Tuesday, July 23, 2013

If you've ever loved a dog...

          During our time at Ft. Gordon, Matt and I were enjoying every minute of being together.  Still coming off 2 deployments, we were so relieved to have a normal life.  We didn’t even feel like he was in the Army because his schedule consisted of such great hours.  The whole assignment felt surreal because we lived off post and didn’t have much connection to Army life, aside from a few friends who were also in the military.  It was such a nice break from the harsh lifestyle of rapid deployments.

Waiting to see Wicked in Ft. Lauderdale, FL
            However, just as we were starting to make future plans, our dog, Calvin, got very sick.  It’s not unusual for him to throw up or have an upset stomach because he gets into the trash and eats all sorts of things he’s not supposed to.  It was one of those times when he’d somehow gotten into the bathroom trash.  He threw up in the morning then several times that afternoon and evening.  Matt became concerned when he saw Calvin was throwing up undigested food.  We searched online for an emergency vet clinic and found one that seemed reputable.  Of course, it was late at night so that was our only option.

Amazing vet
            When we got there, they X-rayed Calvin believing he had some sort of blockage based on our description of what was happening.  When the results came back, they could not discern exactly what was going on but believed emergency surgery would be the best option.  We agreed and were anxious for him to be ok.  Unfortunately they wanted us to go home but promised to call when the surgery was over.  I had such a hard time leaving him there.  Without children of my own yet, he was my baby. 

            Back at home, I couldn’t sleep.  I have found when I’m really stressed I have to keep my hands busy so I clean.  Eventually though, exhaustion won out, and I went to bed, making sure the phone was right beside me.

            Very early the next morning, the vet called to say Calvin did have a blockage which they were able to remove, but they also found a hematoma on his spleen.  They had to remove his entire spleen on the spot.  The doctor said they were sending it off to pathology, but that in many cases it is cancerous.  If that was the case, she said Calvin would only have a few months to live.  That’s all I heard.

So sad
            I couldn’t stop crying and begged God to spare Calvin’s life.  I had been so worried they were going to find something worse than the blockage, and now they probably had.  Not only that, but it was going to take a week to 10 days to find out, and Calvin would have to stay at the hospital for 2 days.

So hard to watch him suffer
            Thankfully, I was able to visit him.  He was such a sad sight, all hooked up to monitors and an IV.  He was very out of it.  I had never seen him like that.  I cried and just sat with him for several hours.  The vet on call that day encouraged me not to worry before I knew and that he himself was hopeful.  This helped me to just try to focus on the present and not worry about what might not be true.  If you know me at all, this is very hard for me!

            Finally Calvin was able to eat and drink on his own again, and we were able to take him home.  He had several staples so we had to monitor him closely.  He would still whimper in pain for a few days afterward, despite being on pain meds.  It broke my heart.  Not only was it hard to watch him suffer, but there was still the fear of the unknown.

            During that week or two, I stayed close to home, nursing Calvin back to health.  When the phone call finally came, I took a deep breath steeling myself for the worst.  But praise God!  Calvin did not have cancer and would be just fine.  I was so relieved!  I don’t think I’ve ever hugged that dog so hard in my life.  Soon the staples were removed, and he was back to his happy, hungry self.  I knew I couldn’t take him for granted again though.

            Calvin has been a tremendous blessing in my life.  We adopted him 2 months after we were married, and he has been a great source of comfort and company to me, especially during Ranger School and two deployments.  I truly believe the Lord uses Calvin in my life to show me unconditional love.

A few weeks post surgery...Halloween
            If you don’t have a dog or pet that you feel this strongly about, it probably seems strange that I would spend this long writing about my dog.  But as I said, he was my baby.  Much of my daily routines revolved around his walks and feeding times, especially when I wasn’t working.  That probably seems pathetic to some of you, but I believe the Lord gives us these animals to care for, knowing they will actually care for us.  There is no mistake to their presence in our lives.

1 comment:

Catt12 said...

I could not agree more! Dogs are the BEST!!!