lives. She mentioned that during one of her darkest times, a client of hers had said to her, “Susie, no storm lasts forever.” And again, she was right.
It was Susie who offered to stay and operate on Stella. I know she had planned to go to her son’s baseball game, but instead, she took care of us – and took a chance on saving Stella. And to her son, Scotty, who most likely will never read this, and to all the children born to parents who live to serve the greater good, THANK YOU. Know that you stand in the shadow of a giant. Your task is to grow to be that giant yourself. It is your legacy. Be it a small gesture that brightens the life of a single soul, or an action that changes the lives of all of us, it makes no difference. Do good in your life, for no other reason than it is the right thing to do.
Stella survived the surgery but lost a lot of blood and fluids. It was suggested that we take her to Albany to a 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic that was able to do transfusions. As she was carried out to our car, Andrea, the tech who assisted Susie with the surgery, looked at me and said, “Don’t let her rest her head in your lap and go to sleep. You will loose her if she goes to sleep.” It was a dicey 35-minute drive to Albany, with Craig driving and me in the back seat attempting to keep Stella awake and alive. She was in and out of consciousness, and there were several times that I thought we had lost her. Once at the 24-hour clinic, they gave her plasma, and eventually blood from a donor dog. She developed an infection, a possible autoimmune reaction to the donor blood, and an appetite. She stayed there 4 days, during which we visited her every day.
Last Tuesday, a week ago more-or-less, we brought our girl dog home to the farm with her bundle of SIX medications to be given 2-3 times per day. I made an Excel spread sheet, because that’s what you do when life overwhelms you with medication dosing.
She is alive. She is doing well. And, this will come as NO SURPRISE to anyone: We. Love. Her.
So……how did this happen, and why? To everything there is a reason. You might say we happened to be at the right place at the right time for Stella. Did we expect this? NO. Did we want this to happen? NO. Are we (maybe just me) the only people (person) in the world this would happen to? Probably. Are we happy to have her in our lives, regardless of the trauma/$$. Yes. Are there greater things to come? Most certainly.