Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I am drained. The last two days have been so exhausting for us.

Yesterday Robin called me at work around 10am. I didn't answer because I was on the phone with an insurance company. I sent her a text saying that I would call her back in a minute. She replied with one word... "Emergency!" I immediately hung up with the insurance company and called her back. She said that our youngest dog, Lucas, couldn't move his back legs. I asked her what happened and she said that she thought he jumped off the deck chasing a squirrel and he fell wrong. She said she heard him yelping and when she ran outside he was laying in the grass and couldn't move. I told her that I was leaving work and would be home in as soon as I could.

I turned off my computer, grabbed my bag and ran to my boss's office and told her that I had a family emergency. I think I blabbed something about the dog and said that I had to go and I would call with an update later. I drove home as quickly, and legally as I could.

When I arrived home, Robin was sitting on the living room floor with Lucas. All of the other animals were surrounding them. She said she already called the vet's office and they were expecting us. Luckily, the vets office was about 2 miles from the house.

Robin sat in the back seat with Lucas and I felt so bad for him. He was sitting on his hind with his back legs extended. The look on his face was pure fright. My heart was racing and I was trying to remain calm.

When we were called to the exam room Dr. Brown came in and did a couple of quick tests and said that he didn't have any deep pain and recommended we go to the emergency vets office. Dr. Brown does not specialize in backs and the emergency vets office also had the imaging equipment needed to properly diagnose his condition. We left Dr. Brown's office and headed to North Charleston.

When we pulled up, the vet tech was waiting at the door for us where he picked up Lucas and brought him inside. Robin filled out paperwork and we were brought back to an exam room where we waited.

About 15 minutes later the doctor came in and explained that Lucas actually did have deep pain, which was good. He told us that his opinion was that Lucas had a herniated disc and that he recommended imaging to properly diagnose the condition. He also said it could be an embolism and without x-rays he wouldn't be able to tell us for sure. He went to run and estimate and a couple of minutes came back with the numbers for x-rays and surgery... $3995,00!!

The doctor said that they could keep him overnight and we could think about the option of surgery. He said they would give him pain meds and we could call any time to check for any improvement. We left the vet's office feeling numb, sad and like we just abandoned a child.

Last night was a quiet night at the house. Lucas is the most rambunctious of all the pets and he is constantly under your feet - especially if you have food! The other animals knew something was up so they were especially quiet.

Late in the evening we called the office for an update. The tech told us there was no improvement. Robin and I cried and talked for a long time about what to do. We knew there was no way we could afford surgery and we just felt helpless. I called my friend Becky, who works in animal welfare. She recommended we take Lucas home for his medication and therapy to see how he does before making any drastic decisions. We thought about doing this, but we didn't want Lucas to suffer for our own selfishness. We knew we really didn't have any choice but to euthanize him.

Today I called into work and left a message for supervisor about what was happening. There was no way I could work and deal with all of this. We were told that the vet came in at 9am to do his rounds and we should receive a call around 10am. We didn't hear from them, so at 10:30am we called for an update. The tech told us that they brought Lucas outside and he actually tried to use his hind legs. There was a little bit of improvement and even the Dr. was surprised. We were both super-excited at this news and told them that we would be there as soon as we could.

When we arrived we were brought to the same room as the day before. A couple of minutes later the tech brought Lucas in the room. He was on a leash, which one tech was holding while the other tech held a harness supporting his backside. I think both of us had the same reaction. All the hope of his improvement slowly disappeared. We really thought we would see something totally different. Lucas was basically just dragging his hind legs behind him.

They left us alone in the room with Lucas and we just looked at each other. We had a really hard decision to make and it was like the elephant in the room. Lucas was so drugged up but we knew he recognized us from the small tail wag he did when he entered the room and saw us sitting there.

For about 20 minutes we were alone with Lucas. It was so sad seeing him like this. At that point we were fully prepared to put him to sleep and were were basically saying our silent goodbye's and cried many tears.

After a while, the doctor came in. We told him there was no way we could afford surgery and we wanted to hear about other options. The doctor said that from when we brought him in yesterday to today was an improvement. We asked him if taking Lucas home for meds and therapy would be beneficial and the doctor said it couldn't hurt. We decided that's what we would do.

We loaded Lucas, his catheter and paralyzed legs in my Jeep and headed home. Robin looked at me and said 'Are you up for this?" and I said "Are you?" and we both nodded.

When we got home we set Lucas up in the living room on the dog bed. All the other pets were very happy that he was home, but wanted to know where the hell he had been and why he wasn't raising hell like he normally did. After a good sniff we made them mind their business and prepared for several weeks of doggy sitting.

Robin gave him some water and we were trying to figure out how to protect him from everyone else. I said that it was too bad we didn't have a baby crib or playpen. I decided to put a call out to my peeps on Facebook to see if anyone had one we could have or buy and within 20 minutes our friend Teresa came to the rescue! yay! She came over and delivered it, and then we all attempted to set it up which was more difficult than we all thought! How many lesbians does it take to set up a crib? Three, apparently!

We brought Lucas outside using the harness, which was really trying. Robin had his leash and I held the harness and cath bag. Lucas kept turning in circles and we just couldn't get him to walk forward. I finally had Robin go ahead a couple of steps and call him. He managed to walk a few steps but his back feet were pretty much dragging. The harness the vets office gave us is a piece of crap. We ended up ordering a rear harness online this evening and had them overnight it. Hopefully it will work better!

Robin tried to give him his medication in some mashed potatoes we got especially for him from KFC but he was on to her. There's not fooling him! She ended up forcing the pills down his throat and then I followed up with some tasty bologna. He was pretty pissed at her after that whole situation.

Right now Lucas is resting in his crib and we are all exhausted after two very long days. Tonight I forced myself to stay up instead of crashing earlier but now I'm off to bed. Robin is going to sleep in the living room with Lucas in case he has any problems.

I'm hoping tomorrow is better than today.
(and sorry for the typos!)


Anonymous said...

I really hope Lucas is doing better today... I have had my share of time at the pet emergency room, had a couple of cats with feline luekemia and AIDS, probably one got it from the other, caring for sick pets is heart wrenching, they cant really tell you what's wrong and all you want to do is give them what they need... I hope Lucas is doing well and improving... Jenny

sedgwic said...

Hot dogs!
Cut a hot dog up, push a pill into each bite sized piece.
Give him one without medicine first because he might test it but will probably swallow the next pieces.

That's the only trick that has not failed me in the past with dogs.


Pamela said...

We usually give the "kids" hot dogs for an occasional treat... I plan on going to the store today to get some for him. We just worry about his digestive system since he hasn't had a BM since he's been home. I told Robin that he'll probably do that on my shift! Lucky me!!

Clytie said...

I read this with tears in my eyes. What blessings our pets are to our lives. How painful when we can't help them when they're hurt.

I think you made the right decision to bring him home for a while.

Please keep us updated.

Ursula said...

Hey Pam - I'm so sorrry to hear about Lucas' health. I'm sure he's happier at home than a vet's lock-up. I wish y'all the best at what is not likely an easy task. Peace and Hugs for Lucas and for y'all.