This may seem silly to people who aren't pet owners, but you know, those of us who are, completely understand...You'll never know the true meaning of "unconditional love" until you've had a pet.
Today, our little dog Molly is having surgery. What?! You'd pay money for your dog to have surgery when you are already strapped for cash??? Are you CRAZY? Ah, maybe, but if I am crazy, it's the good kinda crazy. It's a crazy kinda love.
You see, Molly is a special little dog...
I was just getting over a supposed virus that had me off work for three months. I felt down in the dumps, the virus having taken so much out of me. I knew my hubby felt really bad and was worried for me, and I guess you could say I had been looking for an "in" to convince him that we needed to get a dog. " I don't want a dog, no way, no how " was pretty much the gist of it. I'd heard those words before..."We already have a cat. That's enough. She was supposed to be your cat, I change the litter box, I feed her...blah, blah, blah", you've heard it all before...
Right about the same time, my son, who was 19 at the time, called me into his room, he wanted to talk to me; Oh, Oh!
"Eh, mom, I'm not sure how to tell you this, and don't be mad at me, okay?"
"Um, I'm gonna move in with my dad, okay?"
UGH! My heart hit the floor. Yes, you guessed it, he's my only child. My Boy.
"Why?" I asked.
"Well, mom, it has nothing to do with you or Mike. It has to do with space, my space. At my dad's, I'll have the downstairs suite for myself, here I only have this small room."
"Oh." I said.
"Are you mad?"
No. I said. "I understand". And then I hugged my son with all my might and told him I loved him, and went to my room to cry. Yup, that snotty, shuddering, uncontrollable crying. The "the world is coming to an end" cry.
Truth be told, I felt completely panicked at the thought of my baby moving out. Ugh. Only a few miles away, granted, but, still, OUT.
Okay, so maybe the nest doesn't need to be completely empty? ;)
In light of this new development in our lives, I, somehow, managed to convince my husband (he's awesome) that we needed a dog, a dog that would help me through the whole "empty nest" thing, please, please, please.
Let's just say that we made some "amateur-ish" decisions in choosing a dog. We didn't do enough research. I mean, how hard is it to buy a dog? Right? I hadn't had a dog in a long time (since my teen years) and so read up on what to look for to ensure the puppy you choose is healthy. Eyes: watch for infection Stool: No diarrhea Lethargic dog=unhealthy dog. Okay, we can work with that, right? WRONG!!! In my case, LOVE TRUMPS ALL! I overlooked everything I read. Yup. I did.
SSSSHHHHH! I hear what you're thinking. IDIOT! Yeah, well, that would be me. EXCEPT, I will never, ever regret my brain shutting down and my heart opening up that day. Neither will my hubby.
I mean, really how many dog lovers could pass up this little warm bundle of fur, really? Okay, so now you see it my way. Geez, I mean, really, HOW cute is that?
Well, needless to say, we took the little fur baby home. Ahhhh.
Guess what happens next? Wait, look at that little face again...Ha! Gotcha! :)
Took her home...so cute. Bathed her. Adorable. Next day, sick puppy on our hands. Literally. Barfing, pooping, whining, unhappy but cuddly puppy on her hands. Hmmm.
PARVO-VIRUS? Are you kidding me? Uh, what's parvo-virus? She's so sick with it, she's not likely to live...WHAT???!!! So, we left the vet's office with a sick puppy, a liquid puppy food replacement, some syringes, and medication. For 10 days, we took turns waking up (yes, like with a newborn) and giving her food and medication with a syringe, while she fought us with all her puppy might. I went back to work, so my hubby's aunt took the day shift. TEN days! But, that dog had love on her side, and she made it! Phew! At this point, while hubby struggled to sound unimpressed with the whole "we got a dog" idea, she had snuck her way right into his heart. Phew, again. :)
My son moved out. The dog stayed. The 12 year old indoor cat wasn't impressed at all. Sorry Topsy.
We now had a happy, thriving puppy on our hands. Finally.
A little over a year later, she started limping. It persisted. We saw the vet. X-ray's. Bad news. Molly has a severe case of osteoarthritis. So severe a case, they'd never seen it in a dog this age. BOOM!
That was the sound of our hearts, hitting the floor. The pain was so bad for her, we had to wear oven mitts to pick her up (or she'd bite us) and hold her so she could pee. Poor little thing.
Okay, "What are our options?"
"Well, uh, you could put her down, she's in pain...or, we could try putting her on prednisone and see how she does in a week's time."
We looked at her, at each other, and agreed. " We'll try the meds first. She's toughed it out before, maybe, just maybe, she can again!"
Amaaaaaaazing! Within a week, she was better. Not a lot, but better. BUT after two weeks, SHE WAS BACK! running up and down the stairs, greeting guest at the door with her toy in her mouth, playing and acting like herself again. Phew. Again. There goes that bullet! We dodged it again!
WARNING: Steroids will help her with pain, and slow down the progression of the osteoarthritis. However, it does have many side effects. It will likely shorten her lifespan, but the arthritis itself was already doing a much better job of that without it. Blood tests are necessary to ensure her organs aren't failing, every six months or so. Okay. That, we can handle. One day at a time.
She and the cat, Topsy, tolerated each other, but nothing more. Molly would sniff, Topsy would swat, and Molly would whimper away. They made it through 6 years without killing each other. Topsy, who had been nicknamed "The Girl" passed away a year ago now. She was an old girl, almost 18 years old. Molly still runs to where her bed was, all excited, tail wagging, when we say her name, looking for her. Having Molly helped us adjust to losing Topsy.
So now, she's almost 7 years old. She's been such a joy. She's been there with me, over the last 6 years, while I suffered as well, before finally getting the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. The onset of which was the virus I had been off work with when we got her!
Recently she started limping again. It got worse. The pad on the bottom of her right (front) paw was swollen. She wouldn't let us touch it. Hubby noticed that there seemed to be a hole in the pad. X-ray's.
The osteoarthritis has progressed. One of the bones in her paw has deteriorated enough that it is jagged and actually poking out to the outside of the pad! We never would have know how bad it was, she just adapted, so much so that she limped, but if a squirrel crossed he path, she was a speed demon on three legs. What spirit. What strength. What a puppy! (Ok, I get that she's no longer a puppy at 6 1/2 years of age, but she'll always be "one tough Puppy" to us.)
|She's doing her Prairie Dog imitation here.|
|See the resemblance?! :)|
"You should probably put her down. Her paws are pretty gnarly from the arthritis". Other options, please...., please, PLEASE???? "Can't we fix the present problem and see how she does? She show's no signs of pain other than not wanting to walk on that paw. If you removed the "offending" bone, maybe we can give her more time? She's got such a great little spirit?"
"We are not giving up on her, not yet. She has a lot of puppy joy left in her. Even if it just gives her a few more months, it's worth it to us!"
And one day, she'll tell us she's had enough. And we'll do the right thing, and let her go. BUT we will not give up on her, not until she tells us to. Crazy? NO, CRAZY LOVE is all, or Puppy Love. ;)
Update: The Vet just called. She had two little tumors in her paw too. Could be cancer, not sure. He's removed them and will send for testing. We'll pick her up later today. That's our Molly. God love her.
Further Update: Molly's paw has healed fairly well. She still limps or walks on three legs occasionally, but mostly when she's overdone it. We've bought "doggy stairs" for her, to get on and off the couch, which she uses most of the time. We cringe when she doesn't. The stairs are also off limits to her, especially if she's wanting to go down. She's still her happy, silly, full of the dickens self, although she has "slowed down" a bit. We are very, very happy that she is still with us.
Thanks for following.